I have been struggling with the tech aspects of getting my newsletter out for Higher-Ground.com
Its really more of a pain then it should be. There has been so much going on that we just posted it to the site and I never got my own article in, so here it is.
The next few steps… my lesson in the Labyrinth
When I was in Crestone with Liz Sterling earlier this spring I had the opportunity to walk the magnificent Labyrinth at the Temple of Consciousness. Just as an aside the Temple of Consciousness was originally built by William and Barbra of the Sanctuary house and was their original location. The labyrinth was an interesting experience for me and I would like to share some of the things that occurred to me as I made my Journey.
First, I think a little background information is in order. The story of Theseus in the Labyrinth is not just a myth. This is really a metaphor for the decent of the soul into the lower three worlds connected by the golden thread of consciousness. The Labyrinth is a representation of the path of decent during involution and the eventual path of return upon which we all, as human beings, find ourselves.
Theseus (you) who was of both divine and human decent, used a golden thread provided by the beautiful Ariadne (the soul) out of her love for him to find the way back out of the Labyrinth (the lower three worlds) after slaying the Minotaur, (the lower self or “animal nature”), a half man half bull that had been placed at the center of the labyrinth.
Realizing all of the above I began my symbolic journey. Now this will not lead to any huge mystical insights and I hope that I am not building you up to a disappointment. Liz had instructed me to take my time and to stop any time the inclination hit me and just allow the experience to happen and whatever insights I may have to flow through me. This is what I found.
The path I was on was a twisting and turning convoluted walkway that from a distance looked like a flower. It is not a maze, because unless you screw up there is only one path which leads to the center and then back out. If you attempted to follow the entire path with your eyes it would be difficult even from above, although you can always easily see the goal, the center, where in this case, they had placed an enormous crystal. If you tried to follow the entire path from standing on it at any point, it is dizzying and basically impossible. Even if you could there is no real point. Just keep on keeping on and you will eventually arrive at the goal without having to predict every step along the way.
from above it looks like a flower
I remember a passage from one of the books about Don Juan, written by Carlos Castaneda. I can’t quote it or find it, I’ve tried, but the gist of it is this.
It is not necessary to determine every step upon an infinitely long journey. Once a general direction has been established it is only necessary to determine what will be the next few steps on the path. Any attempt to plot the entire step by step process is at best futile and at worst a delusion.
Do you see the parallels to the path, the infinitely long journey of the soul? From inside the labyrinth it is the best you can do to follow the next few steps and maybe the next two turns. We need to address what is directly in front of us and the ramifications of the immediate actions and not worry so much about what will be happening a year from now or ten years, or how long we may be traveling, once that general direction has been established. Pondering where it all leads and the purpose of the plan is not without merit, unless it stops you from taking care of the task at hand. This is the plight of the impractical visionary. Lofty goals and imaginings without action leave the visionary in the place he started.
My father, Anthony Fisichella used to tell a story about a Zen student who came to his Master one morning and asked; “Master, what can I do today to help myself find enlightenment?” The Master replied, “Have you eaten breakfast?” The student eagerly answered “yes..” The Master admonished him, “then go do the dishes!”
Service starts at home with the ones closest to you and there is a reason for that. Jesus told his followers that if they came to the temple bearing gifts and realized that they had offended their brother to leave their gifts, make amends with the brother and then return. All the lofty aspirations of the disciple are useless to the world if he is not first taking care of those closest to him. All future plans of great accomplishment are built on the foundations of the here and now. Take care of those around you and the next few steps on the path. Those few steps will lead to the next few and no plans for the final steps will need to be re-considered.
So the conference portion of the conference is over. That sounds funny but its pretty accurate. They are now holding workshops and certification classes, a process that started before the conference itself. This is an extremely impressive group. The degrees and backgrounds, including many in conventional medical professions and an array of the sciences is amazing.
The presentations on the last day were all open with the entire group together rather than some part of the day dedicated to “breakout sessions” where you have to chose between topics and speakers. Lindsay Wagner opened and talked about her studies and her work with children and in the LA County Jail system. Then she talked about the Deeksha or “Oneness Blessing” she had learned in India with Sri Bhagavan and Sri Amma. Then she suggested the audience find ways on the floor or across chairs, to lay down for the actual blessing. I had experienced Deeksha once before in Crestone and the day before with Lindsay. Normally the hands are placed on the head of the person being blessed and a visualization is carried out by the practitioner, for lack of a better word. In this case with 400 people that was obviously not possible. The experience of the day before was brought back and I had a very euphoric feeling. She plays specific music with some hindu chanting which is quite beaautiful but also tuned to this blessing.
The next presentation was a panel taken from both ISSSEEM and ACEP, the association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology. It was a good discussion on varied aspects of the work in the fields and it was handled with some humor and a bottle of wine, reprising a past experience and serving to losten up some scientists into having fun. I was taken by Dr. David Gruders statements. I liked what he had to say on every topic in which he participated. I bought his book The New IQ and its coming with me up into the Mountains…
Liz and I leave this Morning for Crestone. I’ll be dragging her up into the mountains and leving her there.. but I might have used bthat joke already. If so.. Sorry.
Any way after a day in the woods and a day at the Ashram I’m going to head up to the peaks on a solo mission. Look for video.
I may not be able to blog but I will be writing, so it may all come as one big blast.
The first speaker of the day had to cancel so they had a spiritual comic who calls himself Swami Beyond Ananda and he was really good. Next up was Dean Radin and he was the best speaker of the conference so far. He started with some of the same information as Brian Greene from the day before. Talking about probability patterns, waves, and sub atomic particles. He said, and I’m going to get deeper into this in an article because the experiment they both referred to was fascinating, that Brian only needed to go one step further to discover the link. In my estimation it was really two step, but here is the gist of it. They found that if the experiment was altered by having some one observe it as it happened the probability pattern was altered. The effect of the observer was incredible. It altered the experiment dramatically. Then through further experimentation they had an advanced meditator “observe” the experiment form the next room with is mind and the same alteration occurred… Mind blowing!
Now this still does not prove the law of attraction, but that has been over simplified and misunderstood anyway. It does show that the mind is what science likes to call “non local” and interacts with the world independent of the physical brain. When they tried this with the average Joe it did not work, so it also demonstrated an undeniable effect of meditation… cool.
Next up was Larry Dossey, and his talk was interesting (but a little too long). He focused on the state of the “field” of energy medicine and some of the studies that have been done, what was being done well and what really should be changed in the approach for the future. He is an interesting guy and really knows what is going on in his field. He had some really good commentary and suggestions. The future studies would benefit from using his ideas, and I think some of them will inevitably be adopted.
After lunch we met with Lindsay Wagner in her room to do the radio interview as well as a piece Liz is preparing to do for Balance Magazine. I have always liked her and she seems so natural on television. I was really looking forward to meeting her but I would never have imagined how much time and attention she would end up giving us. She was so gracious and nice right from the beginning, but the conversation really opened up after the radio interview was done. She and Liz sat on her bed and I turned on the camcorder and it was like watching two friends at a slumber party within minutes. She opened up and talked about her life and family, the Bionic Woman, and her current and past service work. After the series ended she started working with prisoners in the LA County jail doing some of the therapies and modalities of healing she had learned out of necessity in her own life.
This is one of the most beautiful souls I have ever encountered in my life. She is so giving and her life and work reflects a consciousness that is truly benevolent and caring for all of humanity.She spent three and a half hours with us and performed a oneness blessing or Deeksha on both of us, similar to what Swamiji did for us at the Temple of Consciousness. This was different in its effect. I was either more receptive or sensitive or something, but I felt a physical effect for over an hour afterward and was literally High for hours, even after eating some dinner and driving the 50 miles or so back to Littleton. I was glowing, and loving it. She gave me a wonderful loving hug and we were off, literally and figuratively.
I’m running out of time and have to get ready to head back for the last day of the conference so that’s it for the moment. More tomorrow…
Well we just went through our first full day of the ISSSEEM conference. The opening dinner and talk the night before was really nice (except for the food).We had nice conversation with the people at our table, which included a family from Japan. The woman was a medical doctor and when I suggested that the medical establishment in the US had to get out of its own way, or something to that effect she said that we were better and more open to alternate medicine here than in Japan, That surprised me quite a bit. I thought we were pretty stiff in this country as far as that kind of thing goes. Japan has ancient medicines and other traditions that I figured were probably still revered. It seems like a culture that would be into preserving that aspect of its heritage but I guess it’s very underground.
So here is my take on all of that. As we have grown in our scientific knowledge we have become arrogant in what we have accomplished. It is a great achievement or a more accurately a series of great achievements without a doubt. We have gained in our intellectual understanding day by day for a couple of hundred years of industrial and now informational revolution but we are failing to hold on to the valuable things we already had.
One of the interviews we did yesterday was Dean Radin. He is one of the scientists who is open to the idea that science is on its way toward proving some of the intuitional things we all know and also what mystics have been telling us about consciousness, God and energy. Quantum mechanics is not new, although it is treated as if it is this great new idea. These theories have evolved since the early 1900’s and as they have been refined and or capabilities have grown, the image of the manifested universe has morphed. They have been looking for a unifying theory that will tie up the loose ends. We have physics which covers the tangible world and then a different set of rules that govern objects in the atomic and sub atomic worlds. They are now talking “String Theory” which actually does the trick mathematically once they expand theoretically into ten dimensions rather than the three we can detect with our senses. I can’t imagine the math it would take to get an extra 7 dimensions to reconcile the inside out situation created by a physical science that had to accept the idea that objects of different sizes behave differently but these guys do.
Brian Greene, a physicist, did the first presentation of the day and it was based on all of what I just related. He was asked about the “Law of Attraction” ala The Secret and stated very clearly that quantum physics does not prove the law of attraction in any way shape or form. He said he thought that linking the two was irresponsible and even dangerous. You can imagine the way this energy medicine crowd responded to that. It almost hijacked his entire talk. He did concede that there are appropriate metaphors, but stated unequivocally that there is no empirical link. That is what science looks for and he had not seen it.
That is what I think is the beauty of science and also the limitations, as well as the source of that arrogance. If I can’t prove it repeatedly I can’t accept it into the body of what we refer to as knowledge. Donna Eden did a really nice demonstration of energy medicine with muscle testing and different techniques which underscore some of the things we all know intuitively. We are all bundles of energy and we affect each-other’s energy fields when we are in close proximity. We all know if you walk in to a room full of happy people you will feel better immediately, and one person in a bad mood at the office can ruin the day and the mood of everyone else there… unless there are scientists.
More to come… Its 6:30am and I have to get to Boulder.
I got up early this morning to go do some hammer drilling at a job site that won’t let me make noise during business hours. I just didn’t have it in me to run across town at 6:00 am (or so) to work for about an hour on a project that will not be finished today anyway… Its contract work and that is good but they didn’t tell me about this when I bid it so I’m a little mad. Anyway my mind is on different things. Liz Arrives today.
The ISSSEEM conference is this weekend and I am really excited about it. Liz just confirmed an interview with Lindsey Wagner (the bionic sleep number woman) who is a spokesperson for the organization. I really wanted to meet her (for silly star struck reasons) and now I know I will. I am really looking forward to this conference and learning about energy healing. I have been becoming more aware of my sensitivities and I am hoping this conference will open me up even further. Look for extensive video and blogging about this. I will be taping the complete interviews this time and doing what I can to cronicle the event.
After that we head back to Crestone on Tuesday and I am looking forward to that as well. We will camp a day or two, visit the mineral springs and head to the Haidakahndi Ashram for a day or two. Then I leave Liz at the Nada Hermitage and I think I’m going up into the hills by myself for a night. I will have all my gear and unless something is on fire here in Denver I’m not coming right back.I’ve been talking about a solo backpacking trip and even if its just one night I’m going in. Crestone and the surrounding area is just beautiful. Liz last saw it (as did most of you) covered in snow. Now it will be green and alive.
I haven’t posted in a while but its time. I was reluctant to put anything up until people had a chance to find and watch the Crestone Movie. Things are popping again and I have to get back to business. I took a week off to take my daughter to Vegas to check out UNLV. We did a campus tour that I videoed (is that as word?) and I will post it to my you-tube channel asap. I did a pretty cool video of the Freemont street experience too just for kicks…
Liz and I are getting ready for our next adventure. She will be out later this month and we will try to do the recording we didn’t get to last time. Then we are attending the ISSSEEM conference. Its the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energy and Energy Medicine and it should be fascinating. I will be bringing the camera and Liz is trying to get as many interviews as possible set up with the presenters. This is the 18th annual event for them and it focuses on the intent of the healer. Anyone who knows me knows how strongly I feel about intent in every situation.
My dad used to tell a story about it. He always said, its not what you do, its what you do… I’ll let the story explain. A Samurai warrior arrives at his temple to find his teacher murdered and vows to avenge this unjust killing as his dharma, or sacred duty. He follows this man for two years always seeming just a step behind. Finally he has the murderer trapped in an alley and raises his sword to kill him. In a last act of defiance the murderer spits in his face. The Samurai puts his sword away and turns to leave. The murderer is confused and yells at him.. That’s it? You follow me for years keeping me on the run and in fear for my life and now you just walk away? What is going on? The Samurai turns and says simply, I got angry.
What was a sacred duty would have at that moment become murder because he would have struck this man down in a fit of rage. The intent defines the action.
After the Conference Liz ands I w3ill go back to Crestone. We will start at the Haidakhandi Ashram for a couple of days and then i will be coming home. We will catch up with the friends we made and check in on the drilling situation. Liz will be staying there for a few weeks of retreat starting at The Nada Hermitage, a carmelite Monastary we featured in the video. Then she will be going to the Temple of consciousness and I believe she has at least one other stop.
I will be interviewing her before and after her retreat so that should be really interesting, just seeing the change after a month of living a completely different lifestyle.
Also, I know I have been saying this but the new website for Higher-Ground.com is almost done. I have been checking it at my webmasters site and the content is building. Its totally exciting and I can’t wait until you can all see it.
This is the full length video I made on the Crestone trip. Its almost 40 minutes long but I believe you will find it interesting to watch. It has parts of the interviews with Lorraine Fox Davis of Rediscovery Four Corners and World Peace and Prayer Day, Connie and Susan at the Nada Hermitage – A Carmelite Monastery, Chief Arvol Looking Horse, who is the 19th Generation holder of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe and a spiritual leader of the tribes that make up the Sioux Nation, and Samiji, the spiritual Master of the Temple of Consciousness Ashram. There is also a piece with Matthew at the Shumei International Temple where he explains a bit about the area geographically as well as how it was created as a meeting ground for all spiritual disciplines by Hanna Strong. There were other interviews with William and Barbara of Sanctuary House, Ram Loti of the Haidakandi Universal Ashram where we stayed and Dave Davis, a specialist in advanced structural integration. I didn’t get to videotape them but we have audio.
This was in the course of three days. It was all consuming and I have to say everyone we met was wonderful. Opening their temples and in some cases their homes to us. It was amazing. The video is in a chronological order for the trip. We swith Lorraine and ended with Swamiji. It is such a close knit community. I have to tell this little story. We were with Lorraine and she was talking about the elements of wind fire and water and Liz asked a question about the wind. As if to answer her itself the wind kicked up an incredible whirl where it had been silent before. It took us all by surprise.
The next day at the Shumei Institute we brought it up and they had already heard the story. This place is a microcosm of what the world can and (I believe) will be. All of these traditions acknowledge and love each other in one small place. Native American, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, Japanese Shumei, and many we did not visit.
They are all getting along and better than that, thriving. It gave me new hope for mankind. You don’t get more devout than living in a Monastery or Ashram. If they can acknowledge the divinity in each others traditions why do we have to question it?
I hope you enjoy seeing this as much as I enjoyed making it.
Liz Sterling Will have audio available with the entire interviws and a montage piece is planned as well.
This is a short version of a (long awaited) video I made of a trip I took to Crestone, CO. Liz Sterling, a close friend, was supposed to come out to do some recording in my studio and compile some of her radio interviews. We began planning a side trip to Crestone because of an Ashram there run by a woman named Ramloti whom Liz had met at an event. The Crestone side trip grew until it took over the week Liz spent in Colorado. Between preparation and the studio work involved in editing the interviews when we got home it was the central focus rather than a side event.
We went with it and had a great trip. We stayed at the Ashram and Liz interviewed eight or nine of the spiritual leaders in the area. From Catholic Carmalite Nuns to a Native American Chief we got the same message. We are all the same, and we are all on the same journey. All religions lead to God, and Spirituality doesn’t have to be tied to a religion at all.
The other part of the story is that they are in a fight right now over the proposed drilling of exploratory wells for oil and natural gas on the Baca Wildlife Refuge. They sit on top of one of the largest aquifers in North America and had evidently won a fight over the water only to have it changed to oil drilling. The refuge is the issue but the mineral rights in the area don’t come along with land ownership. I don’t want to get too deep because I am not a reporter. Liz is digging and will have more on AskLiz.com
For this short version I didn’t leave much in the way of interviews. I just tried to let you get a taste of the trip. The other version will be up on Higher-Ground.com as soon as I can figure out how to post a 40 minute video. Youtube limits you to 11 min.
Last Tuesday Liz Sterling, a close friend and a radio talk show host in South Florida, arrived in Colorado to do some recording in my studio and take a trip to Crestone to visit some of the 23 spiritual centers there. I had been anticipating the trip but it was way more than I expected. We stayed at the Haidakandi Ashram for three days and Liz did interviews with 9 of the spiritual leaders in the area. I will be posting pix and making a video out of the footage I shot there.
What a place! It is beautiful and there are such great people. We went from one brilliant mind to another over the course of the three days talking about spirituality with a diverse group that ranged from a Catholic Carmelite Monastery to a Japanese Shumei Temple and two Hindu Ashrams. We talked to people from “New Age” and Native American belief systems and they all know and love each other. What is really impressive is that they all had about the same things to say. They talked about unity and love and the fact that we are all headed to the same place no matter what “religious” system we relate to.
At the Ashram I got to play a hand drum during the morning Aarati chanting ceremony and participate in the Fire ceremony at the full moon as well. It was interesting to see how devoted and loving they were in their prayers. It is run by a wonderful woman named Ramloti and you can do the same and visit this Ashram if you like. I’ll get links up on the Higher-Ground site ASAP. They live completely off the grid using photocells to generate electricity and gravity fed stream water. They have a generator for emergencies or if the get a few sunless days in a row but rarely have to start it.
What we didn’t know until just before heading there is that they are in an epic battle to save the land from drilling by a Canadian company. They wanted to tap a huge underground aquifer and lost that fight, so now they are trying to drill for natural gas they don’t even know exists. I think it is a ploy to start work there and then take the water. The whole community is against it, but while they own their land they don’t own the mineral rights. Stay tuned for more on this as we put the information together.