This Is The Moment EVERYTHING Changes!

August 23 -26 | Phoenix, AZ

The energy is expansive. The joy is contagious. The excitement is exhilarating. And the potential is limitless.

God Is a Blue Heron

Every day I walk two miles on a nature trail near where I live. I have come to call it my “walk with God” because in nature I often feel that deep connection with all I see. One recent afternoon, before leaving on my walk, I stepped out onto the lanai just in time to see a great blue heron standing stationary at the water’s edge right in front of me. Its body was stretched tall, its legs long, its eyes alertly focused on something nearby. Its presence was so striking that to me it felt like an extraordinary being dropped in from some other celestial realm. As it walked majestically by, that impression only intensified. “God is a blue heron,” I thought.

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How do you reconcile faith and reason?

We have come out of a period on the evolutionary journey of us as beings, where man evolved these great frontal lobes and this capacity for rational thought and self-consciousness. And this is, in the Hindu system, what would be called a siddhi or a power. That power can be used in a variety of ways. It can be used in the service of what I call the third chakra, that is, in terms of a man’s control over his environment, which is the way we’ve been doing it, which the rational mind controls. It’s man over nature in the anthropological Florence Kluckhohn differentiations. She talks about societies that are man over nature, societies that are man in nature, and societies that are man under nature. Attachment to the siddhi of the rational mind put man in the group of man over nature.

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How does labeling our experience take us out of the moment?

St. John of the Cross said, “All that the imagination can imagine and the understanding it can receive and understand in this life is not, nor can it be, a proximate means of union with God.”

What we have touched or tasted or known through some vehicle or another has been a way of turning ourselves on and getting high. I mean, Eleanor Rigby gets her kicks in some way or other. It may be darning a sock, it may be cooking a bouillabaisse, it may be walking by the ocean, it may be turning on with something – pot or acid, it may be making love – a moment of sexual union. It may be pure service, just serving, just totally, “Not mine, but thy will, oh lord,” in everything you do. Prayer gets you high, singing holy songs gets you high. Everybody’s got a trip to get high. Funny what we are getting to at this stage – we start to say, “Well my trip is better than your trip. You mean you didn’t go surfing man? Oh, you’re nowhere baby.”

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What does it really mean to live in our truth?

Knowing you’re God and being God are two different things. I mean intellectually, we all know we’re God – most of us understand that. But the direct experience of merging into it is another matter.

What seems to happen as you evolve spiritually is that the impurities or the things that veil you from being in your deepest truth become more unbearable.

I’m not talking about the judging mind coming up and saying, “I’m bad for it” or, “It’s bad for me.” It’s like if you have a lover, but you’re always separated by some veil from that lover – it becomes unbearable after a while. You just keep wanting to rip the veil apart. I’m so aware in myself, for example, how when I don’t clear my mind, when I don’t extricate myself from identification with my thought forms, my whole life gets thick. I can feel the thickness of it and it’s a sort of dense quality. I end up like I used to be, “It’s all fine, and I can get through life, and it’s all going fine, everybody likes me, and I like everybody, and I’m making money, and I’m doing my life, and I’m getting up and going to bed, and doing good,” but somehow it’s not living truth.

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Life's Essential Truth: Impermanence

“Birth and death in every breath…”
—Deva Premal and Miten

Recently, a dear friend told me that he is moving back to California, which he had left two years before for Florida, where we both live now. (This, only a few months after I moved here myself from Massachusetts.) A week later, I received news that a long-time friend in Boston had died of cancer. Hellos and goodbyes fill my life these days. Friends and family passing to and fro in my experience and my memory like vivid but ephemeral spirits. And I myself am moving with the flow of my own life’s journey, loving and letting go again and again.

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Why is it so important to face our low points on the path?

We have all been enchanted with getting high and having a free awareness, and so we have tried to repress or deny lows when our awareness once again gets caught in this or that.

We love the illusion of being high but we are afraid of coming down. As your journey proceeds, you realize that you can’t hold on to your highs and deny your lows. Your lows are created by the remaining attachments that blind your awareness. Facing your lows – your anger, loneliness, greed, fears, depressions, and conflicts – is the most productive fire of purification you can find.

As your connection with the spirit deepens, you might even choose to seek out those things that bring your attachments to the surface, so that you might confront them and free your awareness from them.

It’s a tricky business – playing with fire. You must feel your own way, unless you have a guide to say when to go and when to stop. If you don’t have a guide, trust your own judgment. For example, if anger still traps your awareness, you might put yourself in a situation which usually elicit anger and then attempt to maintain clear awareness.

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A Reflection on My Family’s Holiday Tradition

“Christmas is a holiday that we celebrate not as individuals nor as a nation, but as a human family.” — Ronald Reagan

Every year, just a few days before Christmas, my family and I sit down in our home with a minister friend and focus on the true meaning of the season.

It’s one of those traditions that everyone really seems to look forward to each year. It’s a night of grounding and it’s a moment of calm before the storm.

We begin by listening to a reading from the Bible. Then, we talk about what that parable means to each of us. We also talk to one another about our lives over the past year. Our triumphs. Our struggles. Our hopes and plans for moving forward.

After each person speaks, I usually ask, “Do you feel supported by the people in this room? If not, how can we better support you? How can we do a better job of being there for you, or backing off when you need space and letting you roam?”

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Divine Messages | Inspired Guidance

A plow was loudly pushing the snow from our drive way. I waited in the softly lit hallway with the dogs. I had just finished my morning meditation and was not prepared for the noise of the blade bumping and scraping on the driveway or the loud engine running.

 
As the truck pulled away I let the dogs out. I followed them into the snow. The contrast was amazing. I was surrounded by silence. Snow was gently falling. The lights glowed in the darkness. I felt peace all around me. Watching our dogs, run made me smile. It was a morning like many others; but perhaps the contrast helped me recognize the presence of peace.   

 
One of my favorite traditions comes with the New Year. I love writing goals that lead to celebrating success.
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How can we release attachment to the rational mind?

To facilitate the exploration of the mind it is helpful to understand the various levels of reality, to examine the perceptual fields that different beings have, to see what different realities look like.

It is well known that motivation affects our perceptions. We don’t necessarily see things as they are we see them as we are. If a pickpocket meets a Saint, all he sees are his pockets. Thaddeus Golas, in The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment said, “You never have to change what you see, only the way you see it.”

Gurdjieff, the Russian philosopher, noted, “If you think you’re free and you don’t know you are in prison – you can’t escape.” Gurdjieff sees us as being in prison – a prison of the mind.

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What are the stages of the journey towards the Living Spirit?

Welcome! It’s so graceful to share the journey. We’ve been on the journey a long time together. We’ve gone through a lot of stages.

And just as in any journey, some people have dropped along the way, have had enough for this round. Others have been waiting for us to catch up. The journey passes through the seven valleys, the seven kingdoms, the chakras, the planes of consciousness, the degrees of faith. Often we only know we’ve been in a certain place when we pass beyond it, because when we’re in it, we don’t have the perspective to know, because we’re only being. But as the journey progresses, less and less do you need to know. When the faith is strong enough, it is sufficient just to be.

It’s a journey towards simplicity, towards quietness, towards a kind of joy that is not in time. It’s a journey out of time, leaving behind every model we have had of who we think we are.


It involves a transformation of our beings so that our thinking mind becomes our servant rather than our master. It’s a journey that has taken us from primary identification with our body, through identification with our psyche, on to an identification with our souls, then to an identification with God, and ultimately beyond identification.

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What are the qualities of a true Guru?

All beings are involved in an evolutionary journey. In the course of history, and far into pre-recorded history, beings have been getting lost in the illusion, and awakening out of it.

Some beings have finished their work and have awakened out of illusion, the illusion that is involved in birth after birth, not only on the physical plane, but on every other plane as well. When these free beings finally emerge from the illusion through grace, through the help of other beings who have escaped, they are faced with a choice. That choice is whether to merge back into God, or to resist that merging and remain in form on one plane or another; either to take birth again on the physical plane or to make their substance condense on a lower astral plane in order to do ‘work’ for the relief of suffering of other beings.

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How does embodying our own truth facilitate freedom for all?

The question is about the balance between inner work (work on yourself) and outer work. I’ll tell you, each person has got to intuitively trust themselves about where they are and what they can handle. If you look at a lot of social activism, you will find many people who are deeply entrapped in righteousness and anger.

And they will guilt trip you continually for not doing more. And if you say, “I’m going to go home and meditate,” they look at you like you’re killing little children. You’ve got to have incredible strength, and you feel like some kind of a viper for saying, “I’m going to take the afternoon off to go swimming.” I was in New York working with the homeless. And I’m so good. I am so good. Seva is good and I’m good. And we do good things. And it’s all wonderful.

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Where Is God in This?

When things aren’t going well, or the situation seems dire or extremely painful, we can call ourselves back from the cliff edge of despair with the simple inner question: “How is God present in this?” There are no coincidences, and our lives play out with our soul’s wisdom and God’s overview. Everything was chosen for our greater soul evolution before we even came into this lifetime. God is the midwife and helpmate in each situation. Actually, we are God, in the deepest part of our being. Everything that happens is meant to bring us to greater awareness and move us further along on our soul path. If we didn’t experience the poignancy of life, we wouldn’t be able to recognize and relish the joy. They are both part of the miracle of being alive on this Earth in the middle of a whirling mysterious cosmos, which at its heart is God as well.

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Write a New Holiday Story..and Still Honor Your Memories

Dearest you,

Hope you’ve been having a week of balanced self-care after the dunk and immersion in the holiday frenzy. (for my friends in the USA I’m referring to your Thanksgiving Holiday – for the rest of us – we feel ya!)


For many people, it all begins now and it’s like being on a racing freight train fueled with escapism and angst and sugar, yep there is that. For those of you who suffer empathy overload and end up either fatigued and foggy or also confused because extra weight shows up on you overnight from all the stress, try and find ways to detach, go get grounded by walking in nature, and take lots of Himalayan salt baths, and breathe.

Here’s my go-to advice for the whole season.

You can also say NO and say it a lot to manage it all, but there’s a new normal, (or abnormal is the new normal) and we need all the help we can get to remain positive and certain within while the uncertainty on the outside prevails.

While we can tune out temporarily, we can’t ignore what’s happening in the world. I believe humanity is experiencing this for a reason. It’s all a precursor to a more cohesive peaceful world. And the sky is always darkest before dawn.

Call me a hippie-dippie granola grinder Pollyanna but I believe in the soul of humanity and I believe Love is the only answer. And we have a long way to go.

And, It’s also true the world is getting increasingly difficult for sensitives. Who knew watching the news could make you swollen and exhausted? Now the holidays? Oy Vey!

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The Gift of a New Beginning

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt


Guess what Tuesday is?

Yep, it’s Election Day. But it’s also my birthday! Yippee!

Every year as my birthday approaches, I like to take stock of my life. I like to drill down and assess where I am, where I’ve been, and where I’m going.


I ask myself, “Am I in connection with those I love? Am I spending time with them? Do they feel supported by me? Do they feel my love?”

I also take stock of my work. I ask, “Do I feel like it’s bringing me meaning? Do I want to get up every day and dive into it? Does it satisfy my curiosity? Am I learning and growing? Do I feel like I have a mission larger than myself and that I am giving my all to achieving it?”

Then I ask, “Am I in connection with God?” Truthfully, I find myself relying a lot on this relationship, especially as life moves forward.

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How can we uplevel our life by reframing desire?

In the course of my own journey, I have seen a clear sequence relating to my desires. This sequence has run for over 30 years…

If nothing else, I’ve learned patience and to stop counting how soon I’d get enlightened. I used to expect it would be any day. Then I thought it would be any lifetime. Now I no longer know whether I’m enlightened or not, and I don’t care because the process goes on inevitably and irrevocably. But the sequence is clear.

At first when I tasted of the possibility that the universe was not as I thought it was, that I was not who I thought I was, I craved to enter into the realms of consciousness where there was a broader terrain. And I was drawn very powerfully to paths that had a renunciation base. These paths were based on the understanding that the pulls of the world were so strong that it was necessary to extricate oneself from these pulls by pushing away. The seduction of the gratification of desires was so powerful that one couldn’t do one’s work in the presence of these desires.

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Using the Personality as a Vehicle for Beauty and Growth

Question: I have noticed that, as I’ve progressed on this pathway, I’ve picked up a lot of rules and regulations. And in picking up the rules and regulations of should and shouldn’t, my personality has taken the brunt of it. And this personality, for me, has become like a whipping post, my inner tyrant. And so what I wanted to ask you was, how can this personality, being that this is an aspect of self, be a vehicle for beauty, something to be endeared and worked with, rather than the experience of constant obstacle?

Ram Dass: As you begin to acknowledge a plane of consciousness in which the personality is real, you begin to develop a perspective which allows you the space to appreciate the beauty of the personality and to delight in it. At this point the personality becomes just like a flower or a tree. I mean, it’s something so preciously beautiful because it’s a form of nature. It’s a form that is coming out of all kinds of socialization processes; it’s coming out of experiences, it’s a quality of the way in which emotion and intellect and body and all these things come together.

It’s the dance of the interrelationship of forms with each other, all the relationship stuff that is involved with personality. It all turns extremely beautiful when you have a perspective about it.

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Healing Our Nation Starts From Within

“If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.” — Chinese 

I’ve been thinking so much lately about what can bring us together and what can bridge our deep divide. All kinds of ideas have come to mind.

Some are so very basic, like “vote! vote! vote!” It’s a gift and it’s our civic duty, so let’s exercise that right on November 6 (which just happens to be my birthday).

I’ve also thought about the importance of seeking out our neighbors. It’s such a simple idea, and yet, it’s an important step in building community, connection and common ground.

So are Sunday dinners. I’ve talked about the power of them before and it’s an idea that I’m really hoping will catch on. Invite people from all different walks of life — people from different races, people who hold different political views, people who have different life experiences than yours. After all, if we want to bring people together, then starting in our own homes is a powerful place to start.

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Jack Kornfield and Ram Dass on Learning to Trust and Love

Jack Kornfield: I’ve found myself attracted to spiritual practice from very early, going off to be a monk, because I needed it desperately for one reason or another, for my own pain and suffering. Some connection with the life of renunciation and detachment. I loved it. Then when I came back from the first period of five years in Asia, of practice and study, once I became involved back in the world, in graduate school and relationships and so forth, I discovered that I could love a lot of people in my meditation, but it was a whole lot harder to love the person I was living with.

Or if I was in a somewhat protected environment of the monastery, where our relationships were governed formally by the vows and so forth, that helped me, and there was a great sense of emptiness. It was very, very still. So I found, just for my own life, I found myself working my way down the chakras. Some people kind of try to work themselves up, but for me it was from my mind first, then down.

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You Are Perfect Now

Perfection is not something beyond you. Something out there, to reach for and aspire to. It’s right here, right now. This is a small gem of wisdom that I sometimes forget. Small but it is at the core of all that is. There are no flaws in God’s universe (or in you within that universe). Everything is part of a seamless, intricately interwoven tapestry of divine creation. When I fully embrace this truth, I can let go of striving, comparing, and dissatisfaction. I can live with appreciation and gratitude in every moment for the perfection everywhere. I may not know the “why,” but I can trust in the reasonless reason for all Being.

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Powerful Keynotes

Panache Desai - Break Free, Break Loose, and Live Wild!
Dr. Sue Morter- The Energy Codes®: Awaken Your Spirit, Heal Your Body and Live Your Best Life
Sandra & Daniel Biskind - No Limits: Cracking the Code to a Platinum Life
Guy Finley - Relationship Magic: Love’s Infinite Journey
Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith - The Boldness of Becoming
Rosie Mercado - True Beauty - The Potential in the Broken Pieces
Kute Blackson - Keynote: Living Your Purpose: You Were Born For Greatness
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