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.

Seven Practices of Thriving and Abundant Consciousness

Hi friends!

Just before the turn of the year, Jeff received the following in meditation…

Seven Practices of Thriving and Abundant Consciousness:

  1. Beauty
  2. Creativity
  3. Relaxation
  4. Simplicity
  5. Enjoyment
  6. Love
  7. Clarity

These seven practices necessarily expand and awaken individual and collective consciousness, and they create the experience of abundance. Together, they support an opening into Joy and Receptivity. They also support the deep work of healing, clearing, forgiving, and integrating that so many of us are drawn to at this time.

Curiously, three of the above practices – Relax, Enjoy, and Love – consistently show up in the same order in our work with The Consciousness of Money. “Relax, Enjoy, Love” is a simple formula that has already been helping people to live in much lighter and more abundantly joyful ways. Now, with the expanded set of seven practices, we have “more ways to play” as well as additional tools for staying grounded and clear.

Here’s our suggestion for the New Year: Let’s all see what happens when we celebrate and engage with these seven practices in the first few months of 2019. All of us at Sourcing The Way and The Consciousness of Money invite you to join in this fun experiment, and to let us know what starts to flourish as you do so!

What a year!

2018 has been a banner year for Sourcing The Way. Jeff and Maria have co-created an abundance of tools, technologies, systems, events, workshops, collaborations….in Jeff’s case while traveling the world, and in Maria’s by doing deep work from her home in the U.K.

Let’s start with Maria. She’s finishing off 2018 by completing her Spiritual Practitioner training, which has prepared her to offer her clients Karmic Alignments, a process and philosophy that goes deep and brings practical, psychological understandings together with spiritual practices. She brings all of this into her coaching practice, where she’s been developing a set of consciousness technologies focused on Spiritual Freedom. All of them complement the work of Sourcing The Way. Their overarching theme is ‘Activating Your Future’ with three key questions that guide her clients’ quests:

  1. Am I owning my story?
  2. Am I living my values?
  3. Am I showing up fully?

The first of Maria’s interactive offerings – the Mapping Your Freedom assessment – is just about to launch, so expect more news from her soon!

As for Jeff, he spent 2018 traveling around the world to expand STW’s impact by:

  • Co-leading Consciousness of Money workshops on three continents, together with Sarah McCrum and Niko Dujmovic. What began as an experimental workshop in 2017 is growing into a global movement as people discover that we’ve been misreading what Money is and what Money wants.
  • Accepting invitations to help organizations and gatherings “Source” deeply to raise their consciousness, become more effective, and fine-tune their offerings.
  • Continuing to research and evolve the radical possibilities offered by the Synthesis maps.
  • Working with individual clients who want to be more effective or aware.

What happened where?

Jeff’s 2017 ended with meetings in Delhi for UNITY EARTH, so 2018 began with 2 weeks in South India visiting ashrams, connecting with illuminated people, and researching the Synthesis maps. Here’s what happened after that. (An asterisk (*) means Jeff co-led, organized, or helped facilitate the event.)

  • Australia: Three Consciousness of Money workshops on the Sunshine Coast*
  • Berkeley, CA: True Purpose™ process for Bristlecone Mining Co. with Tim Kelley
  • Nevada: Connecting with the desert for Bristlecone Mining Co. (a radically revolutionary, new-paradigm company committed to collaborating with Nature)
  • Crestone, CO: Extended Consciousness R&D time
  • India for a five-day working retreat for UNITY EARTH + Rishikesh trip, connecting with illuminated people*
  • Australia: Two Consciousness of Money workshops*
  • Santa Barbara, CA: Evolutionary Leaders retreat to explore “Community 2.0″*
  • Loveland, CO: Presented at Tribalize conference at Sunrise Ranch*
  • New York, NY: “Social Artistry” event at United Palace in NYC with Duane Elgin, Jean Houston, Jude Currivan, and Lynne McTaggart*
  • Crestone, CO: Launched the Center for Awakened Human Capacities with an inaugural gathering of over 50 people*
  • Orcas Island, WA: Two Consciousness of Money workshops (the first CoM events in USA)*
  • Crestone, CO: Sacred Sites Convergence (a UNITY EARTH event)*
  • Glastonbury and Devon, England: Three Consciousness of Money workshops (the first CoM events in Europe)*
  • Findhorn, Scotland: A weeklong exploration of “Co-creating with the Intelligence of Nature”*
  • Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia: Two days of offering nonstop healing sessions at Fields of Healing*
  • Australia: Two Consciousness of Money workshops
  • Findhorn, Scotland: Exploring connections between the sacred mission of the Findhorn Foundation and eco-village and The Consciousness of Money

Jeff also consulted with around 35 individual clients and advised or mentored a dozen organizations. And Maria has been just as busy! As for 2019, stay tuned….

Returning to the Country of the Heart

There is a great deal of attention being placed nowadays on the theory and practice of awakening consciousness. The truly good news of these times is that spiritual practices are proliferating that can reliably guide the soul home to the knowing and experience of its true abode. One simple and ageless practice, which I discovered essentially through trial and error, is that of showing up consistently in service, saying YES when asked to fulfill a function, often as part of a team, and then surrendering to the Grace that flows when service deepens into selflessness. This practice permeates my inner and outer work, and it has been a radical accelerant on my journey home.

In June 2017, I had the great good fortune to meet Ben Bowler at a gathering of leaders working to bridge divides between science, spirituality, and activism in this time of deepening world crisis. As we sat outside in the early-morning summer sunshine, Ben shared a vision for UNITY EARTH – a living network of people, organizations, and events with a mission of healing humanity and Earth through experiences of actual Unity. One of the events coming up within a few short months was a concert to observe and celebrate a profound healing moment for the nation and peoples of Australia: the “return to country” of Mungo Man. Ben asked if I would be interested in coming to Australia to participate, and without a hesitation I said YES.

Continue reading Returning to the Country of the Heart

An Open Letter to those in search of Spiritual Freedom – Part #4/4

This is the last part, part four, of my series on the principle that has guided my own journey and now underlies every element of my coaching, teaching, and mentoring practice: Spiritual Freedom. (Learn more at http://www.annamariaback.com)

So, how can one recognise Spiritual Freedom?

As a wise friend shared, Spirit is the oxygen of the soul. For the logical mind, Spiritual Freedom can seem challengingly elusive because it is intangible. Some say spiritual freedom is an experience. And, as frustrating as this may be, unless you’ve had the experience…well, it stays intangible.

Instead of calling it an experience, I would offer that Spiritual Freedom is more of a state. The beauty of it is that there is no fixed formula. You decide what it means to you, what makes it true for you.

As I mentioned earlier, in my view (which is only one model of many), the antithesis to Spiritual Freedom is Fear. Fear of living, fear of being oneself, fear of standing up for and to oneself, and fear of not believing in oneself, to name a few. When it dawned on me that my life lacked Spiritual Freedom, I felt confused. A part of me felt guilty because, really, what did I have to complain about?! I was a free spirit. My life was pretty awesome and comfortable.

To me, Spiritual Freedom is having the freedom to choose, to be who I am, to take responsibility for who I am, to be curious, to operate beyond the constricting boundaries of expectations:

  • It is what fires me up, what makes me want to take action, to change, to grow, to evolve.
  • It is my main motivation in everything I do, who I am, and also why I do what I do.
  • It is connected to instinct and deeper wisdom, inspiration, awareness, and autonomy.
  • It expands my perspective, it keeps me on my toes as it brings self-discovery and evolution into focus.
  • It provides me with the framework to having the courage to lean beyond my comfort zone.
  • It makes me feel freer, agile, alive, inspired, and energised.
  • It helps me fine tune my focus and have trust in turning inward.

Spiritual Freedom involves integrating spiritual practices in everyday life and not being held back by circumstances. It involves being aware of the systems I operate within, deciding who I want to be and how I want to show up.

During my ongoing self-discovery expedition, the following questions have provided direction:

  1. Am I owning my story?
  2. Am I living my values?
  3. Am I showing up fully?

Spiritual Freedom is about listening to our soul’s calling, giving our inner wisdom its opportunity to shine. Feeling contentment, fulfilment, and inner satisfaction. Being confident in who we are and what we have to offer, knowing that we are enough, knowing that our spirit is awake to express itself fully.

To no longer be defined or confined by story is also part of Spiritual Freedom. It’s about being free to own whatever is within you – that which follows you through life, and beyond – your inner core, your joy and freedom.

The three questions about owning my story, living my values, and showing up fully, have been a steady companion for some time. At times I have wondered if they are clear enough, and how and if they connect to Spiritual Freedom. One wise friend recently said, “They do for me. Upon answering these questions with ‘no– no– no’, it tells me why I’m not there yet”.

If your answers to the above questions are “no” – remember, it’s not about blame. It’s about acceptance, recognition, forgiveness, and appreciation. The beauty is, as there is no fixed formula, we all have access to those, and to the freedom they lead to.

My question to you is…is Spiritual Freedom present in your life? If yes, what does it look like? And if not, would you like it to be?