Eckhart Tolle

Tolle gives good advice about being present and his authentic presence is evident in the way that he speaks. I was almost as impressed with Russell Brand for being so quiet and so honest about himself. I think Brand was surprised himself.

Some key points:

What we do is an expression of our level of consciousness.

If we fight something we give it more energy. Be aware. Be an observing presence. Feel desire arising but don’t be that desire.

The Hive Mind moves into our minds. We know we are in the collective egoistic Hive Mind when we are participating in condemning others.

We need to operate on the level of Being not just Doing.

I sketched as I was listening and making notes:

Tolle’s understanding/teaching is similar to Krishnamurti’s because they are both based on appreciation of being in the present moment and ‘choiceless observation’.

Conspiracy Means Breathing Together

Every two weeks or so I host a small Zoom conversation under the collective title ‘Breathing Together’. I manage a Facebook group called I am interested in conversation.

I’m sometimes accused of writing long essays that no one is likely to read .. This is one of them. It is about conversation:

“Something fundamental changes when people begin to ask questions together. The questions create more of a learning conversation than the normal stale debate about problems.”
Mike Szymanczyk

“An organization’s results are determined through webs of human commitments, born in webs of human conversations.”
Fernando Flores, former Chilean Minister of Finance

“Conversational Leadership is the … intentional use of conversation as a core process to cultivate the collective intelligence needed to create business and social value.”
Carolyn Baldwin

These are quotes that I’ve found on a number of websites about the value and necessity of conversation ..

Perhaps the one that I like most is:

“So, instead of admonishing our children at school and employees in organizations to “Stop talking and get to work,” we might be better served to encourage them to “Start talking and create together!””
Juanita Brown and Tom Hurley.

All of these site are worth more than looking at, they are worth working with. I will certainly be looking at and working with these sites in more depth because they resonate with my own values and I think can support the actualisation of these values within me as the individual and within the communities in which I exist.

The values that I’m talking about, and which I’m sure that most people bothering to read this share, are based on the two axiomatic premises of the unity of consciousness and the intrinsic worth of all conscious beings. These are nowhere better articulated that by Jesus in Matthew 22:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God [the essential Unity of Consciousness] with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself [recognise yourself in the other]. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

These are to be considered absolute moral principles that Jesus clearly distinguished from relative and situational observances that might be derived from them. The difference is most epigrammatically expressed in the famous:

“The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.”

Kant arrived at a similar articulation of absolute moral law by asking what law of action would a rational being construct if it did not know what situation it would be subject to when it was thrown into the actual world. His answer was that:

‘a) A person should act that the principle of one’s act could become a universal law of human action in a world in a world in which one would hope to live.
b) A person should treat other people as having intrinsic value, and not mearely as a means to achieve one’s end.’

The moral law whether understood as justice or as love is foundational to our existence as human/rational/social/spiritual beings because it is through our apprehension of this law that we also apprehend our intrinsic unity with all being and the intrinsic worth of each person including ourselves.

Jesus’s warmly intuited Love is a higher realisation of the moral law than Kant’s coldly calculated Justice which resonates with the laws of the Old Testament and the Law of Karma.

Jesus understand that forgiveness is the fulfilment of the moral law while Kant sees forgiveness of the murderer as contradicting that law. Nevertheless for both Jesus and Kant a life without connection to the core moral intuition is hardly a life at all. This should be self-evident.

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? “

It is dialogue/conversation that explicates the moral law because it is in conversation that we recognise our intrinsic unity with all and the intrinsic worth of each person including ourselves.

“If it is in speaking their word that people, by naming the world, transform it, dialogue imposes itself as the way by which they achieve significance as human beings.”
— Paulo Freire

Acting from dialogue is very different from acting from the imposed authority of a ruler or even a majority. The concept of Ubuntu is not uniquely African though expressions may be particularly African.

“Ubuntu is rooted in what I call a relational form of personhood, basically meaning that you are because of the others, other words, as a human being, you—your humanity, your personhood—you are fostered in relation to other people… It is about coming together and building a consensus around what affects the community. And once you have debated, then it is understood what is best for the community, and then you have to buy into that.”
-James Ogude

In Ubuntu is the same truth that Kalhil Gibran express in ‘The Prophet’

“Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self.
You are the way and the wayfarers.
And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone.
Ay, and he falls for those ahead of him, who though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumbling stone.”

We are a procession. Humanity is a procession, we recognise this in conversation athe kind of conversation that reaches into our authenticity. Revolutionary and transformative and inclusive conversation:

“it is necessary to trust in the oppressed and in their ability to reason. Whoever lacks this trust will fail to initiate (or will abandon) dialogue, reflection, and communication, and will fall into using slogans, communiques, monologues, and instructions. Superficial conversions to the cause of liberation carry this danger”
Paulo Freire

Freire’s ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’ was published in 1968. I first read it sometime in the 1980’s and it speaks the same ‘root truth’ that Ubuntu, Freire, Gibran, Jesus and Kant express. We need to reach into these roots and pull inspiration from them. Personally I feel that I have to travel back forty or fifty years to re-ignite something that stalled that many years ago. A movement that perhaps arrived half a century before its time but that perhaps has laid the groundwork for the future if we recognise its prophetic significance. In 1980 Marilyn Ferguson wrote about ‘networks as a tool of transformation’ in the ‘Aquarian Conspiracy’:


“A revolution means that power changes hands, of course, but it does not necessarily mean open struggle, a coup, victor andvanquished. Power can be dispersed through the social fabric.

While most of our institutions are faltering, a twentiethcentury version of the ancient tribe or kinship has appeared: the network, a tool for the next step in human evolution.

Amplified by electronic communications, freed from the old restraints of family and culture, the network is the antidote to alienation. It generates power enough to remake society. It offers the individual emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and economic support. It is an invisible home, a powerful means of altering the course of institutions, especially government.

Anyone who discovers the rapid proliferation of networks and understands their strength can see the impetus for worldwide transformation. The network is the institution of our time: an open system, a dissipative structure so richly coherent that it is in constant flux, poised for reordering, capable of endless transformation. This organic mode of social organization is more biologically
adaptive, more efficient, and more “conscious” than the hierarchical structures of modern civilization. The network is plastic, flexible. In effect, each member is the center of the network.

Networks are cooperative, not competitive. They are true grass roots: self-generating, self-organizing, sometimes even self-destructing. They represent a process, a journey, not a frozen structure.

As Theodore Roszak said, the old revolutionary mass movements offered no more refuge to the person than did capitalist societies. “We need a class smaller than a proletariat…. The new politics will speak for the millions—one by one.”

‘The Aquarian Conspiracy’, the websites about the principles and practices of conversation together with the technologies that support conversational communities and networks. I need to revisit lessons from the past and learn fresh things about their application in the present. Different people will have different resources to draw upon but we all need to draw on whatever our root values are because we and our world need those values, of conscious solidarity, more than ever.

There is a PDF of ‘The Aquarian Conspiracy’ here:

The word ‘conspiracy’ means ‘breathing together’.

The Path

Glastonbury Tor

Today I go for a long walk and run. This is part of my new challenge 1,000,000 steps by the end of the year; so an average of over 10,000 steps every day.

Why? Well part of the reason I’m doing this, the running, the intermittent fasting, the Tai Chi, Yoga and so on is, certainly, to become more fit and to reach my ideal weight of 10 stone by Christmas. But there’s a bit more to it than that.

From late July to the first half of September I’ve been pretty good in following a routine of practice that featured long runs, cold showers and fasting. Far from perfect but overall about as good a run of practice as I’ve been able to manage at any point in my life; certainly as far as practicing on my own goes, away from ashrams, dojos and courses. For the past two weeks or so I have lost momentum and have been less diligent.

Looking back over my life I confess that I have not been a digiligent disciple of any one path or discipline but there has, equally, always been a connection to something that I could call ‘the Path’ or ‘the Way’. Whether Yoga or Aikido, or more recently Taichi, Qigong and Wing Chun, some practice has connected me to the Path. I believe that it has helped me to stay in reasonable physical health over 67 years but this may equally be down to good fortune. I have gone for long periods doing very little of any practice but returning again and again to some practice has been essential for my sense of emotional and spiritual integrity.

For me the Path is not confined by or to any particular practices nor does it require any set of beliefs. Practices connect me to the Path but they are not the Path. Neither running nor meditation is the Path but they take me, while I am engaged in them, up and away (as it were) from the concerns that keep me bogged down in the particularities of my life. Those particularities are, as it says on the tin, particular to each of us. They include our concerns about money, work, family, relationships, conflicts, health and the whole process of living and dying from birth to death. Our personal landscape of existence.

Our practices, whatever they are, however ‘well’ or ‘badly’ we do them, enable us to be in a place where, for a while, the particularities do not exist. Where, for a while we can feel connected to a purer, less conditioned sense of being. It is common enough, a cliché I suppose, for teachers to say, as we enter a meditation space or a dojo, that we should leave our worries, with our shoes, at the entrance.

Practices are not the Path but they are of the Path depending on our relationship with them, our dedication to them, our treasuring of them and our constantly returning to it through them. It is through the sense of return , welcome and rightness that we recognise the Path.

“Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again , come , come.”
~ Rumi.

The Web of Love

The following text is from the Web of Love website. I think it is can be particularly helpful:

This is a beautiful and simple visualisation/meditation/prayer. Not selling any ‘religion’ here but it may be worth a try 🙂

The Web of Love is an energetic web which connects the sacred essence of all beings in our world. In the deepest part of ourselves, there is in each of us a beautiful, divine essence which wants nothing more than to love and be loved.

The Web of Love, though invisible to our eyes, interconnects all of us through that deepest essence. It literally surrounds and envelops our planet and all who live here. We are all interconnected through sacred love. It is up to each of us how much we choose to be aware of this connection.

We are all capable of giving and receiving limitless amounts of love. Many of us have forgotten this and ended up feeling alone or uncared for in our lives. The Web of Love reminds us of our true nature. It is a call to join together in sharing the abundance of sacred love that flows within and between us all through consciously connecting with the web.

Connecting with the Web of Love

Breathing the Web. Here is a simple, yet powerful way of connecting with the Web of Love through breath. Close your eyes for a minute and imagine a sparkling, colorful web connecting the deepest essence of all people in the world. You can place your hands over your heart or the center of your chest as you do this. Take a few deep breaths as you open to this beautiful image.

Now, while taking a slow, very deep inhale, silently say to yourself:

Your sacred love flows in to me

Then slowly exhale fully while thinking and feeling:

My sacred love flows out to you.

Repeat this a few times while opening your heart to all the love present. Make sure to fill your lungs completely on the in breath and to exhale fully on breathing out. Breathing sacred love like this for just a minute or less can powerfully shift you into a more open and loving space. Try it now, and invite yourself to really let the love flow.

The “you” in these sacred love statements can be all people in our world, or any individual you choose. For some, it might be easier to start by imagining the one to whom you feel closest in your life. Breathe the web with that special someone in mind and let the love flow between you.

Then with each following breath, envision other people in your life and do the same. When you are ready, envision groups with which you are involved and eventually all people who share our world. This simple breathing exercise can be deeply meaningful in either a personal or a global context. Consider joining with other caring people around the world in doing this.

There may be times when you want to breathe the web, but can’t remember the words above. “Love to me, love to you,” is all you need to feel the web as you breathe. You can create your own sayings, too, with words that are more meaningful to you. The most important element is your intention to connect with all people on this beautiful planet through the Web of Love.

Between Light and Darkness

On some level that will not be appreciated by many it is true that we are caught up in a dance between forces of spiritual light and darkness and that our world will never be the same again. I fully understand that many people will consider me weird for talking in this way but I will do it anyway.

The issue, for me at least, is not about supporting or resisting lockdowns or other measures of control, or changes in our lifestyles .. its about whether our intentions are bent towards principles of justice, freedom, equality and love.

Many of us have had comfortable lives within the present order but it has been at the expense of those of us, globally, who have been excluded and exploited. The intention of the ‘dark forces’ is not a just, free, equal, compassionate world it is a world of oppressive control that is increasingly materialistic/mechanistic, one that is spiritually dead.

The intention of the ‘forces of light’ is that we should transcend our selfishness and separateness from each other, transcend the spiritual isolation of which the current physical isolation is a reflection and a consequence.

We have separated ourselves from the natural world, from our biomes and microbiomes, from Being and from other beings, and from acceptance of the natural cycles of life, growth, change and death. Through self-transcendence or selfishness-transcendence we will bring about a world that is aligned with the Will of God; a Kingdom of Heaven.

What world do you intend? This is important because the world that emerges for you depends on your intention and the world in which your world resides depends on our collective intentions.

Possible Futures

Some mornings I lie in bed browsing Facebook or Twitter and thoughts put themselves together in response to something I read. Having no reputation to lose I just post them.

There are genuine conspiracies I don’t know what allegations or speculations regarding particular conspiracies are true but at its core climate change is real and environmental collapse is humanity’s greatest and most existential challenge.

The recent Moore/Gibbs film does not deny the reality of climate change it questions the singular focus when the problem is multi-faceted environmental degradation driven by population growth and massive over-consumption of the Earth’s resources.

Planet of the Humans Clip from Gavin Sealey on Vimeo.

The limits to growth and the consequences of hitting those limits have four possible resolutions:

1. We continue on the same trajectory and there is a massive environmental catastrophe in which billions die in floods, fires and famines and global civilisation, perhaps even human life, ends.

2. A globally supported green new deal, premised on clean energy technologies and implemented wisely and justly by the world’s political systems, allows us to continue expanding population and consumption. Perhaps human ingenuity will build continent spanning sustainable megacities and colonies in space mining the asteroid belt and so on.

3. A global cabal of oligarchs take control of all governments through subversion of their structures and leaderships and control of populations through control of the media narrative and suppression of contrarian voices. This is facilitated by recurring or persistent pandemics and economic shut downs that essentially warehouse non-essential humans in high value (mainly white) populations and starve off non-essential humans in low value (brown and black) populations. Surveillance technologies, vaccines that create custom vulnerabilities and media manipulation limit and control the masses everywhere under systems of governance that resemble ‘1984’ or ‘Brave New World’ or some combination of the two with shades of ‘Bladerunner’.

4. The density of human interaction and conversation at global and local levels runs counter to the fear inducing narratives of the controlled media. A building ‘noospheric’ pressure results in individual and community ‘enlightenments’. A new humanity, ‘homo gestalt’ if you will, more conscious and connected, emerges and voluntarily and justly limits their own growth and consumption, establishing harmony on personal, interpersonal and planetary levels.

I’ve not ordered these scenarios in order of probability or desirability. I will say that two of them are consistent with our current trajectories while the other two both hang on a wing and a prayer.

I am not a Christian But ..

I wrote the following as part of a discussion in a FB group.

I’m quoting it here understanding that it may be very ‘triggering’ for some people who do not like their religious certainties questioned and for secularists who think this kind of talk is irrelevant nonsense. So for most this will be irreverent or irrelevant .. If it is either for you .. just let it go. ‘you be you and i’ll be me.’ 😉

Anyway I wrote:

I’m not a Christian because of the doctrinal stuff associated with that identification but I have to say that the core teaching of Jesus has it all. The core of the core as it were was the extraordinary statement that Jesus made when he was asked ‘What is the greatest commandment?’. He replied that the greatest commandment was that you should love God with all your heart and soul and might and then he went on to say that there was a second, very like it, that was that you should love your neighbour as yourself.

I recall Echard Tolle remarking that Jesus did not say ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’, he said ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ because your neighbour is yourself. This is the core recognition of all true religion (the word means ‘reunite’). Jesus continued by saying that ‘on these two commandments hang the whole of the law and the prophets’. You can’t get more hard core than this and this should be recognised as the central message; the key meditation for anyone that claims to be following the teachings of Jesus.

That something as crucial as this is effectively forgotten, essentially relegated to a blind spot of religious consciousness, would probably not surprise a historical Jesus.

Permit me to quote:

Matthew 19:16-24 King James Version (KJV)

16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

This is why we slide away from the reality of love and what it demands. Because if we recognise everyone ‘as ourself ‘ then we have to give up the privileges of our particular situation and be with the poor and the oppressed. We can’t accept this; as individuals it is almost impossible to act on this consciousness, but as a conscious community (a Kingdom of God as it were) we might just make it. This is why the narrative, the conversation is so important and also why it is suppressed – consciously and unconsciously.

Passages follow those that I’ve quoted that I don’t consider to be part of that same teaching ‘on which the whole of the law and the prophets hang’. I consider them and some other sayings attributed to Jesus to be part of a Jewish eschatological framework that was tacked on to the teachings of Jesus and that together with Greek mythopoetic interpretations subverted a non-judgemental and humble teaching about the profound Unity of all Being and beings into one, that answering the selfish misunderstandings of Peter (the Church), became both hierarchical and judgemental. And absurd:

25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Obviously mine is a very personal perspective on Christian teaching. Everyone who engages with any teaching takes what is meaningful to them. I’m not claiming to be ‘right’ about this, i’m just saying what it means to me and what I learn from it. The central truth is that we are one and love is the expression of that oneness.

Not the Borg

We’ve got to learn to talk with each other in order to create a new narrative.We have to see ourselves and each other in quite a different way. We have to deliberately reach out to each other even though this may be scary.

I posted this cartoon and reflection on my own page earlier today.

The Borg that I refer to (for the sake of non-trekkies) are presented in ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ as a spacefaring ‘collective’ that assimilate species and cultures across the galaxy. They are a metaphor for the submergence of individuality and diversity in a conformist totalitarianism that, depending on political preference, can be projected as a ‘1984’ style communism or a ‘Brave New World’ style corporatism.

The subversion of the will and consciousness of the many to the will and consciousness of the powerful few is a millenias old motif of human societies and is not, of course, peculiar to our present time. This subversion of the individual and collective will has been resisted by libertarian, communalist and humanist ideologies that are premised on values of individual dignity and universal equality.
What the Borg symbolise is the use of overwhelming technological capability to finally crush any will or set of values that contradicts those of the established power structures. The present danger is that the emerging totalitarian surveillance state in nationalist or globalist form will, if we are not vigilant, ‘Borgify’ us.

This vision of us becoming ‘the Borg’ competes with another (more fragile) vision that I like to call ‘Homo Gestalt’ after Theodore Sturgeon’s classic sci-fi novel ‘More than Human’. The thought here (my thought not Sturgeon’s – he was envisioning something more telepathic than telematic) is that emergent communication technologies, rather than being instrumental in controlling us can be instrumental in our emergence as a cooperative species, a ‘noosphere civilisation’ whose motif is collective consciousness rather than coerced consciousness.
Homo Gestalt will not sacrifice her individuality; the nature of that individuality changes organically by becoming part of the Gestalt but the Gestalt (that totality that is more than the sum of its parts) also changes organically to accomodate and reflect the diversity and individual presence of all its parts.

Our talking with each other is the beginning of the creation of the new narrative. Doing this extends us as human beings. We have to face and overcome many fears and prejudices in order to face and accept each other as the equals that we are. In doing this we will become powerful; in turning to each other we will root our own power in the power of community. Marianne Williamson wrote something that expresses this very well – even though I would use different words:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

Free Will

Not all wills are equally free. We are conditioned, constrained, conscious and compelled to different degrees. What is the relationship between the free will, the good will and the strong will?

My will is not free if I am unaware of the determinants of my drives and desires; or good if I lack right understanding of my relationship with Being and other beings; or strong when ‘the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do’

The failure to see the degree to which we lack free will has led to attitudes of condemnation rather than compassion for others and ourselves. We must recognise free will as something to be gained, developed and nurtured rather than as an innate given.

If free will is to exist in us individually and collectively the key to it must be in the extension of awareness.