Taking stock, and what do frogs have to do with summer solstice?

Welcome to the latest wave of *Fika for Your Soul*!

*Fika for Your Soul* is about connecting with inspiration from everyday situations and conversations. It’s about discovery, reflection, leaning into, and stretching beyond…how we may see, understand, and express freedom, exploration, and leadership (among other things), all in the context of our daily lives.


A couple of weeks ago it was Midsummer’s Eve. In Sweden, if April 30th (Walpurgis Night or Valborgsmässoafton) is a celebration of Spring, then Midsummer (Midsommar) is when summer begins.

Midsommar is the most important holiday in Sweden all year. Even more so than Christmas and New Year. I may have moved away from Sweden in 2005, but I still feel a strong pull towards Midsommar and I suspect it’s the pagan in me that’s stirring the pot.

Having said that, I don’t know much about the origin of the modern day celebrations and practices, such as for example the dancing (read: jumping with both feet around a maypole that’s covered in leaves and flowers, singing ‘Little frogs…’!)

Continue reading Taking stock, and what do frogs have to do with summer solstice?

Never be disappointed in yourself.

Welcome to the inaugural wave of *Fika for Your Soul*!

*Fika for Your Soul* is a continuous series of articles or posts (I refer to these as waves). This series is about connecting with inspiration from everyday situations and conversations. It’s about discovery, reflection, leaning into, and stretching beyond…how we may see, understand, and express freedom, exploration, and leadership (among other things), all in the context of our daily lives.


My friend said something the other day that almost slid under the radar. It was a general statement, not directed at anyone in particular…

“Never be disappointed in yourself.”

At first glance, it’s one of those innocuous statements that could meet a response such as, “Yeah, yeah, of course not. Easier said than done”.

But my friend’s statement lingered in the air. I stared at him because something in me had responded very powerfully and very deeply.

It’s easy to sound clichéd about these things. We’re often told to believe in ourselves…a mindset reinforced with the intellectual understanding that even if we don’t succeed, we do the best that we can.

But my response wasn’t intellectual. I could FEEL the truth in what my friend was saying. What this had me REALISE, or KNOW, is that nobody should EVER feel disappointed in themselves.

Continue reading Never be disappointed in yourself.

Satsang for Collective Illumination

The range of spiritual practices is as vast and beautifully diverse as the cultures and sacred traditions that enrich the human family. Meditation, prayer, yoga, mantra recitation, conscious movement and exercise, and even sports can all help us to encounter the profound dimension of life and develop our spiritual nature.

The fruits of sustained spiritual practice include greater self-awareness, expanded capacity to give and receive love, reverence for all of life, healing of conflict and division, and, ultimately, peace on Earth. These benefits are realized over time as we engage with heart and dedication, and as we are transformed through the practices that are right for us. Moreover, as the Maharishi Effect and the Intention Experiments have shown, the benefits of spiritual practice can be amplified to the scale of societies, and even the whole planet, when we connect and harmonize our individual practices.

At The Enlightenment Zone, we are exploring new ways of practicing together that are made possible by telepresence technologies such as the Zoom video meeting platform. Our website and social media channels enable individuals to connect with one another and with peer-to-peer programs that use telepresence to access and help spread the enlightened consciousness that is quietly sweeping the planet. Two such programs are “Virtual Satsangs: Journeys into the Heart of Awakening” and “Living in God-Realization,” hosted by Yanni Maniates and Jeff Vander Clute. These regular online gatherings connect people from around the world using the power of Zoom and, most foundationally, the spiritual practice of satsang.

The word satsang derives from the Sanskrit words sat and sangha, which mean truth and company or association, respectively. The traditional form of satsang consists of a group of people who gather physically to associate with the true and the good by engaging in a spiritual inquiry led by a teacher or master. Satsang typically includes meditation, a discourse, and a period during which the teacher answers questions posed by the students. In the powerful field that satsang creates, participants often experience epiphanies and awakenings, and, in some cases, receive direct transmissions of consciousness and energy.

The Enlightenment Zone is building on the traditional practice of satsang – with an emphasis on experience and transmission – while innovating in at least two dimensions: (1) creating a field of liberating energy and consciousness that powerfully blesses each participant and the planet through telepresence; and (2) calling forth the spiritual mastery inherent in each individual so that they can become a co-teacher, with their peers, and offer their unique gifts into the collective. Thus far in our explorations, we have discovered that satsang and telepresence are completely compatible, and that groups of empowered peers can reliably become collective expressions of loving, awakened consciousness.

We have also found that great wisdom and light emerge through each individual, and that every participant contributes to the group’s ability to embody truth and goodness. While some people may be, or may appear to be, more advanced in certain ways (though generally not in all ways), everyone is learning and evolving, and the collective presence is on its own journey of awakening and embodiment as well. Therefore, to create the conditions for collective awakening, we have found it helpful to consider that we are all teaching and learning from one another simultaneously, that each of us is supporting the awakening of one another and the collective as a whole, and that each of us has the potential to be a leader, teacher, and spiritual master who is capable of embodying the light for the benefit of all beings.

A spiritual practice is an ongoing adventure. We practice, we deepen, and we discover new territories of inquiry and possibility. So it is with satsang. Through engaging with forms of practice that have existed for millennia, and innovating in ways that are appropriate to the times, we are discovering how to grow awakened collectives that can eventually coalesce into an awakened humanity. Thus satsang is a practice which, sustained and magnified, may finally enable us to realize the comprehensive healing and peace that we know in our heart of hearts to be the inevitable promise of humanity.

The Enlightenment Zone is an online destination for exploring our true nature where every offering has been created to transmit awakened consciousness and energy. To learn more about the Virtual Satsangs and Living in God-Realization explorations, including a schedule of upcoming events, please visit the Courses section of www.enlightenment.zone.

At the aquarium, waiting for a wedding to begin

This poem started writing itself years ago at the Seattle Aquarium. I’d arrived for a an evening wedding, and had time before the ceremony to stand transfixed before three exhibits: the jellyfish, the octopi, and the seahorses. The wedding was beautiful, but the image of the seahorses lingered longest. This poem is from my book, Pluck Another Apple, Eve, And Finish It .

At the aquarium, waiting for a wedding to begin

Dorsal fin fluttters
a soft wave.
Prehensile tail
wrapped around a coral twig
lets go,
curls into the golden ratio
of nautilus,
a perfect Fibonacci spiral.

There was a first time in all time
when something dropped to its knees
in awe.

I speak of that moment
the universe grew into
while its galaxies
spiraled in swept currents,
the first time something gasped
and knelt
because it didn’t know
what else to do.

The photograph of the swimming seahorse is from Pixabay.com, and was posted by PublicDomainPictures.

The Consciousness of Money: Money as a Spiritual Teacher

So often, what we resist and disparage actually holds the keys to our growth and freedom. This turns out to be especially true of money.

The deeply seated cultural beliefs that money is evil, or the root of all evil, have given rise to collective expectations about money that are playing out all around us. Even though it is virtually impossible to avoid interacting with money, most people have rejected it on some level (even if they have a lot of it) and as a result have accumulated a tangled mess of painful stories – of rejection, fear, lack, abuse, betrayal – about money. Small wonder there is so much dysfunction in society and in our personal lives. However, there is another way we can be together in this world, and changing our relationship with money is one of the most significant steps we can take to create a better life for ourselves and others.

When we relax and let go of all the painful stories and projections, set aside our rejection of money, and inquire into what money really is, we eventually discover that money is actually a most remarkable and radical teacher of life, and of consciousness. We discover that it wasn’t money that hurt us, and that if we had really understood what money is, we would almost certainly have had far more beautiful life experiences.

Money connects us with one another and with all that life has to offer. It is all about relationship. As we develop a comfortable and relaxed relationship with money, we stop pushing it away or trying to hoard it (which is actually the same thing). In fact, we open up innumerable pathways of connection, which means that money can come to us much more easily. At the same time, we learn the joy of being generous with money, as an expression of our overflowing gratitude for the magnificent web of connection that is life. In this generous flow of giving and receiving, we find that joy is ever-increasing and that life works better and better.

More radical still, we’ve discovered that what money really is – far beyond the bills and coins and bank balances that we thought it was – is an immensely powerful consciousness that yearns to reconnect us directly with our true nature and with the whole of life, if only we will let it. The more we engage with money, especially when we engage with it lovingly, the more we come to know the fullness of life, and ourselves, and the more conscious and awake we become in all of our interactions. Thus, far from being the root of all evil, money can actually heal us, and help to guide us home… to the realization of a profound inner peace and harmony with life.

I was shocked when I realized that Money is actually a spiritual teacher. That is the total opposite of so many embedded cultural beliefs and expectations. And yet these beliefs and expectations clearly haven’t worked. The world is in crisis now more than ever before. The sheer magnitude of humanity’s challenges is forcing us to revisit our beliefs and assumptions about how life works. The question of how we relate to money provides the perfect context for us to see that the truth is surprisingly different from what we may have been taught. The “shocking” nature of what we discover when we inquire into the true nature of Money calls to mind a saying from the Gospel of Thomas: “Let him who seeks [the truth] cease not to seek until he finds. When he finds he will be astonished, and when he is astonished he will wonder, and he will reign over all things!” Opening to Money as a spiritual teacher helps us to open to the wonder of our own true nature.

One of our workshop participants said it best. As a native man, when he saw past the generations of trauma, heartbreak, and abuse to the truth of what money really is, he nearly shouted with joy, “Money vibrates at the same frequency as Love!” Truly, as we learn to love money and let it love us, and as we work with money and let it teach us, we will learn to love ourselves and to live well together on this planet. We will heal, we will grow, and we will awaken. And in the process, our lives and our financial realities will change in beautiful and even astonishing ways.

Transforming our relationship with life and with ourselves, through the journey of exploring and embracing money, is the promise of The Consciousness of Money. Regardless of how much money we have, we can begin building a truly thriving relationship with money, and learning from it, right now. We can start wherever we are, with whatever we have. As such, the journey of how we relate to money can help everyone to heal, grow, and awaken. And, in particular, it can help you.

The next Consciousness of Money Online begins soon, and here is a schedule of our upcoming workshops and retreats in the USA:

Workshops

  • New York City: April 11, 2019 ~ “Transform Your Relationship with Money”

Three-Day Retreats

  • Napa Valley, California: April 23-27, 2019
  • Orcas Island, Washington: May 4-7
  • Crestone, Colorado: May 22-25
  • Asheville, North Carolina: June 6-9
  • Bucks County, Pennsylvania: June 12-15
  • New York City area: June 27-30

Please contact us if you’d like to participate in one of the workshops or retreats. You might also enjoy reading Love Money, Money Loves You, by Sarah McCrum.

What is synergy, really?

Photo Credit: “Synergy” by Nick Youngson*

While preparing for a conference call about how to support more expressions of actual synergy in the world, I went into meditation and asked the question, “What is synergy, really?” Somehow the usual notion of synergy as the whole being greater than the sum of the parts felt insufficient. Intuitively, I sensed that there was more information available about how and from where this greaterness arises. In particular, I could “see” that what makes the whole more than the amalgamation of the parts comes not from some complex interaction of the parts as much as through an opening that the parts are coherently able to invoke.

Below is what came through during the meditative inquiry.

1. Synergy is a luminous expression of THE ONE behind the entire Game of Creation. It reaches from FREEDOM well into the territory of delusion as a compassionate act.

2. The constituent parts of a given system that are said to be in synergy are collaborating to create the conditions for the emergence of a truly new manifestation. These conditions are a kind of opening to the Ground of Spontaneous Being within conditioned reality. The new manifestation emerges through this opening, from the profound depths of Being.

3. Synergy is therefore facilitating direct Creation by the MOST LUMINOUS ONE, the “rays” of which combine to form the truly new creation within the bounds and conditions of that which has already been created. At the same time, this new creation overflows the apparent boundaries and evolves the conditions as an expansion of Consciousness.

4. As a technology of invocation, synergy is a siddhi – a power that lies latent within each and every one until it is awakened. This siddhi can be developed and mastered by individuals, groups, and even organizations.

5. Embedded within the Ground of Spontaneous Being there is a Light source that emanates new subtle material into the dimensions of existence. This light is always on, always searching for an opening through which to deliver “spiritual medicine” for the Mind that has gone astray.

6. This spiritual medicine of actual synergy is always unique, and is always an expression of indivisible Totality. It is a corrective, compassionate response to the sufferings of the Mind that has attempted to divide itself.

7. Looking to understand this medicine in terms of the components that have assembled to invite it forth is futile. Even though there is the appearance of causal relationships between the parts and the whole – for this preserves the veil of Maya – no formula for repeating true synergy will ever be found. Synergy is far beyond that which can be mechanized.

8. The deepest roots of synergy are beyond Buddha and the Christ, and beyond all that has ever been named. The invocation of synergy reaches all the way to the Source of Being.

9. An aptitude for enlightenment is a requirement for those who would invoke synergy where it is needed the most. Presence; discernment; willingness to serve the Whole; the capacity to listen deeply, to the point where one’s ears become the ears of Divinity; utter and total commitment to Good; and the longing for a world that is free from all delusion… These are some of the attributes that are needed. The more awakening one has, and the more these capacities have been developed, the more synergy will course through the life of the one or ones becoming thus realized.

10. Transfiguration of bodies is the by-product of synergy. Expect a miracle. Expect a new body. Expect a healed world. Expect that all of these experiences are your birthright within this lifetime. The only ingredient that has been missing is the correct understanding of what synergy is. The instant – this instant – that such information is made available, the Light that is hidden within the deeper domains of substance will begin to emerge and assume the forms that are required for the healing of all life forms and the restoration of Heaven as a lived experience.

11. Synergy is thus a miracle technology of the MOST LUMINOUS, to be wielded by those who have realized the GREAT NUMINOSITY beyond all appearances of the uncountable realms of Creation. These keys have been given on this sacred day in the unspooling of Divine Time. This ever-widening moment is indeed the long-awaited dawn of the New Humanity.

* Photo by Nick Youngson, via Alpha Stock Images, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Ingenious Connection Between our Subconscious Mind & our External World

The woman in the green jacket

Our external world gives us the best signals.

In the town where I live, I’ve seen a young woman roaming the streets, asking for change, sometimes accompanied by a man who she always walks a few steps behind, but usually on her own. She often sits on High Street bundled up in a sleeping bag.

A few months ago, I noticed she was wearing what looked like a new green jacket. This past couple of weeks, I’ve seen her more or less every time I’ve been out and about. The jacket is dirty now, and she looks tired and worn out.

One evening a couple of days ago, I was on my way to a restaurant with a friend. We came across this woman and she asked if we had any spare coins. I don’t usually have any coins on me, but this time I did and I gave her what I had. Over dinner, I told my friend about her, and that something about her seemed to stay with me.

I hadn’t been able to put my finger on what that was. There was a chunky, “blobby” feeling in my chest whenever I thought of her. It felt very uncomfortable.

Was it guilt, shame, fear, or something else? I live my life believing that, if what I perceive around me triggers me one way or another, it exists within me. So…this lady represents something in me that wants to be seen and released.

I didn’t have to poke around long to see what was going on. It was staring me in the face.

The feeling wasn’t fear of her – it was fear of becoming her.

OMG.

I feel something stir as I share these words in the here and now, and there’s no shying away from them.

A timely rejection

Back in 2008, I was very close to moving to the US. At a crucial point in discussions about a job opportunity, the recession hit and that avenue closed. I continued to feel a pull to move to the US and in November 2012, I applied for an investment visa. It meant incorporating a company and investing some money in it to lay the groundwork for a visa while serving US clients from abroad.

As I walked into the US embassy in Stockholm for my visa interview in March of 2013, I didn’t “feel” it. It was as if I was in a bubble. No flow, no energy moving. Yes, I was nervous. But there was more to it than that, although I didn’t have the words for it at the time.

My visa application was rejected. I wasn’t surprised. I had a sense that the rejection confirmed something I already knew. I had followed my gut in pursuing the visa, yet maybe this was the Universe’s way of telling me it wasn’t meant to be…or, there was some other learning in it…or maybe the timing was off…

All the way through, from the first impulse in 2008 to move to the US, I’d been adamant that I would bring some furniture with me. My reasoning was that I had a few pieces from my grandparents that I didn’t want to give away, and since I was already living far from the rest of my family, I couldn’t easily return them. Or, so the story went.

I stayed curious about my stubborn determination to bring furniture. Why did I think there was a “need”? After some digging to see what was really going on, I found that I had a belief that moving to the US without furniture would mean I was homeless, with no security, and could easily become a living-under-a-bridge-with-a-shopping-trolly person. Now, I see the ill-crafted logic. Not having your own furniture doesn’t make you homeless – places can be rented furnished! But that somehow didn’t matter. I had this looming feeling that moving to the US without furniture could turn me into a homeless person.

It wasn’t until I was trying to figure out why the lady in the green jacket was having such an effect on me that I connected the dots and remembered about the visa application and the furniture.

Notice any similarities…?

Limiting beliefs

Over the past year and a bit, I’ve been training to become a certified Spiritual Practitioner. Part of the training requires getting to, and operating from, the cause-side of the “cause and effect equation”. Meaning that if I’m at the effect side of the equation, I perceive that things are happening to me. That’s victimhood. If I’m at the cause end of the equation, I realize I’m the creator, the one responsible. Exploring and learning to be “at cause” involves looking at patterns that show up and situations that trigger me in some way, and then releasing them.

Coming back to the fear of becoming the woman in the green jacket, there’s actually another piece that takes it deeper. I’m afraid of failing my new venture.

I notice my choice of words, “I’m afraid of failing my new venture”. I’m afraid of being a disappointment to my new venture, that I don’t have what it takes to do it justice, that I’m not good enough. Though that’s a lot clearer about what’s going on, it’s still somewhat covert as that wording still separates myself from myself. My venture is me, it’s my life’s work!

The above may sound a bit doom-and-gloomy, but it really isn’t!

As a Spiritual Practitioner, I have the tools to clear my limiting decisions or beliefs. Such decisions or beliefs result from traumatic events (in this lifetime or other lifetimes). Based on the experience in that traumatic moment we decide there and then to believe a certain truth as a way to protect ourselves in the future. That limiting belief gets stored in our subconscious and helps guide us forward in life. We’re usually not aware of these “truths” running our lives, and, at times, it can be somewhat tricky to find them.

I also know as a Spiritual Practitioner, when things that “show up” in my life trigger a powerful emotional response, some limiting decision or belief is poking me to be released.

For example, take the lady in the green jacket or being homeless without furniture. My underlying emotion or feeling of discomfort is a sign of something that’s ready to be released. Actively pursuing my life’s work, is triggering this deep-set limiting belief. I don’t need to figure out the details of exactly what happened when to cause this belief (to know the full story linked to the emotion). What has been, has been. The key is to identify the emotion within the trigger and ask what I make that mean about me now, and to ask that question repeatedly until I’ve gotten deep enough to reach the core limiting belief.

The true victory here is recognising the pattern and identifying the limiting belief (or core belief) that I’ve been running at a subtle level, a belief I’ve been using for a long time to make meaning of opportunities and possibilities in my life. A belief I was only vaguely aware of, off and on, until the lady with the green jacket showed up.

Zeroing in and releasing

I’m very close to nailing down the wording for this core belief. When I get it right, when I find the perfect combination of words, I know from past experience that I’ll feel that rightness as a deep, uncomfortable contraction in my chest. Despite the discomfort, I’ll welcome it, because finding the right wording for my limiting belief is the biggest chunk of the work of letting the belief go.  

The actual process for releasing the belief is fairly quick. And, incredibly powerful.

After a belief has been released, generally one of three things happens. (1) The situation or circumstance that caused the trigger disappears completely, or (2) the situation or circumstance remains but external behaviour changes, or (3) the situation or circumstance remains the same but you’re no longer triggered by it.

Knowing how powerful this release process is, I’m looking forward to shifting this core belief and seeing how I’ll show up in my life’s work when I’m not subconsciously holding myself back because of fear.

If you’re aware of patterns, or you are noticing similar situations showing up in your life that make you feel deeply uncomfortable, guilty, fearful, angry, or sad, contact me to schedule a free 45-minute Curiosity Call. You don’t have to let limiting beliefs hold you back.