Little House On the Prairie Versus Contemporary Society

So there it is. Another Sunday waving goodbye. I’ve come to enjoy this ritual of ending the day w/ an episode or 2 of Little House On the Prairie. Purchased the entire Season 1, as I’ve never seen it. What comes to mind most often while watching it, along with hundreds of other thoughts, is just how much society, hence collective consciousness, has changed over the last 40 years.

The show depicts sincere straight forward simple stories about living and being alive. No irony satire sarcasm or cynicism, all so rampant in today’s model of entertainment — i.e. no fear of being judged or criticized for being real or kind or honest or good — the fundamental thoughts and feelings beneath aforementioned irony cynicism satire and sarcasm, fear. Instead the benefits of virtues are emphasized; ideas long lost at some point along the way in modern times such as kindness, hard work, honesty, fidelity, connection w/ the divine, family values and the like are not only explored but downright encouraged. Straight faced, without a nod or a wink or a tongue in cheek. One couldn’t find anything even remotely similar to it today.

Of course Little House portrayed life in the 19th century, understood, when life was simpler and civilization had not yet reached a state of excess — thus greed and self-centered pleasure-experience seeking had not yet boroughed it’s way into mass consciousness as a main priority. Those things would come later, when surviving became all but guaranteed — this is after all the natural flow of the evolution of all sentient being civilizations. And yet lest we forget, Little House aired during the 1970s, long after the industrial revolution, when survival was indeed by all accounts all but guaranteed. Yet it somehow managed to still find an audience that could not only relate to it, but sincerely welcome it.

The question begged now is what changed in the last 40 years?
No blood gore violence crime murder CSI vampires zombies gratuitous sex adultery lying and deceit taken for granted billionaire playboys shallow busty airheads like Snooki or KK, no drug kingpins villains disguised as heroes vulgarity or nudity. Just simple stories extolling the virtues of being a good person and doing your best for yourself, your family and your neighbor. As far away from what passes for entertainment in today’s world as can be imagined. One would be hard pressed to believe that anything remotely similar could find an audience in modern times.

But why? Again…what has changed? What went missing? Or what got added in consciousness to create such a stark drastic change in such a short period of time?

It’s worth pondering…

– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone

The Sad Case of The Millennials?

Tonight I was gently coerced by a younger friend into watching something called WHAT? by Bo Burnham, a young twenty-something Millennial doing his idea of a fresh take on a standup comedy routine.

At first I did my best to stay busy enough doing other things to pay only as much attention as was necessary to quickly get how immature the routines were and still manage to appear to not be totally ignoring the show, just so as not to be rude. It was exactly what you’d expect if you took yours or anyone else’s teenage son nephew or cousin and allowed them to jump up on a stage in front of a bunch of other twenty-somethings and told him to goof off for an hour. Stupid, inane, foolish, sophomoric, goofy, dorky, insulting, immature, extremely boring and chock filled with a heavy dose of childishly gratuitous dick jokes, sexual innuendo and locker room humor. In other words, it was unbearable for anyone with a brain older than 12 to 16 years of age unless said brain was perhaps extremely high or sadly disabled.

But then something strange happened. The show kept going and continued to slink sloppily downhill minute by grueling minute. The half hour of mostly gay bashing, sexist and misogynistic girl bashing and masturbation jokes continued — and in between he attempted to throw in the usual “I’m so smart I compare myself to God but not really” meets “God does not exist” meets “God doesn’t care about us” sophomoric philosophical banter typical of young Americans raised on too much money and material possessions and not enough of things meaningful or important. He then threw in plenty of college-age psycho-babble about that favorite subject of lack of self awareness and the obsessive need for self analysis exactly as one would expect from a 16 to 22 year old.

But despite his best attempts to create a jovial atmosphere and an ah fuck it entertaining comedic routine, the primary message being put forth over and over again, out into consciousness, minute after grueling minute, was just how shallow empty hollow and meaningless this strange generation processes and feels about life — as if the gift of life, given so casually and idly, easily and randomly — is not only taken for granted and not appreciated but completely overlooked, and perhaps even resented. Life isn’t something to appreciate or feel blessed by or even to philosophically or intellectually explore, but rather it’s more of a lame nuisance to be made fun of and denigrated, desecrated and profaned.

I am too tired to do the subject justice this evening as it is well past midnight. But as the show –that was no more than an hour long — dragged on, I as an audience member and as a viewer into this frightening sad and ugly world, became more and more disheartened and discouraged about this strange group we casually label “the Millennials”. What went so terribly wrong with them that was so different than the rest of us that created such a disconnected disheartened unconcerned shallow and heartless generation of human beings? So seemingly lost AND so blatantly and casually unaffected by filth violence and vulgarity that literally nothing seems to affect them? And not only are they entirely unaffected by these normally traditionally perceived atrocities, but they also now bare the unique badge of honor of being the main purveyors of these things in our shared culture, whether through their music, their inane tween fiction, their alleged viral videos, blogs and vines or in this case their strange brand of one man shows meet comedic standup routines.

Plenty of reasons come to mind as to what could have caused this….how a whole generation of young people could be so tossed aside by a society that no one bothered to notice that they have literally nothing to believe in, so in place of shouting their noblest ideals and dreams from the rooftops as their predecessors once did so valiantly yet just as naively, they are instead making a living, or choosing not to, from denigrating being alive in the first place.

Forget for a moment that they hold one of the rarest distinctions of any American generation in our history, that they are growing up in not only one of the most peaceful times in history, not only one of the most financially prosperous — where economic opportunity is afforded to anyone with a good idea and the fortitude to turn it into a business or commodity and can strike it rich faster than ever before in human history, but also one of the most free and liberal, open minded and tolerant societies in the history of the human race — where everything from equal rights for women and minorities are shared right along side the LGBT community — and let’s be honest: 20 years ago there was and could never even exist an open community with such a name; euthanasia is becoming a legal right just as abortion has been for nearly four decades, right along with the religious freedom to freely be an atheist or a Muslim or a Tibetan Buddhist or a Rastafarian and still work side by side each other and yes even the right to smoke pot for no other reason than recreational purposes is now becoming commonplace. This newest generation seems completely immune to what an incredibly free healthy and easy time it is to be alive. A time to celebrate and cherish and create, not destroy and devalue. How have these achievements been lost on this sad lot? (One clearly sees that we can no more over generalize about every single member of the Millennial Generation than we can any other; for there are certainly some heroes among them as there are in all. It’s more about the overall vibration of the group itself and their attitude and message, which at this point in their evolution seems to be “fuck it” more than anything else…)

Was it the seemingly countless endless and meaningless wars they’ve grown up with over the last 14 years? Is it the constant corruption they observe in all areas and at all levels and positions of service and leadership in government? Has the haunting horrendous and obvious fact that our King has no clothes finally become so immersed in our collective consciousness that nothing of our once noble ideals of self and enlightenment exists at all in this newest group of young Americans? Do they truly hold nothing sacred? Do they truly not care in the least?

My heart sank as each minute wore on. I was more grieving than annoyed. And believe me, annoyed was the main feeling I was left with. And yet….there is clearly a problem here that is bigger than just some annoying brat playing the fool. I walked away deeply saddened. More needs to be said. More needs to be explored. In time.

– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress

You’ve Been Warned –The Coming New American Revolution

It is illegal for TV networks to raise the volume of commercials higher than the shows they air. For obvious reasons. (It wouldn’t be fair to the TV shows, giving the commercials a higher priority would lift the disguise that television networks exist to entertain rather than generate profits for shareholders.) So what they do instead is flip on a compressor during commercials, for an extra fee to the sponsor — guaranteeing a louder commercial. Theoretically the network is not “turning up the volume”, but the effect is a much louder fuller more annoying volume for said commercial. Which anyone who watches television even infrequently has surely noticed. It’s a technicality. It bypasses the law while pretending to still be abiding by the law. This is a common practice at every network and is common knowledge in the industry. But no one gets in any trouble for it.
 
 This should come as no surprise. Americans are used to these kinds of practices by the powers that be. There is a boldly glaring double standard and hypocrisy that Americans live with everyday and accept as “just the way it is”. Anyone and everyone with wealth or in power breaks the rules or breaks the law however and whenever they can and somehow always manage to get away with it. Rather than jail time or a reminder of the rules laws or regulations they’ve broken, and certainly rather than any kind of substantive punishment, they find a technicality or at worst a small fine at the end of their rainbow of a trial, IF they even get that far. Usually these rules and laws that the common people are forced to be bound by are easily able to be skipped entirely by the elite; corporations and government officials included.
 
 It is THIS kind of blatant disregard for the law, much less the desires of The People, that has now become the norm in all arenas of American life. Banks hospitals insurance companies drug makers stores police departments cable and internet providers giant tech companies like Apple and especially government. It is capitalism run amok rampant and extreme, arrogant and crass –creating the highest profits for those who can pay and causing the most harm and suffering for those who cannot.
 
 In the United States we have reached the peak phase of the capitalist cycle, just before The People revolt and demand fairness justice and balance. This is usually a sloppy messy bloody affair, a no mercy and no quarter for those in power scenario gets created. Many perish. In a very short period of time regular everyday working people will be shooting at and arresting not only the hundreds of thousands of crooked police officers of the country, but any and all who work in government or in large greedy corporations who’ve raped one too many trusting unsuspecting consumers. In these revolutions the people rise up against the powers that be not just because they are angry — for it is safe to say that Americans are far beyond anger at this point, but because they feel it is their duty to take back a country that all of us once dearly loved respected and cherished. But only the most simple and foolish among us now feel any sense of love or respect for what America has turned into over the last fifty plus years. Not through any fault of our own and not without desperately trying to turn things around. No one can say that the people didn’t try. But clearly our hands have been tied, in red tape, bureaucracy and bullshit for decades.
 
 The government of the U.S., already seeing where we are historically in the capitalist cycle, has prepared for this inevitable cultural shift. Hence the gradual but rapid change into the police state we now live in. It is all of our wishes that the state local and federal governments of our beloved country realize and accept that although we will rise up en masse to bring this system down in order to create a more just fair enlightened and equitable society REGARDLESS of their opinion or any actions they may decide to take, we do NOT wish to hurt or kill anyone, nor do we desire to do away with our free enterprise system. No one is crying out for communism or any other extreme social reforms. Only truth. We only wish to stop the blatant lies, deceptions and manipulations of the law that we have all come to begrudgingly accept and take for granted as being an inherent aspect of the world we live in.
 
 We understand full well, just as the government does, that it does NOT have to be this way. After all, our government officials and the mainstream media who do their bidding act and speak as if they live in a completely different world than the rest of us; they speak of “American Exceptionalism”, a land of the free and home of the brave; they never out the president of the United States for his incessant lying and bending of the truth; they never mention the heartbreaking irony that the U.S. is by far the most powerful terrorist force and the most feared and notorious killing machine on planet earth when they report on “terrorism” on the nightly news; they don’t speak of the fact that the alleged elected government spends billions of dollars a year giving it away in bribes or blackmail schemes to hundreds of other countries around the globe but turn around and claim that they can’t afford to feed the hungry or starving right here at home, nor afford to educate them; they don’t mention that the United States Congress exists now almost solely to provide cushy jobs for power hungry, egomaniacal greed-hounds whose job it is to provide favors, loopholes and profit opportunities for the large multi-national corporations who now completely run and control the country. If one listened to the media they might believe for a minute at least that the members of congress were being elected by the people to work for the will of the people — until reality snuck back into the conversation and everyone landed back on earth acknowledging the ridiculousness of that erroneous idea. It’s been a long time since any congress has been able to list serving the people as a line item on their resume.
 
 So there is no excuse for how unbearably inexcusably bad things have gotten in America. The dichotomy between how the government and media speak about the United States and how it actually is in reality is as wide as the Grand Canyon. So it’s no wonder that people are beyond mad. Everyday the harsh reality of the wickedness that surrounds us, all the while with the arrogance and audacity to dare call itself good, is thrown in our face. At the same time not a man woman or child in America is unaware of how dangerous or life threatening it would be to dare break a law themselves. The peoples’ job is to obey the laws, pay the taxes and say nothing while watching those in control break the laws, profligately spend the peoples’ taxes and say and do whatever the hell they want to regardless of how illegal criminal or immoral it may be.
 
 This is no secret. Unlike in times long past this is the topic du jour in almost every home, office, school and community from coast to coast. The disapproval, the disgust and the outrage spans all age groups, all income brackets except the very rich perhaps, all races, all genders and everyone else in between. The powers that be are just as aware of this reality as the people are. Both sides pretending not to notice the other’s disdain for the system that both have created. One through sheer force of will selfishness and greed, the other, the people, through fear and resistance to accepting the cold hard truth that the kingdom is not royal nor noble, but rotten and wicked. Even the worst offenders are now having a tough time keeping a straight face. Somewhere along the line America lost itself. Forgot it’s mission. And it’s been spinning blindly madly out of control ever since.
 
 Which is why in the long run it is inevitable not only that we the people WILL rise up soon but that WE will win. It would be in every one’s best interest if this idea were accepted sooner rather than later by the various branches of government throughout the nation. If they act in time, with sincerity and effectiveness, a full scale revolution of the magnitude described above might be able to be avoided. But it needs to happen fast. The confusion and frustration of even the common working person has now turned into cynical bitterness, anger and rage. In a country of 350 million people all fueled by these shared emotions, no sitting government, no matter how powerful they think they are, stands a chance of survival. Our revolution will make the Civil War seem like child’s play.
 
 It is important that every man woman and child who lives in and loves the United States of America shares this message with their elected leaders. We may not owe it to them. Lord knows they’ve done nothing to deserve our humanity, having done nothing for us in decades and would certainly not extend to us the same courtesy. But it is more in line with the kinder, more just, fair-minded and enlightened society that WE wish to create.
 
 The deadline for serious change is fast approaching. Consider yourselves warned. The people are beyond angry. They are incensed and inflamed. And the myriad distractions once so effective no longer distract. Instead they only add more fuel to the fire. The people, feeling helpless to effect change through democratic means and thus backed into a corner with nothing left to lose are not only ready for war. They are preparing for it. You have been warned.
 
 
 – Posted by The Ambassador

What the Afterlife is Like

I’ve said it before and will continue to say it until the majority realize it: atheists are just as zealot, just as religious as religionists such as Christians or Hindus or Muslims. They have no proof for what they believe. Only an idea of the absence of proof on the other side. Therefore their entire belief structure is based on faith.

The biggest misconception that both atheists and religionists have is this ignorant and stubborn idea of exclusivity, assuming if one belief is correct then another is false. In reality the universe is nothing but consciousness, and as such it is large enough to hold all realities as true simultaneously. Therefore what happens to a person after death is entirely up to them. Whatever they believe will happen happens. For those still pondering what the afterlife is like, they should look no further than their own personal beliefs. Some will choose heaven. Some reincarnation. Some will choose hell. Some will choose complete disintegration because they don’t believe in an afterlife. Some like myself may choose to “stay open; surprise me!” and that’s precisely what they will experience. Their experience of the afterlife will be determined based on an amalgamation of ideas that ring the most true or real to their own belief system.

Down deep within us, within our own consciousness, in that special place where very few others have ever been permitted to experience, is our own personal treasure chest of truths, what we really believe without pretense fear or conceit. Sometimes they are closer to hopes and desires rather than pure beliefs (a pure belief being something one claims is true that ranks very high on their conviction scale). At times a belief can be less solidified and feel more like a strong desire or hope. But if there is less resistance to it than desire for it then it will ring true for that individual as a belief. In that place where we hold these most cherished ideas and ideals lay some of our most important beliefs. Even though consciously we prefer to claim something else — such as “I am not sure what happens to us after death” — most of us have already crafted a very precise narrative and framework for what we desire or hope the afterlife will be/is like. It is from there, with the beliefs that compose that narrative, that framework, that the reality of our experience of the afterlife will manifest. So even if our conscious idea is “I am not sure what it will be like”, down deep we have already formed an idea of it. More than an idea as mentioned.

While it is true that we may be more prone to a vectoring of several different cosmological ideas — both a heaven AND the possibility of reincarnation if we so choose but ONLY after we meet and converse with something that “appears to be Divine” based on our preconceived notions of what Divine means to us — compared to someone else who is more certain of one possible outcome, i.e. “I will go to heaven” or “I will turn to ashes and nothing shall remain of me for I have no soul”, but we will still experience exactly what we believe we will experience. For as soon as consciousness gives something thought, it appears to give it life; or at least the possibility of life, whatever that reality happens to be.

Of course there are those who will claim that this is impossible. That they could easily create a world in the afterlife comprised of dancing pink elephants and jellybeans who rule this world and that they don’t believe that reality would manifest for them. And they would be right. Because they are just talking, thinking, pontificating, playing with ideas. They no more believe that scenario than anyone else. There is a difference between what we “really believe” and what we discuss academically when playing in thought or imagination. That is why it is important to have a system with which we can access our deepest i.e. most seemingly true beliefs. Not just so we have a means to explore who we are –for what are we but the combination of everything we believe –and to communicate that to others sincerely rather from pretense, but also so we can deliberately change who we are based on changing these beliefs when we so desire to.

The operating word being “choose”. For the choice is theirs, based on what they choose to believe. The only problem is that most people still desire for everyone else to believe as they do, wrongly believing that there is only one potential reality post-death, one truth regarding the spirit, when in reality there are infinite possibilities, just as consciousness itself is infinite.

The question that boggles my mind still quite regularly is how long is it going to take humankind to get to the point where the majority understand this? For surely as soon as this idea is accepted as truth then we can all get to the business of repairing the world and stop fighting over which religion or religious viewpoint is right or wrong.

This is the latest, and the most succinct manner in which to describe it, re cosmology that has come to me. More later.

– Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone 8s Custom

Love Means Letting Them Go

That time has come, as we all knew it would. But it seemed like only yesterday that we were still a family sitting around the dining table talking about things like “college” and “boys” as if they were mysterious visions of a future far far away. First our oldest went off to college. Two years ago. It was a change to be sure. But it didn’t have as big of an impact as we expected. As the oldest always does she simply carved the path ahead for the young, but the family unit still remained… Things still continued as they always had in the “home”. There are reasons for that. But now two years later we face our youngest leaving as well. Of course Princee Little Tree and I are still in the process of having more children… That’s an entirely other chapter of entries unto itsellf. But suffice it to say that though these are her children biologically and not mine, and I still long to have children as much as I’ve longed for anything, these girls feel as though they are mine. I love and care for them as though they are. And with our youngest leaving us now to venture off to college…. with us here alone in this giant house for the first time, it puts life in an entirely new perspective.

For one thing it amazes me how going through this process makes my going to college seem like just yesterday. All the actions and rituals are exactly the same. It prods into seeing once more that life is indeed short. (No matter my usual assertions that “life is LONG”…. It all depends on the circumstance…) Our family’s time together seemed both long and short. Though we may appreciate having more alone time now, or being able to sleep in, or even the peace and quiet afforded a home without the loquacious rambling of youth, words cannot describe how much we miss her presence; and she’s only been gone for a few days.

For the last 7 days our youngest has been going through something called “rush week” i.e. a detestable series of activities designed to carve out every last bit of individuality a person may have in order that they might try to get into a sorority. If not for the sheer unadulterated joy she is experiencing now that’s she’s gotten “in”, I would proclaim this tradition to be one of the most mentally & emotionally cruel & harmful things I’ve ever witnessed in human society. Number one because it is all so completely superfluous & unnecessary. Yet it deliberately and inherently breeds a blatant exclusivity and conformity; where all are encouraged and intimidated into acting dressing looking and talking the exact same way. It’s the ANTI-Ambassador program. Take the archetype of Ed Hale. Now create something exactly opposite of everything he appears to represent. And that’s this sorority system in a nutshell.

If you’re thinking “Well my kids will never do that”, THAT’S the thing: that’s exactly what WE thought! 3 months ago I would have sworn that we did NOT raise “sorority girls”. I could never see our eldest doing anything like thhis. She is far too unique, bull headed and creative to try so hard to fit into a preconceived box that a group of others have already carved out for her before her arrival. But you just never know… Our youngest for some reason just really wanted this. Why I still don’t know. And don’t get me wrong. I’m not against it. And obviously very happy for her. She seems super happy. I’m just more stupefied, shocked, stunned and a bit horrified by the whole process. She transformed right before our eyes — in one week! Her speech, her clothes, her mannerisms, the activities she now believes to be appropriate. She walks around acting like she’s in the Girl Scouts again. It’s more than odd. And what about the girls who DON’T get in? The ones who are just too different? Too unique? Too non-white/skinny/wealthy/Christian/normal/mainstream/etc? How do they feel? How do they fit in?

Sororities are a very exclusive little niche at otherwise very large universities one soon learns. They claim to pride themselves on “diversity” publicly; but in reality their goal is to breed a small army of exact replicas, little American dolls, each not too different than the one standing next to her. Their schedules are already created for them, from sun up to sun down. So too is their favorite flower, color, music, motto (who has a favorite motto for God’s sake?); their dress and attire is dictated by “what everyone does”. I cannot recall how many hundreds of times we have heard that phrase in the last two weeks. “that’s what everyone does”. And by “everyone” she means only the 80 or so girls who are in her sorority. These are not the innovators of the future. They are the hhousewivces, mothers and worker bees. And perhaps there is nothing wrong with that. I just didn’t think that we were raising one of them.

Lest we forget that all those years ago, for those who remember the Adventures of Fishy series…. Ducky and Madelyn O’Ryan were both part of the sorority system — AND “little sisters” of some dumbass frat –before I got a hold of them in the summer after our freshman year and showed them a new way of looking at life, introducing to them a different way of approaching our college years — a life filled with individuality, self expression, deep contemplation and intellectual yearning. Along with a fair share of hallucinagens, good books and great music. They never returned to the so called “Greek life” again; because instead as intellectuals we explored the actual Greeks and not some contrived fraternal system of autonamatons. So it’s not as if I am unfamiliar with the system. More just stupefied that our little one has decided to tread into these not so dangerous or challenging waters.

For the record I do not love her any less. I will just be happy when this phase has fully left her system.

Yes I must admit that I have been completely shocked and more than slightly disturbed and concerned that this girl, this young mind who I spent so much time with, helping to shape and form into an intelligent self reliant individual, so quickly and voluntarily transformed into the prototypical TV/movie type sorority girl. But then I saw her IN the sorority. At the sorority. With the rest of the girls. They are all SO young. So innocent. So lacking in life experience. She was so happy to be there. Felt so secure and protected. She won’t be all on her own in a big college town. Instead she will have a group of 80 or so other girls — who all call themselves “sisters” –with her along for the ride. And as childish and immature and conformed and group-think as it seemed, it also felt safe fun secure and joyful. As people who love and care for her more than anyone else on earth what more could we ask for her? She seemed truly ecstatic yesterday. She was so excited to show us her new “house” and introduce us to all her new “sisters”…. How could we feel anything BUT joy and appreciation?

It was an experience that yet again reminded me that NO belief, no matter how convicted we are of it, is 100% solid or permanent. Even if it belongs to “I”.

As we rolled up into the driveway this evening after a full day of moving our youngest into her new college home it really hit me how utterly different our lives will be now; both girls now gone for good. At least for the time being. It’s a surreal feeling that slowly creeps up on you. The reality of their permanent absence and all that is lacking in our home now because of it. There is so much you find yourself missing, the smallest and most mundane little things. It feels like a small piece of you has been cut out….even though of course that’s not the case. The Princess takes the occasional break between crying to eat a meal or speak on the phone, understanding full well that the integration of this major transition won’t resolve or go away overnight. She cries and she cries and she cries….

Besides our plans to have more children, in whatever form they manifest, we are both very happy that the girls are so content joyful studious and healthy; one couldn’t ask for more. And we are keenly aware of how blessed we are by their beauty, and their station in life. Their success reminds us that we made plenty of mistakes along the way but must have done a few things right too. Today more than ever we are happy that we’re already completely packed up here and ready to return to New York full-time as soon as the house sells. Today it really hit home. We did good. But our work is done here. It is time to move on to the next adventure. Love. Is an amazing thing. And by her not so subtle absence, we are made very aware of how much we love her.

Cigar of the Night: a Flor De Las Antillas, sun grown wrapper, robusto. Voted Cigar of the Year this year by Cigar Aficionado Magazine, a ridiculously competitive and prestigious honor. Frankly I have no idea how they are able to choose such a label for only ONE cigar now that the craze has come and gone and the field is so over-filled with such an overwhelming amount of better than great cigars. How do you choose? One assumes they just stick with the numbers, as in which cigar had the highest overall rating all year round in their various different tastings throughout the year and from there they aim for consistency. Which cigar continued to rate high at every single tasting regardless of size. Many so called aficionados don’t realize that all those different names just represent different sizes and nothing more. The cigars themselves are the same. Same wrapper, filler and binder and even label. Just a slightly different length and diameter. It always amazes me when you ask a guy what he’s smoking and he’ll say a Montecristo and then you’re like “which one?” and he’ll rattle off something like “it’s a robusto.” Well yeah buddy, I can see that from here. But WHICH Montecristo are you smoking? They make about five different cigar lines. At least. Robusto of course just refers to the size of the cigar. Which by the way nine times out of ten happens to be my favorite.

So what about this one? Cigar of the YEAR! A huge achievement. I’m not sure I’d go so far as calling it that quite yet. I can think of other cigars I’d rather be smoking right now. Davidoff Milleniums are always amazing. Diamond Crown. Opus X. A cuban Cohiba of course but that isn’t fair. And of course the Anniversario by … can’t remember at the moment…but you know the one. Those could be my absolute favorites if I had to choose.

Luckily we don’t though. Have to choose. So on occasion I like to try the new ones. This Flor de las Antillas is strong first off. Yes it’s a tasty sun grown, which has replaced maduro as my favorite wrapper. But this is no Chateau Fuente Sun Grown. It’s just way too strong for that. Too much bite. Definitely an “after a large meal at the end of the day” smoke. It’s smooth — don’t get me wrong — but it’s still pretty harsh compared to other more elegant sun growns out there. It did have a great start though. Very tasty. Raisin. Chocolate. Cocoa. But a harsh finish. All charcoal and tar. Definitely one you put out early rather than smoke till you burn your fingers. That’s something I dislike very much in a fine cigar. It should be as delicious on the final puff as it was on the first. A difficult achievement. And one that this Best Cigar of the Year did not pull off for me this evening. But there is always tomorrow. They rated it a whopping 96! I’d give it a 92. Still damn good. Just not incredible. And that’s “taste and opinion” in a nutshell. No accounting for it. It just is. Up to each individual.

The Difference Between Healthy Fantasy and Dangerous Cults

A group of wide-eyed young Mormons stopped by the other day. I couldn’t help but come into contact with them, for I was already outside, doing some writing and enjoying a good cigar. They seemed like nice enough guys and there was no way I was going to get away with not at least having to say hello to them. They come through our neighborhood at least once every few weeks. From the outside they seem like just about as normal and average American youth as you can get. Well-attired, clean cut, polite and friendly. Regardless of what I was doing, and no matter how much I really didn’t want to engage with these kids — for I was deeply immersed in what I was doing at the time, there was just no way I was going to get away with not at least saying hello to them. And so I did. Though I didn’t look up from my laptop, figuring that might be an easy fix to not having to engage fully with them for an extended period of time. I am well aware that the majority of people these pubescent traveling missionaries come into contact with on the streets and in the neighborhoods of modern America avoid them like the plague, and though I get that — no one invites them into their space; they are by all accounts unwelcomed invaders into our personal space in this very modern world — I also see the advantage of unplanned spontaneous person to person contact with strangers now and then. We just never know when the universe is going to drop some unexpected miracle into our lives. How else would we know of it unless we stay open enough to allow such occurrences to transpire occasionally?

So rather than shoo these short haired, short-sleeve starched-white shirt wearing boys away as most people tend to do, I felt the least I could do was be polite, say hello back to them & listen to what they had to say. I did warn them that if their intention was to stay committed to the faith of their upbringing that speaking to me would be the last thing in the world that they should probably do. But they laughed off my warning and came over to where I was sitting. Frankly once we were past the uncomfortable tension of me calling out how ridiculous the very foundation of the Mormon religion is, I enjoyed our ensuing conversation and their company. I was intrigued and impressed with their youthful vigor and their eager longing to proselytize what they take to be the “Word of God”. The whole time of course I was very very aware that in reality the beliefs and so called doctrines of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (it’s formal name) is nothing but the word of a shameless, ego-maniacal huckster pathologically addicted to not telling the truth, the infamous Joseph Smith.

If you aren’t familiar with this particular “religion”, do yourself a favor and check into it. At least enough to know what it is and what it’s about. It’s important. Even if you aren’t a religious or spiritual person, remember for a moment that former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a Mormon. So too is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Mormonism, or LDS as it is called for short, is a surprisingly widespread and popular religion in the United States, especially in the West. If it were your average run of the mill Christian denomination, with a shade or two of different colors splashed here or there for texture, ala Methodists or Baptists, one might not feel that it would matter that much. America for better or worse is still largely a Christian nation (albeit with plenty of dissension and “texture” to be sure), and we assume that no matter what one calls it, it still falls under the Judeo-Christian-Muslim monotheistic God category. There’s a certain safety in that I suppose — (but from a larger perspective, considering how much pain and suffering Christianity has caused humanity through its history, I’m not so sure that this safety is implicitly warranted…) But there’s a certain safety even in finding out someone is a self-professed atheist or agnostic. At least we know where they stand. We know they’re intelligent and that they’ve got their head on straight and can think for themselves.

But here’s the rub: Mormonism is no average, run of the mill Christian denomination. In fact, it’s not even a Christian religion. I had always heard rumors. Attempted to read the Book of Mormon a few times. Found the basic premise of the first few pages ridiculous, so I always put it down rather quickly. But this time, I was so moved by my encounter with these young men and their sincerity, I promised them that I would look into it more. And look into I did. I easily spent 40 hours researching the Mormon faith, it’s history, it’s dogma and doctrines. They seemed so absolutely sold on it. Maybe there was something there I thought…. As always I left no stone unturned. But what I continued to find was shocking. A far more complicated and convoluted belief system than your average Hollywood SciFi movie frankly. All sorts of gods living on different planets with strange made up names roaming through space, each taking multiple wives. Real crackpot stuff. Similar to both Scientology and the Jehova’s Witness organizations. Fantasy stuff. But with one difference: it is said to be and purported to be “the word of God”.

[With Mormonism this is an oxymoron, because they don’t actually believe in ONE god, but many gods who at one point “created” the one god most of humanity is familiar with, Elohim. SO this is clearly not even a monotheistic religion number one and therefore they cannot purport that their texts are “the word of god”. We would constantly have to be asking them “which GOD is this the word of?” The other problem here is that we know academically, based on the etymology of the word “Elohim”, that it is a plural word and was originally meant to describe multiple gods, not just “one” god. Going all the way back to the Sumerian culture. This is THE basic problem with almost all things Mormon: the large majority of it’s doctrinal beliefs stem from supposed visions that their “prophet” Joseph Smith had back in the 1830s when there was no internet and well, you could possibly fool some of the people all of the time…. But in this day and age, scholars have discovered that nearly everything Smith claimed was just flat out wrong. He was either a really bad guesser or an unscrupulous liar. For example there’s a good chance that young Smith used this word “Elohim” to describe this “new god” that the other gods created and didn’t even know the real definition and origin of the word as we do today. This is just one of hundreds of examples of historical and scholarly facts that Smith got wrong and that prove without a shadow of a doubt that he was certainly no prophet.)]

Instead what we find is a man so wanton in ethics, morals and scruples that it is hard to believe that he even existed. History is challenged to find examples of people so overtly willing to make things up and pretend they’re true as this guy was. Yet an entire religion is based around his silly books. It’s astounding. He seems more the stuff of legend, rather than real life flesh and blood. Historically this is a man whose entire life from start to finish was a fraud, nearly everything he said or wrote was either plagiarized or just made up BUT passed off as (not only) his own works, but the “work of God translated through him”.

I spent about fifteen to twenty minutes in total with the young Mormon missionaries. I shared with them my own experiences with The Divine through the years and what a marvelous and miraculous experience it is indeed. I also encouraged them to continue to study and learn on their own and to not take anything related to God or the Spirit from the mouths of other men or from books, but instead realize and accept that God has the ability to and does communicate with us if our heart is longing for it (and sometimes even when it’s not) and that He/She/It will reveal themselves to us if we focus on that intention. I also shared with them my view that God, The Divine, is plenty large enough to encompass ALL of the various inventions of “God” that humankind has come up with through the millennia. This is something I wholeheartedly believe — that for the most part, human beings are safe in regards to how and where they were raised, that God’s love is infinite for us all — for are we not all but little pieces of Godness in the end (physically speaking)? As well that God would also be infinitely intelligent: He/She/It is smart enough to accept and encompass ALL the various incarnations of “God” that humanity has ever or can ever dream up — meaning that no one has to worry about there being “one true god” or “one true religion” in the end, for in the end God will sort it out and accept every soul with an equal amount of love and adoration.

But I must admit, this Mormon cult is one frighteningly crazy group. One of the strangest belief systems I have ever studied, period, or even heard of, (Scientology included). Just out of this world cuckoo stuff. I really don’t get how people are led this far astray out there into lala land. I found myself wondering just how open God truly is when it comes to Mormons… I suppose if we stick with the basic premise that God is unconditional love and forgiveness and truly understands the heart of all humankind (and even all conscious or sentient beings, human or not), with the same love and understanding that we tend to give unto ourselves, that he will even find compassion and understanding and acceptance of Mormons — especially if they’re heart is in the right place. (Not that I personally believe that is a prerequisite to receive God’s love. I don’t. But that’s another story.) But what of the LEADERS of the Mormon faith? The ones who KNOW and fully understand how full of shit it is? Does God afford them the same forgiving heart? Give them the same benefit of the doubt? I wonder.

The same thing happened to me when I researched the Jehovah’s Witness religion. Again, we are led to believe that they are “just another protestant denomination of the Christian faith”, but that is far from the truth; it’s utter rubbish. A scam perpetrated on the masses who just never bother to check it out. Jehovah’s Witnesses is another one of those non-christian cults disguised under the flag of Christendom just to easily gain followers who are familiar with or grew up with “Christian” values and ideas. When studying the beliefs and history of the Jehovah’s Witness organization I was so taken aback by the horrendous nature of their twisted views that I found it very hard to believe that such a thing even exists legally as a religion. A science fiction or horror film? Okay sure. But a legal religion? Not possible. Yet it is.

So repugnant and so skewed the Jehovah’s Witness ideology is that as I studied it I was overwhelmed by a treacherous feeling, something truly evil lurking in the room, or at least in consciousness. I don’t say this lightly. It was palpable, something dark, heavy and wicked. I decided that I had learned enough and put away the need to learn anymore. I felt very uncomfortable, as if I was slowly being absorbed by some kind of dark evil force. True story. Perhaps I was just tired and my imagination was getting the best of me. But so what? Something either is prone to make us feel good, or make us feel bad. In all matters we should attempt to set our sights and our attention on the things that make us feel good. In turn we will have that same effect on the world around us.

Consider for a moment that the whole Jackson family were and are Jehovah’s Witnesses…. Poor Michael, if he were raised with those kinds of ideas, didn’t stand a chance at feeling the joy of God’s love, which is a very sad thing; considering what a beautiful soul he seemed to be at times (despite his alleged various weaknesses…). I wonder what life might have been like for him had he known the kind of love and support that I myself have experienced through the years from the Christian faith…

Being The Ambassador carries with it a natural inclination to feel very open minded when it comes to people of all cultures and faith traditions. I must admit that I am not often turned off or offended by, nor critical or judgmental of people who don’t have the same beliefs that I do. If anything I find this interesting, intriguing and life affirming. But I just can’t help but feel critical of the founders and present day “leaders” of the Mormon and Jehovah’s Witness faith traditions now that I have sat down and learned about what they actually believe in and teach; for not only are they flat out crazy and ridiculous and fantastical, but they are also blatantly false, fallacious, erroneous and fraudulent. Worst of all, this practice of spreading these kinds of rigid rules and laws that govern the whole of a person’s life based on the destiny of their very soul is flat out dangerous. Instead of being helpful and life affirming it seems downright harmful and often times life-denying. This is not what we commonly associate with Christianity. Nor with any religious belief system usually. Think of Judaism, one of the most life affirming religions we know of. But with Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses there is a lot of suffering, heavy indoctrination and brainwashing, a strong intimidating corporate hierarchy in place to frighten and control. These systems are not in place to love heal and protect. But rather to frighten people into submission. We just don’t realize it if we’re on the outside of them, because they are trained to NOT tell people what they believe and to try to “act as normal as possible” when in the company of non-Mormons or non-believers. I’d submit that if you have to act in any way that is different when in the company of strangers than you would act when with your own kind that something is wrong from the get-go.

I have no problem if people choose to believe crazy myths and outrageous legends — think of all the lunatics there are out in the world, with their Matrix-like lifestyles or their Renaissance Fair get-ups, etc etc… even if it’s just for fun or the experience of it. But not if they start acting as if it’s “truth” as in “the word of God”, knowingly doing so in a belief system that has already proved to be made up, or stolen from other works, fraudulent or downright dangerous; especially to the good folks they most likely know are being taken advantage of through the perpetuation of these myths and this system. That’s no longer for “fun or a good laugh or a cool experience”. It’s just plan evil. This Church of Later Day Saints as well as the Watchtower organization that controls the JWs seem a very wicked thing. It makes me wonder how the people in it’s leadership are able to continue to defend it or practice it or promote it in good conscience.

I would say that I am flabbergasted that the government allows such things to exist given how dangerous they are, flat out life controlling cults… but I understand that we are very lucky to have a constitutional right to freedom of religion in the United States; think about that for a moment…. In the United States a person can create ANYTHING they want to and call it a religion. One could turn the work of J.R. Tolkein or Game of Thrones into a religion if they wanted to and open up a church and worship a pretend God or anything else they came up with; they could have followers and a congregation and raise as much money as they want to under the pretense of being a “religion” — no matter WHAT they believe. It’s insanely liberal when you think about it. So it’s no wonder that crazy-assed cults like Jehovahs Witnesses and Mormons exist here. And all of this is perfectly legal and protected by law. So the government can’t really do anything about people passing off fantastical science fiction stories as religion and becoming rich beyond measure by doing so. It’s too bad in a way. It feels like we are giving up one thing — protection from being duped, to keep another — protection from religious persecution.

Perhaps it balances itself out in the end. For those of us who have a level head enough to not fall prey to these dangerous ideologies, it probably does balance out. But for those poor folks who do fall prey to them, it’s concerning. Any compassionate person would be greatly concerned about the health and welfare of those who are raised under the chains of these strict and insane belief systems, or even those who come to them later in life, perhaps out of a momentary vulnerability or a sincere longing to have a closer relationship with the Divine. One ponders if we might not be a better society by having some sort of protection mechanism in place. A one stop shop for religious shoppers where they can compare beliefs, ideas, doctrines of faith, testimonials from others, legal records. A health.gov or an Angie’s List for religions. Perhaps that might help people not get sucked into these things so easily and at the same time protect the religious freedom that we enjoy here in the States. The thing is that no matter how good of an idea this is, the religious powers that be in the US would never allow it. They’re so damn rich that they will continue to contribute as much money as is necessary to prevent such a thing from ever becoming even possible, let alone the law. For better or worse, religions still have a huge influence in America. Can’t say I believe that to be a healthy thing.

There is more of course. There is always is. But for now this is enough. If you’re like me, you’ll want to learn more. I’ve embedded a few videos below that will make that easy. Fair warning: frightening stuff. You may never look at these religions the same way again. But that’s a good thing. Consider yourself lucky.

 

America Just Doesn’t Care That Much About Black People


In regards to comments flying around online and in the media about black people over the last few days, I must confess it does lead one to come up with one conclusion more than any other. And that is that as a nation America just doesn’t care that much about black people. Or put a different way, most people in America just don’t care about black people. There I said it. Someone had to. Im not the first and I certainly won’t be the last. People are saying it all over the country at the moment. At least those who are paying attention. And that’s the key to this whole thing: America cares so little about black people that not that many people are even discussing this issue. Most of the people who are are black. And that’s insane considering that not just one but two unarmed Americans were killed in cold blood by cops in the last 30 days.
 
 Just compare the response to these last two murders of unarmed black men by police to almost anything else going on around the country or the world… Those are the last things anyone is thinking about. The american media and the people are talking about the protests in Ferguson Missouri more than they’re talking about the actual cause of the protests. It’s a nightly public spectacle akin to a circus, everybody tuning in each evening to see what those crazy people down in Missouri will do next.
 
 American citizens murdered in plain view by police. Yet no one cares. Just imagine if Erik Gardner — strangled to death by four cops in New York City last month — would have been a WHITE husband and father trying to make ends meet… The response would have been catastrophically different. It would be front page news all over the world! “New York Police Strangle Unarmed Father of Five To Death!” But because he was black… That’s a different story entirely. The truth is that NO ONE EVEN KNOWS WHO ERIK GARDNER IS.
 
 Remember Jon Bennett Ramsey? That cute little white beauty queen girl who went missing 20 years ago? The country went crazy! That drama and saga went on for decades and prompted countless fortunes for countless people, the media, the family, people writing books about it, TV specials, etc etc. Erik Gardner — strangled to death on the street like an animal by four cops live on a camera phone?!?! NOTHING. Except protests from the black community. It might as well not have happened.
 
 I think it’s something that we just need to face about America. Black people are at best an endured leftover from days gone by… A former means to end but still around. Americans needed them, so they used them, and then when they no longer were allowed to use them as they needed, they set them free and said “alright we’re done with you. So go on and get out of here. But there’s no law that says that we have to CARE”.
 
 And since the great Emancipation Proclamation that’s how it’s been. A very small freedom where they’ve had to fight and claw and struggle for every new right, law, liberty or privilege they’ve begrudgingly been given by the white powers that be. We must remember that the Civil Rights Act didn’t come with any law that said that America had to care. They just weren’t allowed to hang black people up on trees or beat them in the city streets or segregate them from society anymore.
 
 Another way to look at America’s view of black people perhaps is as an unfortunate token that America tries to make the best of. Americans have very specific token roles they place black people into: here’re our token black comedians. Here’re our token black singers and musicians. Here are our token black athletes. (This is very Romanesque, the way that white America sits up on their bleachers and in their private boxes making large bets on and throwing wads of cash at these modern day gladiators as they perform for everyone down in the center of the ring…) And look here: we even have a token black president! Okay well he’s half black anyway. But still! Doesn’t that surely prove that we’ve overcome our bigotry and racist tendencies and can formally announce to the world the heralding of a new more evolved America where all men truly are equal?
 
 But again it’s all for show. It’s a token. A trifle. Smoke and mirrors. Take a look at the actual statistics revolving around the average black American and the image looks completely different. It gets skewed and blurred from the token affection we appear to show for black people on the surface. The PRIMARY purpose of African American males in America today seems to be to fill up prisons in order to generate profits for the industrialized prison business. This is not to say that ALL black men MUST serve this purpose. It’s certainly not mandatory. And no one is saying or implying that. It’s just made very easy to imprison black men. So much so that the majority of people IN prison in America are black men. This of course leads to an all too predictable absence of men in the black communities all over America which leads to a whole host of problems waiting to happen long before they do. It becomes a circular problem that can never resolve.
 
 Now if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re of the same mind and spirit of the kind of people who DO care about black people. Not because they’re black. But because they’re people. But we mustn’t let that compel us to believe that the rest of the country feels the same way we do. The majority of people, or better put, the majority of the people in power seem to put up with them more than care about them… America throws them a little assistance here and there in the form of welfare, food stamps, affirmative action and Medicaid. That seems to make everyone feel like “it’s all okay with the black people”; but their lives don’t seem to be valued the same way that other people’s are. If they were, we certainly wouldn’t be in a situation like this yet again, another young black boy killed in cold blood long before the prime of his life and a country at odds with itself wondering what the hell are we going to do now?
 
 See, we have to begin to get real about this issue. The plain simple truth of this issue is this: both Gardner and Brown were unarmed, did not pose a threat, weren’t even doing anything wrong in fact, but were both murdered. In reality it doesn’t really matter who killed them. White or black. Nor does it matter too much that the alleged killers happened to be cops. What really matters is what we are going to do as a nation about these deaths — considering that it’s against the law to kill people.
 
 It seems that every time a black person gets killed in America — especially if it’s by a white person — their life means a little less than if they were white. The law against murder doesn’t seem to apply if the person who was murdered is black. This may or may not be the case in reality. But this is certainly how it seems to the world. Trayvon Martin was just one example — a very public one — of this anomalous exception to the law; it showed clearly how little we value life in America if that life happens to be of color. The Trayvon case shocked the country. And the world looked on with horror. How the hell can they allow a man to get off Scott-free who freely admitted to shooting and killing an unarmed teenage boy? Oooohhhh, he was BLACK…. Oh okay, we get it. And that seems to be how it is in America today. Not much different than it was one-hundred years ago. Look at this way: as of this writing, the four police officers who strangled Erik Gardner to death in broad daylight were still going to work every day. This is by all accounts an insane reality. And no, there’s no way in hell this would be the case if Gardner had been a white girl, as opposed to a black male.
 
 
 – Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone

It Is Past Time To End Racism in America


In other news, we’ve just learned that the devilishly seductive Lauren Bacall passed away today, which I must admit is, though not surprising — for she was well ahead in years, still a strange coincidence in the wake of Robin Williams passing just yesterday. I was never a big Bacall fan. But I must say that she’s always enjoyed a special place in my heart due to the commonly known fact that she pledged an undying love so deep for Humphrey Bogart that she stated she would never and did never get over him and refused to ever marry again. I really admire that. That’s true love. Something I believe we should all be lucky enough to experience at least once in our lives. And it also shows a devotion that seems strangely absent from our modern world. God bless her soul.
 
 In case you’ve missed it — and lord knows it would be easy, for there is too much news right now in our midst for our own good frankly, so much of it so hauntingly bad and tragic, I do want to point out something very disturbing unearthed in our collective underbelly. Yet another case of the police, those honorable men and women sworn to protect and serve us all equally, killing yet another black man, this time a youth, merely 18 years old and a week away from college. His name was Michael Brown. It happened in a town outside of St. Louis, Missouri called Ferguson. Here’s the link to read more: http://time.com/3104128/michael-brown-ferguson-cop-shooting-protests/
 
 Obviously there is rioting going on. Where would there NOT be riots if an 18 year old was shot down in cold blood by a cop? No matter what color he or she was? Imagine if it would have been an 18 year old teenage girl? There’d be a lot more than rioting going on. So in a way, this has nothing to do with color and everything to do with shock and rage. But because this WAS yet another black male killed in cold blood, this is another in a long line of injustices for a community who has already suffered far too much shock and rage in their history in America, especially as of late.
 
 To make matters worse, today it was reported that the FAA has announced a no fly zone over the entire community — meaning ALL MEDIA are not allowed to fly over the town to cover the story. Yeah. Seriously. This is real American corporate cover up bullshit at the federal level. Google it.
 
 These blatant murders & the attempted cover ups of both #MichaelBrown & #ErikGardner by police officers are showing us clear evidence of an overt racism, especially towards black men, that still exists in the United States. The cavalier & carefree attitude that the police departments AND the local and federal government has regarding these deaths shows a heartless disregard for human life IF that life happens to be African American. This is our wake up call moment. In case anyone still wants to proclaim that America has freed itself of racism now that we’ve elected an African American as president. No longer can we claim that “Trayvon Martin was an isolated case or an exception”. Rather he was another in a long line of unfortunate victims of this deep seated bigotry that exists still in some people in the United States, one that we as a nation still refuse to accept or deal with.
 
 Had Martin or Gardner or Brown been a cute little white girl…shot in cold blood on a city street… What then? It would be FRONT PAGE news. Her pretty little face plastered everywhere. The murderer a national villain overnight. Instead we don’t even know the name of the officer who killed Brown yet. Missouri police won’t release it. It’s complete hypocrisy. Perhaps they’re just trying to protect the man’s security. Knowing full well that his life would most likely be in jeopardy. But let us hope that the African American community can keep their Shiite together and make this one a case for the courts. Because that’s what needs to happen. The same for the murder of Erik Gardner. We have that one on tape for Gods sake. They strangled the poor guy to death. The bastards. And then claim it was self defense. I’ve watched it. There was no self defense happening there. Just a couple of racists assholes man handling a black guy. Those officers need to be tried in court, found guilty and serve life sentences.
 
 If this does NOT happen — if the powers that be in this country yet again find a way to weasel out of justice being served for the blatant murder of one of our citizens — then we will know for sure that the racism that exists in our country climbs all the way up the ladder to the very top and beyond. And IF that does happen yet again, ANYTHING but life sentences for these officers, then it is my sincere belief that re American people have every right to do WHATEVER THEY DEEM NECESSARY to seek the justice that w all deserve. Mass protests and riots would only be the beginning of what would be entirely justifiable to seek the justice more than deserved and long overdue for African American men in this country.
 
 We need a clean sweep of this system. From top to bottom. And to start we need a national dialogue about why black men are so despised and reviled still in this country. The ones they can’t lock up they kill. Frankly I believe it is fear. They’re different (at least from white men…) so they’re scary. And what frightens us we say we hate. In reality they don’t really hate them. They don’t even know them. They’re just frightened of them. So they shoot on sight. Without even thinking for a moment about the fact that they’re another living breathing human being. It’s a very sad state that we are in still with this issue.
 
 Thank God we are talking about it again. But lord curse us for it having to come down to this to start the conversation. Two more men shot down in cold blood.
 
 And though I totally get that president Obama saying anything “extra” about this would smell of a kind of reverse racism due to his being half-black, I get that, but at this point ANY American president would and should speak out, for this seems larger than just “taking care of our own”; it seems like a well hidden but deep seated national epidemic of a problem that needs to be addressed. It needs national representation and leadership. And frankly who better than a sitting US president who just happens to be half black? Especially right now as we celebrate the 50 year anniversary of Freedom Summer and the civil rights act et al.?

Questions Regarding the Latest Theories on the Origins of Humankind

Four to five weeks ago I got this idea to start listening to specific brainwave stimulating tones while sleeping in order to up my cerebral potential and increase certain aspects of consciousness. My first thought was to purchase a few Hemisync programs from The Monroe Institute, believing them to still be the leading researchers in brainwave manipulation. But after a little research (primarily looking through YouTube for Hemisync programs that might have been uploaded), I discovered that this field has made tremendous progress. The Monroe Institute is no longer the only player on the pitch. There are a variety of different theories and technologies out there now from all over the world in the field of brain and consciousness stimulation and modulation using tones, monaural tone tech, binaural beats, 532 Hz, A432 retuning tones, chakra balancing, third eye and pineal gland stimulation, subliminal affirmations, audible affirmations, meditations, etc etc.

This research still continues on my part, and I’ll report on it at a later date IF i decide that I’ve found ONE technology that I believe works better than another. So far I am enjoying and seeming to benefit from using a variety of them — every night, while sleeping. It seems to be working.

As often happens in these scenarios — especially for those of us who tend to have a broad attention span (sounds better than ADD doesn’t it?), while studying this particular field, I chanced upon other topics of research too, specifically various videos dealing with expanded consciousness. Some of you probably remember. I began posting what I was finding to Twitter and Facebook to share whenever I found anything that was particularly earth shattering. I quickly landed in the world of Sacred Geometry (which really was mind blowing), then ancient knowledge meets cutting edge new science. For weeks this is all I studied. I managed to get through every bit of new data that up until that point I was not familiar with or hadn’t already studied. And it is, I must admit, very interesting stuff. I created playlists on YouTube, so if anyone else wants to catch up with the latest research in these fields, they can just go to these Playlists.

What you’ll notice though is that the playlists tend to have a lot of cross pollination. Some of the videos clearly go into the Ancient Knowledge heading. Some of them start veering into the Conspiracy Theories heading. Some of them go into Alternative Spirituality. And still another group tends to lean more in the direction of Alternative Anthropology, Archeology or Cosmology.

The problem is due to the fact that just about everything that we think we know about ALL of these subjects is WRONG. The whole world is walking around with all of this alleged scientific or religious or historical data in their heads that we’ve learned since we were kids, but it’s all old, outdated and some of it just flat out made up bs. So once you start down this path of “catching up” in one arena, say the history of human civilization, you soon enter into the Conspiracy field — because so much of this information IS commonly known among certain circles but kept from the mainstream. But as soon as you want to learn more, go deeper, then you have to leave the broad world of Conspiracies and head into a more specific field where the actual researchers in that specific domain are doing the cutting edge research — i.e. anthropology, economics, religious studies, etc.

What I noticed is that no matter where I went and what I studied, everything seemed to lead to the same conclusion: there is a mass global conspiracy going on by a very small group of elites who know a whole lot more about the world we live and the history of this world than the common person does, and they use this knowledge to gain and keep power and control the masses. Makes sense. Nothing new there. Though much of the latest data was new to me. It was good to catch up. But further down the rabbit hole you begin to hit this — what i would call — “dead zone”…. a place where ALL the documentaries tend to freeze… they are TRYING to tell you something, they desperately WANT to tell you something… but they just aren’t sure WHAT to tell you. Because everyone has either their own viewpoint or their own agenda OR they simply don’t know anything beyond their own personal conclusion.

For example, many of these theories tend to stop at the “the elites who one might call The Illuminati control the world are all satanists who worship Lucifer who is actually The Lord of Light and not really a bad person but they are using this power and all the secret technologies they possess to keep the masses down through the New World Order and stay in control of the world” idea. Okay fine. We know that. That’s their big conclusion. Leading governments, the royals and the Catholic Church are all occultists and/or satanist. Great. We already know that. They possess secret knowledge and these are the signs and symbols of this whole charade etc etc. Okay so that’s sort of the beginner stage. But then it just stops. They tend to end there and go off into a new age lala land of outlandish presumptions or pie in the sky fairytales about how one day the people will be able to take control of the world back through either raising mass consciousness or through mass global revolution. Yep. One can see that happening as well.

But if you look carefully enough through all the various information that’s out there you start to notice one or two very interesting ideas that don’t really get dissected down too much, at least not on the surface: and that is the idea that the human race was not created by a capital G God, but rather by lower case g gods, nor were we descended from early hominids ala evolution theory, but rather we were created initially as a slave race by an extraterrestrial group of beings.

As you might remember I first came upon this idea in ONE book in 1995. That was it. Then this whole Ancient Alien theory really began to take off over the last ten to fifteen years. To the point where it has it’s own mainstream TV show — at least here in the Americas. So it’s reached the mainstream now. Back when i first read it, it seemed like such a foreign concept to me, that I must admit that I just sort of decided to leave it alone for the time being. I didn’t see how it could really help or benefit me in any way to know that. Plus it really bumped up against my own theological and spiritual viewpoints and practices.

Fast forward 19 years and here we are. You may remember a few years ago when I decided to read the whole bible. Circa 2005 to 2007. Every now and then I would post something to the social networks about how crazy it was or how illogical it was or how made up it all seemed, etc. But there were a few sticking points for sure. Such as if God made just Adam and Eve, and they had these two sons, Cain and Abel, where did these other women come from that Cain and Abel married? Things like that. Simple logical things. Obviously there is only one answer if one is to follow this path of thinking: Eve’s sons made love to Eve and she gave birth to a few females, who would have been Cain and Abel’s sisters and they in turn also became their wives as well. In other words the entire human race was borne from incest. Strange and disturbing to say the least.

But then you go deeper. You begin to study the ancient texts where the Torah (the Old Testament portion of the Bible) actually came from. And that’s where it gets really interesting. You begin to discover little known and discussed facts like the fact that the Book of Genesis is actually two or more different books combined — totally separate books written by two totally different people at two different times. But they are so similar to each other PLUS we aren’t sure which one was written first, so biblical scholars just combine them together to make one book. That’s why many of the stories in the Torah and the Bible are told twice, but often contradict each other. Most Jews and Christians aren’t even aware of this, and if they are they just decide not to think about it. Frankly this whole sphere is so filled with anomalies like this that one can easily see how and why most Christians and Jews do not bother to even acknowledge or entertain these facts — they probably don’t even bother recognizing them consciously. Only scholars do. Because It’s simply too mind boggling to most people.

Here’s one that has always boggled me and has continued to stick my attention for years: All through the beginning of the book of Genesis, this “god” continues to speak of himself as if there is more than one of him. He uses the pronouns “us” and “we” and “ourselves” as if he/she is speaking to a group of people. It’s quite odd. And it’s right there in plain site for anyone to read and see. Now before we go on let us acknowledge that 99% of religious leaders out there, people who we call pastors or preachers or priests or rabbis or ministers are NOT invested in studying or researching to gain knowledge or get to the bottom of any great mysteries. That’s not their mission or goal. Their goal is to provide spiritual or religious leadership and pastoral guidance and comfort to their congregation. So they may know certain things… but they don’t tend to know the deep scholarly stuff or the latest cutting edge academic research.

There is also the problem with anthropology. This whole theory of evolution that states that human beings evolved from lower form apes and hominids, BUT they have all these giant missing pieces — they call it “the missing link” — that WOULD prove they were right IF they could only find evidence of other species or animals that they could fit in between we Homo sapiens and these earlier hominids like homo erectus or homo habilus or cromagnun man etc. The problem is that they just don’t have any physical evidence of any of this being true.

Next let’s jump back over to the religious and history books for a moment. Turns out that real scholars — ones withOUT an agenda to prove that the religions of the world are true or accurate or even real — have known for centuries that the Judeo Christian sacred writings that we call the bible etc are actually ancient texts taken from earlier ancient texts from the Sumerians, the Phoenicians, the Babylonians, the Persians and the Medes. The Jews may think that they invented this God and these stories — the Israelites actually. But scholars know that they didn’t. They were just copying the work of other more ancient peoples that they came into contact with. Even ideas such as the creation story and the creation of human beings etc etc.

By this point scholars can even tell you WHICH ancient texts most of these writings come from. It’s incredible how much progress ALL of these different fields of study have made over the last ten to fifty years. From genetics to religious to history to anthropological studies, each of the different fields have made incredible gains in what we know about the history of the world we live and our own history.

In a nutshell, human beings were evidently first created about about 200,000 years ago initially as a slave race by the Anunnaki — a more advanced extraterrestrial race of beings who originally came from a planet known as Nibiru, which happens to actually exist in our own solar system but our scientists have just not discovered it yet. Before you scoff, bare in mind that these SAME ancient Sumerian texts also tell of there being one or two extra planets in our solar system — whereas we have always known there to just be 9 in total — and over the last ten years sure enough scientists have indeed discovered two more planets in our solar system, — I believe the first one they called Sedna and the second one just discovered this year VP2012…(but check on that…) making the total count now 11 total planets in our solar system. Who would have ever thought that the number of planets in our solar system would be different when we were adults compared to when we were children? That fact alone is enough to make anyone remotely intelligent at least consider to start to rethink everything we’ve been taught about our origins.

If one reads the Bible or the Torah with this NEW understanding of what it is actually writing about — OR better still, goes back to the original source material, the ancient texts of the Sumerians and Babylonians, and starts rereading with this new understanding of what and WHO they were actually writing about these texts make a LOT more sense. It’s not some giant wrathful vengeful God in the sky who was bored and lonely and thus created humankind out of nothingness who wants us to now worship him or he’ll send us to hell for an eternity. This is all just garbage that lower minded humans added onto these ancient writings because, one, they either forgot what the real story was, or two, as some conspiracy theorists claim, they did KNOW what the ancient texts really meant, but they hid the real meaning of the stories from the people and invented this giant god in the sky figure and all the baggage that goes along with him — like religion and heaven and hell and other such rewards and punishment ideas — in order to control the majority of the people on earth through fear of the unknown and fear of the afterlife. It makes perfect sense.

In fact, do it yourself. Go back and start rereading the Torah or the Bible based on this new idea of WHO the “gods” were and WHY they created us and HOW they created us. It all starts to make a LOT more sense.

Here’s the deal: My intention here over the next few days, weeks, months or years is not to try to explain this to you the reader or anyone else, nor to try to prove it; there’s way too much evidence now out there in such a wide variety of different fields of human study to doubt these theories. The idea of evolution, at least to me now, is a joke. But more likely it’s a hoax being perpetrated on purpose to steer us away from learning the true nature of the origins of human beings. And the same can be said about the more mainstream theories of religious origins, i.e. a God created human beings because he was bored or lonely. Again, it’s always seemed rather silly to say the least… BUT we’ve made it seem plausible by attaching higher ideals to it such as “divine consciousness” etc etc. No. None of it now to me even seems plausible now that I have learned what I have learned.

But rather than try to explain it here OR try to prove it, I will use this space here in the Transcendence Diaries to just make my own notes and ask my own questions. What I will also do is cite sources and resources so anyone can begin to study the same materials I have been studying over the last few months and years which will allow them to decide for themselves what they believe.

If you’re interested in starting to dive into this research yourself, check out this VERY basic playlist that I created here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7Cl0OHflU1JAElAKLXd3g8JCDu2LL6_z
At the very least it gives you a starting place or launching pad.

Questions that have arisen for me are the following:

Since we’ve made so much progress in this research over the last 20 years (which I hadn’t realized), do ANY modern religious scholars KNOW what’s really up? I’m referring to Christian, Judaic & Islamic scholars associated with actual churches or religions, NOT academics… (The academics are the ones spearheading this research. Clearly they know exactly what’s what.) But what about more mainstream religious leaders who also happen to be highly intelligent and/or curious…. Do THEY know what the Torah & Bible are really talking about & really referring to? Are some of them hiding the truth from their “flock”? Or are they too as clueless as everyone else is/was? That’s what I keep coming back to…

And let us say that this now-new but once-old and readily-known theory of the origins of human beings IS true… Does that discount or exclude the idea that a capital G GOD exists? Wouldn’t these ancient beings, the Anunnaki, still have to have been created at some point in time way back when? Sure they may be way more advanced than WE are and they’ve been in existence for a lot longer in the universe than we have, but they still need an origin as well. Someone or something still would have had to create them. THIS is something to contemplate.

What it comes down to, still, for me, is that consciousness still is the most likely source of ALL creation, both matter and energy. rather than coming from or out of matter and energy, consciousness gives life shape and form to matter and energy. So yes even more advanced civilizations — some that may have created we human beings — were still at some point created from a higher consciousness, just as the universe itself was at some point.

In other words, on a deeper level, WHEN we pray — if one prays that is, just WHO are we praying to? If we were in fact genetically engineered as a slave race by a more advanced species of beings, THEY would be (and ARE according to cutting edge modern religious scholars) the “gods” that all of these holy books were written about, all of these creation stories are actually about this more advanced species — to ancient earthlings they certainly would seem like “gods”. So now when we pray, assuming all this time that it was to capital G God, are we REALLY praying to God? Or can we not even be sure really that a capital G God really exists? Frankly at this point this is something that I believe that each of us is going to have to explore on our own — within our own consciousness — in order to try to discover what turns out to be true to us. More of a psychic or meditative practice in our own personal consciousness and hopefully through which we can eventually tap into some form of a higher cosmic consciousness in order to really learn what’s really going on.

This is what I hope to do on my own through my own meditative practices and prayer. As always I will take notes here in the Diaries.

PS — I am currently reworking the book/presentation “Not Quite The Meaning of Life and Everything In Between” — something I hadn’t worked on since 2008. It’s a more visual presentation dealing with and explaining these same ideas about cosmology and consciousness etc.

 

 

Pretending Seems Easier Than Standing Up – But Is It?

The biggest challenges we face when it comes to correcting the wicked & wayward direction the U.S. government has been headed over the last 50+ years:
1. Those who don’t yet know the facts, friends family colleagues who are still ignorant to what’s going on and quickly label it “conspiracy theory”. It’s hard to feel excluded or “not part of the whole”. It feels easier to just “pretend”. We all want to fit in. Yep. True. Perhaps the biggest challenge of them all. But are you really going to watch it all come crumbling down just because you’re afraid of what a few friends say?
1.1 We feel a responsibility to teach and inform others who don’t yet know. Sure you’re passionate. AND you want everyone you know what you do. But the key to this one is: share the resources. Not the information. Once. If they don’t get it, they don’t get it. And don’t engage in arguments about the particulars. You don’t have the time. And there’s too much data to cover. If they eventually want to learn they will. If not, you did what you could. Keep going.
2. Most in the military seem to have no idea what they’re actually doing or why. They seem like good people. We want to give them the respect we believe they deserve. We tell ourselves, “surely they would know about this…?” It’s challenging to even fathom that a solider would be knowingly or unknowingly involved in such nefarious activity. In reality, #1, many of them realize it somewhere along the road. There’s a reason why at least one American soldier a day commits suicide. The realities hit them hard. #2. It doesn’t take informing a whole battalion of the “real mission” in order to accomplish it. The hierarchy that is set up deliberately negates this need. They voluntarily sign up to serve under a “need to know” basis. Respect, yes, honor, yes. But remember, if they’re told one day that you or one of your family members “is a terrorist” they won’t bat an eye or give it a second thought as they invade your home, arrest you, kidnap you, or assassinate you. That’s their job. Regardless of “who” it is. This applies to all countries.
3. It’s hard to believe that “everyone” in the government knows about it, or is “doing it” or is “really that bad”. Some of the things they are doing are “horrible” by any accounts. How are we to believe that “everyone” knows about it? Or is complicit in participating? The truth is that not all of them are, most aren’t — only a few actually know what’s really going on. Again the pyramidic structure of the hierarchy makes this easy to do. (Think G.W. Bush. Did he know what he was participating in with the 9/11 opp? Or was he even aware that he was selected by The Project for a New American Century as a puppet, or did he actually believe he was elected by the American people. Did he ever suspect that things were not as they seem? Or was he full on aware of what they were doing?) This is an important one: don’t believe the “everyone has to be in on it in order for this to be true” fallacy.
4. Fear of the potentially dangerous or life-threatening repercussions to oneself and one’s family for speaking out openly about what’s really happening. It’s obviously safer to pretend you don’t know. What does one actually gain for openly admitting they know what’s going on? Isn’t it safer AND easier to just pretend like everyone else? Yes. Most definitely. But can you sleep at night if you do? That’s the question that we’ve been asking ourselves since the dawn of human history. Only you can answer that question for you.
5. Okay, so what, it’s all true! But there’s nothing we can do about it anyway! Yes, this is definitely a hurdle on the way to being part of the solution. It does seem improbable that we will ever experience true freedom justice honesty truth liberty or democracy in the United States, or anything other than the current thinly disguised police state. But take an objective check of the last twenty years… Did you ever expect we’d make it this far? Think THRIVE or ZEITGEIST or DIRTY WARS or LOOSE CHANGE I -III. Did you ever expect to see films like this hit the mainstream? Truth is, we ARE making progress. And that progress will continue with or without you. But it will exponentially increase WITH you. That’s the burden of knowing.
6. “There’s nothing I can do”. Bulls*^t. If everyone said that, nothing would ever get done. There’s something for EVERY one. There’s a reason why each of us know what we know and know WHO we know. No matter what you do, it’s better than “nothing”.

Spiritual Fulfillment and Enlightenment Versus Religion

Nine times out of ten when you tell someone that you’ve had numerous spiritually fulfilling experiences or have achieved enlightenment you’re statement will be met with a doubtful scoff. A cynical laugh and a brush off. You might even encounter anger or righteous indignation by the mere mention of it. After all, true spiritual enlightenment is nearly impossible but for a few select souls; like the Dalai Llama. People are more than willing to believe that the Dalai Llama or the so-called “Buddha” had spiritual enlightenment experiences. But a regular ole normal person? Impossible. And yet the majority of people on planet earth, even those here in the West, still profess to believing in a god and belonging to a religion — many even attend a church regularly. But they find the idea of enlightenment, true spiritual fulfillment very hard to believe in. Especially in others. Why the disconnect?

For one thing, there seems to be a thick line separating what people believe about “God” and how people think about spiritual enlightenment. Perhaps in days past, religion and spirituality used to be tied together, like next of kin. But in modern times, they seem as estranged as Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Existing in different worlds and for completely different purposes. Religion in today’s world seems more to address one’s morals and ethics, along with a sense of community and social status, than it does one’s spiritual fulfillment. Once a person starts on the path of the seeker, searching for truth and spiritual fulfillment, they seem to leave the major religions of the world behind and enter into an alternate world more akin to the esoteric and supernatural. But why? When did religion cut the cord from simple spiritual fulfillment? And what exactly is spiritual fulfillment? What is enlightenment for that matter?

There are countless misconceptions about spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment in human mass consciousness. Erroneous assumptions or flat out lies in the form of myths, legends and fairytales that have been indoctrinated into human hearts and minds for centuries and some even for millennia. Very little of what has been written in the way of religion or spirituality is true or even of any use. One learns this fact very quickly once on the path. Almost all of these false facts and erroneous conclusions with very few exceptions come from and are promoted by one form or another of what we call “the world religions”.  No matter where we live on planet earth, there is at least one or more “god legends” that is commonly promoted by one or more of these religions. No one, no matter where they happen to be born and grow up on planet earth, is immune from it. Because we are aware that over the last five thousand years human beings have believed in no less than one to five thousand different “gods” — bearing over ten thousand different names by some accounts, it is ironic that each generation is well aware of the numerous “false gods” that humankind “used to believe in”, but they still persist in believing that the NEW god that they believe in NOW is the “one true god” — not one of those old-fashioned “false gods” of the past. This is red flag number one. It’s a presumptuousness that is both sad and laughable.

This is not to say that true spiritual fulfillment or enlightenment is not possible, for as many can and have attested to through the ages right through to today, it certainly is possible. For some it is easy. For others it seems a bumpy, rocky, long and challenging road. This difference probably has more to do with the beliefs a person holds, whether consciously or unconsciously, than anything else.

One of the first questions we need to ask is, is a “god” even necessary to achieve true spiritual fulfillment or enlightenment? Ask a Buddhist and they will reply “no”. Ask someone who practices any of the Big Four major religions of the world — Judaism, Christianity, Islam, or Hinduism — and they will emphatically reply “Yes, absolutely. A god is absolutely necessary”. To them, spiritual fulfillment or enlightenment has more to do with their god and their religion than anything else. They go together. One can’t exist without the other. Their religion is their spiritual fulfillment. The god of their chosen religion — whether deliberately chosen or indoctrinated — is the focus of, reason for and cause of their spiritual fulfillment. Which begs another question: is practicing a religion and/or worshiping a god the same as what we refer to as “spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment”? The answer seems to be both yes and no.

For some, practicing a religion, believing in the tenets of a particular religious faith, is less about spiritual fulfillment or enlightenment in the here-now than it is about achieving that state of being in the “after life”. They freely admit and proselytize that the life that we currently inhabit in the here-now on planet earth, in these minds and bodies, is meant to be one of sacrifice in order to achieve spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment in the future, after one passes on and dies. This has always struck an odd chord for me personally. There seems to be a major disconnect in this particular belief, even though it is one that is shared by billions of people. Why would we be here if the only purpose was to suffer and struggle through it with nothing to look forward to but the end of it all?

If we examine this belief and the possible origins of it, it is clear that it has very solid and practical applications. When the world’s religions were first formed, life WAS hard, challenging, full of suffering and struggle. The promise of true happiness and fulfillment in the afterlife if one just persevered in this life offered hope. That hope kept people alive, at least long enough to procreate and continue the perpetuation of the species. An important role duty of any living thing. If one is raised to believe that life has no purpose other than struggle and suffering, with no promise of anything at the end of the road, why go on? Why even bother to live until tomorrow? But if one is led to believe from an early age that all one need do is persist in living life to their best ability for as long as they are here and THEN they will be REWARDED with an eternity of infinite bliss and fulfillment in an “afterlife”, then they just might stick around and give it a go. At least long enough to procreate.

But of course, that’s not the only requirement. There’s a catch. Besides sticking around, one is also asked to “believe as we believe, follow these specific sets of rules and laws AND defend them, even to your death if need be” and THEN “you will most certainly be rewarded with an afterlife of eternal bliss and the fulfillment of your greatest dreams and aspirations”. For this, human beings are offered the most outlandish rewards in the “afterlife”, ranging from “seventy-two virgin girls to serve your every wish and command”, to “giant houses one streets paved with gold that sit upon the clouds of heaven”, to “becoming one with God the almighty”. This is a second practical reason for and application of fostering in people a belief that true spiritual fulfillment comes “not in this life, but in the afterlife”: the ability to control those people through heavy indoctrination while they are alive by holding out a reward in the afterlife for them that is just out of reach.

Promote a few men among them to a higher status to act as watchdogs and overseers — priests, bishops, cardinals, rabbis, imams — and a pyramid-like hierarchy of control is made easily possible, where the few can control the many. Throw in some early indoctrination of some form of punishment — either in this life, such as banishment from one’s society, torture or death, or in the afterlife, such as “an eternity in hell” — and along with the reward factor, this control is made even easier.

Now spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment in THIS life, here-now, is no longer even desired or contemplated. Everyone is so concerned with this “eternity in an afterlife” that they’ve completely let go of one of the most rational and reasonable human considerations: personal happiness and fulfillment here-now. This is a misconception about life that has plagued humankind for thousands of years, ever since the first major religions were formed; and most don’t even give it a second thought.

But some do. In the modern times that we live in, at least in areas of the world where it is politically allowed — such as in democracies and republics, some people began to contemplate these belief systems taken for granted for so long and by so many and came to conclude that they were implausible at best, downright false propaganda at worst. Ideas such as existentialism — the idea that only what we are able to see, touch, hear, taste, smell or measure in the here-now is all that is; everything else is illusion — began to pop up. Ideas such as agnosticism — the simple notion that we don’t know what we don’t know but are open to anything if at some point it should become clear to be true to us; and even atheism — a sort of anti-religious faith that is just as unreasonable and illogical as religious faith is when it is broken down — a determined belief that one is SURE that a god does not exist. (talk about silly: non-religious people bad mouthing religious people for believing that “God definitely exists” when they are sure that “a god doesn’t exist”. Both flying by the seat of their pants on nothing but faith and faith alone, sure of themselves for no other reason than they want to be, neither of them with any proof to back up their claim. But these are all important steps on the path to spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment.

Most people are often religious as children, atheists when they reach their teens or twenties, and eventually settle into a comfortable agnosticism once they mature. But some reach further. The quest for true spiritual enlightenment.

Breaking the shackles of religious belief based purely on indoctrination, or fear of a torturous afterlife, is a major step, an important one, a necessary one if one is to ever achieve true spiritual fulfillment or enlightenment. But one needn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, though one can hardly blame them if they are want to do so at first. It’s a predictable first step — once given the freedom to do so, that first illuminating moment when one realizes that the door to the jail cell is no longer locked, some just run out, never look back and never stop running. They stay in perpetual resistance to being held down and controlled by indoctrinated beliefs that make no logical sense to them. But what of spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment? Ahhhh, that’s the baby, lying there in a puddle of water struggling for each breath after it’s been tossed out and abandoned. Ask any atheist or agnostic about spiritual fulfillment or enlightenment and they’ll tell you that “it’s all a crock of bs”. They “believe in the here-now”. Happiness is to be created by each individual on their own terms in whatever way they desire. And for them, if it serves them, let it be. Not everyone desires spiritual fulfillment or enlightenment. Some are content with just being here, with being alive. And in a way that kind of state of being is an enviable one.

But what about those of us who do long for something more? Once we recognize that the door to the cell is no longer locked, must we too run and never look back? Freeing ourselves of religion and the suffocating false beliefs and illogical assumptions of them does not necessarily imply that we no longer desire true spiritual fulfillment. The fact of the matter is that religion and spiritual fulfillment CAN go hand in hand. But one just doesn’t necessarily equal the other, nor is one required for the other, and vice versa. They are entirely separate animals. Moreso than most religious folks would care to admit. That is why the idea of spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment is so rarely brought up in religious circles.

In fact, after decades of study, research and practice, one begins to realize that though spiritual fulfillment is quite possible through the practice of any one of the numerous world religions that dominate human consciousness at this time or any other time throughout our history, it may be easier to achieve withOUT the practice of a religion at all. For a myriad of reasons. As noted above, spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment is NOT necessarily the number one goal of the world’s major religions in the first place. Some of them freely admit this. Their goal instead is to offer such things in an alleged afterlife.

One also realizes eventually along the path that almost everything that has ever been written about the nature of “god’ or divinity or enlightenment is made up. Especially the stuff of religion. A good rule of thumb: whoever wrote it most likely made it up. Or they’re simply passing on ideas that someone else made up. Many claim that they’re simply acting as a vessel for a “god”, that everything they’ve written was not only divinely inspired, but actually written BY a god. By THE God. It’s an astounding reality when you step away from it for a moment. That an entire race of beings can become so indoctrinated by a belief that they can accept such an outlandish claim. Especially when you sit down and actually read the things that this God supposedly wrote.

Another good rule of thumb: if you know more about the mechanics of the universe than a God who claimed to write through humans, chances are no such thing happened. And such is the case with the sacred writings of the so called “holy books” of all the world’s major religions. The first book of the Bible, Genesis, a holy book of both the Christian and Jewish faith has TWO known authors, two different stories of the “creation of the world” story, two different stories of Noah and the Ark, etc etc. (Yes, of course there’s a possibility that “God wrote through” two different humans, telling the same story, just in case one of them died before they finished publishing. But let’s not speak of possibilities here.) The simple truth is that we all now know more than God supposedly did just two-thousand years ago. And the same goes for the Bagadvagita, the Hindu holy book. That’s an even more outlandish story. Flying monkeys and talking elephants. And the same goes for The Qu’ran. Talk about man creating god and then projecting his own culture and its beliefs onto this god in order to exert power over others. That book is a veritable dictionary entry for man-made religious mumbo jumbo. But so too are the rest of the so called holy books of the world’s major religions. None are exempt from the ridiculous factor. Except for one.

The Tao Te Ching. But by most people’s accounts this is no longer a sacred book of one of the major religions of the world. Perhaps it’s too intelligent. Too rationale. Too modest. Too non-fiction to be considered “truth” by religious people. (irony deliberate). It doesn’t claim to know everything or to be able to solve all the worlds problems. But it is one hell of an intelligent work. Definitely the most sacred, deep, and truthful. And at one time Taoism was considered a world religion. Now it’s shoved into the “non-theist camp” along with Buddhism. For whatever reason most people consider religion to equate “believing in a God”. Though that’s not true either. Scientology is allowed to be called a religion for God’s sake. There’s another one of those red flags.

This idea that a god wrote holy books through human hands may fly for some… indeed we all know deeply religious people; many who I respect and admire greatly. There is a strong desire in human consciousness to believe in a force or entity more powerful than us — it is a temptation that we all succumb to in our weakest moments — AND to be told what to do and what to believe. It is certainly easier than figuring these things out for ourselves. (There’s real work involved in that.) So throw them a book and tell them “god wrote it” and they’ll come running. They’ll devour it. The “Holy Bible” is the best selling book of all time in the history of the human race. There is a logical practical reason for this, as noted above. But what are they running to? What are they devouring? Is it true spiritual fulfillment? Is it enlightenment? Or is it simply the promise of rewards at a later date? In the afterlife? Or is it simple comfort? Belonging to something bigger? A sense of community? A pat on the back with an implied message that “you’re alright, you’re a good person because you believe”. These are powerful motivators. So powerful in fact that they can lead someone off the path of spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment and smack into a church pew every Sunday.

Many will tell you that true spiritual fulfillment or enlightenment isn’t possible in this life. Some will be very religious. Some will be atheists. They will be highly skeptical if you relay to them that you believe that YOU’VE experienced it yourself. For whatever reason, there seems to be a belief floating around, quite solidly, in mass consciousness that “enlightenment is hard”. Why? Perhaps because life was so hard for we humans for so long… (consider how recent this current stage of peace, freedom and ease of the modern world is in the very long history of humankind…) Or perhaps it’s because the major religions of the world have pounded it into consciousness with such persistence for so long that people started to believe it. If spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment is hard, then we need a religion to get there. Along with that need comes a dependance on that religion

Consider for a moment how Tibetan Buddhists for example believe that they must “give up all material possessions and pleasures and isolate themselves from the rest of society and meditate for hours everyday for years” in order to achieve enlightenment. This of course is a ridiculous notion. Completely made up. By someone, human, at some point in history. And then passed down and perpetuated through the ages by others. Not a bit of truth to it. And yet millions adhere to this belief. The same is true for Sikhs. They even go so far as to change their name. Many sects of Hinduism such as Krishna devotees have similar beliefs. They give up literally everything material for the promise of spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment.

This is not to say that it doesn’t work. It may work. It may not. But it does illustrate how solidly this belief that “enlightenment is difficult to achieve” is planted in mass consciousness. People tell themselves that because enlightenment is so difficult to achieve, if I go to great lengths to achieve it and sacrifice a lot, then surely I may possibly achieve it. When all along it’s right in front of them. In front of all of us. More on that in a few. But first…

Let us remember, regardless of who it is that is telling us that “spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment is hard to achieve” or what they are or where they come from, it doesn’t matter. Because, again, that’s just their belief. And one person’s beliefs have nothing to do with another’s. They’re not applicable. Not relevant. Entirely unimportant. That’s an important something to recognize and never forget. Maybe the most important. Many of us on planet earth are free to believe whatever we want to religiously. But some still are not afforded that liberty. Regardless of what position one is in — because of where they live or how they were raised — it is still just as important to remember: no one can tell another what the truth is regarding spiritual fulfillment or enlightenment. It’s all bullshit unless it rings true to YOU. Some may have to fake it. Just to stay alive. Think modern day Islamic societies, (not all of them), where religious beliefs are forced upon their citizens whether they like it or not. Or think The Middle Ages or The Dark Ages, where professing to not being a Christian meant torture, imprisonment or death.

The greatest irony of them all is that a few hundred years before that, the exact same people who were torturing others for NOT being Christian — the Roman Empire disguised as “the catholic church” and all it’s minions, Spain for instance — were doing the exact opposite: torturing and murdering others for BEING a Christian. If that doesn’t open one’s eyes and shed light on just how full of shit the whole system is, then nothing will. Let them be. Enlightenment is not their thing. Being told what to do and doing it in order to feel good about themselves is more important to these individuals than spiritual fulfillment or enlightenment. Walk away and wish them peace and a good life.

The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all magic formula to spiritual fulfillment or enlightenment. No spell or incantation, no prayer or ritual, no practice or meditation that is foolproof if you only do it properly and do it long enough. Anyone on the path who is honest with themselves will attest to this in a quiet moment of vulnerable peace and truthfulness. Spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment is up to each individual. It may look and feel a little different to each of us. Each may come to it from a slightly different path. But in the bigger picture it always seems to vibrate the same message and generate the same general ideas: unconditional love, peace, acceptance, tolerance and compassion for others… a knowing that all is well, that time is relative, that we are all one, all part of the same thing, whatever that may be, that we are all made of the same stuff, all here for a purpose and yet no purpose. The infinite all that is. The I Am of the I Am. Here before it all. Still here. Here after it’s all gone. Creation embodied. Living breathing pulsating vibrating creation energy. This is the stuff of enlightenment. But usually not the stuff of religion. That’s an odd conundrum.

No matter where a person comes from and how they got there, every attempt to recount what true spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment is, sounds and feels relatively the same. It’s uncanny but also refreshing. No matter what time period they lived in or what culture they existed in. Some include a “god”  — some form of divinity — in their telling of it; some don’t. Some choose instead to believe that “we are all God”. Most do actually. That God is both separate from us and yet we are all a part of It, a piece of it; tiny fractional particles of some kind of divinity, a “divine force”. This is what has been recounted by those who have sought true spiritual fulfillment and enlightenment. Almost always the same.  And usually quite removed from anything that remotely resembles the major religions of the world. It seems there is a wide chasm between spiritual fulfillment and religion or even what religion portends to offer.

Again, not to dismiss the possibility of the two going hand in hand. Certainly possible. I personally have experienced moments of pure spiritually fulfilling bliss and enlightenment through a variety of ways. More often than not, I did NOT have these experiences through the “study” of spiritual material or religious works, nor through the practicing of religion per se. The first few were from mind enhancing drugs, or hallucinogens; LSD, mushrooms, etc. An easy way to access those areas of the brain where such experiences seem to take place, granted. Soon after, I longed to have the same experiences without the use of medicinals, for I felt that if it were possible with the use of said chemicals then it should also be possible without them. If not, then perhaps it wasn’t really enlightenment at all, but just a momentary mental state created by a drug. Let’s face it, cocaine, heroine, marijuana and many pharmaceuticals can also create within the human mind relative states of “bliss”. Not necessarily “enlightenment” per se, that’s for sure. But some very groovy feelings. So off I ventured looking for an even purer, cleaner, truer enlightenment.

The next few times I had the experience of what I would genuinely refer to as “enlightenment” was while using the Avatar tools, after a few days of being on an Avatar Course. No hallucinogens or mind altering drugs. No chemicals. Just a profound desire to achieve enlightenment — as in I really wanted “it” and I was willing to do whatever it takes — and a willingness to be as open minded and vulnerable as one possibly could, like bamboo as opposed to oak. These experiences were even more “spiritually fulfilling” and powerful than the ones I experienced previously, more enlightening. Cleaner. Those experiences of enlightenment that we have on hallucinogens seem to open our hearts and minds to the possibilities of these states, of this knowledge, this knowing. But when we come down, as the drug slowly withdraws from our system, though we never forget what we experienced, it is difficult to hang onto that state of being. It becomes a memory. Rather than a way of being. With Avatar, I have found that simply using the tools and given the right environment I could achieve that state of being repeatedly.

The next time I experienced true spiritual fulfillment or enlightenment — and perhaps the most powerful experience thus far in my life — was actually in a church. (Yes, shock… Tell me about it. I was the last person in the world to expect that.) It was certainly not what I was expecting. By then I had already developed the ability of discerning the difference between intuition and mind chatter, and made it a practice to always listen to my intuition. I was told to go in a church as I was walking by it. So I did. I sat there for a few minutes, looking around, admiring the architecture, at first a totally intellectual experience. All from the mind. Within minutes I felt chills all over my body, a state of pure bliss, of feeling more love, more beloved, than I ever have before. It was ecstasy. (Better than the drug Ecstasy. Much better… truly. And I don’t say that lightly.) A voice whispered in my ear, “This is how much God loves you Ed. God loves you so so much…” This went on for quite a while. The same words, over and over, slightly different wording, but the same intention. Ten minutes or more. I bathed in it. I was not scared. I was enraptured, in heaven. In love. Filled with joy. Tears slowly streamed from my eyes. There was no denying it. This was a truly supernatural enlightenment experience. A few minutes later I came to realize that I had been sitting there for a half hour or more — I probably looked ridiculous to any onlookers — my head was bowed, drooling slightly, tears pouring down my cheeks.

I had many more spiritually fulfilling enlightenment experiences after that in that same location, hearing voices — not really voices as much as messages. There is just something special there. God speaks. His presence is there. It’s an otherworldly experience. One no one who occasions the place takes lightly. This is why I have always contended that those who do not believe in God or a Divine Force or enlightenment or anything else supernatural feel this way because they simply have not had any experiences like this. They have every right not to believe. They’ve never had any to believe. They’re trapped in their mind. Attempting to think it through. Never realizing that enlightenment is not a think-it thing. It’s a feel-it thing. One can’t think their way to enlightenment. Book reading may be interesting. But it doesn’t get us anywhere. You’d have a better shot at experiencing true enlightenment from sitting on a hilltop in a beautiful locale for a few minutes or hours and just meditating on the nature of the universe than you would from reading a book. This is why I don’t blame those who don’t believe; never judge them. They’re simply acting on what they know.

But I’ll tell you this. If one desires to experience enlightenment, it is possible. And chances are, they will. If one longs to know God, to know the nature of the Divine, it is possible. And chances are, they will. Because it is. It’s an isness. I sometimes wonder if not all things are possible, if not all things that the mind can conceive are a potential isness. If we just allow them to be. After all, it is we who are creating what we are experiencing. Long for Divinity enough and there’s a good chance that you’ll take actions to one day experience it. You’ll create the belief and through that, the experience.

 

Free Will Versus Astrology

One of the longtime astrologers I used for many years, a beautiful soul, and well known celeb in that small world, by the name of Karen Pavlus, passed on a few years ago. I miss her. She wasn’t just “great at what she did”, but she was also a good person, caring and kind hearted. Because I tend to believe that a chart reading is only as good as the person doing the reading, I have not had my progress chart pulled or read since 2007. Karen was very good at what she did. Uncanny really. Knew things that were spot on that someone could only know IF someone else told them about it… But she saw these things in the charts. She’d ask me out of the blue, “You’re working on some project that has to do with writing, perhaps a new book, along with three Virgos…Do you know what I’m talking about?” And I’d respond, “Uh… Yeah… I’m writing a book right now with three different friends who are all Virgos! How do you know that?!” She’d just exhale and laugh and reply, “Well it’s not rocket science honey. I can see it right here in your chart…” Things like that… There’s just no explaining it away. It’s a valid science, or art, or whatever one wants to label it.

Now of course, I may tend to believe this more than the average person, simply because I was raised around this kind of thing since I was born. My whole family was into it, probably for hundreds or even thousands of years. It’s only in the last 100 years that humanity has steered away from regularly using and considering astrology as a viable science; once that split came about between astrology and astronomy. Which was a good thing. To be sure. But it doesn’t necessarily negate the validity of astrology. It just separates them into two different camps. One focuses on examining the universe as a whole, looking for the latest “truths” that can further our understanding of the universe and everything in it; and one focuses on how the movement of certain celestial bodies in the sky affect us and everything else around us.

As a kid I remember reading and flipping through books by people such as Edgar Cayce, Linda Goodman, Ruth Montgomery, Nostradamus and numerous others since before I could walk. All of these so-called paranormal and supernatural books intrigued me to no end. It was as if two distinct worlds existed: the mainstream world out THERE… what we see on TV and read in magazines and hear about in school, and this other secret world that I was reading about in these books, where people could read minds and see the future and channel spirits. The two worlds didn’t seem to connect in any way. The mainstream world didn’t seem to know anything about this other supernatural world that existed. But the supernatural world seemed to know everything about the mainstream world. People had been predicting events to come for thousands of years. Some people knew this. Most people didn’t.

My grandparents had psychics on retainer, the same way one keeps an accountant or an attorney on retainer. Whenever someone in the family would get sick, or get into any kind of trouble or turmoil, my grandfather would tell my grandmother, “Deary get Ruby on the phone.” Ruby was one of my grandparents’ primary long-time psychics. They’d speak with her and dig into the situation a little bit, usually not needing to say anything more than “Can you see what’s happening with Sister?” Sister is what they used to call my mom. And sure enough Ruby would then begin to just explain exactly what was happening in her life as if she was living with us for months; she knew what was happening, she knew why it was happening; and she could usually see the various possibilities for its outcome. It was always mind-boggling to me that these women possessed this skill. To be fair, a little later in life I met many others, some of whom were men. So it isn’t necessarily a gender thing.

Needless to say, because of these experiences early on, I have always had a strong belief in our potential to have these abilities. Since those days, I have spoken to countless psychics. Some are great. Some are average. And some just aren’t any good at all. Usually you can tell how good one is simply by how easy or hard it is to get an appointment with them. A good one, like John Edward or Hans Christian King, is very hard to get an appointment with. They may have waiting lists that go out a full year just to speak with them for an hour. The good ones always do. (And yes, if you’re more in the public eye, it is usually easier to get yourself an appointment slipped in. That’s just how it is. One of the perks of living life publicly as opposed to privately I assume. Why I’m really not sure. Money certainly never guides their decision making process. None of them seem the least bit concerned with money. I think it’s nothing more than just intrigue frankly. They’re as intrigued to speak with us as we are to speak with them… Sometimes. Sometimes they don’t seem to give a s*t. Which i respect too.)

Because of the nature of my job, I have been very lucky to have connected with and become friends with some of the most well-known or “famous” psychics, mediums, channelers, working today. Hans Christian King, Micki Dahne, John Edward, Echo Bodine et al….. they’re all wonderful people. And very gifted. I have just recently gotten to know Steven Forest — who seems like a very nice person. Very real, down to earth, sincere and kind-hearted. To me, each of these beautiful people proves that there is more to this so-called phenomenon than pure luck or chance. We just have not yet discovered the scientific mechanism(s) at play that make it work. There is a “something” there that renders it totally plausible that what they do is measurably verifiable, that it isn’t just a fluke. Luckily there are numerous scientific organizations around the world now that are attempting to pin down exactly what is scientifically happening inside these gifted people that makes it possible for them to do these incredible things. ( See Noetic Institute or Dr. Rupert Sheldrake to name just two off the top of my head…) It’s only a matter of time before we understand the science behind it as well as we do the inner-workings of the atom or why the universe is expanding. Once it’s verified by science, then I believe even hardcore mainstreamers, skeptics and rationalists will succumb and start acknowledging that it’s no more “supernatural” than gravity or magnetism is.

After a while one begins to understand full well the difference between a “psychic” and an astrologer… I actually tend to trust the readings of good astrologers more than “psychics”. The primary reason why is two-fold: number one, psychics tend to read minds. They have mastered the art of accessing and using our Intuitive Mode of Consciousness. We ALL have access to this viewpoint — the viewpoint of Intuitive Mode. But not many of us can access it easily. Doing so enables them to both read minds AND see the future, some of them at least. So the reading is going to be influenced by whatever the person they are doing the reading for is thinking, feeling, afraid of or hoping for at the time. This isn’t a foolproof system. In fact, it’s far from it. The reading can be too compromised because of this. Another factor is that psychics tend to have a real problem with “time”; they can SEE what’s going to happen, but they can’t tell WHEN it is…. they “see” or “feel” or see visions of different things, different events… but it’s difficult for them to ascertain WHEN these things are going to actually HAPPEN. They may be telling you about something that is going to happen ten years from now… Not very helpful in the here-now. And sometimes they might even be “seeing” something that has already happened. Helpful if you still have something to integrate about that event and need more clarity on it, but not very helpful if you’re looking for insight into things in the here-now.

Still another reason is because astrologers if they’re GOOD, JUST read the charts. They don’t add anything from their own personal perspective. They just practice the science of reading the charts. Psychics cannot help but add their own ideas and feelings… So the reading is also going to be limited to that. Astrologers tend to give the same reading over and over again regarding the same time period because they’re again, just reading a chart. Why should the information change? It shouldn’t. But a psychic I have noticed might give a completely different reading regarding the same time period a day or two later… Why? Because again they are reading the mind of the person, as opposed to just reading a chart. Sticking to the science.

Of course a good astrologer is only as good as their chart reading capabilities are. And that’s key. That’s the difference between one who is good and one who is GREAT. Experience seems to play a really important role in it. And so too does even a slight gift in terms of being able to tap into that Intuitive Mode of Consciousness. Being able to tap into the mind of the person even just a little seems to really help. But not enough where they are reading your mind. Then you might as well be speaking with a psychic. Psychics tend to care too much or at least pay attention too much to what the person on the other end wants or hopes for or fears. These things should NOT play a role in a good reading. After all, we are speaking to them precisely because we want to get OUT of our own heads and get some objective third-party feedback from another. I’ve found that a great astrologer is just as difficult to find as a good doctor or anything else. There are tens of thousands of them out there (hundreds of thousands perhaps?). But the good ones really stand out. Unfortunately 90% (perhaps higher…?) of them are average at best. Karen, the one I mention above, was fantastic. That’s why I haven’t spoken to one since she died. Just haven’t had the time to do the research necessary to find another really good one. (Until these last couple of weeks that is. Which is what compelled me to write this post… More on that later…)

But what about free will? Aren’t we capable of creating our own experiences through our beliefs? Yes, of course we are. (As a sidenote, even this idea is foreign to most people. Tell them that it is THEY who are creating all of their experiences based on what they BELIEVE and most will tell you that you’re crazy. That’s taking way too much responsibility for most people. But let us assume that for this post, we take it for granted that each of us is creating our lives, all of the experiences in our lives, based on our beliefs…) So how can astrology have any credence whatsoever if we are creating our lives and have “free will”? THAT’s the quandary isn’t it?  I personally DO give more credit to free will, good decision making, healthy actions and mental/emotional/spiritual state than any influence that celestial bodies may exert on our day to day lives.  I still believe that these celestial influences CAN at the very least give us insight into various “possibilities”… things that MAY or MAY NOT happen to us… But it is WE who make that decision.

Astrology –regardless of HOW it works…(my guess is that it has something to do with gravity, the gravitational influence that celestial bodies exert on us — physically emotionally and mentally, just as the moon’s gravitational force exerts an influence on the earth’s ocean tides…) — has an uncanny ability to tell us WHO we are and who we are NOT. If one can get their hands on a good reading of their Natal Chart and get to know themselves early on, they can then begin to focus on making the most use of their strengths and as on minimizing their possible weaknesses. After a few years, overcoming one’s innate weaknesses or challenges, one is what is known as “evolved”. If a person has knowledge of their own Natal Chart and has spent considerable time perfecting themselves, overcoming weaknesses and challenges and temptations, they are called “evolved” in the world of astrology. “Unevolved” if they have yet to explore this data. Some people of course don’t need to learn about such things from astrology; they just become aware of it from an early age and decide from then on to not fall prey to being tempted by these potential weaknesses. Thus a person can be “evolved” in the world of astrology withOUT having to be familiar with their Natal Chart or even know what “sign” they are. Self improvement IS after all self improvement. And it doesn’t matter how one gets there.

But in terms of real enlightenment, really “BEING THERE”, it certainly helps to have it all laid out in front of you. Strengths, weaknesses, temptations, fears, tendencies, skills, gifts, talents, all the various possibilities of what makes you YOU. We can then be very deliberate about changing what it is that we DON”T like about ourselves and improving aspects of ourselves that we do like or think are fabulous. True Superhero stuff. One doesn’t talk to an astrologer in order to be told what’s GOING to happen. One talks to an astrologer in order to find out what MIGHT happen. Potentialities. Free Will is still at play. Perhaps it’s the strongest force in the universe. The Will. Astrology just helps gives us insight into what our various strengths and weaknesses are AND into timing. As it is said, there is a time for sowing, a time for reaping, a time for every season under heaven. Imagine being able to KNOW when the BEST time for such and such might be. We have all heard plenty of stories about someone being warned that between one date and another that there is a high likelihood of them being in some kind of accident, so they are extra careful during that period and sure enough they “almost get into an accident” but because they were careful, they are okay; they survive.

[Of course there is a question begged here as to just WHAT caused the accident…. Was it “written in the stars” and the astrologer just happened to “see it” and hence it happened just as they predicted? Or did it only transpire because the person was told about it and then created it because the worm had already been implanted in their mind? That’s one that has boggled philosophers since time began. Since almost everyone in the world gets into one or more accidents in their life, regardless of whether or not they ever speak with an astrologer or not, I would tend to lean towards believing that the astrologer just “saw” that it was potentiating at that specific time and the person was able to avoid it due to knowing about it beforehand. But that’s just me. Like most things in this life, it’s probably a healthy combination of both possibilities that contributes to this phenomenon.]

We have to remember that regardless of how accurate an astrological reading IS for someone, it is still THEY who determine WHO they are and what happens to them. My own personal belief is that the more information we have to work with, the better it is for us. If I am told that I “have an uncanny gift of communication and I thrive in the public” and I’m spending most of my time alone working on repairing car engines, I’m probably not making the best use of my time or innate abilities. Or vice versa. Chances are if I switched to doing something more involved with the communication and the public I would just generally feel better, be happier, and through that I would in turn help more people just from being happier. This to me is really the key to it all. We already know that there is no better way to feel good than to be in service. But we’ve also learned that there is no better way to be in service than when we feel good and are happy.

[As a footnote, I do NOT believe that a person can do a very good job at reading their OWN charts — UNLESS they literally do that for a living and have mastered the art and skill of it. (And even then, it would seem to me that there still might be some “dissonance” in the reading one might give themselves simply because it would be very difficult for anyone to be completely objective when reading their own chart. How can we help but infuse our own personal desires, hopes, dreams, fears, resistances, fantasies and other real and imagined ideas and feelings into the reading…?) Hence I have never bothered to take the time to focus on trying to “master” astrological chart reading myself, but instead I leave it to others who specialize in it. But that’s just me.]

Bouncing Back When Flat — Ed Hale Opens Up in New Book and Interview

Ed Hale Star Guitar promo photo. Photo by Fiona Pepe, Styling by Jenascia Chakos 2013.

Ed Hale star guitar promo photo by Fiona Pepe, styling by Jenascia Chakos copyright 2013.Earlier this year Ed Hale gave an in-depth interview with the website FlyFreeAvatar.com, where he opens up more about his music, business, spiritual and personal life than ever before. The interview also makes mention of the potential release of a new book entitled Bouncing Back When Flat. The interview is being reprinted here for Transcendence Diaries readers in its entirety with permission from the owners. Original interview published on February 1st, 2014 here: Bouncing Back When Flat — An Interview with Recording Artist Ed Hale

FlyFreeAvatar.com recently had the opportunity to get recording artist Ed Hale to sit down for an in-depth interview. This is a project we have spoken about doing for several years, and the New Year seemed like the perfect time to finally complete it. Hale has been in the public eye for most of his life, having released his first album at the age of 17. He is best known as a singer-songwriter and recording artist — as the lead singer of the musical group Ed Hale and the Transcendence, scoring numerous Top 40 hits over the last fifteen years — including classics like “Superhero Girl”, “Scene in San Francisco” and “New Orleans Dreams”. He is also well-known as a successful entrepreneur and businessman, a prolific writer, and an outspoken social and political activist and human rights advocate. He has a reputation for being open and outspoken about his personal life, especially in his popular long-running blog The Transcendence Diaries, which is celebrating its twelfth year online this year. He is refreshingly candid about sharing his spiritual views as well – a rare quality in the entertainment world. Being actively involved in community building and Civilian Diplomacy work with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), Hale has traveled the world extensively for diplomatic, peace and work trips and speaks six languages. Most applicable to this site, Hale has taken all of the Avatar Courses numerous times over the last 15 years and continues to do so on a regular basis.

I

FlyFreeAvatar (FFA): When I first thought about talking to you for this interview, there were two questions that came to mind immediately. The first was about how your music has been affected by taking the Avatar courses. And the second was about all the success you’ve had over the years and how much of a role you think Avatar has played in it.

Ed Hale (EH): Yep. I can see that. Those are the two questions I get asked the most when it comes to Avatar. But that’s TWO questions you know. [laughs]

FFA: Okay so let’s start with your career success. With the band’s last album’s success and the hit singles you had from your solo album, “Scene in San Francisco” and “New Orleans Dreams” climbing the Billboard Top40 Charts, why don’t we start there? With your career success. How much of a role do you think Avatar has played in that?

EH: Well I had achieved success in music at an early age. Long before I took the Avatar Course for the first time. So I don’t want to mislead anyone on that count. But it was short lived. I mean, I was signed, released an album, had a few hits and was touring before I finished high school. And then it was all over before I graduated college! [laughs] But this latest success? I think we could safely say that I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for everything I learned in Avatar; let alone be in Billboard magazine.

FFA: Your early career, that was when you were known as Eddie Darling…

EH: Yes. That’s the embarrassing truth. But you know, when we’re young… we don’t know. We think we know… but we don’t. At the time I guess I thought that was a cool sounding name. But that was such a crazy experience to go through at such a young age. None of it was on my terms. It was all up to other people. Just a very large greedy money-making machine. If they like what you’re doing, you’re in. If they don’t like what you’re doing, you’re out. No compassion, no sense of artistic integrity or guidance. It was really disheartening for me as a young artist. I thought that was going to be the start of this amazing career, but it didn’t last very long. A few years in the big leagues and it was over and I was back in the local club scene.

FFA: But you obviously didn’t give up on music, which has been a hallmark of your career, this persistence. What led you to keep going?

EH: Well I did give up for a while there. I went back to college and got really into that. But it didn’t last long. I just couldn’t stay away from making music. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel comfortable NOT making music. It’s just the one thing in life I enjoy doing more than anything else. Except being married of course! [laughs] The difference was, when I went back into music then, that it was going to be on MY terms. I didn’t feel like I had any control in it my first run-through. So that was one of the many reasons why I took the Avatar Course. I wanted to harness more deliberateness in my life. Not sure if that’s a word… But I really liked the idea of “living deliberately”. [Living Deliberately is the name of the first book by Harry Palmer. Palmer is the author and creator of the Avatar Course and has published many books on the subject.]

FFA: You were young when you took Avatar for the first time.

EH: Yes, I was 21 or 22 years old. Back then that was considered “young”. Now there are kids eight and nine years old taking the courses. It’s incredible. I used to feel like “the kid” around those courses. Now I feel old compared to these kids. [laughs]

FFA: Yes. It’s amazing. But still, 22 is still pretty young to take Avatar. Especially back then when the course was fairly new and unknown. What prompted you to take it?

EH: Well it’s like what I was saying, about the last album, and really all of them over the last ten years… I took Avatar initially because I wanted to feel more in control of my life. I wanted to feel like I was creating my experiences. I could FEEL that what it was about totally vibrated with what I believed personally. I mean, the whole “we create our experiences based on our beliefs” premise… I believed that already. Or at least wanted to. But how do we control our beliefs? That’s what puzzled me and interested me the most. And I learned how to do that on that first Avatar Course; and in the future ones that I took like Masters and Wizards. It gave me the ability to create my beliefs deliberately. So instead of feeling caught up in a large out of control system like the music business, I created feeling in control and confident. And every album since has done better than the last. It’s really been a very positive force in my career. For sure. There’s no arguing about that.

FFA: So do you use the tools regularly?

EH: Yes. Absolutely. I try to live through them… By using them all the time… Like in every moment. After a while, it transcends “using the tools” and just becomes… a way of life, a habit, how you live.

FFA: Have you used the tools specifically about your career? In other words is there a direct correlation between the success you’ve had and using the Avatar tools?

EH: Yes. Absolutely. In terms of using them specifically around my career, I learned from some of the more experienced Avatars out there – and I’m not sure if this is “a thing” or not… But I learned that they might go to a course and dedicate that whole course to just one aspect of their lives, like say their career, or money. Other things come up of course, because it’s all connected, all the different aspects of our lives… but I went to a Pro Course [The Avatar Professional Masters Course] and decided to dedicate the whole course to my career. And it was a truly amazing experience. Doing it that way.

FFA: In what way?

EH: Just the discipline you have to have in order to do that, to stay focused on one thing; controlling your will to be able to do it. And then the variety of tools available to you to explore that one aspect of your life. They offer you so many different perspectives you’ve never thought of before. And the course keeps you on track to really get to the bottom of things. In whatever you’re focusing on. In that case, tackling your beliefs about one specific subject, like your career, from the variety of different angles that are provided to you by using all those different tools. We released the Rise and Shine album a few months later and that album took off bigger and faster than we ever expected. It opened the door for us. Before that, we were a new and relatively unknown band. After that album, we became a national act. The songs were charting in cities all over the country. That was when I first started learning about where all these cities were that we hear about all the time around the country. From the radio station play charts. [laughs] I can’t help believe that part of what helped all that to happen was because I had dedicated that course a few months earlier to focusing just on my career. It was so effortless.

FFA: Have you done that with other areas of your life? Is it something you always do?

EH: No it is not something I always do. But I have done it with other things. But not usually. I did it regarding relationships one year and that was also very successful. I found my soul-mate because of doing that I believe. I cleaned up all the beliefs I had about love and romance and relationships… But usually I just take the courses and allow whatever comes up to come up. And you know, what I notice is that if your attention is on your career, then that’s what’s going to come up for you anyway. So it’s not really necessary. It all tends to work out perfectly if you don’t fight it and you just let it flow. Ultimately it’s your consciousness, no one else’s. You just have to decide if you want to be a victim of it or the master and leader of it.

FFA: That’s well put. So how do the courses affect your music? As an artist?

EH: Well I get that question a lot. And the answer is I honestly don’t know. I know that the answer is supposed to be really incredible and mystical or magical in some way… There’s this expectation there it seems… But honestly, in terms of music, I’ve been writing and playing music since I was a kid, since before I could walk. So if I were to be totally honest, I don’t know what affect it’s had. Freedom maybe?

FFA: That’s fair. Freedom in what way?

EH: Well… I can tell you this. When I first took the Avatar Course and then the Masters Courses, I felt OUT OF THIS WORLD. I had never felt so good in my life. Just like… I don’t know, flying is how I would put it. High as a kite, but without drugs. High on life. [Hale is very animated as he speaks. His eyes are wide and he uses a lot of hand gestures.] I felt SO confident and SO fresh and new and GOOD inside. I KNOW that came through in the music I was writing back then. It gave me a feeling of invincibility and that definitely translated to me having a new-found confidence as a musician and as a writer… to write whatever I wanted to and forget about any of the so-called “rules of the business”. You know? So in that sense, the courses did affect my music tremendously.

FFA: Some of your songs are very spiritual. You tend to write more specifically about spiritual matters than other mainstream rock or pop singers…

EH: So now I’m mainstream? That’s a first!

FFA: You know what I mean, singers in the public eye… most of them don’t write about spirituality as much as you do. Even the ideas of Avatar and Abraham Hicks are referenced. I also couldn’t help notice that you credit Harry Palmer on some of the songs.

EH: Well yeah, [laughs] you get so excited after you first learn all that knowledge. It’s a big WOW moment. Like discovering chocolate or sex for the first time or something. [laughs] But bigger. Just the knowledge is mind-blowing, right? So it’s a given that you’re going to want to share that with people. Just not go overboard with it… hopefully. But if you use the tools on a regular basis, if you practice BEING an Avatar… then you feel like you’re walking on clouds most of the time. Those ideals and principles are embedded in you. Simple things. But profound. So they tend to come out in the lyrics. If I write a lyric that sounds really close to something I’ve read then yeah I’ll give credit to wherever I think credit is due. When I was younger I was writing a lot of songs about spirituality and transcendence and stuff like that and it really did feel like I was channeling the ideas of Avatar through music at times. So I would credit whoever was the inspiration. That doesn’t make our publisher very happy [laughs] because it creates a lot more paper work. But it’s the right thing to do. Harry Palmer’s ideas have been a huge influence on me and how I think… ever since I was a kid.

FFA: Does he know that he’s written songs with you?

EH: I don’t know. [laughs] That’s a weird way to put it. But I’ve never kept it a secret. We’ve never talked about it. I always wonder if he gets these checks in the mail and then wonders where they’re coming from. [laughs]

II

FFA: You’ve also had tremendous success in business, as an entrepreneur.

EH: I’ve tried. [laughs]

FFA: Well you have. That’s an aspect of your career that isn’t talked about as much. You were a successful entrepreneur before you were 30, irrespective of your career in music. And that seems to be a running thread throughout your life, starting businesses and being in business, since you were very young. [Hale started his first company at the age of 20 when he opened up a rehearsal and recording studio. Since then he’s owned health food stores, juice bars, a vitamin manufacturing company, a business consulting company, a record label and a real estate investment company.]

EH: Yeah, for sure. That’s another one of those things that I just absolutely LOVE. Business. Being in business. LOVE it.

FFA: You say that about a lot of things!

EH: Maybe I do… [laughs] I don’t know. I guess I just love a lot of stuff. Hey that’s the Ambassador!

FFA: So what is it about business that you love?

EH: Well I was raised in that kind of an environment, number one. I grew up with my parents owning businesses. So I think that was instrumental in it. And I have just always enjoyed being in business for myself more than working for other people. Though I don’t necessarily believe that it’s easier. I actually think working for other people – especially for a large company – is the easier path to take, for sure. But for someone like me… I just could never imagine doing that full time and long term. Plus, there’s also a real rush you get out of the risky and adventurous aspect of being in business for yourself. Unlimited reward but unlimited risk as well. I get off on that.

FFA: But how do you keep up with it? And how does Avatar affect it?

EH: You know that’s two questions, right? [laughs] I’ve always been fascinated by being in business for yourself. Since I was a kid I always admired those kind of people. Tony Robbins has been as big an influence on me as say, someone like John Lennon. Almost equal. And I also found that I was good at it, or at least lucky in it. So I keep up with it as best as I can. Probably not as well as I could honestly. The Avatar thing, that’s a different story. It helps obviously. I know that. That’s the thing… Avatar helps you with everything. It’s not just one aspect of your life. It’s your whole life that is affected.

FFA: You’ve talked about Harry Palmer and Tony Robbins a lot throughout your career in interviews. They seem to come up quite a bit.

EH: [laughs] Yeah I guess I do. But hey if you’re going to have mentors, they might as well be great ones. And for my money those are two of the brightest minds in the world today when it comes to personal achievement. Even though they’re very different. Stephen Bauman too. He’s more of a spiritual intellectual who keeps your integrity on its toes. But really all of them do that. [Stephen Bauman is an author, speaker and Methodist Pastor in New York City]

FFA: I know your love for Tony Robbins and Stephen Bauman. But in relation to this website and its readers, how does Avatar help with your success in business?

EH: Well to me I think the answer to that question is obvious, but for someone who’s never taken any of the Avatar Courses before…. okay, we can go there… Say you’re experiencing the same challenge over and over again in your business. Everything seems to be going well except this one thing… Or perhaps LOTS of things… You can keep banging your head against the wall over it… Hire new people, recruit consultants, read more books, take more classes, etc. etc. OR you can take a look at the beliefs underneath this problem and once you discover them, you can then DIScreate them. That’s a term that Harry Palmer came up with in the Avatar Course. It’s brilliant. And voila! They’re gone. That challenge will no longer be there. THAT’S how it can help. It’s miraculous. If people have ever seen that movie The Secret… it’s like that. But it’s real.

FFA: You make it sound so easy.

EH: Well in a way, it is. Not all the time. But it isn’t rocket science. It’s a very natural thing. It’s an organic process, just like breathing oxygen. We just have to re-remember it… Discreating limiting beliefs helps us remove obstacles in our life that up to that point seem insurmountable to us. I can honestly say I would not have experienced the level of business success I have had in my life, especially as young as I was, without having that knowledge and those tools. To me it’s a no-brainer. The same with religious faith. Both help.

FFA: Speaking of obstacles, you’ve had your share and always seem to bounce back, which has been an inspiration to many people. What’s the secret? Or does that give away the plot to your new book? [Hale has a new business/inspirational book coming out this year entitled Bouncing Back When Flat]

EH: Besides what I just said? [laughs] I mean that kind of sums it up, right?

FAA: I was hoping we could go a little deeper.

EH: Okay well which ones? There’ve been a lot of them. [laughs] It hasn’t been as easy as people seem to think it has. It never is. Not for any of us.

FFA: A few years ago you experienced a major business setback that left you broke and even homeless for a while, which is what your new book is about. I’ve read some of the interviews about that experience and it’s shocking. But you turned it around. What I’m trying to come to is how you did it? [In 2006 Hale discovered that his business partner, Naomi Whittel (nee Balcombe) (now at Reserveage Organics), had sold one of the companies he had founded, Ageless Foundation Laboratories, without his knowledge to a publicly traded company. Hale found out through the SEC filing. Naturade Inc., the company who purchased Hale’s company, didn’t even know Hale was an owner of the company when they made the purchase, finding out months later. The story has been written about extensively, but Hale has been relatively quiet about it.]

EH: Yeah, that… [This is the first time in the interview Hale becomes quiet, anything but animated.] That’s still a tough thing for me to talk about. But I understand that it’s important and why you think it’s relevant. I’m still coming to terms with it all.

FFA: Well that’s why you wrote this book, right?

EH: Yes. Absolutely. It’s an important story. I know that.

FFA: Not many people can imagine living through that kind of a setback, let alone bouncing back from it. But you did. Rather quickly some would say. And you have had tremendous success since then.

EH: Yes, I know. And I’m very grateful for that. Hence the book. If I can do that, then anyone can do anything. That’s how I look at it.

FFA: I read an interview you gave last year where you did talk about it and it was inspiring. I only ask because the story does have a happy ending. You didn’t let it take you down, but instead you found a way to work your way back to the top. That’s an incredible achievement.

EH: Yes, it did take me down. I mean, how could it not have? One day I was going about my business and living my life, not a worry in the world, and then in one fell swoop everything I had in the world was gone. Bank accounts, credit cards, my company, retirement savings. Everything. Gone. It was the single most challenging thing I’ve ever lived through. For sure. But you’re right, I didn’t let it keep me down forever. I started from scratch and rebuilt. And slowly I was able to rise back up.

FFA: Without giving too much of the book away, how were you able to do that?

EH: Well for one thing, my faith is very strong. We’ve talked about that. I’ve never hidden that. I try not to be preachy, but I also think it’s bullshit, pardon my French, when entertainers keep their faith in the closet because they’re worried about how it’s going to affect their career.

FFA: You’ve certainly never done that.

EH: No, I haven’t. I talk about it when it’s appropriate. It’s important to me and I believe it’s important to a lot of my friends and fans.

FFA: You write a lot about religion and faith in your blog and sometimes sound almost anti-religious, almost like an atheist, which I know you’re not. And yet at the same time you write a lot about being a Christian and how challenging it is. Can you explain that a little?

EH: Well I’m definitely not one of those “100% sold” kind of people. I think anyone who’s really honest about their religious faith is going to be confused about it… and struggle occasionally. Because there are just so many contradictions in religion and spirituality… The difference with me I guess is that I haven’t necessarily chosen a side yet… I’m still open to all of them…. dissecting it all. And I explore all that a lot publicly in the Diaries. [Hale is referring to his long-running blog The Transcendence Diaries].

FFA: I know a lot of people find that inspiring. But you also anger certain groups of people with this “openness”.

EH: I know. And I don’t mean to. What I’m really doing is what I believe we should all be doing if we’re serious about spirituality and faith… questioning, studying, exploring. I’m not trying to make anybody mad or even question what they believe. To me it’s fun. It’s academic. But it also meaning beyond that.

FFA: I think most people recognize that. So your faith is one of the things that brought you through that business challenge?

EH: Without a doubt. A lot of reflection and prayer. And a lot of counseling with mentors. Seeking advice from older people that I looked up to. Also I had a really strong community around me. Family and friends who were there for me. That’s a tremendous asset. Something that you can’t buy. If it weren’t for that, I don’t know if I’d be here today. Because when that kind of thing happens to you, you really start questioning your life. All your effort and hard work and even your beliefs, things that you’ve taken for granted your whole life all of a sudden… you start questioning.

FFA: Like what?

EH: Well like… just everything. For example, you assume that if you work hard and you’re a good person that you’re going to succeed. That’s what I’d ALWAYS believed. My whole life. And I experienced that. Over and over again throughout my life that’s what I experienced. And then when this happened, it was so shocking, that it was hard to put those pieces back together, of that belief. It didn’t ring true to me anymore. Being a good person did NOT equal being successful. I started wondering if maybe that was just bs and perhaps we were supposed to be bad people and that was how to succeed. That was my first gut reaction of course. It took me some time to overcome that idea…. because bad people seem to succeed just as much as good people.

FFA: It’s easy to see how you could come to that.

EH: Right? But here’s the thing. I was wrong. We’re not “good” people because we want to succeed. We’re good people because we believe that’s the best way to live life. You know? My friends and family would call me every day, I mean every day, just to see how I was doing and check in on me. That was a big help. And we would talk about it and little by little they got through to me. I remember this one time I was driving around Manhattan with a friend, Big Mac, I LOVE this guy. He’s super funny, a southern guy. And he had just finished seminary at Princeton… So he is a spiritual guy too…

FFA: You write about him in your Diaries. I know the name.

EH: Yep. I write about EVERYBODY in the Diaries. Much to their displeasure! [laughs]

FFA: I definitely want to talk about that later, because I have a lot of questions about your blog and the reaction you’ve gotten through the years, but I don’t want to interrupt your train of thought. So go on with the story.

EH: Okay… So I was telling Big Mac how I was trying to make sense of God’s plan for my life with making this horrible thing happen to me. With Naomi and the business. That perhaps God was trying to show me a different path to take, rather than all this success and being a business tycoon that maybe God wanted me to be more focused on making the world a better place. And Big Mac, he just looked over at me and said “Bro I could never believe in a God like that.” I’ll never forget it. That was just one of those moments in life you never forget. I was like “What do you mean?” And he said “Ed, God doesn’t make bad things happen to people. God is grace. And love. Who did this to you? This Naomi chick did this to you.” The way he enunciated her name in his southern drawl… I can still remember it… He said “People did this to you man. God didn’t. God is the one helping you. Not hurting you.” I turned around in my seat and I began to cry. Right there in his truck. Because that was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. I had been so puzzled by it. I couldn’t figure out WHY it happened… I was still trying to make sense of it. But he made me realize in that moment that it didn’t have anything to do with God or God’s plan… it was people. If anything, God is there to help us, not hurt us. At least in his view.

FFA: And is that your viewpoint now?

EH: Yes. Absolutely. That really resonated with me. When he said it. And looking back, still, it totally changed my whole point of view. That’s what I mean by my beliefs were being challenged. I was actually so fooled for a while there that I thought maybe that “God” wanted me to suffer in that way… It’s crazy. But luckily, if anything it made me stronger. And more importantly it offered me a reference point for how to view life when bad things happen to us. That it’s not about blaming God, every time something good or bad happens to us. People were the cause of it. And more importantly so was I.

FFA: How so? How were you the cause of it?

EH: Well that’s the part where I think I got the most out of the experience. Where if there is anything positive to take away from it, I got it. The first thing I did, because I had taken Avatar, was I started looking at my own past actions to see what was there, what had I done, in my life… I started reflecting on my own responsibility in the whole thing, instead of blaming anyone – and trust me it was easy to blame people… it was a horrible thing they did, they broke the law in a hundred different ways, and worse… broke my heart by taking advantage of our friendship… I HATE stuff like that… people like that. But I knew I needed to look for where and how I was responsible… So on the one hand, I saw how we have to be real when it comes to people doing harmful things to us; it happens. We can’t live in a bubble and pretend that there aren’t bad people out there. Because there are. But I also saw that I had some responsibility in it too.

FFA: That’s admirable, but in what ways were you responsible?

EH: Well I can’t act like I did anything overtly wrong to cause it… Sometimes people can make the mistake of over-owning things I think. It’s not like I was acting unethically or broke the law or something… I was a good guy. Same as I am now. But I had been warned that that kind of thing might happen before it did… at least a hundred times before to be honest. It wasn’t like it came out of the blue. I had been in business with Naomi for years. And that was the main thing we argued about, was her always wanting to break the law and me always saying that we most certainly should NOT. And our employees would always be stuck in the middle, between our two viewpoints. She constantly accused me of being “self-righteous” and I just wanted us to play it straight. So I had definitely been warned already. But what had I done about it? Nothing. Sure we had stacks of legal agreements between us that prohibited us from doing those kinds of things… But based on what I’d already experienced with her in the past, I should have known better. I should have taken more action BEFORE all that happened. And I didn’t. Why? Because I was being lazy, yes… or because I was resisting conflict. For sure. I didn’t like conflict of any kind. I love people and I love harmony and I’m all about love and peace, you know? So I just pretended like everything was fine when I knew it really wasn’t. I could feel it…

FFA: You were in denial… of your intuition?

EH: Yes, absolutely. Living in denial. Pretending. I helped to create the whole thing through knowing about the potential for something like that to happen and NOT doing anything about it. NOT acting when you know you should can be just as bad as TAKING an action that’s harmful.

FFA: So you took responsibility for the experience? Did that make it easier to deal with?

EH: Yes, absolutely. It gave me a sense of relief. It enabled me to feel the remorse for my non-actions that might have contributed to it, and other things, and then to move on. What it does is help you feel responsible for it rather than like a victim of it.

FFA: That’s a great example of using what you learn in Avatar in the real world.

EH: Yes. Totally. I think so. That one experience compelled me to fill three whole notebooks with actions from my past that I felt weren’t necessarily aligned with being a good person and to make amends for them. In order to get a fresh start. It led to a lot of self-reflection and taking responsibility for my past. I became a better person through doing all that.

FFA: When you’ve written about the experience that’s what you mean by it also being a positive experience…

EH: Yes. Let’s face it. No one wants to go through something like that. To have everything you own taken from you by other people. That’s a bad thing. The betrayal aspect of it alone is enough to make you feel so discouraged and ungrounded… so unsure of yourself and the world. When someone lies to you so overtly and is doing it from a place of friendship, it can really screw with your mind. But you have to find a way to turn it around and see the positive side of it. And for me the best way to do that was to start looking at me instead of at the others. And to start planning how I could improve who I was as a person… Once again I saw firsthand how our actions in the world can affect others, either in a positive or in a negative way. That’s the least we can do. Take stock of our actions and make sure we are having a positive impact. So that’s what I did.

FFA: That is inspiring. And within a few years you had overcome it and were back on top again with three hit albums, songs on the Billboard charts, and your now infamous trip to Iran… Do you think there’s any correlation between what you went through and the success you’ve had?

EH: No. I don’t. Maybe, I don’t know. I know it inspired me. But only through necessity. Before that happened I was really enjoying life. Taking advantage of how hard I had worked and how successful I had become. After that, I was forced to go back to square one and start over again and rebuild my entire life and career from scratch. It really inspired me to become successful again. I was determined to. So in that respect yes there was a correlation. But I’ll tell you this: no one should ever believe for a minute that they need to endure some kind of tragedy or suffering in order to succeed. That would be a very impeding and unnecessary belief to cultivate.

FFA: That’s a good point to make.

EH: Well if you go and read a lot of the articles that were written when our first album after that experience came out and became successful there is a lot of attention paid to the whole rags to riches aspect of it, “from homeless to Billboard!” became a headline. As if there was a romantic aspect to it. And I can promise you that there is nothing romantic about going through something like that. If you can avoid it, do so.

FFA: Well the story is an appealing and inspiring one, from an entertainment or person of interest point of view. You can see that…

EH: Yeah, I can. Totally. Which is one of the reasons why I wrote a book about it. I mean, I get it. How often does something like that happen to a person? Not very often. It’s more like a movie than real life.

III

FFA: There is another aspect about that experience that I wanted to have you talk about if you don’t mind, because I think it’s important. Ultimately you decided to settle the whole thing with your partner out of court. Yet the case still remains unresolved years later. Why did you decide to do that? And do you regret it now? [Naomi Whittel signed a settlement agreement to pay Hale for the sale of the company in order to render it a legal transaction months after the sale and prevent the case from going to court, but the agreement has never been fulfilled.]

EH: Well that’s more than just one question….

FFA: Okay. Why did you agree to settle out of court? Why didn’t you just go about it in a more traditional business manner?

EH: You mean by taking legal action?

FFA: Yes. Laws were clearly broken. Contracts were breached. It seems like an open and shut case.

EH: Right, I know. And it was. I get this question a lot, especially from other business people. There was a ton of criminal activity revealed. Fraud, forgery, tax fraud, embezzlement, a lot of lying and stealing… You know. Crazy stuff. It was something right out of a movie. Totally unreal and way outside anything I’d ever dealt with before. It’s insane when you think about it. This was a situation where yes, I probably could have played tougher… But for one thing, there’s a good chance that Naomi would have gone to jail if I would have gone public with it by taking it to court. And I was still operating under the misconception that Naomi and I were friends. We had been engaged to be married after all for years. So I still cared about her as a person. Secondly, she literally called me every day for years from the moment I found out what she had done…. Begging me to settle. Even though it may seem in retrospect like such an open and shut case now, at the time, I was still receiving these calls from her every day begging me to settle and not go to court. I felt very pulled. Between my loyalty to her as a person, and to her family… And to doing the right thing perhaps…

FFA: So now you think that taking it to court would have been the right thing?

EH: Well it would have been the more normal action to take under those circumstances…. But also I felt that there had already been enough legal action in our lives. I mean, she had created such a huge mess of legal actions for us already. It was all lawyers and law firms galore… for years. No one was winning except the law firms as they say. But because I had made peace within myself about it, and she was pushing hard for an out of court settlement, I looked at both outcomes… Part of me really wanted to “get justice”. Because in business that’s what you do. If someone commits a criminal act, they deserve to get what they get, right? Justice, to the full extent of the law. I got that. But at what cost to me and my own sanity? And at what cost to my family and friends? They’d already been through the ringer because of what happened. I reflected on it and prayed about it a lot… And it just seemed like settling it was the right thing to do. To put it behind us as quickly and smoothly as possible.

FFA: Plus you assumed that once you settled that it would really be over and behind you as you say.

EH: Yes, I did. Totally. I thought that would be the end of it. The end of “the Naomi saga” once and for all. It happened. It was bad. But the ball was in my court. I could sue and drag it out in court for years, or I could forgive and settle and move on with my life.

FFA: But it didn’t end there. After all that, the settlement agreement remains unfulfilled. Which is what led to the major setback you experienced. So do you regret that decision now?

EH: Yes and no. Yes, because I wish it were over. I regret what I had to go through. And I am sublimely shocked that we’re still talking about it years later. I don’t honestly know how she can deal with it still being out there open and unresolved. But no, because in that moment I feel like I made the most responsible and mature decision that could have been made at that time. Trust me, forgiveness in those kinds of situations is difficult… but it’s the HIGH road. Being vindictive or seeking vengeance, that may be the more common road, but it’s not the high road.

FFA: Yes, as an Avatar I completely understand you choosing forgiveness over revenge. Even though in the end it was a costly decision…

EH: Yes, it was. So far at least. But I’m still giving her the benefit of the doubt. That’s the part that a lot of people don’t understand. At first she swore up and down that she had nothing to do with it, that she was “forced into it by her husband and this pack of evil attorneys” they had hired. I didn’t necessarily believe her… But you know, when you’re close to someone like that… It’s hard to cut the line completely that connects you. There is still love there. And compassion. You want to give them the benefit of the doubt.

FFA: But it sounds like a very one-sided kind of compassion.

EH: Maybe it is… That’s something I wonder about sometimes. Long story short, she swore up and down that she had every intention of fulfilling the agreement, and more than anything she was just afraid. At the time I felt like I was doing the right thing, by being compassionate and forgiving, because that’s what WE do, right? And protecting her…

FFA: Yes, I agree. That’s what we do. But this brings up the question of when is it better to look out for yourself by taking a more Guardian Heart approach? [Guardian Heart is a concept explored in the book Resurfacing by Harry Palmer.]

EH: I know… There’s a fine line between being a nice person or a good person and letting someone take advantage of you… They are two different things. And sometimes we confuse them. Maybe I’ve crossed that line now… I hope not. But I can tell you now, after going through all of that, I understand the importance of the Guardian Heart a lot more now, of not confusing being a nice person with being someone who allows others to take advantage of them. That IS something that we tend to get confused sometimes as humans. I also see the importance of standing up for what we believe in or just being committed to protecting ourselves and our loved ones. I know what you’re getting at. And I am in no way attempting to promote forgiveness as being equal to letting people take advantage of us.

FFA: There is a certain responsibility we have to ourselves and to others in defending integrity and justice for the good of everyone…

EH: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s one of the reasons why I decided to write the book about what happened. It’s not just about the inspiration factor. But more about the responsibility to others. Not just to inspire other people who might be going through a similar challenge, but also to warn people that this kind of thing can happen to the best of us. No matter how nice we are or how good of people we are. No one is immune to it. You have to look out for yourself, no matter how nice of a person you are. But it is how we deal with it that is the true measure of a person.

I remember Tony Robbins telling a story once about how he went through a similar experience in his business life. His CFO was also his best friend and he discovered that this guy had been embezzling a ton of money from their company and it just shattered him; challenged his optimistic outlook for a while. When he told that story, I couldn’t relate to it at all. I was too young. I had never gone through anything like that. But when almost the same exact thing happened to ME… THEN I could relate to it. And knowing ahead of time that he lived through it really helped me. His story and his struggle with that inspired me. And I’m sure there are a lot of people who would be surprised that something like this even happened to me, because I’ve never really talked about it openly before. But I get it now. That responsibility to share it so other people can learn from it. That’s important.

FFA: I believe it is too. Not to spoil the finale of your book, but can you share at least a little about how you were able to rebuild from something like that? Tangible things, actions that you took.

EH: Yes, absolutely. If you can imagine waking up one day and being absolutely flat broke after years of working and having made a ton of money… Going from wealthy to broke overnight. That money still exists, but you just can’t get to it. Someone else now has control of it. You can’t even afford your next meal because your bank accounts have been taken over. Horrible right?

FFA: I find it hard to imagine. I think most people would.

EH: Well me too… Until it happened. After it happened, I wasn’t just broke; I was also extremely disheartened. It was hard to believe in humanity at all. But I didn’t want to become a jaded person. Or cynical. Or believe the worst in people. So I used the Avatar tools to let all those potentially negative beliefs go. I discreated them. And I deliberately created being who I really believed I was: a generally positive and optimistic person who believed in myself and others. I took every guitar I had and walked each one to a different friend’s house and left it there and said “I’ve been hit in a bad way. You know this. I need money for an attorney and money to eat. Here’s a guitar. This is what it’s worth. If you’re willing to help, I’ll leave it here till I can pay you back.” And you know, every friend I had was more than willing to help me out. It makes me emotional still. Because it really showed me how powerful friendships are. I had guitars all over the city in different people’s homes as collateral. And honestly half of my friends didn’t even care about collateral. That was just for me. To make me feel more comfortable in receiving help…

FFA: That’s exactly the kind of thing I was hoping you would share. These tangible actions that you took. I think people will find them very inspiring and informative.

EH: Well yeah, obviously in that kind of situation you have to find a way to get on your feet. Just to be able to eat. The part that hurt the worst is that Naomi and I were connected at the hip for ten years before that. We were engaged to be married for God’s sake. AND business partners for years after that. So she knew that once she did that that I would literally not have a cent to my name, nor even a way to eat. It was astounding to me that someone could do that. But once it happens you have to move on and find a way out of it. So that’s the first thing I did. Then I hired an attorney to help me sort out just what the hell happened. And then I started doing consulting work to bring in money. Business and health consulting. And of course liquidating assets. Physical things… And then I started hardcore trading again.

FFA: You mean trading in the stock market?

EH: Yes. Something I already had a lot of experience with. But besides real estate there’s no faster way to make money fast when your funds are limited. Of course it works in the reverse as well. So you really have to have a strong stomach and nerves of steel. But it was all about taking very real and tangible actions to move forward and start to rebuild. All of this AND still trying to finish recording the new albums with the band at that time and play shows in different cities.

FFA: I remember that. I bet a lot of people wondered why you changed so many things in your life at the time.

EH: Yes I’m sure they did. Because I also leased out my apartment in Manhattan for a while to make money. Whatever it took. Living with family and friends. It was a freaking nightmare honestly. But it was also a tremendous challenge and so kind of fun… When people asked me what was up, I didn’t hide the truth. But I also didn’t advertise it. I just kept moving forward. It was an insane position to be in. But you start from where you are. You start with the basics. You create being happy to be you, and simple things like “I can do this”. “I can make it happen”. “I believe in me”. Things like that. Using the Avatar tools to create those realities. Or whatever “tools” you have available to you. In spite of how challenging things may appear. You do it anyway. And at the same time you announce it to the world. Tell everyone what you’re doing. For me that meant telling everyone “The Ambassador is down but he’s not out! I’m rebuilding the empire!” Perceive it as a challenge, a doable challenge. And set about every day to being real with where you are… but also striving toward bigger things. I truly believed that I had learned a valuable lesson, but that I was not meant to stay down for long. That was not my destiny. I didn’t take all these courses and read all these books to let one major setback ruin my life forever. I was totally committed to rebuilding in spite of that setback.

FFA: When the first song from your new solo album made it onto the Billboard Charts, after going through all that, did it feel like your hard work had finally paid off?

EH: Are you kidding? Yeah. It was amazing! We laughed, we cried. And then laughed some more. A lot of jumping up and down screaming. One of the greatest days of my life. Friends calling from all over the country because they just heard the song on the radio or in their car… Things like that. I think because of the immense disadvantage I had been placed in – and everyone knowing about it…. That’s what made it so much more enjoyable for everyone. To be down like that and to rebuild it all from scratch and then top it off by hitting the Top 40 a few times. That was an amazing moment for sure.

FFA: You really did “bounce back when flat” as you say.

EH: Yeah, it’s hard to believe. But we did it!

IV

FFA: And it didn’t end there. Around the same time, you were invited to be one of only a handful of Americans to visit Iran post-revolution on a peace mission. How did that come about? [Hale visited Iran in 2009 on a well-publicized Civilian Diplomacy mission along with eleven other Americans in leadership positions from a wide cross section of different industries. He represented the arts. He just returned from a similar trip to Israel-Palestine recently. In between he’s also visited countries in Africa, Europe and Central and South America to build homes and community centers.]

EH: I’m glad you asked. Because it’s actually a really magical story in a way. I was at this silent retreat at a convent of nuns…

FFA: You always say these things that sound so outrageous… Like you’re narrating a movie.

EH: Hah! Well I’m telling you, this is what happened. It sounds crazy. But that’s how it went down. I was at a silent retreat at a convent of all these sisters in the middle of nowhere in upstate New York. Episcopalian I think. And you couldn’t talk for like a week. So I used that time to just unwind and decompress. But they had this policy where during meals you could do some light talking… something like that. I met this one sister who was really cool, very hip. And we shared this passion for global human rights activism. We couldn’t really talk that much. But we got to know each other. And at the very end of the retreat she told me about this historic upcoming delegation of Americans who were headed to the country of Iran for a two week peace mission. She said that the application process had expired, but that if I got mine in really quickly that she’d put in a good word for me with the international organization that was putting the thing together. I had been trying to get into Iran for five years. I must have applied ten times and was denied every time. I had already been studying the language, Farsi, so I could speak the language a little bit… That helped. And you know, there’s more, but basically it all came down to me being at this silent retreat in the middle of nowhere that got me into Iran. Sort of. I suppose it was more than that. But that was the original impetus.

FFA: Being in the right place at the right time. It’s fascinating how these little miracles happen in our lives when we’ve put our attention and intention on them.

EH: Exactly! First our attention, then our intention, get rid of beliefs or ideas that are in the way and BAM! Things manifest!

FFA: Can you talk a little bit about your activism?

EH: Well it is something that I am passionate about. I think it’s an easy way to feel good. Because you’re giving back. It’s not all about you. It’s nice to step outside of it being all about us sometimes. A lot of times actually. [laughs. Hale has become reanimated. His eyes have that light back in them.] Every one of those trips will stay with me forever. I hope this is only the beginning.

FFA: And again you started a business around it. But this one was a non-profit. What is the goal of your PeaceWithIran.com organization?

EH: Just that. Peace with Iran. Exactly what it says. I honestly see it as a reality. I see it happening. Maybe not this year. But soon. The alternatives are far worse than the simple act of a peaceful reconciliation between the two countries.

FFA: From your mouth to God’s ears. What was the most important thing you learned from your trip to Iran?

EH: Great question. I’ve written a lot about this already, but I’d say that the first thing that struck me was how genuinely nice they are there and how much they love Americans. That was very much a surprise for me, for all of us on that trip. We never hear about what nice people the Iranians are here in the States. And we also don’t hear about how much they love and admire us here. That’s an important thing to share I think.

FFA: What other areas of activism are you interested in moving forward?

EH: Well now a lot of my focus lately has been on Israel and Palestine… That’s the real hotbed I believe… Even in regards to Iran, it seems to all come down to Israel and Palestine at the foundation.

V

FFA: Before we go too far off into world politics, can you talk a little bit about your new albums? What keeps you motivated to keep making music at such a rapid pace?

EH: Well I tend to write a lot of songs. AND at the same time I tend to have a lot of ambition when it comes to always wanting to out-do what we did last time, artistically. Every time we get an opportunity to make a new album it feels like such a privilege. So at first we just head into the studio to record our quote-unquote next album. It always starts out as a simple process and then it just starts to slowly get more and more complicated. So it’s just me wanting to challenge myself, see how far I can take it I guess. And the fans, their reaction to it…

FFA: So are the album titles official now? The ones that were just released to the public?

EH: Almost positively yes. Welcome to the Rest of the World for one, and Another Day in the Apocalypse for the other. They’re starting to sound really different from each other now. And the songs have been chosen for each. So we can see the finish line… finally.

FFA: So when can people expect to hear the first single or finished product?

EH: We’re not 100% sure, but my guess would be sometime this spring or summer…

FFA: Well I know a lot of people are excited to hear the albums. The last thing I want to ask you is if there was one thing that you could share with people about any of the Avatar Courses, what would it be? As someone who has taken all the courses and continues to do so.

EH: Well that’s easy. And hard, because there’s so much you could say about it. I mean, it’s a HUGE thing, right? I write about it a lot actually. On the one hand, it’s a way of life. It’s a way of being… You learn a whole new way of being, through becoming more adept at feeling and using your intuition… You become more honest and real. More in line with the truth. But on the other hand, it’s also just a series of courses. You know, it is what it is, whatever each person makes it out to be. I guess that’s what I would say about it. That in essence, the Avatar Course is essentially just a series of courses that contain all this confidential knowledge that you sort of already know, way down deep inside, like it resonates strongly when you read it, as if you’ve known it all your life, right? [Hale is once again excited and animated] And yet now it’s been broken down into very easy to understand and doable steps. That’s amazing! No one had ever done that before. I could go on and on… but put it like this: Take all the cool stuff that we’ve read about in metaphysical and new age books, AND all those documentaries about quantum physics and the so-called paranormal, and then turn all that into a nine day course filled with exercises and processes that teach you how to actually do THOSE things. Tools to help you gain more control over your life and the world around you… more personal power. Now do that with hundreds of thousands of other people from all over the world speaking seventy-something different languages! THAT’S what Avatar has turned into now after almost 30 years. A giant collection of the most enlightened or maybe better put the most enlightenment-seeking people on planet earth. It’s the coolest thing happening in the world right now hands down. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world working on being the best they can be AND trying to make the world a better place! Incredible stuff. People always ask me, “Is it worth the money?” And I’m like “Oh my God, no… it’s worth ten times as much.” Talk about a paradigm shift. If someone is looking for a real paradigm shift –something really transformative in their lives – I can’t think of anything else as powerful or noteworthy. At least not yet anyway. Out of everything out there. And I’ve tried it all and then some.

 

To find out more about an upcoming Avatar Course, visit www.Avatarepc.com

To find out more about Ed Hale, visit iTunes or www.edhale.com

 

Expanding the Definition of Consciousness and its Various Components

It’s 3:30 am. I have awoken so many times in the last two hours since falling asleep at around 1:00 that I finally decided to just lean up, grab my phone and take down some notes about what kept waking me up. As with most things we deem totally inspiring and amazing when we are half asleep and dreaming, I am sure this too will seem just as pedestrian and unimportant once it’s written down here; or worse, pure gibberish. One day, as technology continues to advance, we WILL be able to translate the magnitude of our dream-states into real world semantics in a way that truly gets across just how incredible those sights sounds feelings and visions are to us when dreaming… I see it… But for now we accept that we often miss the mark. Nine times out of ten that’s what we end up with when we attempt to pull to the earthly plane the mindblowing cosmic dances and brilliant ideas that enthrall and entertain us when we are dreaming, mundane blah or irrelevant gibberish. But in line with sticking to the promise I made to myself and my creator years ago, I do my best to never let one idea slip away into the recesses of that dark cavern we call “I can’t remember” — seeing each and every creative thought and idea as a precious gift. No matter what it is or what it’s for or about. Of course the primary effect this has had on my life is assuring that in another ten years or so my infinitely tolerant wife and I will be found dead in one of our large homes, asphyxiated to death and buried by hundreds of thousands of pounds of little pieces of paper, notebooks, journals, file folders and post it notes.

If only there were two of me — a technological inevitability I am thirsting for far more than most; I could continue to be me and do my thing, which is get the ideas and make note of them, do my damnedest to flesh them out and release them in some form or another — my career, AND at the same time still try to maintain some semblance of a home and family life, but the other me, my clone let’s call him, could work uninterrupted 24 hours a day just on finishing and fleshing out the ideas and projects I don’t have the time to get to. With me it’s never been about lack of ideas or writers block or laziness or lack of ambition, but rather always simply a matter of not enough time in the day. Made exponentially worse once I got married, as much as I hate to admit it. Little did I know. But marriage, cultivating a loving caring safe and secure home and family takes an enormous amount of time away from your work — no matter how many times in the dead of night with your wife sleeping there beside you you pray silently to yourself and your idea of God promising to DO more. I had no idea how much free time for work one is compelled to give up in the name of having a good marriage. So I do the best I can with what I have. Nights like tonight where “we” went to bed at a decent hour but I stayed up well past 1am writing and now sit here in the pitch black of early morning doing the same while everyone else in the house is asleep.

You probably didn’t notice it, but I just had to take a few seconds off here to wake our Cavalier, Alistair, because he was asleep so soundly that he was snoring. The whole house is fast asleep as I sit here in the dark. If he wakes Princess Little Tree up she will not be pleased with seeing me hunched over the glowing light of a phone in the dead of night madly typing away–knowing full well that my mental and physical health is just as sensitive and prone to weakness from abuse as the next person’s and it needs sleep to function optimally. She worries. And I love her for it.

I fell asleep listening to Joel Osteen last night. Call it a guilty pleasure.

[Joel is funny that way. He’s one person you won’t gain much street cred from name dropping. My friends in the art and entertainment world who are nearly all secular AND my more intellectual and scientifically minded friends both find it fascinating and curious that I of all people would ever entertain the “inane ramblings” (their words not mine) of a modern christian evangelical preacher. It seems anathema to everything I seem to stand for according to their point of view. I get that. They just haven’t heard that call. Perhaps they never will. Or perhaps they’ve heard another call, equally divine and important to them. My friends who share in my Christian Jewish Buddhist Taoist Hindu faith (or at least the Christian portion of it) don’t do well with Joel Osteen either. They, being more liberal or progressive minded, find any type of evangelical or fundamentalist form of Christianity to be close minded, suspect, a step backwards. And ironically, even my hardcore born-again fundamentalist christian friends don’t seem to like Joel. They find his brand of Christianity to be too liberal and “new agey” and feel-good oriented, a far cry from the old fashioned fire and brimstone kind of fundamentalist Christianity that they’re accustomed to. He just doesn’t fit into anyone’s mold and for all the love and praise the man receives from so many millions of people the world over, he seems to elicit an equal amount of haters. Perhaps this is one of the things that has contributed to his being the head pastor at the largest Christian mega-church in America today. This fact that, try as one might, one can’t stick him into any one box very easily. He fits no mold. Always suspect. Suspect for his happiness. Suspect for his popularity. Suspect for his wealth. Suspect for his unique theology. But regardless of all that I like the man. I dig his sermons and I like him as a person. I’ve only met him a few times, but each time I FELT him, fully, inside and out, and there is nothing to fear there. He’s as real as real can be. He fully believes in what he’s doing, in his faith and in his mission. More power to him for that.]

One of the last things I remember Joel speaking about tonight was the importance in his view of praying boldly. Not weakly or timidly or shyly — but boldly. It struck a chord in me. I see prayer being not very dissimilar from using any other consciousness tool for reality creation. They are nearly one and the same as I have pointed out in earlier posts. To pray boldly to a Christian might mean visualize and affirm more boldly to someone more metaphysically minded or create your primary (your desired outcome in avatar speak) more boldly to an Avatar. To not hold anything back. To not only give it your all in the doing, but also to remember to ask for it all. Create it all. Everything you want. Not just a piece of it, but all of it. Let go of your broken heart…. that brokenness that tells you to hold back when asking for what you want, that sense of guilt or not-deserving… To me this is one of the keys to praying for or creating everything we want fully and boldly.

I was so inspired by Joel as he spoke that I made a few notes in my master list of new primaries that I wanted to create — big ones. Ones that really juiced me. (Primaries being avatar speak (broadly and generally paraphrasing here) for “anything that is created”, but more specific to our purposes here: “something that you want to create” i.e. a desired outcome (in Tony Robins speak). To a Christian or another kind of religious person this could simply mean “something I pray to God about everyday because I desire it to happen”. As I drifted off to sleep tonight I began to pray as I always do before falling asleep, as I’ve done since I can remember, since I was old enough to speak. But this time I did it from the perspective that “God truly takes great pleasure in favoring us and helping us to be happy and live joyful lives, that He/She/It loves to help and guide us to create the life of our dreams, our greatest desires.”

I have a lot of friends. It comes with the territory of being The Ambassador I suppose. Plenty of them absolutely despise that kind of thinking and speaking. It makes them gag for some reason. They consider themselves realists. I would call them fatalists or nihilists more appropriately. The labels are unimportant. The point is that there are many among us who gag at the mere mention of God or the universe having any ability whatsoever to intercede in our lives, let alone the idea that these “concepts” of “God” or “an alive universe” even exist in reality. I love and respect them just the same.

Out of all the ones that I wrote done, the primary that juiced me the most in that moment was something to the effect of “I have found my true calling and I am thriving in it!” So I began to pray to God about this desire, once we were done with the greetings, small talk, formalities and pleasantries, I just continued to focus in on it and hammer it into my consciousness, continuing to ask for God’s assistance in guiding me down the right path towards this goal. I must admit it felt great. Especially after I began letting go of all the Secondaries (avatar speak for “anything that is other than the primary”, in other words anything that may get in the way of or distract you from or diminish your ability to create the primary or desired outcome.) A primary is easiest to create when there are NO secondaries. One easy example to understand the concept would be to ask yourself out loud what is your name. The answer… that’s a primary. And trust me, your very primary about this. You probably had no problem answering the question “What’s my name?” Now ask yourself out loud if you have any secondaries to that primary. Any doubts suspicions or any skepticism? Or perhaps hearing your name out loud makes you laugh or perhaps even wince. Who knows? It’s your consciousness. Any reaction you have at all to uttering those words, to stating your name, is a secondary. Why? Because it’s not the primary. See? It’s easy. You probably found it easy to do this. Meaning you are pretty primary about your name? Why? Because you had no secondaries about what your name is.

Avatars learn a variety of different techniques like this for creating primaries AND for discreating any secondaries that might come up. The power to discreate — thoughts feelings emotions ideas beliefs realities — is one of the greatest gifts ever given to humankind in my humble opinion… second only to the gift of life and our connection to the Divine Force in the universe. (For the record, a man by the name of Harry Palmer was the person who both re-discovered this innate ability we all possess — to create and discreate reality, AND the person who invented the numerous tools and processes we can use to do so.) (It is best to learn this knowledge and these tools from a professionally licensed avatar master or trainer on an avatar course. There’re always courses being given all over the world at any given time so it isn’t difficult to find one and jump into one. I highly recommend doing it. It’s the coolest game on earth at the moment. Like super-hero / Jedi Knight training cool. Seriously badass stuff. )

The last thing I remember before falling asleep was repeating this prayer/primary over and over again until I started mumbling and drifting off into a deep and restful sleep. As soon as I started to dream I got caught up in this mind boggling concept about how we create reality. We know that there is always a touch of randomness and chaos to what we call reality. Quantum mechanics teaches us that. It isn’t perfect, perhaps it’s not meant to be, but it’s perfectly imperfect. Or vice versa. In a way that we can semi-understand it at least. Other than the pure randomness and chaos of quantum mechanics at play, the rest of reality is being created by consciousness; and to a certain degree by non-conscious life. Life, meaning trees or starfish or chimpanzees or even algae. They’re all living and organic and indeed they do create reality. Just step outside and see for yourself. Reality is being created all around us by what we normally label “non conscious organic life”.

Most human beings do not usually believe these living things mentioned above have “consciousness”; nor that many living organisms on earth besides humans possess a “conscience”. I’d go so far as to say that many people don’t even believe that other living organisms in the world besides humans possess “consciousness”. Unless of course you’re the exception and you do. Which is great. After all, we don’t yet know everything there is to know. Some life forms like humans or dogs or apes or chimps or yes maybe even horses do seem to possess consciousness. If you’ve ever studied the work of Dr. Hagimura and his work on sound vibrations and their effect on plants and water then you’re familiar with the fact that even plant life and water – in all three of its various forms, ice, liquid, and vapor — seem to possess consciousness, albeit a slightly different variation than what we are used to as human beings — because they react to sound and vibration — as if consciously. It’s astoundingly ground-breaking work. Personally, I’d submit that there’s some kind of consciousness at play there. It’s “some kind” of consciousness that is reacting to the music and sound waves.

[As a side-note, most recently, today in fact, I discovered a group of Russian scientists who claim to have proven that they can alter and program DNA with sound and vibration… more on that later, perhaps in another post. Look for it. It’s a fascinating read and quite pertinent to what we’re discussing here.]

But what kept me awake this evening was this idea that here I was praying for and focusing on something I wanted to create… But HOW was it going to happen…? HOW does it work? “What” it was (that I wished to create) isn’t of import. What’s important is that after nearly twenty years studying this field of research and practicing using this knowledge and these materials, I am very sure of our ability to create reality with our beliefs/thoughts/feelings and/or vibrations.

It appears there are three ways to create reality: 1. Using physical action. I want to get up and walk from here to there. So I get up and walk from here to there. Physical action. 2. Not doing anything at all leads a reality to be created FOR us by someone or something else. I want to get up and walk from here to there. But I don’t. Eventually someone is going to come in the room, notice I haven’t moved from this spot in a few days/weeks/months and move me — whether I want them to or not. Not doing anything is another way to create reality; simply by allowing others to create for you. 3. Using consciousness. Our thoughts, ideas, beliefs, feelings, vibrations have an ability to set reality in motion. BEFORE we take physical action. [There may be additional ways to create reality than the methods described above.]

What was fascinating me this evening is: So what about thoughts? Feelings? Emotions? Ideas? We know they are OF consciousness… Creations of consciousness… But are they ONLY effects of consciousness? Or could it be possible that they too can be conscious or become consciousness? This is what kept gnawing at me. Try as I might to get it out of my head, or at least come to some sort of resolution with it, I just couldn’t let it go; I kept getting more and more excited thinking about it.

from Dr. Wayne Dyer to Deepak Chopra to Avatar to Sedona Method to Abraham Hicks (or that movie created about their teachings called The Secret) to the work of Amit Gowswami or Hassim Haramein, all have the same general message: Think it, feel it, envision it, focus on it, affirm it, imagine it over and over and eventually you stand a much better chance of being able to create it than if you only took physical action.

(In previous posts we’ve already discussed the idea that prayer is just another form of the above methods. Prayer seems to work in a limited number of cases because it forces the person to focus on what they desire to create, to affirm it, to envision it, etc. I would assert that the only reason that prayer doesn’t work more often is because the person doesn’t commit enough time or effort to prayer; and thus they aren’t committing enough time and effort to focusing on, affirming and envisioning whatever it is they wish to create. If they did, i.e. prayed for something more often, they would probably be able to increase their quantitative effectiveness of prayer as a method of reality creation. (When people pray for something and it does NOT transpire, they usually resort to the old adage that “God knows best. I guess God has something else in mind that I just can’t see yet”. In reality, they should instead dedicate more time and effort to praying — which would in turn increase the amount of time and effort they are focusing on and envisioning that which they desire: this would increase their chances of creating what they desire immensely more than giving up and assuming “God has a plan I just can’t see yet.” In fact, succumbing to that age-old concept is more akin to reality creation method #2 — not doing anything and letting other people or things create reality for us; it seems to be a form of giving up. But let’s not get hung up here.)

We’ve all experienced thinking about something and then seeing it transpire out of the blue without us having to do anything. Perhaps a person calls that we were just thinking about, or we see a word we just learned the definition of. These are the simple and easy ones. (ones that actually have other explanations for their occurrence than just reality creation). But I’m trying to use examples that everyone can relate to. Let’s for a moment assume that YOU are way beyond this kind of reality creation. That you’ve used some of the techniques described above and really experienced creating some incredible realities using nothing but thought, belief, feeling, vibration. Thousands of studies are taking place all over planet earth at this time by renowned scientists who are now starting to prove scientifically that this is possible. So the concept itself is starting to leave the realm of the paranormal /supernatural/ metaphysical and entering the world of science. Finally. It’s definitely about time.

But HOW does it happen? THAT’s the question… I spent a good fifteen minutes this evening in deep meditative prayer — i.e. focusing on, affirming, and envisioning that which I desired to create. It has now started to create. Within the next couple of days I will begin to see tangible proof that I created this reality. But how? Obviously it’s an energy thing. Yes? And that’s my point. We know it works. But as of yet we haven’t broken down HOW it works. This is where scientists will come in handy — as they begin to first prove it to be true (as a side effect they will also prove the effectiveness of prayer along the way — for the reasons I lay out above), and then begin to analyze and break down the mechanical aspects of HOW it works.

My presumption is that once released from consciousness, thoughts, ideas, beliefs and feelings become conscious. They may not necessarily become “consciousness” themselves. Though I haven’t ruled this idea out. But my guess is that they take on an energy of their own — as if they are conscious. At it’s most pure, we see that “vibration” — i.e. what someone vibrates — creates reality. But we aren’t just idly “vibrating”. Almost never… Unless in deep meditation…. And even then there are hundreds if not thousands of extraneous other aspects to our vibrations than pure awareness… So… our vibrations, whatever they may be in each moment, i.e. the energy that we are sending out — comes FROM our thoughts, beliefs, ideas and feelings. Thus, as we use consciousness to focus in on something that we desire (or resist), as we affirm it repeatedly, envision it, send thought energy to it, and we do that until we literally FEEL it… all those thoughts feelings and visions turn into an energy… it’s the energy that creates what we are vibrating. What we vibrate determines the realities that we create. My feeling is that these thoughts, ideas, feelings and visions turn “conscious” in effect. They leave our consciousness, but continue to exist. Sure they started out emanating FROM us, out of us. But then they leave our space and continue on out into the world… vibrating… existing as energy on their own. They then come into contact with other vibrations that are out there and together create realities.

The basic premise here is that in time scientists will not just prove that thoughts, ideas, feelings and beliefs create reality, but that they will soon discover that they are composed of matter. They are material in nature. Not just mental constructs. Eventually they will be able to determine what molecular material thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and visions are composed of. All of which lead to what we now label “vibrations”. Even these vibrations as we call them are still nothing more than mental constructs at this time in history. But not for long. We haven’t been able to see or measure them yet. But in time we will be able to. No different than how we are able to see and measure light and sound waves as vibrations. Soon we will be able to see and measure these other kinds of vibrations that we as conscious beings emanate from our thoughts, ideas, feelings and beliefs. Furthermore we will even be able to see and measure the different material that composes each of these different as-of-now mental-constructs: ideas, beliefs, thoughts, feelings. Maybe even desires and resistances. I can foresee a time when we will be able to hook someone up to electrodes and without them telling us WHAT they are feeling/thinking/doing/seeing, we will be able to tell THEM what it is. As in we will be able to SEE it on a screen: okay that’s a thought, that’s a feeling, that’s an idea, that’s a belief. Perhaps even further: that’s a desire, that’s a resistance, that’s rather neutral… Probably all just slightly different forms of the same basic materials, different atomic combinations and subsets…

That’s enough for now. The sun is rising. I must get some sleep.

— Posted by The Ambassador using BlogPress on an iPhone 8s Custom.

 

Television an Impetus and Sign of the Decay of Society’s Morals & Values

Prologue: The start of the new year marks the beginning of year three of my exploration of American television. As many long time readers have noted lately, The Transcendence Diaries never talked about television in all the years it’s been running. Thousands of pages and a full decade into this experiment, not one television show was ever mentioned until recently. That’s because for the longest time I didn’t subscribe to nor watch television. I spent most of my life that way. As a child we were completely cut off from that aspect of popular culture simply because our parents didn’t allow us to watch TV. They deemed it mentally and emotionally harmful. We of course being children disagreed with them vehemently. We just wanted to belong.

As I transitioned to adulthood I watched the occasional TV show when visiting friends houses, but in the music business, you really never have the kind of lifestyle where you can afford the time it takes to watch TV. You’re always traveling, and on those rare occasions when you’re not on the road, you live more of a vampire existence — out all night and asleep most of the day, one that does not lend itself to keeping up with the latest hit TV show. Besides all that, truth be told, I always found television to be the last thing in the world that interested me. I was a snob, I humbly admit it, and found television of almost any kind to be predictable, inane, boring and pedestrian. To be brutally honest, I found it insulting that people took the time or money to create such putrid dreck and expected other people to consume it. So no, TV was just not my thing.

Movies on the other hand were. An avid film buff, I gained access to movies through a seriously expensive Netflix and Amazon.com habit. Eventually two things transpired though that led to this more recent foray into the sodden world of American television, and since I’ve received more than a fair share of communications from readers about this strange twist lately, I thought I’d take a moment to address the reasons for this switch so people don’t think I’ve lost my edge or gone off the deep end.

Number one, it is possible — if one is determined and persistent enough in the pursuit — to watch literally every good to great film ever released in a variety of different languages; it just takes time and discipline. You reach a point where there is simply nothing left to buy or rent that you haven’t already seen a few times. I reached that point several years ago. Not only had I purchased all the great films worth owning — both fictional movies and documentaries, concerts and bios, old and new, color and black and white — in order to build a most enviable library to share with my children as they grow if I should be so lucky as to have some one day, but I discovered that eventually you can also reach a point where every film you ever clicked to place in your Netflix queue has been shipped to you and returned already. Granted we are speaking strictly of only movies that interested “me”. I am sure there are plenty of horror movies, vampire thrillers, zombie apocalypse tales and buddy-cop flicks that never made their way into my viewing room and hopefully never will.

Number two, as many know, I began working on a rather large project to write a non-fiction sociology book entitled We Are the Revolution — Life in the Personal Expression Age a few years back and felt that I needed to explore TV to it’s fullest in order to fairly and fully explore this new age we’ve found ourselves in. After all, one of the Signatures of the age that I predicted was on its way was “The Great American Television Renaissance”. I foresaw that with the Indie Revolution and technology boom colliding and working together, American television was about to begin a new golden age where it would become so good that it would be nearly indistinguishable from Hollywood movies, even good ones. I was right. To a degree at least. Mainstream media is now calling it “the new or third golden age of TV”… something to that effect.

More importantly I have been able to witness it firsthand, taking notes and cataloguing it along the way. At first I tried to accomplish this feat by simply renting DVDs of all the television shows that I thought were important through Netflix. True story. I must have watched hundreds of hours of television that way. Eventually I caved in and realized that if I was really going to take the leap and explore this aspect of our society completely that I would need to subscribe to TV full on, as in get cable. And so I did. We’ve now got the full gamut. All 1000 channels or more. It’s entirely overwhelming. And yet frustratingly underwhelming as well. All depending on the filter you have on when watching.

I must say that it hasn’t been easy. Television is both a gift and a curse, wicked and wonderful all at the same time. On the one hand I heartily appreciate the comfort and companionship it provides to those who aren’t as fortunate as some of us are financially or socially or even in regards to having good health. Many a good person falls asleep every night with the TV on for no other reason than they are ill and bed-ridden or simply lonely. I get that. I respect it. I also understand that in a country as large as the United States is, television has a tremendous bonding capacity. It makes it possible for just about anyone, no matter how isolated or remote they may live from a metropolitan area to feel connected with and stay in touch with the rest of the country; with the rest of the world really. This is an important contribution to be sure. Though one might add that the internet can now just as readily fulfill that purpose, and do so without an endless stream of advertisements or that most unfortunate circumstance where one is trapped in front of the box filled with hundreds of channels and still find absolutely nothing to watch that interests them.

(I myself have a tough time with advertisements on television and so I almost exclusively only watch shows that have been DVR’d. I don’t think this project would have been possible had the DVR not yet been invented.) Because my venturing into the world of television was not for entertainment but for research I never found myself in the aforementioned predicament of “not being able to find anything to watch”. I’ve felt it countless times of course, but every time I find myself thinking that, I remind myself that this is research after all. If it’s occasionally enjoyable, all the better. But if it’s not, so what: the important thing is to soak it all in and to learn. So that’s what I’ve been doing.

I started this exploration approximately two years ago. So no, I do not remember the shows Desperate Housewives or Friends or 24, nor am I am able to recall the early formative years of American Idol that everyone refers to so lovingly. These were all before my time. But I have been able to catch up on certain things deemed important enough through Netflix such as Lost for instance. And as I’ve already mentioned in prior posts I enjoyed that show in particular immensely. Now I find myself in a rather strange place. Half in, half out. Television as it turns out can be extremely addictive. One can find oneself watching when one doesn’t even necessarily want to. It is easy to become quasi-addicted to TV. To keeping up with things. To having that extra energy in the room. It’s an illusion of course. Those people are real, but they aren’t there in the room with you. They aren’t even doing what they’re doing live, there in the moment, as you’re watching. They only pretend they are. And we in turn pretend along with them. It’s a drug like any other that as a society en masse we’ve allowed ourselves to become slowly but entirely addicted to and dependent on.

I would be lying if I claimed that I haven’t enjoyed this part of the book writing process. Because I have. Almost too much I believe. Much of it has been very enjoyable. On the other hand much of it has been thoroughly dreadful and painful, as many would guess. Most television, as I remembered from the few times I attempted to watch it in the past, is indeed inane, pedestrian, boring, predictable and insulting to anyone with half a brain. Though on occasion you can find some things that transcend the format and are just flat out better than good. Downton Abbey comes to mind; as do many shows that PBS tends to air. So too does Homeland. Though the latter’s third season suffered so badly from poor writing that it became unbearable to get through for me personally. And that, in a nutshell, is the problem with television. Unlike good film, where they limit the length of the work to the exact time needed to tell the story and no more or less, television works in the exact opposite way: the story is dictated by how long the series stays on the air — as in how many dollars can they squeeze out of it as a commodity. This invariably always suffers the quality of the work itself. After a season or two, when the story is long overdue for a proper ending, the writers are still desperately trying to suck more blood out of the lifeless carcass that’s still left behind. The audience hangs on because they’ve become accustomed to it, fond of it, seduced by the original thrill once had but long forgotten, much like other drugs, and slowly — like a marriage gone sour — both writer and audience writhe in agony as each new season drags on until eventually both show and audience whither away and shrivel up and die.

tv-money

Think Pretty Little Liars. Those supposed high school girls are old enough to be grandmothers at this point and no one in their right mind gives two shits who “A” is anymore. The same can be said for Revolution — they’re going to drag that poor wretched beast out so long that most viewers will be dead by the time the producers of the show suck all the cash out of it that they can and end the story; which is too bad, because that show had at one point at least a degree of merit and potential. But again, money is taking precedence over quality still in this medium, so the storyline just drags on indefinitely rather than ending when it naturally should. The same goes for the aforementioned Homeland starting with season 3. It’s alarming, and I’d say disturbing even, to ponder that the creators and writers of this show are contemplating bringing “Brody” back from the dead in season 4. And yet everyone knows that’s precisely what they intend to do. It’s a truly shameless craft, to work for American television. All because of this wretched time-dictate phenomenon.

Of course, there is an easy fix. Just as filmmakers do, the creators and writers of TV could, if they really wanted to go the way of art rather than commerce, just change the storyline as often as needed — adding and/or deleting characters as needed — and frame the whole television show around a good story, RATHER than around how much time they need to fill up with a full season, and then another, and then another, and another, etc. In other words, once the story has run its course, they could END it, regardless of how many more episodes they have left. They could always keep the same cast of characters but just create a different story for them to be involved in. This would make television much more intelligent and much less inane and insulting.

Now that I’ve made mention of this fix, we can only hope that it turns into the new trend at some point in the near future. That’s how it usually works. I’ll mention it here; a few weeks to months later we see it transpire. [Remember, it was less than a year ago that I suggested creators and networks shoot and air whole seasons of shows at once so audiences could watch them all in one or two sittings IF they so choose to. See the post entitled Observations Re Modern Television – Fixes (1) from March 13, 2013. Within a few months, Netflix did just that with Arrested Development and then House of Cards and “binge watching” became the new buzz word of the season. So before we go writing in that yours truly is pipe-dreaming, let’s give this new idea some time, eh? I bet it’s only a matter of time now that it’s been mentioned here.

[This brings up an interesting side-thought — a truly fascinating paradigm that’s a bit off-topic but one that I’d say is very intriguing, if not way more intriguing than what this post was originally about. Check it. What exactly happened there? In the above scenario? I suggested something new, never been done before; and a few months later we see it transpire. Deductively, from what I can tell after thinking about this strange phenomenon for decades now, we’ve got three or four primary choices from which to conclude. #1, I created the idea and someone read about it, liked the idea and put it into action. i.e. I was the inventor of said event. #2, I predicted the advent of the idea before it transpired. i.e. I am psychic, or more accurately put, am more tuned into my “Intuitive Mode of Consciousness” than the average person. (more on that later). #3, I am simply highly tuned in to the subject and/or the culture it exists in and could feel or induce the coming of said event through either logical induction or intuition or a combination of both. This falls into the “hundredth monkey” paradigm to a certain degree. A little something I call “If you’re thinking it, so too are a thousand other people”. i.e. knowing a subject very well and all of the data associated with a subject allows us to be able to accurately predict coming events and trends more readily than the average person simply because we are so tuned into that particular data collection. We aren’t necessarily “predicting” something psychicly (though this could just be semantics) as much as being able to induce coming trends…. #4, none of the above. It was pure coincidence. #5, a combination of all of the above.

Without making too much of this post about this phenomenon — I believe it deserves one for sure — what I personally believe is that each time this phenomenon occurs, one has to analyze the events surrounding it in order to be able to ascertain which one of the five conclusions above were at play. There’s not just ONE singular reason for this seemingly miraculous turn of events. #1, Are television executives frantically scouring the Transcendence Diaries to look for ideas from yours truly and as soon as I suggested they air full seasons of shows so viewers could watch them all at once, they decided to do just that because I have just that much influence? I doubt it. In fact I doubt that they or anyone else except for loyal readers for that matter even knew I had suggested this new format for airing television shows. So no, I don’t believe I invented the idea and someone stole it.

#2, While it is true that for the last twenty or so years those closest to me have noticed an uncanny ability to be able to see things that are going to happen in the future — so much so that friends and family call me to ask “Hey, what are you seeing happen if I should do this_____?” — 99% of the time I am NOT in control of this ability. I “feel” and “see” the visions of said coming events randomly. Or I might just be writing or thinking about a subject or person and make note of something that IS going to happen or SHOULD happen, and then it does. This is certainly not psychicism in the classic scientific sense. Because I can’t turn it on or off at will. It’s completely random. Most of the time, when I do try to do it deliberately I do so with devastatingly erroneous results. So I tend to dismiss the “psychic” conclusion.

To me the most logical conclusion is #3. When we tap into a subject deeply and study it, all the data in and around it, we are more capable of being able to induce various different events that may potentially transpire in what we label “the future” in this particular field — simply because we are so tuned into this topic of study, or field of thought. It’s really just a matter of inductive reasoning. And feel. And intuition. The hundredth monkey effect at play. Chances are there were probably a thousand other people around the same time thinking and proposing the same thing. Why? Because it was the next logical step or transition in the field of television broadcasting. I just happened to make note of it before it happened because I was so deeply entrenched in studying it.

To be clear, I do not believe that this negates the potential for “psychic” or telekinetic abilities in others, nor even in myself. I’m only speaking about this one particular event, and a few others like it. I believe that the more we study and dig into something, the more “tuned into it” we become, i.e. the more tapped in our Intuitive Mode of Consciousness gets into this subject and the easier it is for us to access it with our regular day to day consciousness. *[The idea of the Intuitive Mode of Consciousness, at least the label itself as I am using it here, comes from the work of Harry Palmer and his work in the Avatar materials.]  This to me does not preclude our ability to be psychic or telekinetic. Some people are highly gifted in this capacity. But there is I believe a more logical conclusion to this phenomenon and a lot of it has to do with how much we know about a subject. The more we learn about a subject, the more we soak into it, the easier it becomes to see what’s coming next.

We can become quite good at this ability by simply knowing this fact. If we want to know what happens next, simply study the subject at hand as much as possible. A combination of logic and intuition will increase our ability to see what happens next immensely. There is more to this, a lot more. This is definitely a subject we should explore more in future posts.]

The full exploration and conclusions of our little experiment in the world of television are in the book mentioned above. That wasn’t the original intent of this post. I apologize. I got carried away. Evidently even I am not immune to getting sucked into the crazy seductive world of television. So be it. It’s a good point made though.

Last week I decided to tune into a fairly new show called The Following to see what all the fuss was about. One of the aspects of the Signature of “The Great American Television Renaissance” is that better than good film actors, writers and producers would eventually succumb to working for television — unlike even five to ten years ago where television was considered the land where talentless hacks go to die. But this trend was easy to see coming due to a variety of factors. The full reasons and ramifications are discussed in the book. It’s easy work, TV, compared to movie making. Nearly a nine to five job if you force their hand. And one that you can do from the comfort of your own hometown so you can stay close to family — without the itinerate traveling and being on location as is often required when making a movie. And if they only made the money being offered tantalizing enough, so the theory went, they could easily start seducing B movie stars into doing it first, and eventually A-listers would soon follow. We’ve seen this start to play out over the last few years. I first intuitively perceived this coming trend, began taking notes on it and named it in 2005. It took a while to transpire. But in full swing now.

The ubiquitous Kevin Bacon, who’s been in literally every movie that’s ever come out of Hollywood since the early nineteen-eighties eventually succumbed in The Following. So I decided to check it out, see what the big pull was. FOX is known for pulling many a rabbit out of its hat. Most extremely lame, deformed, mutated beyond recognition. Some nearly decent, edible, if rabbit’s your thing. And a select few occasionally quite tasty.

Uh… Okay… Wow… Not sure WHAT kind of response the creators of this show were looking for, but that about sums it up. If there ever was just one, The Following could potentially hold the honor of being the perfect illustration of just how numb depraved and insane modern American society has become through the years. It’s plot and storyline are completely over the top, repetitive, irrelevant and unbelievable of course; that was expected; but gratuitous violence and gore and shock scenes abound, a technique usually reserved for cheap Hollywood D grade horror movies. It’s a twisted little world that’s created in this shock and schlock fest, filled with blood, gore, stabbing scenes, dismembered body parts… all the while the characters act as if it’s just another day in paradise. There are absolutely no redeeming qualities to this show except perhaps as a study of how depraved a society can become: on the one hand the society publicly questions why mass murders and killing sprees transpire on a regular basis in real life and on the other hand it simultaneously creates these kinds of television shows as entertainment. What the society claims to dread, resist and fear the most, it simultaneously gorges on as entertainment. It’s a fascinating dichotomy. But also a bit sickening and frightening.

For the last ten to fifteen years American television broadcasters have been in a competition with one another to see who can create and air the most shocking, taboo and controversial material and get away with it. It wasn’t always this way. A thorough study of the history of American television since the 1950s will reveal that there has always been a healthy competition between networks. Which is a good thing for everyone to be sure. But somewhere down the road an invisible line was crossed. In the 1970s there began a now-seemingly tame competition between the big three American television networks fighting for the top spot in shocking the American public with controversial subjects that were considered too taboo for such a public medium like television. Single motherhood, divorce, black and Hispanic comedies, racism and racial slurs, mixed marriages, all were on the table to be offered up for free to see just how much reality the viewing public was willing to digest.

For the most part the intentions seemed noble. Television producers were trying to push the envelope of how much reality could be accepted in society’s entertainment. All they were attempting to do was replicate current events on TV — to more honestly mirror real life in order to more honestly explore it. Before that era, American television was pure fantasy. A utopian dream of what life “could be like if everything were perfect”. To many, this may have been a pleasurable panacea in the moment, but it also served as a constant reminder of just how imperfect our real lives were. In the nineteen-seventies all that changed. Throughout the next twenty years, television continued to push these boundaries, attempting to reveal more and more reality on TV. Many credit the popular comedy Will and Grace with helping to make being “gay” more acceptable in real life society. It would be more difficult to thoroughly “hate” gay people if you were tuning in to laugh at and with a gay person once a week. Perhaps they weren’t as scary as people made them out to be. Or so the argument goes. For all intents and purposes it seemed to work.

Needless to say the advent of what we call cable television — or anything other than the Big Four networks, CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX — was and still is the main impetus for the ongoing trend towards a new style of television: starting with real life, then leaving it behind and stretching it out beyond peoples’ wildest fantasies. The show that comes to mind more than any other is The Sopranos, though which show started it all is not the point here. Let TV executives and savants argue that one out. But HBO’s The Sopranos took violence and vulgarity on television to a whole new level never seen before. Sex too. Pretty soon people were tuning in to watch the show not because it was “good” but more to see just “how far out” the writers would go in their quest to push past society’s boundaries of acceptability. By the time the show had reached it’s final season, tens of other shows started cropping up on HBO and other networks to compete with it in this category of pure shock value. Drug addicted doctors, mobsters, serial killers, murdering vampires and zombies, weed selling single moms, meth peddling dads just trying to earn a living to support their family, pregnant teens, womanizing drunkards… this is what the new American television protagonist started looking like.

And thus began the new phase of American television: not to mirror real life, but to stretch it beyond recognition as fantasy.

In my quest to fully absorb and explore modern American television, I succumbed to just about every show that any half-assed idiot raised enough money to get on the air just to be able to get the whole picture. I attempted to watch the show Girls once two years back, and found myself so disgusted and disturbed by the thought that this could potentially represent what modern American girls in their early twenties are like that I actually found myself crying. Just sitting there on the couch tearing up and sobbing. It’s one thing to push the envelope. It’s another thing to indoctrinate young people into believing that drug and booze binging, casual sex, loose or no morals, and trailer-park vulgarity were all perfectly acceptable as long as you could afford the latest fashion trends and you got on TV. Which is exactly what this and countless other shows seemed to be doing. My reaction was beyond shock. It was downright disgust and then sadness.

The word “fuck” — not only as an expletive but also as a verb, as in “to copulate or to have sex” — is used so regularly and casually by characters (who we are supposed to identify with in some way) that an outsider would justifiably assume that that’s how regular everyday people in our society speak. “Oh first you fuck me and then you go and fuck her Tony?!?!” As if that’s how the average American female speaks on a regular basis, which for the most part, thank God, they don’t. We don’t. When’s the last time you heard someone use the word “fuck” when speaking about making love or having sex in real life? Certainly more common now than ever before; but certainly not something that has been considered the norm in our day to day lives.

There was a time, in the not too distant past, when that kind of language would be found utterly shocking in the real world except perhaps for the most lowly types of individuals. And to be sure that still applies to most of us. But for how long? Television has always served as both a reflection of our reality and an influencer and harbinger of it, of things to come. “Fuck” has always been a fun word to use on occasion. A colorful way to decorate an otherwise lackluster sentence or sentiment. But we’ve always known — we’re even taught this in writing courses at university — that it’s the easy way out, a device of the amateur.breaking enough, the characters not badass or tough enough. Now it’s every other word, de rigeur for every character on TV. No longer shocking, but boring and predictable. Have a seat and try to watch a whole episode of Veep or House of Lies. You’ll hear more “fucks” in 30 minutes than you’d hear in a year of Tourette’s Syndrome Anonymous meetings.

But all the while, people are watching… How much are they being influenced? That’s the question that arises again and again.

But it doesn’t stop there. The word “fuck” is the least of our problems at this point. Sex blood guts gore vulgarity abortion adultery murder stabbings gunshots to the heads eye-gouging rape the mafia and criminals as heroes… you name it and you can find it on a television near you. A friend on Facebook once commented a year or so back, “I don’t mind being forced to watch Girls if it makes my wife happy for an hour. But I refuse to stare at Lena Dunham’s fat naked ass while she’s being banged from behind for ten minutes.” And that pretty much sums it up. Who in their not-right mind decided it was a good idea to start showing doggy-style sex on TV? And worse, who in their right mind watches it or enjoys watching it? But let’s not blame it on poor Lena Dunham. Innovative she’s not. She’s just a child of the generation that came before. I can distinctly remember being equally horrified when binge-studying the just as vile Sex and the City I had to sit through a ten minute conversation where all four actresses pretended that talking about “anal sex and giving blowjobs” over lunch was the normal conversation of choice for middle class Manhattan females. When we all know it’s NOT. But again, the show’s creators are just trying to bang extra dollars out of the piggy banks of hapless American consumers through shocking them. What is it about being shocked that makes American consumers feel special? That’s another valid question.

What many don’t seem to understand is that a good story doesn’t need to be shocking, nor controversial. Nor does shock or controversy equal a good story. What’s to explain the popularity of and adulation around Downton Abbey over the last three years? But this point seems lost on most television executives.

In a few decades we have created a world where absolutely nothing is off limits or taboo for television. The Real Housewives, Honey Boo Boo or any other number of shows proves this. Rape murder animal cruelty take your pick. Sure the clean-cut, smiling faces will be on the TV first thing in the morning on their best behavior, dyed-white teeth sparkling into the camera, acting as if everything is just fine and dandy in Pleasantville. But tune into the same channel 12 hours later and you can gleefully watch a man poke a woman’s eyes out while she screams bloody murder or a group of young teens having a threesome. And if you want to they’ll even look directly into the camera and talk to you while doing it, which is the current “cool technique” of today’s television factory.

If we are to believe that television is the least bit reflective of real life, some of the most cherished and sought after ideals of our society have been slowly shoved under the bed over time and replaced with a new kind of identity. Nobility, once highly sought after and admired, is now clouded by darker themes such as vengeance ruthlessness power for power’s sake and greed. “The end never justify the means” is an archaic novelty, cute and nostalgic, reserved for coffee mugs and keychains; now replaced by older more primitive notions such as “do whatever it takes to succeed” or “only the strong survive”. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to ascertain precisely what nobility or respectability mean in today’s “modern” times as represented by television. Our hard fought evolution to a more graceful and elegant, kinder and gentler people appears to be eroding if we are to believe that our favorite television shows reflect who we are as a society.

To say we’ve lost touch with our core values would be understating the obvious. Fundamental deception and blatant manipulation is an accepted norm. So too are hidden agendas. So too has rampant vacuous sexuality, gratuitous violence and gore, using sex as a tool or a weapon either to garner attention (in the absence of something valuable) or to bribe manipulate or blackmail. Our very basic nobility has been eviscerated; in its place has arisen new ideals: ambition fame attention power greed winning. Remember the Charlie Sheen fiasco? Talk about an ironic dichotomy. Thousands of hapless masses cheering on a jacked up drug addict and womanizer as he incoherently rambles on and on about “winning” some irrelevant battle he’s having with his “greedy Jew bosses at the network” over how much money he makes for a TV show that no one actually watched anymore. What exactly is “winning” now in American society? How can we even organize the data to craft a definition given the blatant contradictions between what we see pretended as winning versus what we know it really to be, at least in a traditional sense? If one were young enough to NOT remember the traditional definitions of concepts such as winning, nobility, respectability, decency, it would be easy to see how they could be completely confused as to what these ideals really mean if all they see representing them are people like The Kardashians, Paris Hiton, Kanye West, Miley Cirus or Ray Donovan. I don’t envy the younger generation coming of age in today’s world.

On the one hand we have shows like 60 Minutes and Frontline or even Anderson Cooper revealing the latest scandals and corruptions of the day by the lowliest criminals in society who then get in trouble for their actions, and an hour later we have shows like Scandal, The Good Wives, and Ray Donovan glorifying these same types of individuals and their corruptions as if it’s an honorable thing to be a part of. That’s one confusing bag of mixed messages. The fear is that we are on the brink of becoming immune to what we euphemistically label “white collar crime”: lying, cheating, embezzlement, blackmail, bribery, grand larceny…  and a political system that is run and controlled by these very things. We deceptively refer to it as “lobbying” or “political campaign financing”. Since we are old enough to speak we are taught that our elected officials make laws based on trading votes for favors and vice versa, again cleverly disguised by the moniker “pork barrel spending” so no one really understands what’s being discussed. We see it parodied or theatrically played out on television in shows like Veep or House of Cards or House of Lies. And we don’t even blink at the thought that this may in fact be our reality.

Nope. In fact we choose instead to allow others among us to use these shameful weaknesses in our character as entertainment, akin to allowing someone to murder your family right before your eyes and then broadcast it as a reality TV show. (We can be sure that’s not too far away at this point. I’d say give it a year…) Unfortunately we see far too similar events as those in fictional TV dramas play out in real life on CNN and CSPAN on a near daily basis, which only further blurs the line between what is real and what is creative writing. So it could all be satire, or dramatization, or not. At this point we don’t know. Turning our considerable problems with our government in what is known as the greatest democratic republic on earth into entertainment not only minimizes the importance of the real problems that we face as a society, but it satirizes us, as a people, and our very core values, as we ignore the problems and continue to pretend that everything is fine; the irony of it screams in our faces “DO SOMETHING YOU IDIOTS” while we sit back and binge-watch it play out right before our eyes pretending it means nothing, that in the end it’s only a story…

Last night while taking notes for this post, the thought occurred to me that it’s time to not only stop with this experiment of exploring American television but that I should even go one step further and unsubscribe from all television in both our homes and start a movement to encourage others to do the same thing, just get rid of all TV completely except as a vehicle to watch movies on. Precisely because I wholeheartedly believe in the main message of this post, television IS in my opinion a major reason for the decay of the moral fabric of our society and the only way it’ll ever stop is if people en masse start boycotting it to send a message to executives and broadcasters.

The next two thoughts that occurred to me were this: one, there are certain aspects of television that I really get a lot out of. News and especially financial news networks, CNBC, CSPAN, PBS and certain guilty pleasures on the so-called premium channels. Two, there’s no way that anyone will be able to talk even a small minority of Americans into doing away with their TV, so it’s an effort that would prove fruitless; not worth the time or energy I would expend. I’d basically being chasing rainbows. No one’s going to do it.

This morning upon awakening, I was surfing Facebook over my first macchiato and lo and behold what do I see? A post by a colleague in the music business who lives in Utah — she works in radio promotion — saying that she just got rid of their whole house’s cable subscription entirely because she “doesn’t approve of the content of TV today, it’s too vulgar and violent, and she doesn’t want her or her spouse or her children digesting that kind of garbage on a regular basis.” I must admit I was quite surprised. Talk about synchronicity or being psychic or tapping into intuition… I hadn’t even posted this yet. So it wasn’t about me. More a sign that I was onto something. She’s onto something. Perhaps I’m not the only person thinking about doing this. Not just doing it ourselves for the betterment of our mental and emotional health, but taking it on as a cause. After all, this may have been a random coincidence, but I just bet that if we two are thinking about it, so are plenty of others.

Sure enough, our good friend Zeke Zaskin — yes the audio engineer who’s mixed and mastered the last nine Transcendence albums, said that they just did the SAME thing in their home, for the same reasons, and that there’s a simple solution to being able to access only the content that one desires and still not have to subscribe to cable: He states the solution is getting a digital antenna, a Roku box and the PlayOn app. In fact he even posted a link that explains how to do it. You can get rid of cable completely AND still access the big four networks and any other networks you want to IF you want to. Here’s the link: http://removeandreplace.com/…/cancel-your-cable-and…/

So it turns out it IS possible to get rid of cable completely and still have access to only the shows and networks that we desire. This would afford us all a good opportunity to be able to send a message to the television networks and the executives that control them. One giant boycott is all we’d need by even a small minority would gather a lot of attention. I for one am ready to do something.