Thursday, January 18, 2018

Fun Along the Way (Revised)

The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everyone rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.
(Alan Watts)

I was returning to my office from lunch break and had to wait at a red light. I thought I would have a little fun looking at license plates for any spiritual messages and the usual affirmations were passing by. Suddenly a car showed up with a license plate carrying the letters MARION. “Odd”, I thought to myself, “Marion works in London and to my recollection we are not scheduled to work on anything together.” I crossed the street and was just about to enter the building when I felt a vibration. It was a calendar update on my phone. You can imagine my surprise when I saw that Marion was planning a trip over to Boston and had sent me an invite to meet!

Serendipities like this are really little energy boosts. They are nods from the Way to remind us that we are always connected. I started my spiritual quest because my scientific mind wanted answers when I first encountered synchronicity. The principle of Oneness just didn’t want to go into my scientific head until I saw all the evidence for myself. Later, I felt it was my mission to write about these metaphysical oddities given that I had a PhD in economics and professionally specialized in pattern recognition. If anyone had a shot not to be ‘Fooled by Randomness’—to turn Nassim Taleb’s popular scientific assertion on its head—it should be me. That was how my first book, ‘The Magnificent Experiment’ was born. I have moved on in the meantime though. Everything is connected, people as well as events. It is a fact that I have verified for myself, but it is natural to ask then, what do we do with this insight? 

Not surprisingly, as we discover these new-found metaphysical powers, we want to use them. Well-timed market calls, auspicious lottery ticket purchases, and whatever else it is that our fickle mind comes up with. Maybe some of us can bend the workings of the Universe at their will, but I quickly stopped trying. The reason why I started out with this story, there was absolutely nothing material that came of it. This story is about having a little fun with synchronicity and knowing what truly matters in life, spending time with people we care about. Allan Watts summed it up well, the meaning of life might just be to be alive, and to have fun with it!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

On Wholeness

Daniel Pink starts his New York Times Bestseller, ‘A Whole New Mind’ with the premise that we are all on a journey towards wholeness. In a spiritual quest, he says, it is a natural evolution to become androgynous (a balanced combination of male and female attributes). Professionally, he figured, societies and economies will make the transition from left-brained (logical, analytical, objective) to right-brained (intuitive, thoughtful and subjective). That all resonated with me perfectly at that time when I read it. I always felt that I was born an old soul. I was hitting the library searching for spiritual insights during my student days, while my high testosterone friends were hitting on girls instead. Later in my professional role as a financial strategist I underwent Daniel Pink’s predicted transition from the highly analytical PhD research to the more intuitive strategy work that can be best described as pattern recognition. Despite all these personal overlaps with his predictions, I still would state his wholeness premise differently: the system we operate in strives for wholeness, we don’t necessarily have to. Instead, express your life story passionately and purposefully, and wholeness will be yours, eventually.

The interplay of yin and yang and the subconscious drive to bring the opposing forces together can be found everywhere. Lao Tzu already understood this law of life 2500 years ago in ancient China and shared his observations in the Tao Te Ching. The interplay of opposing forces can be literally found everywhere. Have a look around, and you will see it too. I discovered the duality of life in my economic profession: prolonged booms set the stage for the next recession; bull markets are followed by bear markets, and hawkish politicians and policy makers will one fine day kick out their more dovish counterparts. Every reaction has a counter-reaction, and we spiritual travelers are called to understand this tension and encouraged to one day transcend it. As it is written in the Tao Te Ching, the Master resides at the center of the circle, watching the world spin.

Observe any group of people and you can see the dance of yin and yang there as well. In my professional life I had the pleasure of working with the most diverse set of people there can be. A group of ten experts covering the globe included story tellers and visionaries, as much as analytical and number oriented minds. We had an equal ratio of male and female, we had Asians, Europeans, Latinos and Americans working together. It was my job to bring their accumulated insights and talents together and that was when I understood that all of them had come together to teach me a thing or two about wholeness, and the tensions of duality.

As spiritual travelers we can see that subconscious drive towards wholeness everywhere. Love, respect and study your parents for one day you will find yourself embarking on a mission that they themselves couldn’t quite finish. Study the lives of your in-laws for some of their struggles will likely make it into your household as well. We are One and we all have signed up for a joint healing mission. Work, home, the interactions with our friends, as well our spiritual journey; the strive to make whole, to complete and, eventually, to let go, can be found in all areas of our lives.

It is a law that the system of people interacting with each other strives for wholeness, but the same does not have to be true for the individual. The mother of 3 boys may accentuate her femininity, subconsciously compensating for the remaining high testosterone household. The system has to be in balance, and the individual has to be made whole by the environment he operates in. Interestingly enough, during my Awakening journey I moved away from my somewhat androgynous starting point. Embedded in a driven, high testosterone-charged working environment, I had to accentuate my assertiveness. Without imposing some some healthy boundaries vis-à-vis my aggressive colleagues, they would have eaten me for lunch a long time ago. In hindsight, it was that tension of finding who I truly am that catapulted me on my spiritual path.

Along a spiritual path we get a clearer understanding of who we truly are beneath the hood. Like a snake that sheds its skin, we let go of the parts that are not us. In some dimensions we become whole, in others, we let others complete us while expressing our idiosyncratic story line. Neale Walsch presented a beautiful theory that describes our Home-coming journey best in ‘A Conversation with God’. In it, God stated that in order to return to the light, we have to make it through all the rainbow colors. Be that passionate red, or embrace the serene blue, just as it feels right. Whatever you do though, go all the way! Express your life story perfectly: the eccentric artist, the passionate lover, the driven spiritual leader, the giving care taker, or the loving and committed mother. Whatever your story is, go and run with it.

GOD has designed this life to bring you Home. Express yourself, and you will naturally attract the support system that completes you. Eventually we all make it through all the rainbow colors, and that’s when the Old Souls become androgynous and seemingly float above all of life’s temptations. We came from Wholeness and will one day return to it. Wholeness is your birth-right, claim it!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

This World is our Reflection

Everyone is my teacher. Some I seek, some I subconsciously attract.

Let’s not get fooled by life’s theater. Everyone we hang out with has a message for us, whether we appreciate this message or not. Our friends like us the way we are, whereas those who heckle us want us to be different. So what!

There is no foe, there is only a question and a choice. Why have I attracted the person I interact with today? Is she perhaps alerting me to something about myself that I wasn’t aware of before? How should I proceed?

We spiritual travelers don’t need to engage with conflict because we know that everyone is our mirror staring back at us. Duality, good and bad, evil and kind, is meaningless. Change yourself and experience how the world changes with you.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Self Love

"How can God's son awaken from the dream? It is a dream of judgment. So must he judge not, and he will waken." (A Course in Miracles)

GOD endowed me with a big intellect, and later in life, I also developed the eyes to see connections in people, words and actions that others would call mysterious. With that talent, I often recognize conflict as the outcome of subconscious drives that I myself have. If the broken China on the floor was predestined of sorts, why would we judge anyone?

If only I could be as generous with myself instead!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

What is a Sin?

Nothing Real can be threaded.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the Peace of God.
(A Course in Miracles)

The Greek root of the word to sin is to miss the mark. It is a very different notion of the concept that the Christian church has indoctrinated. Instead of a permanent stain that only a higher authority can forgive, the original meaning implies that after an acknowledgement of our poor judgement, we simply promise to aim better next time around. To err is human.

Many religions have established their processes that allow their believers to let go. In the Catholic absolution, for example, the believer is cleared of the sin as long as he believes in God and the forgiving act of the holy Church. Not many people have this faith these days, but it worked in the olden days. Once conscious and subconscious beliefs agree on something, it is complete.

I have traveled my spiritual journey for 10 years now, and I have observed that a sin is a temporary disconnect. A stain yes, but it always gets washed away. It is an energy interference of sorts. The above quote of the Course in Miracles maintains that what we feared we did never happened, but we have to bring our subconscious along to embrace this fact, and that’s a process.

I have experienced the peace of the Course in Miracles talks about. No matter what faux-pas, no matter what missed step along the WAY, always, and always I experienced that everything was forgiven and forgotten. Yet, with clock-work precision, it always was a process to claw myself back. I could literally feel the interference, the polluted energy, the fog. Then one day the veil lifted.

Along a spiritual path you can literally experience the disentanglement process, and the letting go of karmic bonds. Like a snake leaves its worn-out skin behind, we leave our faux-pas behind as we apologize and promise to do better next time around. What is your process of letting go?

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Don’t Sweat It

What is possible and what is not is not your business. Nature will decide this. Your business is just to work for what truly matters to you.

When we aspire to be with GOD, life suddenly becomes simple. We set the sails in HER direction, and let HER do the heavy lifting. Everything life throws at us—good and bad, health and sickness, success and failure—we leave up to HER. We don’t sweat it, and just keep going.

Even if many of us still have a split mind—spiritual enlightenment for us, but Harvard University admission for the kids; church for the family on Sundays, but a big bonus check in December—that’s ok too. We still return HOME on the fastest way possible, but unfortunately we will have to sweat it; our nature determines the outcomes, and there is little we can do about it.

Every path—whether schemed up by ego, or inspired by SPIRIT—leads us straight into the arms of GOD. We spiritual travelers who have the sails set towards GOD need to do our share of steering along the journey. In contrast to others though, we don’t have to sweat it. We’ll be HOME, sooner or later.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Leaving Life’s Dualities Behind

When someone has united with the supreme SELF, dualities such as hot and cold, pleasure and pain, success and failure are equally the same.
(Bhagavad Gita)

Stoicism is not needed along a spiritual path. The stoics are in love with the above quote of the Bhagavad Gita but there is a more beautiful path to leave the dissatisfying duality of life behind. Don’t just tough it up and become insensitive to life’s ups and downs. Discover the WAY instead!

The Bhagavad Gita also advises mind control. Meditation, yoga, and other disciplines are encouraged to still the fickle mind. Nothing is wrong with these. In fact, embracing these disciplines is often how the spiritual path starts in earnest. Yet, much more simple than that, discover the WAY and the mind naturally calms down in the magnificence of the holy NOW.

The SELF is at our disposal here and now. Embrace your SELF and life’s dualities don’t exist. It is a creation of our fickle mind.