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Interview – Lynn Woodland part one

First of a two-part interview with spiritual teacher Lynn Woodland

Since 2006, with the publication and broadcast of The Secret, much attention has been paid to the universal Law of Attraction, which suggests that we can have our heart’s desires if we put our attention on them. But Lynn Woodland — award-winning author, international teacher, and human potential expert with a 35-year career in transpersonal psychology, human motivation, and mind-body psychology — says there is more to manifestation than affirmations or envisioning can ever bring forth. Much more.

In her new book, Holding a Butterfly: An Experiment in Miracle Making, which will be released in mid-January, she writes: “Popular movies like What the Bleep Do We Know?! and The Secret make ‘the Law of Attraction’ look like an easy way to have everything we want. And it really is that easy…except, of course, when it’s not, when no amount of affirmations or visualization techniques will budge life circumstances that feel hopelessly out of our control.”

In an interview I conducted with Lynn from her home in Minneapolis, she offered a glimpse into a process of miracle making that on the surface seemed downright complex — and paradoxically, as simple as letting go.

How do you define “miracle?”
Lynn Woodland:
A miracle, as I define it, is an event born in unconditional love. It really is rooted in love. It has a win-win outcome. It is where things just unfold through serendipity rather than through effort, and they also have a way of just stretching our imagination open to what is possible.

A Course in Miracles defines miracles as a shift in perspective, from fear to love, and I totally buy into that. In my way of looking at miracles, they give rise to incredible events and outcomes, but they really are about that shift in consciousness. That’s what differentiates miracle making from simply practicing manifesting techniques that are about using intention and a focus in a specific way to call forth an outcome.

Manifesting techniques work some of the time for some of the people. They tend not to work consistently, and they often work with some kinks in them. A funny story: I knew a woman many years ago who started practicing an affirmation of, “My next boyfriend is rich, my next boyfriend is rich, my next boyfriend is rich!” She would just write it and say it, and it did really produce immediate results. She attracted a new relationship. The man was not wealthy, but he was named Rich. It worked like a charm.

Manifesting techniques often are just the product of the limitations of our personality and what we can imagine for ourselves, and they often draw from some of the subconscious doubts and limitations and hidden agendas that we might not be very conscious of.

Miracles are when we really let go of “I want what I want and I want it now!” and have this direct experience of love, of God energy, and then things just start to unfold in the way that is maybe what we wanted, but maybe just something really better.

Why do you call this an experiment?
LW:
Because the whole book is set up to draw readers into a here-and-now immediate experiment. I base everything in the new science that explains some of the spiritual principles that have been taught in metaphysics 101 throughout the decades. These principles now are starting to be validated by science. I offer some of the science underlying the principles, and then I invite readers to imagine that we can bend time, we can bend space — and truly we can. A lot of research underlies that now. We actually can join in consciousness with every other reader, which has a very amplifying effect.

A lot of current teachings are out of date. I think they came out of the 1980s, which was an era that was very much about the “me consciousness.”

What are some of those teachings that are out of date?
LW:
The idea of sitting down with your copy of The Secret and making your vision board and going into your own room and practicing your own techniques so you can get what you want. In the 1980s a lot of these techniques were introduced in a popularized way, and I think they were colored by the era, which was about, “If we’re clever enough, we can have anything.” It was very chic to have it all and to be a little cut above the herd.

Now, in these times, we are seeing a collapse of that way of looking at life, and we’re finding out that good has to come through “we consciousness.” During the day as I listen to news radio, I hear so many commentators use the phrase, “We’re all in the same boat.” There’s something very important about recognizing that in order to find prosperity now, we need to do it together. The experiment I set up in the book helps us to experience joined consciousness here and now, even with people we don’t even know.

There is a quote in your book to the effect that there is only one mind. Is that part of what you’re tapping into?
LW:
Yes, because with it there’s such an amplified effect. I have been working with this amplification in my experiential group work during the past 35 years, and I have found that when people get together and join in this place of unconditional caring for one another, it takes them places that they couldn’t go alone. It is more effective than individual counseling, which I used to do way back when.

What I do in this book is a step beyond that, because I set out the premise that we can join not just in the here and now with a group of people, but we can join others across time and space. Someone who may be reading my book next year may have already sent love to you, just as we are sending love forward to others in time and space.

There’s something kind of mind-boggling in it all that makes us wonder, well, what are the limits? So, I set it up really as an experiment, because I’m not sure what the outcomes are going to be. I don’t think we’ve quite tapped into who we can be yet.

We hear about healing miracles and miracle recoveries from disasters, but would you say that we are all creating small miracles every day in our lives without being consciously aware of it?
LW:
If you go to A Course in Miracles definition, that a miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love, I think anytime we forget anything but this instant and the experience of love, we are in a miracle. Maybe something just comes together easily for us that we expected to be difficult. Maybe something shows up that just seems just very serendipitous and coincidental in a wonderful way. Maybe we don’t even connect it to that instant of love.

I think the instant is the miracle — and we do experience those frequently. And when the miracle happens, it results in a ripple effect on the physical world around us, whether we recognize the connection or not.

What can our readers do to open them up to the miracle process?
LW:
A lot of people are focused on prosperity: “I want it, I want it, I want it, I want my prosperity now. I don’t have it. I want it, I want it!” What I see as being the key to opening up not just our individual prosperity, but our collective prosperity, is to really look at our connections to other people.

When we go into scarcity, we tend to isolate ourselves and freeze up. We disconnect. We might feel ashamed. And yet, I feel that we have collectively manifested the experience of scarcity to learn how to be interdependent.

So my tip — to support your own prosperity and well-being and to help the whole collective experience of the world around you kind of rise out of it — is to look at how you personally may have contributed to the whole “me consciousness” thing that was our downfall. This is not as obvious as you might think, because sometimes it’s simply about being caught up in our own scarcity that we don’t reach out to our neighbor, or we’re not there to support somebody else, or we don’t reach out for help.

Give a lot of attention to questions like, “Who is there for you?” If there is not anyone, start cultivating those networks. “Who are you there for?” Who are you really there for if somebody came upon hard times? How can you give more energy and attention to your own personal support network?

Those aren’t just the things that are going to make us feel warm and fuzzy, they are literally like the fly turning around 180 degrees and finding the open door. They are going to open those kinds of doors for us.

Continued in Part 2….


For more information on Lynn Woodland, visit lynnwoodland.com or email lynnwoodland@comcast.net.

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Interview – Lynn Woodland part two

Last of a two-part interview with spiritual teacher Lynn Woodland

Lynn Woodland, an award-winning author, international teacher, and human potential expert with a 35-year career in transpersonal psychology, human motivation, and mind-body psychology — says there is more to manifestation than affirmations or envisioning can ever bring forth. Much more. In her new book, Holding a Butterfly: An Experiment in Miracle Making, which will be released in mid-January, she writes:

“Popular movies like What the Bleep Do We Know?! and The Secret make ‘the Law of Attraction’ look like an easy way to have everything we want. And it really is that easy…except, of course, when it’s not, when no amount of affirmations or visualization techniques will budge life circumstances that feel hopelessly out of our control.”

In an interview I conducted with Lynn from her home in Minneapolis, she offered a glimpse into a process of miracle making that on the surface seemed downright complex — and paradoxically, as simple as letting go.

What inspired you to write this book?
Lynn Woodland:
(Laughs) The real story? My work tends to be very sprawling. I tend to look at the big picture and see how everything’s connected, and my first book was about everything.

Books about everything are hard to sell and hard to get out there. One day I was listening to an acquaintance of mine, Pat Samples, on the radio talk about her latest book. She just cranks out one after another. She is great at writing little books on a particular subject. I happened to be in the shower with the radio playing and I was thinking, “Okay, God, give me my little subject. What is it? What is it?”

And it was almost like God said, “Duh, stupid, it’s miracles.”

I thought, “Oh, you’re right, of course!”

That has been a real focus of my work, forever. My expertise is in how to create an immediate experience. I am a group person, and I wondered how I could share such an immediate experience that I create in groups and put it into words. That’s what I set out to do. It was so much fun writing this book. I just had the greatest of times.

Holding a Butterfly is filled with experiential practices and meditations that seemingly take readers to a different place than when they first picked up the book. Is that what you were trying to create?
LW:
Yes. It starts small with a combination of exercises that give people something to practice as they go about their day. There also are experiments that bring all readers together with all other readers across time and space to create something here and now. The excitement grows during the course of the book, because we build toward bigger and bigger experiences, touching upon things like instantaneous, spontaneous healing, how to manifest our heart’s desires, and how we can step into the role of miracle maker and have a miraculous effect on the world.

You write that calling forth a miracle is a bit like coaxing some beautiful, wild things out of the woods. When told that you can create a miracle, some people may say, “Well, where do I begin?” They may try to do it and then they wonder, “What am I doing wrong, because it’s not manifesting for me?” And then they begin to doubt whether or not they are blocking the process or don’t believe in it enough. What is your advice for somebody who is just starting out in this whole process?
LW:
Don’t take it so seriously. Play with it. The whole metaphor of holding a butterfly is one that I use to describe the perfect state for manifesting.

Just imagine that you are in this beautiful garden. You are outside. It is a perfect day. A little butterfly lights in your hand, and suddenly you are totally present. You are not straining or trying. You are in a state of wonder. And you’re still. The past and future are gone. When it flies away, you let it go, but it leaves you full probably for the rest of your day, like, “Wow! That was magical!”

That’s what manifesting is truly about. It’s not trying to focus, like “Okay, I’m going to visualize this until I get a headache,” or “I’m going to write my affirmations until I get carpal tunnel syndrome. If I do it enough it will happen.” That’s when it doesn’t work.

I wrote this book because I feel like the real secret is even left out of books like The Secret. This whole process is a non-linear, paradoxical process. To really master these spiritual laws, we have to be willing to do this big journey into our Selves, which can be a lot of work. It means looking at the payoffs of stepping into our true power, which we don’t usually look at.

We think, “Well, I want my power, I want my stuff, I want it right now!” We don’t think about how having it now will change us. The more we engage, and embark upon this journey of self, the more the manifestations just happen easily — but suddenly they become less important. It’s no longer about aiming just for the result, the result, the result — “I just want what I want.”

Somebody wrote to me not long ago saying, “I did my vision board and I got the little stuff. Now, how do I make the big stuff show up?” And that’s really typical. People can have these incredible results instantly, and yet they will still come away feeling, “Well, how do I change the overall quality of my life to match this result?”

That’s more about what I touch upon in this book. How can we have miraculous lives. Where I go in the book breaks the standard rules around affirmation work and Law of Attraction teachings, because you don’t have to believe. You just have to be able to imagine. You don’t even have to focus only on the positive. I have seen people manifest incredible results by just dreaming about what is too impossible to manifest, essentially tricking themselves to get out of the way just for an instant so that something can manifest.

Pure intention, that pure vision, can just — Boom! — show up in front of them when they have given up the attachment to having it. They are telling themselves, “Oh, this is too impossible, I can’t have this,” but they are envisioning it anyway, and they’re dreaming it, and then it shows up, sometimes instantly.

You say that imagining our heart’s desire is not all that is needed, but we also need to surrender and let go. What are we surrendering and how do we know we’ve let it go?
LW:
It’s when we are enjoying life in the moment and not waiting for something to happen in order to feel at peace, to feel joy, to feel content.

So living in the present moment is part of the whole process.
LW:
Yes. We hear this so much, with books about The Power of Now and living in the present, but it is way easier said than done. This is where the paradox upon paradox happens. We start out because we want something we don’t have, and then we have to somehow not think, but really know and experience that the path to that is in being full right now.

To achieve your heart’s desire, you have to let go of your desires?
LW:
It’s important to let go of the attachment to the results. We can hold the excitement, because excitement is rooted in love. That’s a very expansive energy. But the moment when that excitement turns into attachment is when it turns into fear, which is very contracting and tends to even repel what we want. Attachment is when we stop being present, when we’re focused on the outcome — and we’ve pinned our happiness on getting that outcome.

In a sense, we are micromanaging God. We’re saying, “Okay, God, this and only this will do, and it has to be this way.” And we’re really focused and controlling the process. The surrender piece is about letting go of our small, egoic self’s idea that we can possibly control God.

I like the story you share in the book about the housefly trapped by the screen.
LW:
I share that from another author, Price Pritchett, who wrote about watching a housefly bash itself to death trying to get out of the screen window. All of its little housefly senses told it that straight ahead through the screen was where outside was, so it kept bashing, bashing. The harder it exerted, the more it bashed itself nearly to death. We often go about life that way. We get really focused on the linear route.

But what we can’t see, as the housefly could have, is that if we turn 180 degrees around in the direction that doesn’t make any sense at all, we could just fly easily out through an open door. Sometimes that’s how our personality’s perceptions limit us.

Let’s talk a little bit about the idea that we create our own reality. That is not a new idea, but oftentimes people reject that idea because they look at turmoil and crisis in their lives and they say, “Well, I must have created this for myself, too, so in some respect I am a bad person or I’m not really the person I thought I was because all this bad stuff is happening.”
LW:
This idea that we create our reality is one that has been horribly abused — just wretchedly abused — and I don’t recommend it for everyone. It is never a perspective that we can impose on somebody else.

I knew someone who actually did this to his friend who was about to get surgery for a brain tumor. On the eve of surgery, he said, “Have you considered what you did to create your brain tumor? Have you taken responsibility for it?” That friendship was over.

It’s not something we can ever impose on someone else. It’s damaging even to use it for our own information, unless we strip out all of the blame and shame that comes with it, looking at it as information rather than, “Oh, my God, if I breathed every breath right, and thought every thought right, and ate every food right, I would never have a bad day.” That’s not how it works.

There is also an element of paradox here, because it’s totally true that sometimes we are victims of circumstances beyond our control. We can look at life from one perspective that is totally true and, at the same time, quantum science tells us that there can be multiple realities that seem mutually exclusive, yet co-exist. This coffee table looks solid from this perspective, yet from a different perspective, at the energetic level, it’s something totally different.

We can look at everything out there as a reflection of something emanating from us, and that’s not something we’re doing wrong. It might be an expectation of life that we were taught as children early on. We can explore those perspectives and consider, “Well, this is something I want to keep,” and it can help us unearth some of those hidden agendas that often just stay very stubbornly unconscious.

Also, there is this really sticky, icky, part of creating our own reality that even the best of us don’t want to venture into, which is that if we truly give up the notion that we are ever victims, then we lose all of our excuses. We can’t just say, “I’m sorry, I’m late because of traffic,” or “I couldn’t because of this or that.” We may not realize what part of us is participating in creating the experience, but it’s a very interesting journey to look at things from that perspective.

Once when I was part of an organization, a group of us were on our way to a board meeting and none of us wanted to go. We all ended up being late. We talked about what we would say before we got there,”Okay, here’s our excuse, we just kind of had to finish this.” But I actually went into the meeting and said, “You know, I’m late because some part of me just did not want to show up here,” and it started a really interesting dialogue in that meeting.

To become truly masterful with spiritual principles, we have to be impeccable at that level — and not everyone wants to go there. Not everyone is quite ready to go there, because if we can’t give up the whole notion of blame and shame, we will victimize ourselves and perhaps our friends as well, by using this as a way to bludgeon ourselves and other people.

When you describe in your book the idea of “Our Power Together,” that seems akin to the whole idea of the power of prayer, “When two or more are gathered….” Is prayer a way that we manifest miracles for ourselves and each other?
LW:
Oh, absolutely! I think of prayer as communication with God, communication with that something greater. It can be about listening, and it can be about putting out our request. The more we are in conversation with God, the more we open that pathway between the small perception of our personality and the greater intelligence that is all that is.

Ultimately, I see prayer as making itself obsolete, because what begins with communication ends in communion, where we recognize, “Oh, there is no separation!” That we are God.

Some people suggest that our unseen guides and angels play a role in the prayer process. Do you think that takes place, and does it apply even if you don’t believe in the process or believe in God at all?
LW:
I personally believe that we are never alone. It seems presumptuous of us to assume that the physical beings that we can see are the only ones that exist. I think that we are always being helped. I believe that those non-physical beings are very respectful and they will not intrude into where we’re not ready to go or not ready to receive. The more we ask and say, “Yes, I’m available for help,” the more we get it.

I keep thinking back to something my mom started me on — the whole idea of asking your guides for a parking spot. It seems as if I’ve been doing it forever, and now it happens instantaneously.
LW:
That’s funny, I was just going to share that example. I often tell people, “Just start with something little like that.”

It really does work.
LW:
Sometimes I hear people say that they don’t want to impose on God with the little stuff, and that personalizes God in a way that I think is limited. God will show up however we expect it to. The more we ask for those little things, the more we have faith that God is there when it’s time to ask for the big things.

Instead of asking from a place of desperation, which doesn’t work any better with God than it does with our friends, offer your faith, trust and certainty that everything is all right by cultivating that within. Offer that as an inner experience and then really let go and trust that whatever evolves is a piece of our prayer being offered.

Is what you are sharing with us an awakening to the workings of consciousness or is it part of the evolution of consciousness?
LW:
I believe that consciousness is evolving, so I would say the latter. I’ve been leading groups for close to 40 years and have noticed that just in my own personal experience that people are coming to groups for different reasons. First it was to heal something and to learn something. Then people came and they realized, “Oh, there is community here.” And now I think people are beginning to realize that we just have more power when we come together. It’s just easier to come together with a group and change ourselves and the world and to call in the things we want in life.

I think things like the internet are just such amazing physical manifestations of what’s happening in more of an etheric consciousness way, that we are just way more connected than we know.

It seems as if our interconnectedness is taking a quantum leap. The internet was created, then AOL chat was created, Facebook was created, Twitter was created, and now exponentially more and more things that are connecting us, such as Skype and iPad applications. We seem to be making an exponential leap right now.
LW:
And that’s why, even though some of the premises I’ve put out in my book seem really far-fetched — even with the validity of science to all of them — the next natural step that is going to start feeling commonplace in maybe three more decades or so is that we can connect consciousness without using the machinery.

Without the technology.
LW:
Yeah.

One of my final thoughts in looking through your book was that this process you share is bigger than just making miracles. It’s a primer for self-awakening and stepping into your personal power, becoming the spiritual being that you truly are.
LW:
The last chapter of the book is about the ultimate “big step” into self-awakening. There is something kind of scary about that. Not everybody has to go there, because there is something about that that put us on the fast track. Things fall apart that are not serving us anymore. I’ve seen this happen in my workshops when people start with just the intention of, “I want a whole new life,” and suddenly they get fired from their job, their relationship falls apart, and you name it. For that person, it just feels like, “I went for a better life and everything is just falling to shit! I don’t believe in all this crap anymore.” A year later, you’ll just see everything has been rebuilt.

The old has to fall away so the new can come in.
LW:
New and unenvisioned way. A funny story involves a guy who started out with an intention, a healing focus, in an event I did. He wanted to heal the plantar wart on his foot. And then I gave the instruction, “Think of something bigger.”

“Okay, I want a better relationship with Kathy.”

Immediately the plantar wart disappeared and the healing circle is gone. His relationship with Kathy fell apart, and they got divorced. He was talking about it like several years later in another group circle about how spontaneously he healed that plantar wart. What did he take from that experience? “Well, I should have stopped with the wart. It just went way too far.”

And then he had this “a ha” experience, because in the circle he was sitting next to his new girlfriend who was named Cathy, with whom he had a great relationship and still does.

He realized, “Oh, my God, I asked for a better relationship with Cathy,” but it was just not the same Cathy.”

A lot of what happens with miracle making is not the same as manifesting what we envision, because when we open it up — “I want my best life and I trust you, God, I trust in the process” — then what we get might not bear any resemblance to what we thought we wanted. But once we have it, we realize, “Wow, that’s so much better,” and yet the process can feel terrible.

In your introduction to your book, you write that there are no guarantees in terms of this miracle process.
LW:
I often get this question in regard to healing work I’ve done. People will have some specific request, and they will say, “Will my symptom heal?” Well, I’ve seen every kind of symptom heal spontaneously, miraculously, and I’ve never been able to guarantee that any individual will have a particular experience.

There is something very mysterious that happens. It’s about what the person is ready for, what will truly serve their highest good, and their openness — and we can’t micromanage the process. Sometimes people need some big bang of an experience to just awaken them and show them that life can be different, and something shiny and huge will happen. Sometimes people need to grow into a new life experience slowly, because if it happened too quickly it would be so scary they would just shut it down. We don’t realize this about ourselves until it happens. So what we perceive as “that didn’t work” might actually be working in a way that we’ll best be able to accept it.


For more information on Lynn Woodland, visit lynnwoodland.com or email lynnwoodland@comcast.net.

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Home

Every single day I marvel at the incredibly complexity of reality, the layers upon layers of dimension that make it possible for us to even be alive. It’s not just a collection of muscle cells that allows your heart to beat, nor just a collection of neurons that allows your mind to think. And how do you explain emotions and synchronicity and the transformation of a chrysalis into a butterfly?

On a very mundane level, I understand that what makes the internet work are the links that connect everything into a single web. These links are like the spaces that connect the words that make the sentence. Like the silence that connects the notes that make the song. Like the nails that connect the boards that hold the house together.

What I am beginning to realize is that there is not one thing out of place. The father’s anger teaches the son the value of peace. The fallen tree is now shelter for a family of squirrels. The shadow of a newly risen skyscraper darkens the corner office across the street, giving solace to a migraine sufferer who fought the sun every afternoon for twenty years.

Acknowledging the interconnected totality of all that is, we are led to Sir Isaac Newton, who told us that for every act, there is an equal and opposite reaction. From a holistic perspective, that means that every action affects the whole. The prime directive for time travelers is to not disrupt the space-time continuum – if you change the way things are, then the way things were will never be the same.

And then we come to the prime directive for the rest of us: the Law of Karma, which tells us that similar actions will lead to similar results, or what comes around, goes around.

All of this leads me to share with you a video that I had ordered via Netflix, one that sat near our television for several weeks, neglected I guess because it had the potential to be forgettable. Last night I said to my wife, “I guess we should watch that movie so we can send it back.”

The video, Home, a film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, is a history of Earth. It reveals how the metals in the Earth’s core are the stuff of stars, and how Homo sapiens (Latin: “wise man” or “knowing man”) is one of the newest species of life on the planet. And then it proceeds to show how this new species, in a relatively short amount of time, has proceeded to do what nothing in the history of Earth had ever done, destroyed the incredibly complex balance of nature.

Link by link, it has been broken.

While the facts about our environmental crisis are just as upsetting in this film as all the others, Home hits home by reminding us how much we are nature. It reveals the Earth’s incredible beauty, and reminds us that the imminent danger we face is an opportunity for us: It is not a time for pessimism.

I encourage you to watch this film, and allow yourself to be moved by it. I was, to my core.

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Are we open to off-planet assistance in our evolution?

At the core of every one of us is the soul, the eternal foundation of who we truly are, an aspect of our being that survives physical death and moves on to continue its journey in the afterlife, no longer constrained by such a fragile container as the human body.

Many agree that the soul is not of this earthly dimension, but of some realm beyond our knowing. Metaphysical. Beyond the physical. It is easy for me to conclude that human beings are multi-dimensional, operating here on earth with limited senses, but also informed by an inner wisdom that is ageless and timeless.

Have you ever sensed something that clearly involves intelligence beyond our comprehension and had the hairs stand up on the back of your neck? You just know something is true without knowing how you know. We have the innate capability to understand much, but we find ourselves trapped in very limited bodies in a very evolved cosmos.

The suggestion of intelligent life far superior to that of humankind is the gateway for many of us into the realms of metaphysics as children. It was for me. I remember reading a small book for kids at my babysitter’s house at the age of 7 or 8 about aliens with four fingers who could disappear in an instant to avoid capture by government agents. I remember as a young teen seeing the TV documentary In Search of Ancient Astronauts, and that 17-year-old me who walked into the theater to see Close Encounters of the Third Kind wasn’t the same me who walked out.

I don’t confess to have had close encounters, though I may have seen some unexplained lights in the sky, and after reading books about implants placed in the bodies of people by ETs, I have never looked at a strange mark on my thigh the same way since. A friend of mine told me about a co-worker of his who claimed that he and his wife were beamed aboard a ship in rural Nebraska, and the details of the story sent shivers up my spine.

That extraterrestrials exist is a tired discussion for me, because I am certain they do and know that our limited scientific ability is no match for how easy it could be for super-intelligent beings who move in and out of our third dimension at will to toy with us if they choose. No, what seems more relevant to me, beyond the whole “let’s prove that ETs exist” game, is our challenge as human beings to evolve as a species, with the assistance of those who reportedly are willing and able to help us do so.

When I was approached to interview Christine Day about her book and upcoming seminar on Pleiadian Initiations of Light, I was a bit hesitant to do so because I truly do not have a gauge on how interested the Twin Cities holistic community is in such information. I proceeded with the interview because there is nothing to fear from off-planet beings or spiritual masters who want to help us. I sense that something is truly changing within us on a subtle level, and it very well could be a shifting of energy to higher frequencies of consciousness, as many suggest.

Edge columnist Chris LaFontaine and his partner Michele Mayama have been ahead of the curve about our collective shift out of duality for some time now, and this publication will share more of their wisdom as we move onward. Edge columnist Kathryn Harwig’s channeling of a group known as the “Light Collective” also is a revealing look at humanity’s way forward.

This publication has long been focused on exploring the evolution of consciousness. Know that it still does.

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Viral Love: Humanity’s Next Step

There are many differences between us as human beings. We look different from each other. We think differently. We believe differently. We speak differently. We certainly do things differently. It’s easy to see the differences between us, because they are noisier. The differences tend to bully their way to the forefront. They get the headlines and the top billing on network broadcasts. Differences are the reason we wage war and kill each other.

Differences also are a habit. Over time, culturally we are taught to accept differences, to ridicule differences and even to protest and fight against differences. Our belief in the validity of differences is part of our DNA. Many of us accept differences as the way things are. Can’t change it, so you might as well accept it.

The only thing is, change is in the air.

With wars being fought, with racism continuing to rear its ugly head, with politics again reclaiming its title as the top blood sport (sans wagering), it would be easy to think the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Just turn on the TV. Just look at the fear in people’s eyes as they push their shopping carts down the grocery aisle. For goodness sake, just look at the economy! But I am convinced that the tide will turn and peace will prevail.

The energies at play, the ones that decide whether we arrive in one piece, seem to be outside of ourselves — globally with climate change, deadly earthquakes and hurricanes, and economic meltdown. But I sense that the energies that are at play are rearranging themselves way down deep in the cells of each of our bodies. It’s a microscopic transformation reflected in the outer world.

I can feel change within my bones, and I bet that you can feel it, too.

FOLLOWING THE SIGNS
I follow the signs as they come to me in my personal life. Like the email that came to me last week from the Maitreya people, the folks at Share International who for decades have been predicting the return of the highest spiritual master — yes, he’s a mentor to Jesus, even — in human body.

As you might have already read on our Now (news) page, Maitreya’s principal spokesman Benjamin Creme has announced that the long-awaited return of the “World Teacher” is imminent. Not only has he created a human body through which he now operates in this third dimension, but Jesus and more than two dozen other spiritual masters also are in body, prepared to step in and lead humanity. Maitreya, in a body but not calling himself Maitreya, reportedly has already convened a global leadership conference on economics and has conducted an interview on American television.

Creme and other followers of the Maitreya information say the presence of Maitreya in body, now, does not signal the end of the world as we know it, but “the beginning of a new time for humanity.” They say human freewill will continue to reign, but they plan to provide some spiritual leadership — not global control and dominance — to inspire us to share our wealth, treat every human being with respect, and work together to find new ways to co-exist peacefully.

My reaction is twofold. First, I see this is a sign that humanity may have stepped to the edge of no return. It is no coincidence that this big announcement about Maitreya’s imminent public presence came shortly after the failed talks in Copenhagen over climate change. The inability of world leaders to cooperate and work together for the safety — and survival — of the planet was certainly a siren that not all is well on planet Earth. Did you happen to see the most recent cover of Rolling Stone magazine? The issue introduces us to 17 “polluters and deniers who are derailing efforts to curb global warming.” While I have no personal knowledge whether Maitreya is or is not among us now to help us, it seems likely that if spiritual leaders would choose to intervene, to give humanity a ray of hope and renewed inspiration to cooperate, now is as good a time as any.

MY PERSONAL HOPE
My second reaction to the Maitreya information is that it gives me personal hope. I will confess to you now that, despite outward appearances, deep down I have not always been as optimistic as you might think. At times, my will to live has teetered. I have stumbled emotionally and have wondered aloud, and inwardly, why living is so difficult. And yet, I persevere. I have had spiritual experiences that remain with me constantly, reminding me that what we call life is a temporary reality, that we all are actors playing our roles, and that each of us has incredible powers to create what we need to not only succeed, but thrive.

Many prophets herald 2012 as the beginning of a new era for humanity, and I am convinced that love will become the greatest viral movement the planet has ever witnessed. I believe a tidal wave of love will engulf the planet — and each of us will rescue ourselves.

There will be those who resist. There always are. They won’t accept those who are different. They call Maitreya the Antichrist. They resist efforts to cooperate globally. And some, who believe in the End Times predictions of a final war between good and evil, will lay down their lives believing that they are fighting the good fight.

But the true fight is being waged now within the souls of each of us. We are being called to be authentic human beings. We are being asked to reflect who we truly are in our everyday lives. To that end, I salute you.

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A letter to you

“We shall not cease from exploring, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” – T.S.Eliot

My friend,
It’s been too long. So much has happened since we last spoke, really spoke, heart to heart. Sometimes I think no one does that much anymore. We all conveniently say we’re too busy, but busy doing what? Anything that really matters? I wanted to write to tell you that I think of you all of the time, wondering how you’re doing, wondering how you are passing the time. Most of us fill our days with work, with TV, with the internet. Sure, we can chat and reconnect with friends we’ve fallen away from over the years, but what are we doing to strengthen the friendships that we still have, tending the garden before it overgrows with weeds, and becomes neglected and forgotten?

Wouldn’t it be cool to have the time to be with friends who we really want to stay connected with, not relying upon funerals to bring us back together, or quick visits when we’re in town visiting family, when we call to say we’d like to drop over for a few minutes just to say, hi, I’m back in town and was wondering how you’re doing. An hour of talking doesn’t really tell the whole story, the ups and downs, the sadness, the occasional surprises, but mostly the worry about money and making it from one week to the next. Yes, even me, Mr. Holistic Magazine editor, I’ve had my share of bad thoughts run through my head, at times life seems very hard, but all things pass. At the end of the day, I realized that it’s about how I feel about myself, inside my own skin, looking out through these eyes at the world.

What has helped me the most is knowing that I am not my thoughts, that I am a spiritual being who is bigger than my personality, than my ego, and is, in fact, a witness to what this body and mind and ego and personality all are doing. Does that make sense to you? Just remember that all the thoughts in your head are a stream of consciousness that keeps on running. They are not you. The trick is to not pay attention to all the darkness that is bombarding us all right now. And don’t believe any of it has anything at all to do with you.

I know I’ve spouted that stuff to you each month, for years, and perhaps it doesn’t mean anything to you at all, but just know that I love the soul that is you. Hang in there, and know that I’m not the only one who is thinking good thoughts about you.

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A simple acceptance of all that is

miejanLet’s be clear about one thing: The Edge magazine has always been open to any and all belief systems and modalities with regard to spirituality, metaphysics and healing since its founding in 1992.

I have interviewed ufologists and crop circle experts, scientists who research mysterious orbs, an astronaut whose life was changed while viewing the Earth from outer space, ghostbusters and people who heal others by the laying on of hands, experts on the healing qualities of quartz crystals and other gemstones, those who specialize in quantum physics and reveal ways in which science is now confirming the truth of long-held metaphysical principles, leaders of the Wiccan tradition who seek to clarify how wrong the public is when comparing their ancient spiritual beliefs to satanism, practitioners of energy medicine, and those who teach meditation that harmonizes both regions of the brain and helps us live more balanced and joyful lives.

I’ve spoken to seekers of all persuasion who value our publication because it allows for the expression of truth, because it openly speaks of hope and faith that is shared by all paths leading to the Divine. And I’ve heard from travelers who value The Edge because it honors them wherever they are, without a clearly defined spiritual path but an openness to explore all that is revealed along the way. I’ve received letters from men in prison who request copies of The Edge so they can learn how to be free despite their confinement.

In this earthly realm, human beings are given the freedom to experience exactly what they believe – and some of us believe there is a right way and a wrong way. Some of us are uncomfortable with other beliefs existing simultaneously with our own, who have been taught that there is only one way and that anything less is blasphemy. I’ve received emails and voice messages from concerned Christians who say they are praying for my eternal soul. Some try to convince us that the unseen doesn’t exist because it cannot be proven, and that believing in anything outside of the accepted reality is a sign of intellectual weakness. There are those who may never be touched by the power of prayer or experience a spiritual insight that opens the heart in this lifetime – and that doesn’t make them less than.

Last night, while pondering about what The Edge: Soul of the Cities is really all about, this phrase came to mind: “We welcome all souls.” It reminded me of what I had spontaneously written on our website five months ago when it was being redesigned:

“The Edge is not just a magazine or website, but a structure whereby souls whose feet now walk upon the Earth are able to express their sacred truths, with complete freedom, with utter integrity, to help remind us that we are much more than physical bodies and minds doing things and going places, that we are completely realized beings who are escaping the grasp of density and awakening to this grand opportunity to create in this present moment.”

What we are about is exploring our shared connection – as soul. How we do that is revealed anew each and every month. The expression of that soul connection is yours: you who are called upon to put thoughts into words, to send your words to us with the expectation that we will share your ideas with the community at large.

My fellow souls, as we meet again in this time and space, we may say things and do things and think things, but above all let us treasure the opportunity to recognize who we truly are in the reflection of each other. That, I believe, is the gift of life.

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It’s Not for the Taking

miejan2Walking my dog the other morning, I strolled mostly in silence, pondering the beauty of the park around me. But in the background, almost like white noise, my thoughts whirled like a ceiling fan above my head, going around and around about things that have been stressing me this past week. And then suddenly it dawned on me like the rising sun: I’m in charge of my inner peace.

It’s mine, and it’s not for the taking.

There is nothing that can have it – and no one who can have it…unless I give it away. And it’s quite clear that I do that all the time. Don’t you?

miejan1My wife and I went to the local movie theater to catch a romantic comedy (her favorite genre of film) and I happened to turn around to see a huge movie poster in the lobby. 2012: We Were Warned. Coming November. My mind began to spin. I became hot under the collar. What the…? I was taken aback, caught flat-footed, that someone would take what promises to be humankind’s most incredible opportunity to create peace and turn it into the biggest disaster film ever.

And then I came to my senses. That’s what Hollywood does. The movie theater is our closest version of Star Trek’s holodeck, a simulated reality facility onboard the starship Enterprise, where we purposely give away our peace and consciously choose to experience fear, or at least a two-hour spike in adrenalin.

And truthfully, it’s not that different than what we do every day, in shorter bursts of time, usually unconsciously. We are faced with a family member or colleague who is embroiled with rage, confronting us and wanting us to join the experience. Rather than walking away, we usually comply. We match the emotion. We get angry and, before we know it, our peace is long gone and we don’t even realize that we’ve willingly given it away.

That’s the realization that came to me while walking my dog in the park the other day. We have the choice in this moment to be in peace or to not be in peace. The trick is to be conscious that we have the choice, and to be willing to stand up our inherent right to be peaceful, regardless of the situation, regardless of who is asking us to surrender our peace.

Remember: It’s not for the taking.

We have been asleep at the wheel for the most part, and we take it for granted that relinquishing our peace is just life. We have expressions for it, that so and so knows how to push my buttons. However, the truth is that in this situation, we are doing the button pushing. We are choosing to engage. The question is whether we have the power to withstand the temptation to be drawn into the drama. Maybe we feel as if we are powerless, that the emotional strings between us and other people have become so tangled that there is no way out.

To be honest with you, I have felt called to read a number of new books on emotional intelligence, but I haven’t done so yet. Perhaps the answer lies there.

Or perhaps the answer just comes with waking up, being conscious in the present moment that you do have the power.

If someone walked up and tried to take your car away, you’d fight tooth and nail to prevent that from happening. But if someone walked up and threatened your peace, 99 times out of 100 you would just give it away.

Claim it. Protect it. Focus on keeping it. It’s yours.

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Interview: Patricia Spadaro

“You can look the whole world over and never find anyone more deserving of love than yourself.” – The Buddha

spadaroIn a poignant reminder of the gift that each one of us truly is, Patricia Spadaro presents her new book Honor Yourself: The Inner Art of Giving and Receiving (Three Wings Press), a valuable discussion on the importance of honoring ourselves, and in doing so, how we respect, appreciate and give birth to our best self so we can give creatively and abundantly in ways that honors others.

The author will be appearing in the Twin Cities August 12-13 to do booksigning: at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, at Barnes and Noble at the HarMar Mall (2100 N. Snelling Ave., Roseville); from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, at Barnes and Noble Downtown at the Midwest Plaza (801 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis); and at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, at Barnes and Noble at the Galleria Shopping Center (3225 W. 69th, Edina).

Patricia Spadaro is an author and expert in practical spirituality. She has co-authored several books on personal growth, spirituality and world traditions. She also is a publishing coach, freelance writer and editor who lives with her husband and her two favorite felines in beautiful Bozeman, MT. Her work shows that the world’s great spiritual traditions share common themes that are extremely relevant to the issues of our daily lives. Her passion is to communicate the wisdom of the sages of East and West in ways that enlighten, inspire, and empower us to create practical transformation in our own lives and the lives of those we touch. She describes herself as a life-long learner who has a penchant for paradox and for collecting ancient and modern quotations that are wise, witty, and compel us to wake up.

She conducted this interview with The Edge about her new book.

What motivated you to write Honor Yourself?
Over the last several years, I found myself on the receiving end of some very interesting experiences (that’s putting it mildly) that I’m convinced were designed to teach me how essential it is to honor myself at deep levels. I saw what happened when I didn’t value myself or honor my own needs and how that compromised my ability to give the best of myself to others. At the same time, I saw other people struggling with strikingly similar lessons. In one way or another, we were all making choices that were limiting what we were capable of doing with our lives.

I started to see, more and more, that what I was experiencing wasn’t unusual at all. Many of us – men and women, moms and dads, executives and the self-employed – have difficulty honoring ourselves. But why? I realized that many of us harbor misguided beliefs about giving and receiving that keep us from being able to master the balancing act of giving to others and giving to ourselves.

Fundamentally, honoring yourself is about balancing giving and receiving in your life so you can give your best to others. I strongly believe that the world will only improve as each of us gives birth to our best self and gives our unique gifts. We can’t do that without fully honoring ourselves. So I decided to write a book to expose the false beliefs about giving and receiving that can sabotage our life purpose, our relationships, our finances – even our health. I’ve always been an ardent student of the world’s traditions and an advocate for practical spirituality, and so I also turned to the sages of East and West to find out what they had to say about this dilemma and how to move beyond it.

In essence, I wrote Honor Yourself to help people think in new ways about what I consider the most essential question we can ever ask ourselves: What can I do to honor myself so that I can unleash the full power of my creative spirit and give my greatest gifts to my loved ones, my community, and the world?

What are a couple of the most potent myths about giving and how do they harm us?
First, I should say that a myth, in the way I use that term in my book, is a half-truth, and that’s what makes it so dangerous and convincing. A myth contains an element of the truth, but it isn’t the whole truth. One very basic myth that many of us have come to believe is “It’s always better to give than to receive.” That is true in many circumstances, but is it true in all circumstances? Is it true if giving compromises your health and therefore your ability to give at all? Is it true if your giving stunts somebody else’s growth or your own?

Many of us believe that if we don’t drop everything when others ask us for help, we are abandoning them. The truth is that if we continually oversacrifice, we are abandoning ourselves. Even Mother Teresa, who was known for her unconditional generosity, talked about the need to be alone and to recharge. Kahlil Gibran once wrote, “It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” If that’s true – and I believe it is – then we have to find effective ways of staying in balance so we can continue to give the gift of ourselves.

Another dangerous myth that I talk about in Honor Yourself is “I’m no one special – what I do doesn’t matter.” You may have bought into the myth that “I’m no one special” because you have accepted another untruth – the myth that you must have a high IQ or a recognized professional skill to qualify as “gifted.” Some of us subconsciously believe that our ability to give and our right to receive is defined by the letters that follow our name. Yet the labels that others give us, positive or negative, are never the essence of who we are.

I once met a woman in the waiting room of a doctor’s office who was so cheerful that I couldn’t help but tell her how wonderful she made me feel. She leaned towards me and whispered excitedly, “I believe it’s my job to uplift everyone around me. I show up at work in the morning and I try to make everyone who steps through the door of the office a little brighter.” She wasn’t being egotistical or prideful. She simply knew who she was and why she was here. She had found her own voice and knew what her life purpose was. Whenever we offer the gift of who we are within our circle of influence, no matter how small that gift seems, we make our greatest contribution to the world.

Why do many of us have a problem with receiving from others – and how do we overcome that?
Some of us are awesome givers but not very good receivers. We don’t ask for support. We don’t admit to others or to ourselves that we need any. We don’t even like to accept compliments. One reason for that is that we’ve bought into the insidious myth that “if I can’t make it on my own, something is wrong with me.” We think that asking for support means we are weak. Yet, the truth is that seeking support is a sign of strength.

We forget that even the brightest stars in any field of endeavor have always needed their coaches and cheerleaders. Where would the heroic hobbit Frodo Baggins be if his friend Samwise Gamgee hadn’t stuck by him through thick and thin? How far would Helen Keller have gotten without her faithful tutor, Anne Sullivan? How could Michael Phelps have earned his eight gold medals and an Olympic world record without teammates to help win those stunning medley relays?

One of the greatest lessons we can learn in the inner art of giving and receiving is that asking for support is healthy. It means you believe that you are worthy of receiving. Not only that, but seeking support in making the best decisions in your life is an act of love – love for yourself and for those who will be impacted by your choices.

If you tend to tackle all of life’s challenges by yourself and have a hard time asking for help, keep reminding yourself to act on these two truths: First, seeking support is the loving thing to do and the strong thing to do. And second, whether you need help with a project at work or in making a major life decision, know that people are more willing to help than you might think. If the people you approach cannot support you right now or are not willing to help, it doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy. It just means you haven’t found the right supporters yet. Open your heart and you will.

What is the paradox you speak of with regard to balancing what others need with what we need?
Paradox is at the heart of the inner art of honoring yourself. A paradox involves two elements or truths that seem contradictory, but are both true. The seeming opposites are two sides of the picture that are both needed to complete the circle of wholeness. We need both day and night, masculine and feminine, movement and stillness, right brain and left brain. In the same way, to live a fulfilling and healthy life, we need to embrace our duty to give to others and to give to ourselves. We can’t do either well unless we do both in balance.

We meet the paradox of giving and receiving all the time as we struggle with questions like: Should I spend more time with my family or building a career – and can I really do both? Do my children need more freedom or more control? Is it better to collaborate or compete, to manage or to mentor? The list goes on and on.

At its core, the paradox of giving and receiving deals with that overriding issue that challenges so many of us: How do I balance what others need with what I need? In order to give to others, do I really need to give up myself? If we want to live fully and authentically, we have to learn to live on both sides of the paradox.

Please share with us a story from your life that relates to the delicate dance of giving and receiving.
Part of the dance of giving and receiving involves letting go, honoring endings, and making room to receive. Nature does abhor a vacuum. Whenever we create one, it will be filled. I’ve learned that when we want something new to appear in our lives, we often have to give something away.

At a critical time in my life, when I had lost a job and was going through a period of intense challenge and trial, I found myself in a cycle of cutting back, letting go, and giving away. I cleaned out my closets and donated bags of clothes to the Salvation Army. I chopped away at overgrown bushes in my yard. I got down on my knees and ruthlessly pulled weeds from my garden. I even cut my hair shorter. I offered more of my time to work with a nonprofit organization. It was a difficult time for me but a healing one. It signaled the end of one season of my life and the beginning of another. Those physical actions were just the outer manifestation of what was taking place within me – clearing out the old and getting rid of clutter so I could see more clearly and make room for new growth. Slowly but surely, I created an open space, which allowed wonderful opportunities, new friendships and needed changes to appear in my life.

What does it truly mean to “honor yourself”?
To me, honoring yourself means that you are respecting, appreciating and giving birth to your best self so you can give creatively and abundantly in ways that honor others. The key to honoring yourself is not simply to enjoy a well-timed bout of pampering yourself, although that’s a nice and necessary thing to do from time to time.

To honor means to respect, esteem, recognize, dignify or ennoble. In order to respect, esteem and ennoble ourselves, much deeper remedies are needed, ones that empower us to be authentic, to be our true self.

There are many facets to the art of honoring yourself. Four of the major ones, which I deal with in my book, are: honoring your inner needs by getting back into balance physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually; honoring your heart by giving to others in ways that matter; honoring the endings that naturally come into your life by learning to release regrets; and honoring your own voice by finding and celebrating the unique gifts you were born to give.

How can we teach or model this honoring of ourselves to our children?
There are so many ways to teach our children how to honor themselves, and they all start with modeling, by our example, healthy habits of self-respect and respect for others. One habit in particular that is vitally important is allowing others to express themselves without shutting them down, invalidating their feelings, or trying to tell them how they should feel.

We all need the freedom to find our own interests and passions. If, instead, we treat our children as miniature versions of us (or of who we always wanted to be), we’re simply creating the conditions for a real identity crisis. There’s a story in my book about a young teenager who was smart, polite and always perfectly behaved. His parents and teachers knew he was destined for great things. But a year later, he made a sharp 180-degree turn. He went from getting straight As to failing all his classes, from total obedience to total rebellion. His parents were in shock. Without realizing it, their very precise expectations had left their son no room to breathe – no room to figure out what he liked and what he wanted. They had created a time bomb, and their son had to explode, and with enough force, to break out of the mold and discover himself.

Guidance is necessary and helpful in life, and we all need it, but ironclad expectations only close us down. As children and adults, we all need space, free from the clutter of other voices, to hear what our own true voice is leading us to do.

What did you learn about yourself during the writing of this book?
It’s so true that we often teach what we most need to learn! With all the topics I’ve taken up for the books I’ve worked on, I’ve found this to be the case, and this one was no different. The process of writing this book was a huge exercise in committing to honoring myself and my talents. It took an extraordinary commitment for me to set aside the time and space to work on giving birth to this book. It didn’t just happen; I had to make it happen. So, working on Honor Yourself was like shining the spotlight on all my avoidance mechanisms, fears, and self-doubts that wanted to wreak havoc with my self-esteem and keep me from honoring myself and my gifts.

In particular, I saw how easy it was for me to hide behind sacrifice, a pattern I talk about in the book. It was so much easier for me to jump to attention when anyone needed my help than it was to draw boundaries and settle down to my task every day. Figuring out why that was true has been life-changing. Awareness is always the first step to real change, so seeing my own self-defeating habit patterns, as hard as that was, was eye-opening and enlightening.

What one daily tip can you offer our readers to help them better honor themselves and stay in balance in their lives?
I think one of the simplest and most effective ways to honor yourself and stay in balance is to ask: “Where am I on my to-do list today?” Sometimes we go for days without so much as a five-minute slot devoted solely to nourishing ourselves. And then we wonder why we feel tense, upset, grouchy, or depressed. I recommend asking yourself each day: “How am I feeling right now? What do I want and need today to feel and do my best?” And then slot in time for a specific nurturing activity. It can be something as simple as taking a quick break to meditate or listen to a relaxing piece of music. It can be playing with a child or pet, renewing yourself spiritually with a favorite practice or ritual, or simply closing your eyes, doing nothing, and taking a long, deep breath.

Honor Yourself: The Inner Art of Giving and Receiving is available at Present Moment in South Minneapolis, and inquire at your favorite bookstore. For more information on Patricia Spadaro, visit www.PracticalSpirituality.info, and to contact the author, email info@PracticalSpirituality.info.

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Now is the Time to Step Forward

miejanBehind the house on the cul-de-sac, two children used to play on their swingset and run around in their fenced yard first with their beagle, and then with the new beagle pup. And then one day, the family and their pets were gone. No moving truck. No big farewell to their modest suburban home. They just packed up their car and drove away. And now the dandelions are dog high, just one more snapshot in a national album. Title this one, “The Great 21st Century Transformation, or “The Collapse of the American Dream.”

This is here in the suburbs, a scene I witness every day as I walk my dog at lunchtime. Look around your neighborhood, because the “change” is affecting all of us. My wife’s job was eliminated more than two years ago at a major corporation that decided to downsize and let employees go the day after they returned from Thanksgiving holiday. They’ve since eliminated large groups of other household providers who now scramble to put food on the table. A former colleague in Missouri, the top writer on the daily newspaper’s editorial staff, was suddenly axed from the payroll. And everywhere you look, mid- to high-level managers and executives are now sitting at home filling out job applications and reading craigslist daily for any new opportunity.

And don’t forget the Motor City. Detroit’s unemployment rate is triple the national average, and the crisis has spread like wildfire to outlying communities. Less than 90 miles away, Saginaw’s downtown is boarded up, its homeless population out of control, and those who live there say it reminds them of the Great Depression.

These difficult images are part of a growing national tapestry of despair. We’ve all been touched by the seemingly instantaneous transformation of corporate America. And if a doctor were to take our collective pulse, the diagnosis would be high anxiety; the prescription – pills to numb us and sedate us and help us escape the pain of reality.

That’s where the holistic community – typically a highly emphatic group of people who must be feeling an unusually high level of stress at this time – can make a difference. This is what we have come to this planet to do. And you may not want to hear it but I must repeat this sentiment – uttered by the President of the United States, no less, perhaps originating from Hopi elders, or author Alice Walker, I cannot say for sure: We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

We are the ones who have been working on ourselves, seminar after seminar, workshop after workshop, transmuting and releasing, preparing our bodies to accept high levels of spiritual energy so that others who are in pain can be healed. We are the ones who have communed with angels and the fairy devas and other out-of-body entities – despite the general public’s perception of us as wacky or engaging in “woo-woo” stuff – and now have instant sources of information and guidance to share with those who need it. And we are the ones who have the ability to heal on an energetic level – an ability medical science is only beginning to acknowledge, albeit reluctantly – and assist those who may not be medically ill, but transformationally challenged.

Now is the time to step forward. Regardless of what your family or neighbors or community may think. Regardless of whether or not you perceive yourself as having any ability to help out when the going is tough. Now is the time for healing centers, metaphysical groups, spiritual healing circles and individuals to band together to provide volunteer care for those who need it most.

Cathy and I at The Edge have begun discussing ways in which we can help link volunteer healers and life coaches and psychics and the wide array of people who make up the holistic community with those who can benefit from the talents already in place. I urge your group to do the same. Together, we can make a difference in people’s lives.

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Participate in the Life you Create

I find it hard to believe that two decades have passed since I first read Seth Speaks, the channeled work of Jane Roberts, and since I read Barbara Marciniak’s Bringers of the Dawn. It’s been more than one decade since I first heard Lee Carroll, channel for Kryon, live in an Indianapolis event. I read and listened to a lot of channeled work back then, a younger me who buoyed his natural optimism with confirmations that there is more to our three-dimensional form than we can possibly imagine, and that the meaning of life was intertwined with a collective experiment to escape the grand illusion, consciously.

Those were good times, friends of like mind embracing a juxtaposition of laughter and serious inquiry. We delved into books with such intensity, and we spent hours reading them to each other and discussing what they seemed to mean. We went to all of the psychic fairs, and we challenged each other to find powerful stones at gem shows.

We hit the road to Arkansas with digging tools and floppy hats, suntan lotion and plastic buckets, to find crystals in the dirt. One spring, my mom and I joined a dozen others just north of Hot Springs, where we envisioned Native Americans on an altered plane holding their own ceremonies on this natural bed of quartz. We drummed and chanted, and we learned of healing and ways to open our hearts.

And we kept on wondering how much closer we were to figuring everything out.

THE ONLY CHOICE
Forrest Gump ran across America. And one day, after touching the hearts of millions and inspiring them to follow him down the road, he stopped. It made no sense to his devotees, but it was the only choice in the moment. He woke up. It was as if he took his first breath.

I feel like I have been running a long time to find answers, to understand why things are the way they are, to learn the truth. I feel like I have been chasing the dream up, down and around the block, with journeys from here to the Central Sun and all points in between, only to realize that I’m no further ahead than the day I began.

I have come to realize that the chase was never what it was all about. It’s about stopping – and being.

It’s about stepping outside with bare feet and embracing the earth’s soft cushion, grass between my toes. It’s about throwing the story out the window and just looking into the eyes of my loved ones and seeing them for kind beings that they are, in want of nothing other than my shared love. It’s about getting beyond the emotional triggers, temptations and infinite distractions and choosing not to play the game. It’s about knowing that there is nowhere to run, and nothing to chase.

It’s about participating in life, with others – and with passion.

THE GREATEST LEARNING
In an interview some time ago, scientist and spiritual visionary Gregg Braden told me that the greatest learning takes place in relationship, because our partners are a mirror for us. They give us an incredible opportunity to see who we truly are.

My experience is that I don’t always want to look at that mirror – and that has been my greatest lesson. When I do look, I can see when my ego is in control. And sometimes catch a glimpse of beauty that is reflected back to me, something I have a hard time accepting.

That learning eclipses anything I have ever read in a book. And that is why, if asked, I will encourage you to just stop – and be. And look at yourself in the mirror of the world around you.

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Interview: Benjamin Creme | part one

First of a three-part series

"I have not come to found a new religion. I have come to teach the art of Self-realization, which is neither an ideology nor a religion, but benefits people of all religions and those who have none. I seek to express that which I am through you; for this I come." – Maitreya

Scottish-born painter and esotericist Benjamin Creme has spent more than 30 years preparing the world for the most extraordinary event in human history: the return of our spiritual mentors to the everyday world. Creme has appeared on television, radio and documentary films worldwide since 1982 when he announced that the Lord Maitreya, the long-awaited World Teacher and spiritual master of Jesus Christ, Buddha and many other teachers, was living in London, ready to present himself openly when invited by the media to do so. This event is now imminent.

Creme, based in London, continues to carry out his task as messenger of this news. He has written 14 books, most recently The World Teacher for All Humanity (2007) and The Awakening of Humanity (2008). He is editor of Share International magazine, which circulates in more than 70 countries and is dedicated to the emergence of Maitreya.

Perhaps out of fear that the physical presence of Maitreya signals a being who potentially could control the world, Creme has been called an agent of the anti-Christ. But in an interview with Edge Life, speaking by phone from San Francisco during a visit to America, Creme reminds us that Maitreya is a teacher who, when he makes his long-awaited emergence telepathically into the consciousness of every human being on the planet over the age of 14 on the imminent "Day of Declaration," he will give each of us a glimpse into who we truly are as humanity and offer us the personal choice of awakening.

The process is described thusly: Maitreya, who can change his physical form at any time, will come forward as a consultant on global issues and will be interviewed on American television. Those public and corporate leaders who have met with Maitreya at a conference in 1990 will come forward and support his ideas. Then, when enough people begin to respond to his ideas, the Day of Declaration will take place and Maitreya will emerge to teach and inspire. Maitreya teaches equality, the Law of Karma, the law of cause and effect, and the interconnection of all things.

For those unfamiliar with the Master Maitreya, will you acquaint our readers with who he is and why he is now among us in human body?
Benjamin Creme:
Maitreya is the master of all the masters. The masters are men like us who have evolved ahead of us and come to the end of the evolution as a human being on planet earth. Many of them are able to go on to higher planets or higher solar systems, but many of them take what’s called the path of earth service. Those who have taken that path or others who elect to be here for so many thousands of years do so to oversee the evolution of the rest of us, to bring us to the same point eventually that they have now reached.

From our point of view they are perfect. They have nothing more to learn from living on planet earth. It is for them only a field of service, but they seek to help us speed up our evolution as much as possible – and so many of them stay behind to do just that. They have been behind human evolution for countless millenniums, have lived in the remote mountain and desert areas of the world for thousands and thousands of years, but we have come to the end of a cycle which requires their re-entry into human life to send for them into a field of service on the dense physical plane.

The masters can be physical or not physical, depending on their particular path, and about two-thirds of the masters, some 14 masters, will eventually take incarnation as ordinary men on the physical plane. At the moment, my information is that there are 14 masters in the world at present, plus Maitreya, the master of all the masters, the world teacher. He holds the office of world teacher in that group, which we normally call the spiritual hierarchy of planet earth.

And I understand that these masters knew that this was like a predestined experience that they would all be coming back to the planet?
BC:
The masters have known for more than 500 years that eventually this would take place. It was thought at first, until very recently, that it would be another 1,200 or 1,300 years before we were ready for all this, but, so far it has been the evolution of hearts and humanity – and so great are the problems facing humanity, problems to do with the earth, the state of the earth’s physical body, and the creation by us of the nuclear bomb that has put a big question mark over the future of humanity – so the masters have come forward far earlier than they would have expected.

On June 19, 1945, at the very end of the last World War, Maitreya made a statement to all his assembled group of masters and high initiates. He said that humanity and its own free will – we have free will, and that’s sacrosanct to the masters, for they never infringe on that free will, even if they could help us by doing so – can take the first step by cleaning house and putting its house in order.

The world teacher, Maitreya, has long been awaited as the Christ by Christians, as Imam Mahdi by Muslims, as the Messiah by Jews, as Krishna or Kalki Avatar by Hindus, and under his name as Maitreya Buddha by Buddhists. They’ve all been awaiting the return of a teacher under these various names. From the esoteric point of view, from which I am speaking, these are all names for one and the same individual, the Lord Maitreya, the head and leader of the spiritual hierarchy of the earth.

Up until now the masters, when they came out into the world to help humanity, did so through the agency of a disciple, never themselves. So, the Buddha took over the body of his disciple, the Prince Gautama, and eventually became Buddha. Maitreya took over the body of Jesus for the last three years of Jesus’ life and demonstrated through Jesus what we call the Christ.

Maitreya is the embodiment of the Christ principle on earth. He embodies the energy of love, the Divine energy aspect of love as the Buddha embodies the Divine aspect of wisdom. In a sense, Jesus was not the Christ, but for the last three years of his life he was overshadowed by the Christ and demonstrated the Christ to those of his time.

So, you indicated that this grand gathering of the masters on planet earth is coming sooner because we have evolved quicker, but also because of the state of affairs on the planet. So both of those things are happening?
BC:
Above all, we have the nuclear bomb. If there was a war, a big war, a major war on the planet, it would be a nuclear war, and it would destroy all life, human and subhuman, on planet earth. So the masters are here for many reasons, including their own evolution, but they are here to make sure, so far as they can without infringing on our free will, that we do not have another war big enough for nuclear weapons to be used.

One important thing that you write about, and Share International also tells us, is the coming of Maitreya to each of us through this Day of Declaration. How imminent is that?
BC:
I believe it is very true that not even the masters know the exact timing of the Day of Declaration. It depends very much on the speed of response of humanity to the teachings of Maitreya when he talks openly, which he is beginning to do very, very soon.

My information is that the coming forward into the open arena of the world of Maitreya is as near now as it has ever been. It is so close, and then there will be a gap between his coming forward and the Day of Declaration. In that time, he will come on radio and television and everyone will have an opportunity to assess his credentials, to listen to his teachings, to evaluate them, and to take their stance for or against them, and they are to do with the creation of the one humanity.

He says again and again, "Humanity is one. We are brothers and sisters of one humanity. We are all stemming from the same Divine source, whatever the color, whatever the religion, whatever the traditions. We are, underneath all of that, we are one family, one group called humanity."

And, it is the realization of that oneness that he seeks to infiltrate in humanity. Because that is just the truth, then the discrepancies in living standards – particularly between the developed world and the developing world – are so awry that they have within them the seeds of a third world war. That war would be nuclear and would destroy all life on earth, human and subhuman alike, and this earth would become vacant of life for millions and millions of years.

We recognize about nine nuclear powers in the world. The masters have said that this is not honest and true – not nine, but not less than 24 nations have nuclear bombs of various numbers, various degrees, various weights and intensities of explosion. If these were used, then it would destroy everything else.

The masters are coming for one reason: to make sure that this does not happen by lifting humanity above the level where that would be allowed to happen; to inspire humanity to create the one humanity and to demonstrate that in our structures.

The structures of today, the political and economic structures in particular, do not reflect the true state of humanity. Humanity, Maitreya says and all the masters say, is Divine. Each one of us is Divine. We’ve come from a great Divine source. We are each of us a spark of the Divine. That spark could not demonstrate itself at the dense, physical level, so it reflects itself at the soul level.

The members of humanity are really and truly souls. We’re all part of one great oversoul. We are individualized aspects of that oversoul, and the individualized soul – yours and mine and everyone else’s on the planet – incarnates over and over and over again in a physical body, emotional astral body and mental body. These three bodies are temporary bodies that the soul creates and uses for a given time, long or short. In this way, the soul brings its vehicle, the man or woman, and the personality aspect, forward upward more and more towards the light, which the soul itself is. In this process, the physical atoms of the body are reconstructed into subatomic particles, and these become the body of the growing disciple and gradually become the initiate.

There are five great expansions of consciousness that finish the evolution of every individual. The last few lives – it might be 20 or 30 lifetimes, but it’s the last few relative to hundreds of thousands of lives before that time – are the five initiations that bring you from the first to the fifth degree, from the very beginning discipleship up to the master himself. All the masters are fifth-degree initiates or more. The Buddha is an eighth-degree initiate, the one who demonstrated as Gautama Buddha, and in this way they are overseeing our spiritual evolution through the experience of planet earth.

Will the Day of Declaration experience shift our energetic vibration to a higher level?
BC:
It will be an extraordinary experience for humanity. Maitreya is omniscient. He is omnipresent, and he will create – and this is the miracle – a telepathic rapport with every adult on earth. Many of them are against the whole process. They call me the Devil’s Advocate, or the leg man of the anti-Christ. They have terrible names for Maitreya and for me. However, the vast bulk of humanity will respond to Maitreya.

Very many years ago, through the Agni Yoga teachings that were given through a great Russian disciple named Helena Roerich, Maitreya wrote, "There was a time when 10 true men could save the world. Then came a time when 10,000 was not enough. I shall call on 1 billion."

Five or six years ago I asked my master, with whom I am in constant telepathic communication, if Maitreya had his billion people yet.

He said, "One and one-half billion."

That 1.5 billion a few years ago is now, according to my master, about 1.8 billion. So nearly 2 billion people are ready to respond to Maitreya, and he is absolutely assured that they will begin the process of transformation of planet earth. They will engage themselves on the actual physical well-being of the planet, which is desperate at the present time.

Eighty percent of global warming is the result of man’s wrongful use of the resources of the planet and the dumping of millions upon millions of tons of nuclear and other waste in the world, creating great toxic areas all over our skies, our oceans, our rivers, and the earth. The very air we breathe is so toxic. That pollution, the masters say, is the greatest killer in the world today. It diminishes the working of our immune system and opens us up to all sorts of illnesses and diseases, some of which are ancient and some are new. Ones that we thought we’d gotten over years and years ago are coming back, and new ones are forming over time.

We’ve poisoned our planet to a desperate degree. We have no idea of how severe the toxification is. We think we have 50 or 100 years to deal with this. The masters say we have about 10 to 15 years to prevent certain aspects of the damage from becoming irreversible.

So he is coming out immediately – very, very soon – he assures us, the group with whom I work, which calls itself the Reappearance Group. He is giving them all sorts of indications that this is the time. In a very, very, short time from now, he will come forward and start talking on television and radio, and then they will gather round him. More and more people will respond.

He’ll say what we need for the world. We need a total renunciation of war. He says we have to learn that war is no more. We must renounce war totally, because now we can destroy all life on earth. To bring this about, he says we have to have trust. This renunciation of war can only happen through trust, and trust can only be achieved by a sharing of the resources of the world.

Humanity must accept that the food, the raw materials, the energy, the scientific knowledge and so on, belongs to everybody, that it is given by Divine providence for all peoples, the rich nations and what are called the developing nations. No one has the right to corner the goods of the world as is done today, whether that be oil or food or any of the things that we think are so important.

Sharing, he says, is the answer for humanity. When we share, he says we recognize that God is our brother – and unless we have that trust created by sharing, then nothing can be done. As soon as trust is established by sharing of the resources, then every other problem can be solved – everything. Nothing needs a war. There is no problem that needs a war to bring it to a resolution.

NEXT MONTH: Maitreya’s perception of America’s War on Terror and the politics of love and fear.For complete information on the emergence of Maitreya and Share International, visit www.shareintl.org.

George Catlin, a long-time associate of Benjamin Creme, will present free talks on "The Return of the Teachers" from 11 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. and from 3-3:50 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, at Minneapolis Convention Center. Daily admission is $9. For complete details, visit www.edgelife.net/expos.

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