MORALITY vs CONSCIOUSNESS – clinging to the past or letting go?

I was reading More Than a Life, the biography of the Indian mystic and global humanitarian Sadhguru this morning, and was stopped cold by a quote from the man I call my guru: “You don’t need a moral structure when you have consciousness.”

It didn’t stop me because it was a new thought. I’ve known this for ages. What stopped me was the context. He was talking about our modern “civilization” and how he perceives we’re rapidly coming to the place where as both individuals and society we exhibit neither morality nor consciousness.

And I realized yet another aspect to the whole Donald Trump “win.”

When there is no awareness of what life is—when there is no knowledge of the self—when there is no sense of interconnection—when there is no compassion—when there is no capacity for inner regulation and restraint—when there is no striving for wisdom … in other words, when there’s no higher level of consciousness at play in the world … we are reduced to the need to impose rules and regulations from the outside. We are reduced to the Law of External Morality.

Which is exactly what a vast number of people in the US are striving towards and obviously yearning for.

With no inner compass to guide us we blindly turn to Authority—to the loudest voice and the biggest stick. With no strong compassionate feminine presence mitigating our fears, teaching us that it’s safe to turn inwards to search our own hearts for answers, we automatically turn to the Authoritarian Male for leadership.

In our fear we fall prey to the need for rules. Order at all costs! Whether the order imposed is egalitarian doesn’t matter. Whether the order imposed is ethical doesn’t matter. Whether the order imposed makes sense doesn’t matter. Anything to save us from the gaping maw of chaos and dissolution …

For decades Western society has been sliding into chaos—that unstructured frightening time and place that inevitably comes when old philosophies and systems no longer work and are falling apart, before new systems have been birthed to replace them.

Instead of going gracefully into the unknown we clutch at the old and the known and fervently cling to it no matter how dysfunctional and corrupt and painful it might be.

A rise in consciousness is the only alternative. But how do we get to that?

We must turn within and follow the guidance of own inner spirit. And if our inner compass is wobbly it helps to find a great teacher. (Not surprisingly I highly recommend Sadhguru!)

We must support the voices calling for change from within. We must be loathe to impose rules and laws and be quick to open doors to new ideas. And we must be even quicker to reach out our hands in unity—shattering boundaries and barricades wherever we find them, both inside and out.

Healing Seeking Sickness

When the accepted truths of religion and society fail to satisfy the hunger inside for truth, there’s nothing else to do but seek alternatives. And therein lies one of the primary problems with spiritual seeking.

After leaving one system of thought, it’s just human nature that most people are quickly and easily enticed into an alternative system. The human ego likes the comfort systems provide. We’re trained from childhood to believe having the “right answers”—whether to a math problem, a history lesson, or what happens to us after death—is of paramount importance. The need for right answers is so deeply ingrained we don’t even notice it.

So what happens when we leave an established religious system that no longer suits us? Most of us go straight out and quickly adopt a new system of thought that appears to have the answers we seek. I certainly did.

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The Deepest Yearning

We may need the survival basics of water, food and shelter and a little money coming in. And we may want a nicer house or better car or faster computer. But our most fundamental yearning is not tangible at all.

It’s connection.

Sure, connection looks tangible. After all, connection means hooking up with some other living breathing beinga person or animal—and developing an emotional bond with that being through give and take interactions that satisfy both ways.

But what if you don’t have a partner? What if you don’t have a lot of people or animals around? What if, like me, you spend most of your time buried in your office in front of a computer working alone? What if you work from home and don’t get out much?

Just writing these words I had the sudden urge to go look for my housemate’s cat. I rent her downstairs apartment and she’s out of the country for a couple months and Sprout—a fluffy, grey, rapidly-growing-out-of-his-kitten stage of life cat—is under my care for the time being. And I’m so glad he is!

It’s been three years since my last cat, Grace, died. And because I’ve been moving and traveling it hasn’t been appropriate to adopt another kittie. 🙁  Ah – found him! Under my bed!

Thing is, just thinking about being alone can make us feel disconnected and lonely—even when we’ve got people in our lives. When I was contemplating writing about this doing the laundry this morning, the first thing that came up were emotions around my lack of connection. And I almost didn’t write this because of it.

Yes. I have a lot of friends that I see regularly. And I speak at churches and centers usually one or two times a month. And I’m constantly connecting with people via email or Skpe. But just because we’re around people doesn’t mean we’re connected. You can lie next to someone in bed every night for years and never feel lonelier. Read More

Freed by Brownie Brittle

So I’m in the store with an 88-year young friend I sometimes assist, getting groceries at 4 pm on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. And while she’s looking for free-range organic eggs, I turn around and on the aisle end cap spy a display of salted caramel brownie brittle.

Really? How irresistible!  “Hey, Cora,” I say, grabbing a bag. “Check this out. Brownie Brittle!”

“Put it in the cart,” she says, grinning.

Now Cora is roughly the same age my mom would be if she hadn’t died way back in 1993. I’ve missed mom a lot over the years and often regretted I would never be an adult with her and have the opportunity to assist her in her elder years. I’m also very conscious that in a lot of ways Cora fills the gap. And for that I am deeply grateful.

Tossing the Brownie Brittle in the cart, suddenly something happened.

Forty years fell away and I was no longer a 65-year-old 30-pounds overweight adult. I was 15 and skinny and hungry and happy and didn’t have a worry in the world. Life was my oyster. I didn’t have homework and I was going to eat Brownie Brittle on the way home in the car.

Life couldn’t be better.

Forty years of information about sugar and diabetes and gluten allergies and GMOs evaporated. Concerns about carbs and pesticide-laden canola oil didn’t exist. Forty years of envying the emaciated models in the glamor magazines and the last 10 years spent looking in the mirror in disgust at my expanding waistline crumbled to nothing.

Emotionally and kinesthetically I was free. And the liberation was shocking. Read More

Hogtied By Lilliputians

We can all identify with Jack Black in this picture. Day in, day out, we’re tied down by Lilliputians in the form of zillions of picky-boony tasks, errands, to-do lists and obligations, laws and legalese, too many emails in the in-box, too much junk mail in the post box and too little time to deal with it all.

It’s like WHAT???? The day’s hardly started and suddenly it’s 3 pm and what have I accomplished? What happened to all those hours today? Hours of my life? How did I spend them? Where was I during the process? How did it come to this?

To deal with this situation without actually changing anything, a lot of spiritual people talk about the importance of being present … be present while you’re chopping wood and hauling water … be present while you’re taking the dog in for her rabies shot … be present while you’re stuck in traffic … be present in that argument with your spouse over the bills at 11 pm at night.

And I’ve kinda gone along with this. I’ve never made it an actual practice. But I’ve nodded my head in unconsidered agreement for years. And then yesterday a friend sent me an email with a link to some talk by a guy called Bentinho Massaro http://www.bentinhomassaro.com. And because I deeply respect this particular friend’s insightfulness into all matters spiritual, I checked him out. And was impressed.

I watched a few minutes from a couple clips and one thing he said that jumped out at me was this: Forget being present. Presence is what you’re looking for.

And my mind went DING DING DING!!!! And my heart leapt and my mouth smiled and everything in me went: BINGO! Read More

Don’t Take the World Serious

Back a couple centuries ago in the 1980s there was an Orville Redenbacher popcorn commercial with a World Series baseball theme where Orville’s wife made a play on words saying to her husband who was glued to the TV day in day out watching the games: “Oh, Orville, don’t take the world serious …”

I started to run with this theme in my last blog and somehow the whole thing morphed into a riff about furry blue aliens in space eating popcorn watching the US political race because it was post presidential debate #2 and there was still one more to endure and all these women were coming forward to talk about Trump molesting them physically and verbally and all my own female indignation buttons were getting triggered and I spent hours everyday, glued to the pages of the political blog site Daily KOS.

I wasn’t prepared to take my own advice … I couldn’t even manage to give it. Now—ha! Now, post debate #3, I’m ready to lighten up.

Hopefully things have gotten as bad as they’re gonna get. It’s a lot to swallow, but I’ve finally accepted that at least a third of America is still stubbornly clinging to misogyny, bigotry, Islamaphobia, rifles, ignorance, hatred and fear.

I’ve accepted that millions of men and women will follow the prattling of a raging egomaniac with limited intelligence, no plans, no knowledge, no experience, no ethics, no morals, no real business sense, no responsibility, no communication skills, no relationships skills, no compassion and no interest in developing any of these attributes. These people love The Donald and will follow him no matter what—even over a cliff—because he’s in a position to publicly bluster and incite and point fingers and lay blame on all the things they hate and fear and blame.

I understand my fellow brother and sister Americans are at the stage of evolution where they have not yet developed autonomy, common sense, and self-responsibility … that they desperately hunger for an authoritarian figure of Biblical proportions who can lead them by the hand out of their self-created misery into greener pastures.

I get it. I also get that the whole thing is just a story – a ginormous human movie drama playing out on the world stage. Bigly. Read More

Furry Blue Alien Watches Political Circus From Space

Imagine aliens from planet Zârtôk responding to our deep space signals by sending a furry ambassador bearing great wisdom and technology to share along with insights into how to create a balanced global culture where all beings thrive equally.

Pausing before making her presence known, she tunes into the news feeds for an Earthly update and discovers that one of the most highly-developed nations on this world is seriously considering electing an ex-reality TV star exhibiting consistent sexually predatory behavior and the consciousness of a three-year-old as their leader.

Intelligent debate between presidential candidates of this nation is non-existent. Lies are spun as truth. Hate-mongering is disguised as nationalism, fear and bigotry as wisdom and blame as responsibility. And millions of this nation’s citizens don’t seem to know the difference.

What’s a self-respecting alien to do?

Firing off a quick FTL message saying “Nobody’s home,” the ambassador mixes up a batch of Orville Redenbacher’s finest, sits back and prepares to watch and wait … and laugh her 400-year old furry blue ass off. Meanwhile, down on planet Earth, few of us are laughing. Which is kind of a pity, but inevitable, I suppose, given our current level of evolution. Instead, millions take to the Twitter & blog sphere to share their collective horror, outrage and dismay over the proceedings.

Yes, it’s deeply pleasurable watching an outraged male who points fingers at others poke his own eye out. It’s incredibly satisfying to see somebody who abuses women, makes fun of vets with PTSD and handicapped reporters go down in flames. Payback’s a bitch. It’s popcorn-worthy spectacle. Yet as much fun as it is, let’s stop a moment and take a deeper look at what’s going on. Read More

What Is Your Narrative?

Confession: I’m a science fiction geek. Been reading it since Arthur C. Clark was the genre’s “go to” guy. And if there is such a thing as reincarnation I’m definitely returning as a Taoist spaceship captain on a deep space mission into the unknown.

(Speaking of reincarnation … will “I”—Cate Montana —return? No. definitely not. “Cate” is pure illusion. Will some other, broader, less condensed, (and undoubtedly less syfy-oriented) non-human individualized awareness that represents “me” in the most ineffable way make its return to animate another human body someday? Maybe. I have no idea. But if that does happen, I sure as hell hope “I” return knowing what I know now and don’t have to frikkin’ start over from scratch (again.))

But I digress.

Not surprisingly, decent syfy movies and TV shows are more enjoyable to me than consuming fine vintage wine, providing exploration of strange civilizations and species, different cultures, ethics and spiritual insights into the nature of existence and the realm of identity.

Which brings me to the subject of this blog: Datak Tarr.

Datak is a Castithan male emigree to Earth from the Votan Collective and one of the stars of the (now defunct) TV series “Defiance.” Arrogant, narcissistic and cruel, his entire will is bent upon the acquisition of political power and wealth at any cost.

In one scene he kills an alien from his home world (a member of another species considered “unclean” by Castathan standards) who dares manhandle him during a hostage situation involving the human hero of the show (who is unconscious at that particular moment) and another guy, a muckety-muck from the Earth Republic (the last vestige of human political organization in North America).

Datak shoots the “unclean Irathian” then loses it, repeatedly kicking the body and spitting on it in rage. Eventually, with effort, he calms himself, sweeps his bedraggled white hair back from his sweating brow, stares down at the mutilated body and says, “This really does not suit my narrative.” Then calmly looks up and shoots the Earth republic guy dead between the eyes. Read More

Bernie’s Hope vs Hilary’s Insider Status

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Like most political virgins I didn’t have a clue what would happen when I walked into the local high school gymnasium. I just wanted to participate in my country’s democratic process.

So 9:45 am Saturday morning found me wandering amidst barely controlled mayhem at my Democratic caucus site in Olympia, Washington,

looking for my precinct table and hopefully a familiar face from my neighborhood.

Two nicely dressed women in crisp outfits glad-handed the 50-odd people who had showed up from my precinct—most of us wearing last weekend’s clean sweats or jeans, blearily clutching a Starbucks. As I found a seat I idly wondered, What are they doing? Running for election?

And then the light dawned. Ahhhh …

These were the people on the hunt for delegate status—the ones who wanted to raise the standard of the Great State of Washington in Philadelphia for Bernie or Hilary in July. As I sipped my rapidly cooling coffee, I shook my head. Better them than me!

I’d already attended four presidential conventions.

Working for CNN back in the 1980’s I’d witnessed firsthand the Reagan/Bush nominations in Detroit and Dallas as well as the Clinton/Mondale nomination in Madison Square Garden in New York and the Mondale/Ferraro nomination in Dallas in 1980 and 1984 respectively.

As far as I could tell, the whole thing was an out-of-control party—a three-day binge of opinions, red white and blue hats, political platitudes and banner waving—a free-for-all of alcohol, sex, late night parties and balloons under the guise of a legitimate political process.

I wanted no part in it. Read More

The Wisdom of Patience

A million years ago when I was 28 years-old I was working in radio as a salesperson selling commercial air time. (Selling time – what a concept!)

Anyway, I was introduced to a woman by a client—and we immediately hit it off over lunch. A friendship rapidly developed and before I knew it I was at her apartment one evening, having dinner.

I knew she was a published author. But seeing her three New York Times best-selling books on the coffee table I couldn’t help but feel jealous. I picked one book up. Fondled it. Read the raves for the risqué-for-the-day exposé and stared at her picture on the back cover. Flipped through a few pages. And in that moment I hated my new-found friend.

And I wanted to be her.

What the hell was I doing with my life? I wanted to write! Had always wanted to write ever since I was twelve and got my first poem published in a locally produced magazine called The Chronicle of the Horse.

My mom was so certain I would write a book about the adventures of farm living that, to facilitate the dream (and jog my memory in later years), she kept a daily farm journal from 1961-1972. (I actually did write about Fieldmont, the farm in Virginia I grew up on, in my book, Unearthing Venus.)

But this was 1978. I wouldn’t write my first book until 2010. And sitting there in my friend’s living room, scotch in one hand, paperback in the other, a veritable tidal wave of envy consuming me, 32 days would have been too long to wait for my dream to come true let alone 32 years! Read More