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Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 25: The Flower)

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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.”

25. The Flower

In the village flower shop on the island of Allandon the mason was looking through the selection of flowers and, finding nothing to his satisfaction, waded out back where the florist was tending to her extensive garden.

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“I have a special request,” the mason said. “Cut me a fresh flower that has just reached perfection.”

“No problem,” said the florist. She smartly clipped one of the nearby flowers and handed it to the mason with a smile.

“No, I don’t think so,” the mason said. “This flower is still too green; the buds haven’t opened enough.”

The florist moved quietly to another flower bush, again cut one off and gave it to the mason.

The mason looked at the flower in dismay. “Can’t you see this flower has already started to decline? The petals are wrinkled and it’s falling apart,” he said, shaking the flower and spilling some of the seeds from its mouth.

The florist calmly picked up one of the seeds from the ground and held it out in her open palm. “Perhaps this is what you’re looking for.”

The mason shook his head. “What’s wrong with you? Can’t you tell when a flower is perfect?”

“Of course I can tell when a flower is perfect,” the florist said. “I just can’t tell when it’s not.”

I have been in the habit of trying to figure out how life works for most of my adult existence. This probably started from my acute inability to flow with life when I was younger. I was confused and fearful, and my only defense at the time was to try to understand it in order to control it. This was a fairly solitary pursuit, for often when I attempted to have conversations with my friends about it they would tease and rebuke me for being overly ‘intellectual’.

I find it happily ironic that my persistent reflection, reading, and practices—driven by insecurity though they may have been—helped me come full circle to a place where I no longer feel the need to try to control life. In fact I now hold an unwavering conviction inside me that life is perfect just the way it is. It is a belief that is ever strengthened by my ongoing experiences, like a potter’s urn fired in a kiln. Today, if I ever notice myself feeling down or discontent with my life, I know that it is because of who I am choosing to be in that moment and not about life itself. Life is like the sun, which continues to shine even when it is hidden by clouds and we see only rain. It always is and always will be an opportunity to experience new heights of joy, exuberance, and passion. Life stands ready to offer us its bounty in all situations.

That does not mean to say that things always go in my life the way I want them to. My Ego Self takes me on rides to far away places—far away from my true self, that is—and as a result it can be quite a struggle to return to a place of peace and centeredness, a place where I really do feel at my best. If I am struggling with anger, sadness, jealousy, fear, guilt or despair, sometimes all I need is to remember to ask myself the question: Have you forgotten that life is perfect? No matter how badly things have gotten for me, I will never deny this. This conviction helps me to accept that whatever is happening to me in the present moment is exactly what needs to happen, and becoming more conscious in the moment will eventually be enough to pull myself out of the manhole I have slowly and inconspicuously slid into.

The Ego Self fights the idea that ‘life is perfect’ tooth and nail. For the Ego Self life is dangerous, because we are alone. We need to learn strategies to cope, compete well, and make tactical alliances while being careful who we trust. When something happens that we don’t like we must call it bad, wrong, or unjust—presumably to prevent it from happening again. Our Ego Self might cleverly argue that if life were perfect then we wouldn’t need to do anything. We wouldn’t try to make our lives or the lives of others any better. We would become complacent, apathetic, bored. We wouldn’t need to change.

This is just the kind of reactive thinking that we need to save ourselves from, a thinking that says we have to wait for the pain of a relationship or the boredom of a job to be intolerable before we are willing to take on the discomfort of making a change. When we step back out of the clutches of the Ego Self and into our Dao Self, that is to say when we become more conscious, we see that it is our resistance to change, sponsored by the Ego Self, that is causing the suffering and preventing us from seeing that life is perfect the way it is. When we become more conscious, we can shift from beings who change because we have to into beings who change because we want to. Instead of being driven by a fear of the suffering of life we are driven by a love of the rapture of life.

Change is actually embraced when we are in the flow of life, because as we have said, life is change. The desire to change something does not first require our condemnation of it as something wrong or bad. In my experience, condemning something and making it wrong has never changed it or made it better. If anything, it brings hopelessness and causes the painful situation to persist.

I was once coaching a client around her desire to change a situation and move forward in her life. We went through a visualization process that helps to free the client up to see the source of the problem. In her visualization she saw herself stuck, trying to climb out of a heavy pool of mud. In the distance, she envisioned a clean, vibrant oasis, which represented where she wanted to get to. She was very unhappy and frustrated with being stuck. Her eyes were looking forward towards the oasis but she seemed to be unable to dislodge herself. When I asked her about the experience of being in the muck she just kept saying how difficult it was for her to get out. She described how awful the feeling of being stuck was, how much effort it was taking to try to move out of it with no avail.

After a few moments something came to me. I suggested that before trying to get out of the muck, she might try to be OK about being in the muck for a while, and describe what it felt like. In other words, I wanted her to pretend that things were perfect in the moment. She was a bit surprised by her own resistance to this at first, but she visualized being still, and stopped struggling with what was bad, what should not be, long enough to speak about what it actually felt like to be in the muck. To her surprise, the muck was no longer so uncomfortable once she had settled into it.

After we had done that, I asked her what happens next. With great excitement, she saw herself suddenly flying out of the muck with a full burst of energy, and getting easily to the paradise on the horizon. This was the trigger she needed. When we ended the visualization with her moving happily towards the oasis, she felt that she was no longer stuck in her real life. She saw the possibility for enthusiastic action, and the next time I spoke to her she told me that she had already made important progress. The powerful lesson we both took from that session is that in order to have any power to make changes, we must first acknowledge and accept where we are in the moment, in the now, the wellspring of the perfection of life.

When we look upon the cycles of nature, we can see the stage of each moment cannot be ‘wrong’. We can appreciate that no season is better or worse than the next, no phase of the moon or time of day is the ‘right’ one. They are all essential parts of their respective rhythms. But when we try to apply this principle to our lives, it is easy to miss the perfection. We don’t see the times we have become depressed, or the times we have fallen ill, or the times other people let us down as part of the perfection. We believe that there are a great many things wrong in the world, direly and desperately evil and unjust, and feel the need to fight against and destroy these things if we are to get where we are going.

In actual fact, this only blocks us from where we are going. When we are so serious about the game of life that we forget it is a game, we also lose our appreciation for the fact that life has been set up for the benefit of all of us. If we keep a clear mind and an open heart, we can see that we always have within ourselves the faculties to meet and overcome any of the ongoing challenges that life provides. When we learn any sort of game, which stage of it is really the most satisfying, the most joyful? Is it the beginning, when we are just getting familiar to the rules and are open to the new challenges that lie ahead? Is it soon after, when we first show signs of proficiency and have evidence of our improvement? Or is it when we come close to mastery of the game?

I would suggest that the stage of life that is the most satisfying and joyous is always the one you are at in the moment. That’s where the perfection in the universe lies. The stage you are at in this moment is exactly where you need to be; it is the source of your greatest possible experience in life. It is only when we look away from the moment, to the aspirations of the future, to the way things ought to be, or to the passing of a time gone by, the way things should continue to be, that we are taken out of the potential wonder of the present moment.

When we lose sight of the perfection of life it is even possible to take the miracle of the flowering of human consciousness and turn it into nothing more than a dire race to save ourselves and our planet from extinction. Now true, I do believe that we are being called upon today to save our planet, what I’m saying is that we don’t need the guilt or shame or despair of having been inactive up to now. As big and as urgent as saving our planet might seem, it is still just a part of the game, set up for the benefit of the individuals within it. From a higher perspective, we see that we are participating in the biggest, fullest cycle in the universe: our separation from and return to the Dao. And it looks like we are well on our way. We are sitting somewhere on a timeline of eternity. Does it really matter where we are on this line, at some point between the beginning and the end? From this perspective, there is nothing ‘wrong’ in the world now. The world is perfect just the way it is. There is nothing we should do. There is nothing we have to do. We can do as we desire. We are free to choose. This is the way it has always been. This is only just now dawning on us, as we enter a new level of consciousness.

Life is what we make it. Literally. We give meaning to it, we are capable of shaping it with our own vision. At the same time, our lives have a common thread. We have all come here to explore our darkness and bring our light to it. That is the process of expanding consciousness. Our darkness is our karma, the mechanism by which our path in life is drawn up. We take on our darkness one small piece at a time, as we become ready for it. Each time we shine our light intensely on that piece of darkness it crumbles and evaporates. We are reminded over and over again that this darkness is not real. Each time we do this we get an ever-clearer glimpse of who we really are.

But how we get there is up to us. There are an infinite number of ways to play. If we see life as a race, our darkness is the obstacle we have to move around and through. If life is a play, the darkness of our character is the basis for the drama. If life is a classroom, our darkness is our ignorance of what we need to learn. It’s why we play all these games in life, because we know deep down inside of ourselves that life literally is such a game, the grandest game, and all these other things that we invent and play help us to engage fully in our lives.

Do you get a thrill from climbing to the top of a large mountain? Then let your life be that climb. Do you get the highest satisfaction in honing a great talent, like becoming a revered painter or talented musician? Then let life be this path of mastery. Is your fulfillment found in nurturing and teaching the young, so that they may enjoy the greatest fruits the world has to offer? Then let your life be the unfolding of your love. We have chosen this life. We come here for entertainment, adventure, the unique experience of being alive in human form. Let your life be a celebration of that!

Move on to Chapter 26…

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Consciousness

A Spiritual Perspective On Smoking Cannabis: An Important Viewpoint To Consider

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In the video below, Sadhguru shares his perspective on smoking marijuana and why it's not truly needed to achieve the feeling one may receive to do it.

  • Reflect On:

    I'm not saying there isn't medicinal value and that we should outlaw this plant, I'm saying we have a very large societal challenge, just like with alcohol, where we are not facing our inner challenges and are using substances to cover them up.

I was having a conversation yesterday about something that has always been a reflection point for me. Since I was a kid, I was never drawn to substances, even alcohol. I always felt great, high even, when just being.

As I got older and I finally tried cannabis for the first time, and then a few more times after that as years went on, I started to realize it actually brought my state of being and clarity down. The tough part was trying to explain that to others when having conversations about how these substances don’t produce a true experience of higher consciousness, but more so give you a glimpse in a sense.

Before we go on, I want to bring something up. The challenge with this topic is that we tend to get very emotional and rigid about it. Not only that, but we aggressively try to lump people into FOR or AGAINST cannabis. I’m not here to do that. I’m simply creating a reflection point as my desire is to help shift consciousness and empower us within to create a world where we can truly thrive. So for a moment, set aside your own hard coded beliefs and just be open to what this article is shining light on.

Societal Cannabis Culture

For the most part society either breaks down into people who judge cannabis as a drug that is for ‘stoners’ and are very against it. These people tend to believe there are no positives to cannabis. On the flip side are the people who feel cannabis is an amazing wonder plant that can do no wrong, and that the “highs” it provides expand the mind and we experience peace.

The truth is, cannabis has good aspects and not so good aspects to it. And while the positives can be really helpful for a very small subset of people on this planet, smoking it is one of the worst ways to use cannabis health wise. Not only that, society is using its medical benefits to turn attention away from the addiction many users have to it. This is a tough pill to swallow and makes many people aggressive and angry when I bring it up, but it’s true. In a big way, but not all the time, we are using cannabis as a society to help cope with feelings deep down that we want to shut off or hide from. As a note, we are also using food, TV and other things in the same way, but right now I want to focus on this reflection.

Cannabis can assist people with autism, people who have seizures, and in some cases it may have helped people cure cancer. There are benefits that can come from this plant being used in a proper medicinal way, but we must remember to look at the downsides that come from regular cannabis use that many simply don’t want to acknowledge.

A Note On Legalization

First off, I do not believe the plant ever needed to be illegal to begin with. In fact I’ve done much research on how it became illegal and it really had more to do with protecting an industry more than anything else.

That said, there is something to consider here that many of us aren’t looking at too clearly when it comes to what legalization really means. It means that powerful people are going to be the ones who profit most from it, that’s why it’s becoming legal. Not only that, but the reason it is taking so long is so they can get in place the many aspects required to make sure they achieve what they want: stripping medicinal aspects out of the plant profiles, controlling the seeds, and ultimately feeding society cannabis focused solely on creating a THC based ‘high’. This is no different than controlling alcohol and feeding it to society in the ways we currently do.

The cannabis industry is worth over $40 billion, making it the second-most-valuable crop in the U.S. after corn. As stated in a powerful article by GQ, “And even though weed is still federally forbidden, it sounded like whoever was behind BioTech Institute had spent the past several years surreptitiously maneuvering to grab every marijuana farmer, vendor, and scientist in the country by the balls, so that once the drug became legal, all they’d have to do to collect payment is squeeze.”

Humans should be able to make choices as to what they want to do to themselves and their bodies i.e. smoke cannabis or consume alcohol, but I believe greater education needs to be placed behind both and ultimately: we must start looking at the real reasons as to why we use both of these substances so often.

Looking At Cannabis Differently

I see that in many ways the use of cannabis is making the average user numb, in the same way alcohol does. I’ve used cannabis before, in a number of ways -smoking, edibles etc. I’m not saying the feeling is the same for every single user, but I’ve also been around thousands of cannabis users in my lifetime while they were high and you notice the same ‘vibe’ virtually every time. Perhaps there are varying degrees, but for the most part it numbs us out and sometimes quiets the thoughts to create a calmness. Is this like meditation? No, but it can be confused as that. I know, I’ve been there too.

Below is a video of a perspective on cannabis I feel is very important for us to consider. Let me be clear, I’m not saying there isn’t medicinal value and that we should outlaw this plant, I’m saying we have a very large societal challenge, just like with alcohol, where we are not facing our inner challenges and are using substances to cover them up. I am inspired to help create a world where we can truly empower ourselves form within, move beyond our mind and egoic challenges that help us grow and do just that – grow. But if we continually bury our challenges in substance, we won’t.

I believe it’s time we come to the uncomfortable truth and face the fact that as a society we have not done the greatest job in encouraging one another to truly explore, express and move beyond many of the emotional challenges life’s experiences have provided us, that are there for our growth. Think about it, do we want to just cope through life? Or do we want to truly move beyond our stuff? There is SO much suffering we can prevent by making it a societal norm to work through our challenges on a deep level. This is where I believe we must go.

Note: You can try meditation to help calm the mind and move more clearly through challenges. Here are more tools as well.

Lost relationships, divorces, losing jobs, feeling unloved, lack of confidence, depression etc. All of these things are not here so that we can use bandaids everyday to cover them up and get through them, they are here for us to learn more about ourselves, grow and evolve as people and as a society. To create a world where we can truly thrive. To get there, we must begin to face our challenges.

I made this choice 10 years ago when I started to discover meditation and inner reflection, and although I wasn’t a user of substances like alcohol or cannabis, I would use food to cover up my emotions or I would distract myself with TV, whatever worked. But I can share from experience, the incredible changes that come from shifting those stories within and gaining true empowerment will change everything in your life, and everyone can do it.

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Consciousness

New Moon In Virgo: Efficiency & Practicality

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We are having a New Moon in Virgo on September 17th. This is initiating a 29.5 day lunar cycle and new wave of energy for the coming month; however, the astrological configurations mentioned in this article will be more prominent over the following two weeks. This cycle will include a Full Moon in Aries on October 1st/2nd.

Virgo season began on August 22nd/23rd, nearly a month prior to this Lunation, and will end on September 22nd/23rd when Libra season begins. However, his New Moon will still carry some of its Virgo themes into the first eight days of Libra season prior to the Full Moon.

This is a good period of working with and co-creating with the energies of this sign. Virgo is associated with productivity, duties, service, health, cleanliness, and purity. It is organized, adaptable, conscientious, skillful, orderly, punctual, diligent, efficient, analytical, detailed, discerning, precise, and practical.

Virgo is about problem solving, adjusting to changing conditions, and coming up with solutions. Negatively, this energy can be cynical, fussy, high strung, and perfectionistic. It can also be exorbitantly mentally oriented as well as overly critical and discriminating.

Mars began its retrograde a week prior to this New Moon which will last until mid-November. This energy is a significant part of the current astrological backdrop. Generally it is a time that can ultimately help to facilitate a change in how we apply ourselves in certain areas of life, however, the retrograde period itself can bring frustrations and challenges that help with that process. You can read more about this Mars Retrograde here.

New Moon Trine Saturn & Quincunx Mars Retrograde

This New Moon is in a tight trine with Saturn in Capricorn which is transitioning out of its retrograde at the end of the month. This can be a good period for operating in a responsible, cautious, orderly, productive, realistic and practical way. However, considering that Saturn is finishing up its backwards motion, these next couple of weeks are generally better for getting things sorted out and prepared as well as perhaps focusing on tasks that you have already been working on.

It is possible that in late September and in early October, we can experience some sort of shift, or change in gears, that can take things into a different direction. Saturn will be in a square with Mars Retrograde at that time, and we may have to contend with limitations and obstacles that can affect how certain things move forward.

This New Moon is also in a quincunx with Mars retrograde which can reflect annoyances, tension, or conflicts that may require adjustments and adaptability. Issues that come up may be at odds with our needs or the way we want to express ourselves. This energy is the strongest on the 19th/20th but can also be more noticeable on the day of the New Moon.

New Moon Square Lunar Nodes, Mercury Square Jupiter

This New Moon is also in a close square to the North Node in Gemini opposing the South Node in Sagittarius. We may be at odds between the past (South Node) and the future (North Node), beliefs (Sagittarius) and facts (Gemini), our immediate aspects of life (Gemini) and the world at large (Sagittarius).

However, the focal point should be the North Node in Gemini and expressions of the South Node in Sagittarius energy should be serving that focal point and not be the emphasis. The rulers of the Nodes, Mercury (Gemini) and Jupiter (Sagittarius) are also in a tight square with each other at the time of this New Moon. This can reflect tension between these two sides and potentially conflicts between ideas, viewpoints, and opinions.

Jupiter is in the limiting Saturnian sign of Capricorn while Mercury is better placed in Libra, the sign of diplomacy, seeking common ground, considering different needs/perspectives, and fairness. Mercury square Jupiter can be good for learning but it can also be excessive when it comes to information and we can more easily be mentally scattered.

Mercury Quincunx Neptune, Then Square Pluto, Saturn & Opposing Mars

Mercury is in a quincunx with Neptune which is strongest on the 18th/19th. This energy makes it harder to integrate or juggle our intuitive, creative, imaginative, compassionate or spiritual expression with our mind, communication, tasks, and thought process. Issues pertaining to lack of boundaries, flakiness, delusion, escapism, intoxication, may come up.

Mercury moves towards a square with Pluto which is strongest on the 20th/21st. Our thoughts and communications can be deep, powerful, penetrating, investigative, raw, real, and potentially intense. This can also reflect obsessive or compulsive behavior, suspicion, fears, anxiety, or conflicts pertaining to power or authority.

Mercury then moves to a square with Saturn (22nd/23rd) followed by an opposition to Mars retrograde (23rd/24th), creating a t-square formation in that time period with the separating Pluto energy (20th/21st, mentioned above) tied into it a bit. This can be a time of obstacles, delays, communication issues, pessimism, and conflicts while we can get more easily irritated or angered. Circumstances may come up that can be pushing us to be more cautious, realistic, or responsible.

This period is the beginning of Mercury’s pre-shadow period in which it will be returning to another square with Saturn. Some of the issues or developments that occur at this time may be connected to things that will play out during the retrograde (October 13th/14th until November 3rd/4th) and weeks surrounding that period. It will also be the Equinox and therefore this energy is imprinted into the following three months in which it can manifest in other ways/areas separate from this initial period.

Making Intentions & Things To Consider

What can you do to be more practical, productive, and efficient? Is there anything you can or should implement to improve your health and functionality? What have the circumstances, developments, or challenges over the last week (leading up to this New Moon) shown you in how you should be applying yourself? Do you need to implement stronger boundaries? Do you need to be more adaptable? Are you clinging to the past or are you willing to take steps to help you grow? What aspects or details of your immediate life, surroundings, or relationships do you need to focus on more and what excesses or broad aspects of your life are getting in the way of that?

These are just some examples of what to consider or focus your intentions on at this time. However, it is good to reflect on anything else that is coming up for you. It is generally best to make any intentions within the first 24 hours following a New Moon. The exact moment it will occur is 11:00am Universal Time on September 17th. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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Consciousness

Why We Get Into Fights When Sharing Information

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We’re in a time when mainstream media and traditional conversations are failing to address a number of important topics within society, anything from current events to politics and so on, and this is birthing a great deal of ‘alternative conversation’ that often stems from alternative media.

But with this, comes to the common ‘fight’ between various ideas and ideologies that is much more avoidable than we often realize. I wanted to share a quick tid bit from a recent episode discussing how we can reflect to develop better communication and connection faculties that can make a big difference in how we communicate important ideas that are emerging without creating such huge divides ad tension.

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