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Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 20: The Character)



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.”

20. The Character

Every summer the playwright provided a day of entertaining outdoor drama for the villagers of the island of Allandon. As he stood on this day under a bright blue sky on the stage in the village square, the large gathering of villagers were buzzing as to why no set had been put up on the stage and the players were nowhere to be seen.

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“I have a surprise for you,” said the playwright. “This year, instead of seeing a rehearsed play, this one will be improvisational. And the best part is, all of you will be the players!”

The villagers reacted with laughter and enthusiasm. As the playwright explained how it would work they appeared eager to participate. He told them that each person would be required to volunteer to play a role after he had described the character.

“The first character is a ruthless merchant,” he said. “He does everything to kill off his competition, but is surprisingly gentle with children, even though he has none of his own. His main life lesson is to learn to cooperate and have compassion for others.”

A few men and women raised their hands, and the playwright in fact chose one of the women.

“The next character is a single mother living in poverty who struggles to overcome her deep loneliness. She has a particular talent with music that she is not yet aware of. She is destined to enter into a relationship that will be difficult but will help to cultivate her courage.”

Several of the villagers volunteered, and again he chose one. This continued until the playwright came to one character in particular. “This next role is of a man who has fully actualized himself. He is tall, handsome, intelligent and completely at peace with himself and his surroundings.” When he looked out, he was surprised to see that no villager had raised a hand.

“Don’t all be so humble!” he said laughing. He looked around but still saw no volunteers. When he pointed to people they simply shook their heads. Then he looked over to his friend the director, and implored him to take on the role.

“Pass,” said the director with a smile and a brief wave of his hand.

The playwright looked around and asked, “Why will no one choose this character?”

“You of all people should not be surprised,” said the director.

“Why? Doesn’t this character represent who we all strive to be?”

“Exactly, he’s already arrived,” the director retorted. “Where’s the fun in that?”

One image we find over and over again in our media is the image of the perfect woman or man. The message, while not always overt, comes through pretty clear: ‘This is perfection. This is how you need to be to have a fun and exciting life.’ It is motivation of a distorted kind, for it tells us we are not good enough the way we are. It leads us to believe that only once we have conquered all our imperfections and are beyond reproach can we relax and enjoy our lives. Problem is, we have largely gone along with this.

Without being fully aware of it, we push one another to feel shame for our personal limitations and weaknesses. If it isn’t someone else quietly judging us for being too fat, too insecure, or too stupid, it is ourselves. So instead of just learning to feel good about who we are, we walk around with the belief that we desperately need to improve ourselves. And when we try, and find that our imperfections don’t go away fast enough, we bury them deeper inside of us, so we can hide them from others and especially ourselves.

This is not growth. This is being reactive. Whenever we bury our imperfections we also suppress the passion of our true desires. In their place our attention is drawn to the prudent security goals that our society guides us towards. As we conform to this set of counterfeit desires, we get ever further from who we are and what we really want. And so when we succeed in fulfilling these counterfeit desires, it should come as no surprise to us when it does not bring the pure joy or sublime peace that we were really hoping for. “Is that it?” we may ask in a moment of self-awareness. “Now what?” If we are truly afraid to admit to ourselves that we are not really living our life, we may go back into our routine and think that the next prized possession on our list will bring us that rapture that justifies being alive.

The problem is that we’ve become too smart for that. We are awakening to the fact that we are not being honest with ourselves or being authentic in the world. We are becoming impatient with our own excuses that the pressure, the coercion, the demands of our lives have forced us away from the path of our deepest desires. We know that at the end of the day life always offers the choice to be authentic, albeit at a cost: being authentic could bring about disapproval, ridicule, or financial loss. Some even have to risk their lives for it. It is up to each one of us to decide what we are willing to pay for the blissful experience of being who we are in the world. As Emilia Earhart said, “Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.”

When we are not being ourselves, it is hard to resist being judgmental of others. We become especially critical of those who are different, those who don’t seem to feel the need to follow the party line when we do. They make us uncomfortable because they remind us that we, too, long for freedom of expression and action. And so in their presence we are presented with the challenge to be ourselves. Instead of continuing to bury our shadowy side, we are called to simply put all our imperfections out in the world for all to see, and deal with whatever consequences ensue. That is how we recapture our passion and our energy, and start to regain respect and confidence for who we really are. In showing the world that we think we are all right as we are, we help others believe they are all right as they are as well.

But how can we have pride and confidence in our fallible selves? We aren’t all tall, dark and handsome. We don’t all have the natural ability to play professional sports, or the talent to be a concert pianist, or the intellect to be a quantum physicist. We have our fears and insecurities, our moods and our tempers, our blind spots and our baggage.

So what. When we step back and look at the bigger picture, I believe we can truly see ourselves as perfect just the way we are. Being human in itself makes us brave pioneers worthy of the highest praise. We chose a set of circumstances to live in and a character to enact in this drama called human life, all in the interest of our own growth and evolution. So while we have to play the hand we’re dealt, it is when we realize that each one of us has stacked our own deck that it becomes possible to see the perfection in our ‘imperfect’ selves and lives. This idea is a powerful beacon out of the dark confines of judgment and into a clearing of appreciation and wonder.

The new conversation does not dwell in the ‘wrong’ and ‘imperfect’. It only sees learning opportunities and points of departure for great adventures. In fact these so-called ‘imperfections’ are what forge our uniqueness, and make it possible for us to play an important role in the drama that is human life. When we hear the oft-quoted words of Shakespeare that ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players,’ it resonates deep inside us. At birth we enter the stage and at death we exit. Although to say that we are merely players—perhaps on this point I would take exception. Is there a more important or worthier task at hand for men and women than to play?

Our Ego Self would have us believe that life is not play at all but work, the serious work of survival. It could never endorse a life that was built for fun. Indeed, life for the Ego Self consists in hiding our fears from everyone and trying to meet with their approval. But if we could look behind the stage curtains and beyond the illusions created by the Ego Self, we would see that the entire production was created for our benefit, so that we could strut and fret upon the stage, and in so doing, slowly come to an ever-increasing awareness of who we are and what this play is really all about. An actor who steps on stage has a life much vaster than the character he breathes life into, and in a similar way, we are much vaster than the individual selves we typically identify with in our lives. Moving towards identifying with this vaster self, our Dao Self, enables us to see that the world is meant to be a stage that allows us to experience the joy of engaging, of participating, of playing.

Playing is the flow of life. It moves us forward along our path. And each individual’s path, no matter how misguided or self-defeating it might seem by our standards, is ultimately on its way back to the Dao. It is interesting to note that the word ‘Dao’ in Chinese also means the Way. Even if we become powerfully transformed along our own path, that does not give us one iota of authority to judge the path of another. In fact, when we transform ourselves we are naturally brought into a greater appreciation of the unique ways of others.

At any given time our starting point is exactly where we are. There is no other place we should be. What difference does it make where we are on a path that stretches to infinity in both directions? To say we should be further along the path by now, that we shouldn’t be making the same mistakes, we should be nicer, smarter, and more evolved is really just letting our Ego Self speak for us. If we are perfect the way we are, then ‘evolving’ is not something we need to do. We are free to stay in one place all our lives if that’s what we want. However, I believe that making our way along our path is something that we naturally gravitate towards once we realize that that’s where all the fun is.

Though we have all had moments when this resonates, we also have doubts. We will point to the suffering we experience and hold it as proof that life is not fun. And there is no question, from where we currently stand the suffering is real. There is loss, disappointment, and sorrow. How can life be fun with such suffering?

The point here is—how can life be fun without it? We all experience suffering because of the growing pains that tell us that we are stretching into a grander version of ourselves. Experiencing those pains need not invalidate our life or make us feel that we are going in the wrong direction. They are as much a part of our life as the joy that is our birthright. As William Blake reminds us in Auguries of Innocence,

The World was made for joy and woe

And when this we rightly know

Through the world we safely go

Joy and woe are woven fine

A clothing for the soul divine.

Let us consider, in a brief sparkling moment of clarity, what life would be like if all pain, suffering, and fear were removed from the equation. Let us say a human body no longer needed food or drink to maintain itself. No consumption, digestion, or elimination functions necessary. Then, let us suppose that we did not need to breathe to sustain ourselves. And finally, that we could not possibly feel pain of any kind, that we could not become sore, tired, in fact would not even need to sleep. Our bodies would not age and would become impervious to any changes.

I imagine if that happened to me, I would at first feel a euphoria, being able to move around freely, without worry, without restriction. And then, slowly, I would start to wonder what there was to do. And, perhaps after thinking a long time and consulting with like-minded beings, we would try to invent a game in which there were actually some risks, some rewards, some pleasure, some pain, something at stake and something to care about. And this game we could play with passion and energy, taking pleasure equally in the joys and the sorrows. A game that sparks our interest at first, and then grows as we grow, changes as we change, and continues to challenge us at exactly the level we can handle in a given moment. Now that would be quite a game!

And if we heard about a game in progress that had a brilliant stage already set, a spherical stage spinning around a star, with mountains and oceans, plants and animals, risks and rewards, smells, sights, sounds and a panoply of emotions, and always providing new insights and discoveries, we would willingly stand in a long queue like crazy kids lining up to try the latest and greatest super roller-coaster at the amusement park. It would give a new meaning to the experience of being alive. Does this game sound familiar?

One of the reasons that life doesn’t always present itself to us as a game is that we get bored or jaded with experiences that once gave us some excitement. It seems that the luster wears off many of our experiences as time goes on, and we can’t seem to recapture our youthful enthusiasm. But that is exactly the point: when we follow our Ego Self, we try to recapture some feeling that we had in the past by recreating the event, whereas when we are living from our Dao Self, we desire only to create new events, to give us a fresh sense of what is possible.

It is just like an actor going on stage, doing the same play every day for months. The great actors know that the only way they will stay at their best, and continue to be fresh and vibrant, is not to try to imitate what they did to be successful in past performances. They need to let go of what they did in the past and create something new. The temptation is very strong to just ‘do what worked’ in the past. But this is not the true craft of acting. Acting is not about faking, it is about playing a character to the depth of your being. This is what it means to be authentic and live life to the fullest. After a particularly brilliant performance of Hamlet, Sir Lawrence Olivier was told by friends and critics alike that it may have been the best performance of the Danish prince ever in history. He accepted the compliments graciously but not without a hint of rue, knowing that while they might expect to see that kind of performance for the rest of the run, he knew that it was unlikely that he would ever be able to recreate it.

Life presents itself to us not as an opportunity to redo what works, but to create anew. Each of us is unique, and we can always be looking to bring something new to the stage. We are actors, not re-actors! In life, no playwright will tell us what words to utter, for we write our own script. No director will tell us where to go, for we direct ourselves. Actor, director, playwright, we have all we need within. And we are called upon to create ourselves in every moment. Let us create ourselves in the highest vision we can imagine, for this is what it means to flow along our path towards the Dao.

Move on to Chapter 21…

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15 Quotes From Alan Watts’ Book: ‘Out of Your Mind’



In the middle of yoga class the other day, sweaty, exhausted, and holding a pose for what seemed an eternity, my teacher reminded me of the wisdom of Alan Watts with a single quote that would ultimately make me forget about the physical discomfort I was in, and allow me to fully connect to the beauty of the moment at hand.

“The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless,” she said.

The recitation reminded me in that moment that what I was feeling was not permanent, and I was choosing to be there to be enlivened, not lifeless. I wanted to feel, to sweat, to dig deeper mentally and physically. And so I let it happen, and suddenly the moment was exactly what I wanted it to be.

Alan Wilson Watts was a British philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known for his interpretation and popularization of Asian philosophies for the Western minds. His more than 25 books and various articles spanned sensational subjects, including personal identity, higher consciousness, the true nature of reality, the meaning of life, and the pursuit of happiness without the desire for materialism.

Perhaps the most profound part of Watts was that he had the incredible ability of expressing complex thoughts in the simplest of ways.

Here is a glimpse into some of his most awakening quotes:

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1. “Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.”

2. “We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.”

3. “No one is more dangerously insane than one who is sane all the time: he is like a steel bridge without flexibility, and the order of his life is rigid and brittle.”

4. “Without birth and death, and without the perpetual transmutation of all the forms of life, the world would be static, rhythm-less, undancing, mummified.”

5. “What we have forgotten is that thoughts and words are conventions, and that it is fatal to take conventions too seriously. A convention is a social convenience, as, for example, money … but it is absurd to take money too seriously, to confuse it with real wealth … In somewhat the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are ‘coins’ for real things.”

6. “The source of all light is in the eye.”

7. “Just as true humor is laughter at oneself, true humanity is knowledge of oneself.”

8. “Peace can be made only by those who are peaceful, and love can be shown only by those who love. No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”

9. “This is the real secret of life – to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”

10. “The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”

11. “What I am really saying is that you don’t need to do anything, because if you see yourself in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomenon of nature as trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the flickering of fire, the arrangement of the stars, and the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that, and there is nothing wrong with you at all.”

12. “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

13. “There will always be suffering. But we must not suffer over the suffering.”

14. “To put is still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.”

15. “Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on. In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all. Instead they are holding tight. But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.

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Navigating Difficult Emotions



In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Day and night exist; so too do joy and sorrow, anger and sadness. Yin and Yang comprise our wholeness.

  • Reflect On:

    Consider that the night has as much to offer as daytime, and is just as necessary. What new version of wholeness can we be crafted into when we embrace and skillfully work through all of what we feel?

“Each of our feelings or attitudes, no matter how negative, can evoke compassion and lead to transformation. We then joyfully realize how every negative experience has positive, growth-fostering potential, how every liability is a resource, how every shadow trait has a kernel of value, how every disturbance or mistake can deepen our spiritual consciousness . . . there is an energy of light frozen in our confusion, a luminosity we can release, if only we do not give up our mining.”

—Dave Richo, Ph.D.

Positive emotions satisfy the immediate gratification style of modern culture. They pay dividends right away. We try to keep up with pleasure, joy, and bliss in their ever-more-enticing forms. Difficult emotions, however, take patience, and require delayed gratification. The result of this gratification is a deeper sense of fulfillment that can’t be gained by direct experience with positive emotion.

Through the lens of Chinese medicine, our positive emotions are considered Yang (positive and quick) and confer Yang power. Our negative, dark, or difficult emotions are Yin. They take longer to release their nectar, as we slow down to meet them. We might have to look like outcasts for a time to reap their hidden, subtler power. These Yin experiences deliver a quieter, inner power, gradually.

A balance of Yin and Yang power is crucial. If we over-feast on Yang emotions, we can burn out and fall into an exhausted or depressive state once we can’t keep up with all the excitement. This corresponds with the modern epidemic of adrenal exhaustion. If we over-feast on negative emotions and ignore the lighter side of life, we can also end up in the pits. Sojourns into grief don’t count because they often deliver great rewards.

When Yin and Yang are in balance and healthy they mutually support one another. When we find balance between Yin and Yang emotions, we can reap the benefits of both positive and negative states. It’s not difficult to see the benefit of happiness, joy, positivity, exuberance, and inspiration—all Yang experiences. More difficult is to glean the good reasons to embrace our dark and difficult states.

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When we understand, even if just intellectually at first, why and how difficult states are absolutely crucial to our well-being, this gives us incentive to stay present and open to them and override our knee-jerk tendency to shut down and go away when they surface. What’s more, when we attune to and are patient with what’s difficult, that darkness transforms us little by little into more light, a light we cannot attain from Yang states alone. Only by staying with what’s dark can we create more love and light from what seems rotten and miserable.

So, this writing is dedicated to understanding the unique benefits that come from our difficult feelings and why it’s a good idea to stay close to them, when they visit.

Looking Deeper

Just like beauty and the beast, beneath the ugly exterior of our difficult emotions is a tender core of inspiration, soulfulness, and renewal. They return us to what really matters by revealing and empowering what we care about. If we sit with these feelings long enough, which is to welcome and let them have their way with us (at least in good part), we can reap their hidden riches (note: this is often not the case for mental illness, such as anxiety and depression).

Paradoxically, this process of staying close to difficulty eventually fills us up, quenching us with fulfillment. I’m convinced that if we don’t milk and allow ourselves to be transformed by these emotions, we live fractured lives. And as a result, we fracture the lives of others, including the Earth.

In being with painful feelings and letting them change us, they recede. The more we allow ourselves to be changed by them, the more they dissolve. In fact, they recede in proportion to how much we allow them to change us, as if their purpose were to get us to pay attention, to surrender, and to transform. From being with and working through our anger, sadness, fear, remorse, and envy, we develop genuine compassion, courage, creativity, inspiration, meaning, purpose, empathy, and greater love—qualities I call our finer jewels of being human.

We dont transform difficult emotions as much as they transform us. For this we must surrender and become vulnerable; we must have the faith and courage, humility and strength, to be changed in ways not in our control, shaped by the wild ways of nature expressed through our emotions. This way we get to become more than what we can control, or even imagine. So, if you want to live a passionate life close to nature, give way to your heart and its storms of wild wisdom come to revolutionize you.

To be changed by difficulty, we have to be vulnerable, pliant, brave, and strong enough to weather the shape-shifting of our sense of self. This requires having a strong enough core sense of self, our functional ego, one that can handle the adjustments, or in some cases, the dismantling of our sense of self. For this reason, the support of loved ones, and a therapist, is virtually essential, or at least makes the journey more productive and smoother.

Our dark, uncomfortable, or downright terrifying emotions are the other side of love. They are love’s underbelly, the deeper regions of our heart. In fact, we can often sense when someone has not entered this sacred chamber inside themselves and met their life-renewing shadow because they are generally uncomfortable around the emotional struggles of others.

The Way Out is Through

While offering nuanced suggestions for precisely how to navigate our difficult emotions is beyond the scope of this article (I offer more of that here), I want to briefly speak to the popular adage, “Don’t wallow in negative emotions.” Ironically, this might be an outsider’s perspective, coined and perpetuated by folks who haven’t entered their shadow in a significant way. For, when we do, we learn that we don’t really have much say for how long we are beset by life’s downturns.

We in fact must endure periods of what seems like wallowing and obsessing because we don’t have control over these states, nor do we have to. Nor do we have to fit in to the horse and pony show of modern living, rife with sickness, dysfunction, and obsessed with productivity and positivity. Other times, however, we will be able to snap out of a funk. In these cases we have at least some say in mitigating difficult states, apart from how they might ultimately benefit us.

We experience emotion in two primary ways. The first is in response to troubling environmental factors, events, or circumstances. In these cases, it’s usually safe to heed emotional signals at face value. Another way is to experience difficult emotions due to an imbalanced physiology such as illness (including mental illness) or another stressor. In these instances, it’s better not to listen to the voice or message of emotion and its distorted reasoning, or at least not take their perceived impact and significance to heart. For example, if you’re in a spat with your partner and irritated because you need to eat, get to sleep, be alone, or just chill out, it’s often wiser to just focus on taking care of yourself and not get into it with someone else. We might also need to grab the reins of our mind and control our negative thinking, which is absolutely appropriate during rough times—especially, for example, when we are looping negative thoughts.

All these self-help actions help “skim the surface” of feeling bad, which is to clear the superficial and temporary stress that contributes to circumstantial emotional flareups. After we self-care this way, our troubles usually seem smaller and less painful. Whatever emotional charge or realization left after skimming this top layer of stress, we can embrace and more confidently take to heart. To not self-care to relieve everyday stress is to suffer unnecessarily.

 Exercise, appropriate diet, and how supported we feel. all significantly influence our physiological state and therefore the duration and intensity of difficult emotional states.

The idea is to try to stay close to, and be with, our core emotional responses to real life events and to manage and discharge the extra energy these emotions generate due to mental obsession and physiological imbalance. For example, I might feel sad that I lost my girlfriend. I might feel extra sad if I lie on the couch all day and don’t force myself to get up and take a walk, eat something, or talk to friend. We have control over the latter, and not the former. In fact, we might not want to control our grief too much (so it can work on and change us), unless it’s unnecessarily physiologically generated and/or exacerbated by too much inactivity and stagnation.

To get in touch with our core emotions, we can activate and express them (Yang), or slow down and gently embrace them (Yin). This is where the jewels are—if we dig, or better, let ourselves be unearthed! Taking a break from digging and feeling tough feelings, however, is also crucial. This is healthy denial, when we focus on other things to give ourselves a break and so we can return to the inner work refreshed and with clearer perspective.

Lying around feeling sad all day might be helped by taking a walk, venting and being heard by a friend, or getting out to get out of our own head. Feeling angry for hours might be appropriately curbed by going for a run, pounding on some pillows, or finding genuine cause for laughter. But longer stints of grief, for example, might stay with us for months or years. Often, we don’t have much say in this. We can therefore surrender and be changed into what we can’t imagine by this wild wisdom of our deeper hearts.

An unfortunate alternative to embracing our difficult feeling states is turning to drugs, addiction, and excess avoidance, which usually create more suffering. What’s more, we miss out on the nourishing qualities hidden in challenging emotions—our finer jewels of being human—which we harvest by embracing them. Handled skillfully and with support, difficult times can be immense opportunities for growth, finding meaning and purpose in life, and reckoning with our demons. How we approach and handle difficulty is just as important, if not more so, than how we deal with easy times.


Jack Adam Weber, L.Ac., MA, is Chinese medicine physician, having graduated valedictorian of his class in 2000. He has authored hundreds of articles, thousands of poems, and several books. Weber is an activist for embodied spirituality and writes extensively on the subjects of holistic medicine, emotional depth work, and mind-body integration, all the while challenging his readers to think and act outside the box. Weber’s latest creation is the Nourish Practice, a deeply restorative, embodied meditation practice as well as an educational guide for healing the wounds of childhood. His work can be found at, on Facebook, or Twitter, where he can also be contacted for life-coaching and medical consultations.

Improve Your Energy, Sleep & Clarity!

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Using Human Intention To Help Manifest The Physical World Into Being



In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Many people believe that human intention has a direct impact on physical material reality. Quantum mechanics has played it's role in this belief. This article presents tips on how you can use your intention to better your life.

  • Reflect On:

    Do you want to change the world. Do you want to change your-self? Perhaps both are intertwined.

The idea that we actually manifest the physical world into being in every moment based on our thoughts used to be the stuff of fairy tales for most people. There was a sense that old sayings like ‘As ye think, so shall ye be,’ and ‘Everything is possible for him who believes,’ were considered to have some mysterious wisdom, but few really took them to be direct conditions of reality itself.

A little over a decade ago, however, many started to take the subject more seriously. The popularity of a movie and book entitled ‘The Secret,’ which brags 28+ million copies in print translated into 52 languages, was an important contributor to the popularization of the idea that we can manifest the things we want in our lives through the power of intention.

Has Our Belief Subsided?

I have observed over the past decade, at least in terms of the people and communities I am in contact with, that the belief and optimism in the power of intention has waned somewhat. While some people have gone forward and made the power of intention the centerpiece of their life’s activities, many who once tried to engage in such practices have since become disillusioned by the idea, a consequence of failed attempts, or have simply forgotten about it and returned their focus to strictly material processes to try and get what they want out of life.

Are you familiar with the idea? Have you made some attempts at manifesting through intention in the past, and have since shifted away from the practice? Let’s read on.

Feeling Good

To manifesting through intention is first to overcome what seems to be a logical paradox; as we try to visualize what we want  (a new car, lover, etc.), we have to somehow ‘feel good’ about the whole matter, as though we are not actually lacking what we want. As The Secret feature speaker Joe Vitale says,

It’s really important that you feel good. Because this feeling good is what goes out as a signal into the universe and starts to attract more of itself to you. So the more you can feel good, the more you will attract the things that help you feel good and that will keep bringing you up higher and higher.

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But how are we supposed to feel good about what we are lacking? Even those who have been highly successful at manifesting through intention have a devil of a time explaining how they are having positive feelings in relation to the exercise of bringing towards them something they don’t have enough of or don’t have any of.

In some writings on the subject, the ‘wanting’ of something as an intention does not bring to us the thing itself but only the continued ‘wanting’ of it. We are told that the proper mindset is to feel grateful for what we ‘want’, as though we already have it. But the fact is that we don’t have it! Otherwise we wouldn’t be asking for it. How do we get around this paradox?

The Real Secret: Become ‘Service To Others’

I believe the secret to overcoming this paradox is in understanding that there are mainly two types of people in the world: those who are oriented towards service to self, and those that are oriented towards service to others.

Those who are fundamentally ‘service to self’ see themselves as separate from the rest of humanity, they see the world’s resources as scarce, and they feel they have to compete with others to get what they want. In this state of fear, manifesting from intention becomes very difficult, because their fear of lack will always be more powerful than their ‘belief’ that they can get what they want.

Those who are fundamentally ‘service to others’ see all of humanity as connected, the world’s resources as unlimited, and in getting what they want they actually inspire others to get what they want. My favorite book on the subject, ‘The Science of Getting Rich,’ written in 1910 by Wallace D. Wattles, says it this way:

You are to become a creator, not a competitor; you are going to get what you want, but in such a way that when you get it every other man will have more than he has now.


In choosing to manifest through intention in our lives this way, we can actually see our lives as modeling and inspiring others who are actively seeking their own desired manifestations. So it’s really a win-win mentality between ourselves and others. There are no ‘limits’ to what can be manifested. Wattles says that no matter how many people actively intend abundance, the material universe is compelled to bring it into being.

People who have a true service to others mentality serve others with a confidence that they will be served themselves, by universal design. When serving others authentically, there is love and lightness, and a genuine sense that we ‘have’ to give, and so we naturally feel gratitude for our own abundance. What we want is already a part of us, since we are connected to all things–so there’s no longer a contradiction in being grateful for what we want. This gratitude really embodies the amorphous ‘feel good’ of Joe Vitale, or the ‘higher vibration’ of so many other commentators.

If you have tried and given up on the process of manifesting through intention, it might be helpful to check if your intentions were always grounded in fear-based egocentric desire, as mine were in my earlier failed attempts to manifest. If you can make the move to orient your life to be in service of others—a monumental shift to be sure—you will see that manifesting through intention will become more natural, enjoyable, and ultimately successful.


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