• Eric "aspen" Marley

Separation, Distraction and Efficiency: The Unholy Trinity of Western Culture

There’s something interesting about experiencing separation. We’ve all been through one type or another. Whether it’s a split from a partnership, leaving parents for the first time, graduating from high school or some other life-altering condition, there’s a moment, sometimes extended, of “what now”; a moment of existential weightlessness, a pause at the top of the roller coaster before it charges down another impossibly steep grade. The separation is traumatic by degrees. Separation from a dissatisfying workplace is one thing, particularly if the person has savings and other work prospects in line. In that instance, the pause may be more like a vacation than a traumatic event. But perceived separation from the meaning of life which can happen during a divorce, the death of a loved one or a break from a religion… these are another story.

As traumatic or pivotal as these events feel, I submit they aren’t as substantially informing as another type of separation, one we experience every day through our skewed perception of reality. The separation to which I’m referring is our self-imposed separation from God.

OK, we may ask, but is this not the reality? I mean, we perceive we are separate from God because we look around and don’t see Him/Her/It, right? But this illustrates the difficulty and inherent falsehood of attributing all reality to that which we see and know only with our physical senses.

A “spiritual person” operates in both the seen and the unseen worlds. The seen world is the one we all inhabit in this place and plane. We all know its rules. Its cause and effect qualities are manifest in easily comprehensible ways. You touch a hot surface, you get burned. You jump from a tall surface and gravity draws you downward. But the unseen world, which not all of us understand, is different. Only those who spend time and effort in and with this “other world” come to see how it operates and how it informs the physical world; indeed, how the unseen creates the seen. Individuals who are “spiritually becoming” operate physically in this world as do we all, often experiencing much trial and error as their understanding of the spiritual grows, at least initially. But once they “get it,” they live in essentially two realities which, to them, become one. They operate in this manner, not because of dogma, but because of personal experience. They trust both worlds through their experience, the one as real as the other. The result is that the person who trusts the unseen as much or more than “ordinary reality” will necessarily act in ways contrary to the wisdom of the world or to traditional mores, or even to natural or societal law. They may, in fact, appear quite insane. For instance, on a cultural level it was insane for a spiritual teacher like Jesus to spend time with the dregs of his society. This association was unheard of at the time and marked him a dangerous rebel. Likewise, his inclusion of a Publican –a particularly hated sect of Israelites because they served the Romans – as one of his most trusted disciples was also viewed as a subversive act by the religious leadership of the time. I submit that Jesus, like any other truly spiritually maturing individual, operates in ways not necessarily in line with his culture because he understands the world of spirit. Within this world exists an understanding accessible to us all, and it is this truth: we are not separate from God. To these enlightened individuals, their ready access into the unseen world proves it. They literally live with God every day. This presence is accessible to any and all of us.

The good news is we are 100% in control of that separation and can end it at any time. I firmly believe it’s not Creator’s choice we are separate. Physically, with our senses, yes. Spiritually, and in every other way, no. We make that choice depending on what we do with the moments that make up our lives. It’s entirely up to us. Metaphorically, the physical world is a drop of water, and the spiritual world is the whole ocean. We are free to operate in the drop. In fact, since our bodies are subject to the physical world, we must do so. They are, after all, “real.” But what about the rest of the ocean? Herein the power of Creator resides. We can borrow it from there and bring it here. This miraculous power source, to the spiritual person, is no miracle at all – just the power of Creator being manifest in a place where it’s not expected, or not yet discovered, by the masses.

So what’s the point?

The point is we humans act very differently when we think we are separated from God. It’s analogous to the child who sneaks a cookie when he feels no one is looking. He misbehaves only when he knows he won’t get punished because no one sees his action. He is alone, as it were, in the world (which happens to be the kitchen for the purposes of this example). He experiences no consequence, karmic or otherwise, because he operates covertly. If he refrains because he might get caught, he is said to be “a good boy.” But the idea that it’s somehow good or “spiritual” to act from a place of fear is the antithesis of the point I am trying to make. This is what a strictly religious (but not necessarily spiritual) person does. It’s the difference between being well-behaved and truly good. Those who are well-behaved act primarily from the one-dimensional place of “fear of punishment,” like the child. They fear damnation, getting caught, unfavorable impressions being broadcast to others, even guilty self-castigation. Truly spiritual individuals act multi-dimensionally, co-creating their realities both from inside and outside of the “drop of water” with God. The strictly religious person holds to the letter of the law without a true understanding other than “God commanded it, I believe it, that settles it.” The spiritual person holds to the spirit of the same law, but understands experientially why it is wise to do so. Like her religious counterpart, she does the right thing. But she does it for reasons that have their basis less in fear of God than in love for God. And that makes all the difference. After all, when in your experience have you ever loved something you are compelled to fear? The two feelings are mutually exclusive.

Of course, this is an oversimplification. Most of us fall in the middle somewhere. But the concept is the key and a good jumping-off place for sincere and thorough self-inquiry.

Observing what is going on in the world these days, I find the idea we are separate from God, cast out as it were from “His” presence, the single most damaging dogmatic doctrine I can name. It’s the genesis of every atrocity committed in God’s name and in the name of progress. Only a person who experiences separation from Creator on an extended basis is able to torture, abuse or otherwise thoughtlessly dismiss the right to life of another living creature, particularly another human being. It’s this feeling of separation that fuels almost all the ills we experience. Of course, our very humanity incubates missteps and variances from a life otherwise perfectly lived. No one is perfect, not even the spiritually advanced. But the big issues, including the ones we all face because they are global in nature, like climate change, continually increasing warlike atrocities, the extinguishing of the natural world and the profusion of technologies with no coherent endgame (nuclear power and big oil, for instance), are all the property of humans who feel collectively and individually adrift.

How and why is this so?

To answer, imagine for a moment you are an angel assigned to help mortals along in their souls’ journey. You work in concert with Creator. Everything you do is in alignment with Divine Will. Your “job,” so to speak, is to support your temporarily mortal clients in the progression of their souls. You hear their prayers and promises. They’re the driver of their own souls from the mortal plane and you are their servant. You do what they desire – it’s their soul – within certain important parameters. You can never go against Divine Will. But you can instruct, coach, teach and whisper to your mortal clients in language they are capable of understanding. As such a Being, it’s important you operate in the present because true power is not accessed at any other location on the time continuum.

To illustrate the power of the moment, imagine one of your clients standing on a ball: it’s important he remains on the top of the ball or he falls. If he leans back (to the past), he falls. If he leans forward (into the future) the result is the same. The fact of the innate power of the moment isn’t affected by anything else, not even your mortal client’s beliefs about the nature of time, his spiritual beliefs, non-beliefs or physical makeup. Whether the individual sees time as linear or circular or anything else, the power of the moment is always in the moment occupied by the body, nowhere else. Only in the moment are decisions made that build the beauty and strength of an embodied soul, which is what your mortal is. You can coach your clients all day long and advise them about whatever path of growth they have chosen to conform. But if they can’t sense your message, it won’t do any good. The trick is getting them to hear you, to understand what your voice sounds like among myriad others. Your hope is that they’ll hear and implement your messages enough that they eventually trust you. If your mortal recognizes and trusts your voice, the mortal will have a multidimensional friend and ally, an obvious advantage. These mortals will experience their place in the ocean, adding to their experience as a drop within it. Everything changes with this realization.

Why is this so?

You know and have observed when your assigned humans hear your voice, they feel Connected to God. And they’re right. Your angelic, spiritual guide self is God’s voice to your clients. They feel that voice as much as they hear it, and it’s that feeling, that sense of coupling with Creator in Divine familiarity, that feeds the soul of the mortal more than anything else. This is so because it’s experiential, not dogmatic. It’s the difference between something happening to you (experience) and being told what happened to someone else and what it means (dogma). Your mortal may have strong feelings about the dogma they’ve professed to believe. They may feel that God has told them that what so and so experienced has applicability to all. But it’s not the same, ever, as first person experience. During those moments, the idea they are separate from God and from deep meaning vanish. This may not be the case with a dogmatic experience, even a powerful one. In the first –person experience, the fact they aren’t in the physical presence of Creator is without consequence because the spiritual or unseen world is suddenly or by degrees as “real” as the one their bodies inhabit. As they are co-creating on the level of spirit, the level of the physical may even lose some of its veracity, some of its inexorable, harsh and solid quality. The edges of “reality” may actually soften. After all, spirit exists independent of the physical plane - indeed births the physical plane. The human who consistently experiences this spiritual melding is able, ultimately, to act as an angel in the mortal plane because he is directed by the angels. I submit this is essentially the purpose of mankind; to co-create with God in a foreign land, a land of varied energies, and to thereby grow our own soul and the souls of others in the process. None of this happens outside of and without attention to the moment. Too much information is passed in spirit-to-mortal communication. Attention is required.

But it’s not as easy as it all sounds for you, my angelic, coaching friend. There’s a challenge here, and it’s becoming more acute with every passing year. Can you guess what it is?

To answer, let’s imagine you’re now at the opposite end of the helpful vs. less helpful spectrum. You’re a devil. Let’s assume you also possess the knowledge that the power of mortality – for any of us – is in the moment, and it’s primarily in the moment the angels who serve the mortals are able to communicate what to do within any space of time. It’s in the moment alone that the idea of separation from God can vanish, and the opposite, a connection so deep it may never be severed, can take root. On one hand, the mind’s hold of the concept of separation decreases. In its place a heart-centric view establishes itself. As this concept of unity is heart-centric rather than birthed by the conceptual mind, words will fail to describe its depth. But its presence changes everything within the human who experiences it. Devil-you sees the power of the angels and that when mortals are able to align with them, the souls of the mortals grow in strength, beauty, deep connection and union with Deity. When so connected, rather than separated, they walk and interact with both humans and angels with a confidence and beauty that both enrages and terrifies you, devil that you are. But you know the mortal has to embrace and understand the power of the moment in order for the idea of separation to vanish. She’ll never sense her Connection in any other place.

This may be a lot to take in, but assuming all this to be true, what would be the most powerful tool you’d have in your evil arsenal? One word: distraction.

This little scenario is, in effect, what I think is going on here in this place and plane. I believe we all have unseen allies. The flip side regarding our adversarial devils would bear more explanation. But my ideas aside, if a person or group or unseen enemy is dedicated to the overthrow of humanity, what it wants is for humans to feel alone and separate in a heartless, cold universe. Alone in the kitchen, afraid of consequences and unconcerned with the oceanic reality in which, besides their single drop reality, they also operate. For that to happen it’s best to throw humans away from and off the moment because it’s removing them from their power source.

So how would a devil consistently throw a mortal off the moment? How would one go about consistently distracting humans – not just with one thing but with layers upon layers of concerns tied to the future or the past – anything but the moment? Looking around with the eyes of one devoted to halting the soulful evolution of humanity, another word comes to mind. That word is “efficiency.”

Don’t laugh. That’s the word that describes the concept that has become the bane of mankind. Keep in mind the concept rather than getting too attached to the word, and please keep reading.

Consider all the technological gadgets we have at our disposal. Are there any that came to us without the promise of more time to “do what we want?” Even the advances that offer increased convenience and comfort could be said to have been done in the name of efficiency. For instance, if I can turn a dial and increase the heat, it means I don’t have to make a fire and keep it going, which frees me up to do other things. Buying meat at a store means I don’t have to hunt, gut, skin, butcher and store it. Having a paved road saves me time and wear on a vehicle. A GPS, a phone, warm clothes… these all conceptually mean I have more time at my disposal. Even if the implication is we will have more time to waste more time (ie. video game consoles), the fact remains these upgrades or gadgets are there to cram as much as possible into the moments we have, in either quantity or the type of quality they can promise, such as a better picture, a “more exhilarating ride” or a more life-like experience.

If our power is found in present moments, what’s wrong with cramming as much as we can into them? Seems like a good idea, doesn’t it?

Nope. And here’s why.

We humans are amazing, truly at the top of the evolutionary chain. That’s not to say that, just as a blind woman may develop extraordinary senses to adapt to her lack of sight, an elephant, for instance, may possess senses beyond our own. The same may be said of a dolphin, pig, dog, goat or bison, among other non-human animals. Non-humans are superheroes in narrow but deep ways, often sensing things far beyond our comprehension. We’ve all heard stories of animals sensing earthquakes or storms ahead of even the most sensitive scientific equipment, as well as our more common experiences of a dog’s or a bear’s sense of smell, a mule deer’s sense of hearing, a horse’s sense of impending danger. But it’s humans who have the broadest experience when it comes to evolutionary gifts. Our brains in particular are super advanced in contrast to other beings that are indigenous to this planet. Even so, for all these gifts, our brains are not made to handle fifty things at once. We can learn to handle more than a few, to be sure. I guarantee modern man can handle more than our ancestors when it comes to multi-tasking and efficiency. But a man standing on a ball can only handle so many spinning plates (this world) while maintaining a sense of connection (to the “real world”). After all, the plates themselves require a certain amount of attention or they’ll fall and make a mess. But at what cost does this efficiency come to us? I submit the cost is our personal power, which is lost through distraction from the power of the moment and ultimately results in the feeling of separation from God and from Meaning.

Let’s go back to our angel. He lives and works within a reality that is the same reality our souls inhabit, even as sojourners here on earth. The soul is always present in the moment and multi-dimensional, with the power and edict to so operate. The soul inhabits both the ocean and the drop, even while our bodies are generally relegated to the drop. In other words, our bodies inhabit this terrestrial reality only; it’s a thicker one, a slower one and one of a different vibration. A drop of water holds some of the properties of the ocean, but only to a small extent. Since this is the case, when we concern ourselves only with this terrestrial, drop-like vibration to such an extent that it precludes the one our souls inhabit --the oceanic one--we are essentially soulless beings, living as callously as a corporation. The difference is the corporation is driven ultimately by profits, whereas the soulless individual operates at the whim of whatever earthly egoic distraction is the loudest, which may also include profits (and often does in our culture). Either way, when so possessed we’re unable to be present enough to hear the calls of our spirit guides. We are then adrift, victims to unconscious whims that build temporary egos rather than the eternal soul, egos that are as large as we can make them… within the drop, that is. Look around. Is this not a potential answer to what you see? We may not be as overtly destructive as our traditional devil may be, but that’s not necessary. All the devil has to do to “win” is to beguile us to operate without the benefit of the voice of the soul. I submit when we live as we do, distracted from the moment by the spinning plates of our modern culture of consuption, we are largely unable to connect with that soulful vibration. We simply do not have the capacity, nor are we meant to have the capacity to connect with our souls when so frenzied. The frenzy is unnecessary. And Nature, from which we are not separate, generally does not do “unnecessary.” Nature is efficient in a healthful way. Nature does both the maximum and the minimum simultaneously. With a few exceptions (let’s start with the uvula and the appendix), this is how it is with Nature. And again, we are not apart from Nature. Rather, we are a part of Her.

Put another way, there’s a bandwidth for the soulful operation of the body in this sphere. Gandhi figured this out. So did Jesus and many other spiritual teachers. But when we overstep that band and become too enamored with the sugary simplicity of the slowly vibrating “ordinary reality,” it’s the soul that is relegated to the background, not the body. And it’s soullessness that grows from that state of being, a state that’s temporary, a state that’s tied to a short time on earth, the drop vs. the ocean, a state that by definition is unable to give us lasting satisfaction and joy because it is also impermanent.

Need proof?

No, you don’t. You see it all over. You experience it every day. You see it in the news and in the politics at your workplace. You saw it in the last election, in the fight at Standing Rock, in the statistic “1 in 10 children in Central Oregon will be sexually abused before they’re 18.” You see it in the things most of us choose to ignore because they contradict our desire to believe we are “ok” with our current habits of consumption, that we somehow deserve them. You see it in the stories of people who can light their water on fire due to fracking, in the wars that are fought for oil and dollars and in the blank stares of the honorable young men and women who come back from fighting those wars with their souls karmically and chemically altered.

Speaking of Standing Rock, some of you know I’m one of thousands who spent time there. It’s a worthy fight, to be certain. The Native Americans have been voiceless for as long as the white people have been here and that doesn’t sit well with me. That’s the main reason I went. But I am under no illusions: it’s not the real challenge. That pipeline, which will likely be built at least once (because it will be destroyed, believe me), is a symptom. The real issue is a feeling of separation from Deity, a separation that is not mandated by God but, rather, is as temporary as we wish it to be. And the experience of separation comes from our addiction to things that distract us from the moments that are born and die every second of our lives. In other words, within our addictions to convenience, ease and desire.

So what is the answer?

It’s so simple, it’s not given its due. It’s so simple it dismantles unconscious dogmatic adherence to every religion, philosophy or economic ideal. The answer is a renewed dedication to presence through a fuller view of existence, one that includes soulful reality as much or more than our physical reality.

What in the world does that mean?

It means we must take honest stock in where we are as far as our ability to be conscious in the moment exists. We ask ourselves how “on autopilot” are we? What habits and addictions own us, and why? How do we react to people outside the subcultures in which we choose to exist: the sick, the poor, the homeless, the wealthy, the imprisoned, the powerful and the powerless? What and when do we eat and drink? How do we spend the time not dedicated to healthful work? Do we have healthful work, or are we trapped in a vocation that is less than fulfilling? What are our relationships like? Why?

What we find, I assure you, is when we ask these questions of ourselves in a starkly honest way, a way that involves not only mind but heart, we find a pathway for our souls to inform us about where we can insert more balance into our lives.

Now, that’s a charged word, “balance.” It’s been commandeered by the very system that misuses it. I’m talking about soulful balance, not the kind of balance that disallows soul and makes it easier to “be efficient” without it. A healthy balance allows the voice of our Higher Selves and does not force it to take a backseat to the desires of this life, one that speaks the truth of our Unity with Creator to our souls. We know we have achieved it when we act like Nature: neither doing too much nor too little, being neither unconcerned nor unduly concerned. “Unconcerned” and “unduly concerned”… either state of mind can eventually bring us to implement distractions in order to mask an existential pain that gains ground every year. The one can feed the other. This is neither healthy for our physical bodies nor our spiritual souls.

Regarding balance, the teachings I’ve received about chakras have some application here. Specifically, what I’ve come to understand is that Western Culture generally operates from the second chakra. The first chakra is all about retaining things. It holds and doesn’t want to let go. This can be healthy or unhealthy depending on what we’re talking about, but that’s what it does. The second chakra is all about creativity, sexuality, expression of self in new and expansive ways. Again, this can be used appropriately – doing the maximum and minimum simultaneously – or it can be misused. When misused, unhealthy desire takes over. And desire, when unwell, is dissatisfied with the moment. It usually wants more, sometimes less, but not what is. Is any of this sounding familiar? When desire runs amok, it chokes the voice of the soul because it will multitask its ass off to get what it wants, if that’s what it takes. Soul is far too quiet to be heard over rampant desire because again, soul works on a finer vibration. It’s actually pretty easy to choke it off. It’s sensitive. It’s home is not here on earth. Soul alone doesn’t understand a world where, for instance, people pay to watch other people destroy one another.

Along these lines and in contradiction to Western culture, my experience is that pure indigenous culture operates closer to the heart, or from the fourth chakra. Considering there are seven chakras in most basic teachings, the fourth is directly in the center, three above and three below. In indigenous lifeways we live by the heart. We honor the needs of the body and of the physical realm, but temper them with the needs of the ethereal, of the soul. Our very bodies then, reflect how we stay in balance. How do they reflect balance? In two ways. The first is by observing the areas in which these spinning chakra buttons are located, as I just described, with the heart-centric one dead center. The second is in the way we come back to the present, which is through the breath. The human breathing apparatus is, of course, also located in the center of our physicality.

The breath is the tool we use to both take inventory of our habit load and to decrease our addiction to it, not to mention the way to return to the “top of the ball” when we feel we’re falling too far forward or back. Judging by the state of the world – not to mention the reactions of many “spiritual people” to the recent election results - most people use the breath in “practice” and forget the practice except within the narrow confine of the meditative pose.

I see it in myself above all: the force of habit that chokes attention to the moment and thereby breeds a feeling of separation. If unchecked, I see contraction in my body in the form of chronic asthma. Stress – and/or unconscious eating – can literally affect my ability to take in air. If that doesn’t get my attention, I can spiral into depression and a generalized violence toward myself, society or some other target. If, over time, I am unable to address the underlying traumas that might otherwise be sensed were I more present, my chronic asthma may ratchet up into full-on emphysema in order to make me pause and listen more carefully and maybe implement the practices that might allow me to take care of some karmic debt or unresolved psychic or emotional issue(s). I’m in the same unconscious boat as most humans, so please understand that I’m by no means speaking from a higher position here. But I do see. I’ve learned that much. And what I see is this perception of separation – or its effects – in almost every single interaction I observe in the western world. I see it in the news, in sports, in the way the weather is reported, in business. I see it in the fact that we do nearly everything in our lives a certain way because we learned it once and accepted it. Then we moved on to distraction, no more consideration needed. The next shiny thing awaiteth.

Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. There is nothing inherently wrong with leisure. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being wealthy or religious or being an American. The question of how distracted we are and how separate we feel is highly personal, not to mention how engaged we are in the ocean rather than the drop. For instance, I know a surgeon who would choose to do nothing else because he loves helping people, he’s very good at what he does, and his occupation allows him substantial time with his family. Until recently, this man lived in a one bedroom home on 200 acres with his wife and four children. Just a year or two ago, they added a couple of rooms to give their now teenaged children some privacy, but before, the two oldest boys just spent an inordinate amount of time outdoors. My friend and his family made the conscious decision to live this way because it allowed them to live close to the natural world. In his spare time he studies the unseen world in ways that speak to him, travels with his wife and children and gives them experiences that expand their souls. To see this doctor as “a rich guy” and nothing else would be patently unfair and inaccurate.

On the other hand, a person who feels trapped in an unfulfilling job and spends every extra dime on distractions such as alcohol, drugs and other diversions may be as poor as many ascetics the world over, yet feel completely separate from anything like Creator, whether a church-goer or not. Or worse, he may feel connected to Creator within certain narrow parameters that are somehow related to “personal righteousness” or “obedience to the commandments” (or more accurately in my experience, a certain subset of them). And we all know stories of wealthy people who act as if there is no other reality and get away with as much as they possibly can, being no more spiritually developed than the three-year old with his hand in the cookie jar, their claims to the contrary. In fact, I recently heard of a study in which people with substantial net worth – in the eight digit range – were asked how much more they would have to attain before they felt financially secure and could “retire.” The answer was, on the average, 25% more. I submit that these people are addicted to something, probably many things, and are generally distracted from the voice that tells them they are enough and they have enough and that it’s ok to expand their talents in other ways. Of course, making money in generally honorable ways like Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, the founders of the Giving Pledge, is a talent used to help millions.

So what do we do?

We learn to see. We observe dispassionately. We look critically at our cultural and societal mores, including our personal favorites that may have once worked, and ask why these things are? We question old assumptions and consider new information with the same critical eye. We take quiet moments to observe what once seemed like innocuous efficiencies but were, in fact, invading our peace, and we learn to live without them over time. Smart phones may get traded in for dumb phones. We walk places rather than drive. We spend five minutes meditating in the morning, sitting serenely, feeling the breath because it feels like Connection to something Greater when we do so and we know we need that. And we work on ourselves.

Oh, that’s a tired old phrase, isn’t it? “Work on ourselves.” Tony Robbins, Napoleon Hill, Deepak Chopra, Stephen Covey, Joel Osteen… we’ve been there, done that. May I suggest something? Something fairly radical?

You don’t need them.

You don’t need anyone or anything besides the voices of your Guides to walk you through the process of getting serious and clear about looking at the roots of our perceived separation. (In some traditions, this idea is thousands of years old, so dig deep.) For the most part we’ve evolved past such teachers and it’s our addiction to the “out there” nature of our perceptions of both problems and solutions that create a tremendous amount of suffering in this world. Once the Guides are trusted, how could anything be more important than listening to them? I’m not saying we don’t need human guides or teachers at certain junctures in our lives. Not at all. But the days of forking over a few thousand dollars for a “transformational weekend with rock star author-teacher” have largely passed. What we need in this culture more than anything else is authentic spirituality; one that eschews personal, cultural and personal mores simply because “it has always been done this way” while standing on a ball and leaning just a little too far forward or back. Instead, we need practices that center us, that allow our souls to communicate in the present moment with the army of unseen spiritual guides at our disposal. We need – we must have – access to this unseen cadre of Holy Teachers in order to feel the reality of our Connection to Creator.

The question is do you have the tools to hear their voices?

If you don’t feel like you do, consider this a clarion call to go and find them. They’re out there, because Creator will have it no way, other than to keep the keys to the doors of you freedom nearby. Some of these tools are under some pretty peculiar stones, half buried by centuries of oppression. There may be some tools that you need now that you may have once called "evil". Others are right in front of you and somewhat culturally accepted but have been largely unused by you for one reason or another. Their truth and meaning will be apparent the more present and less distracted you are and the more you consciously implement them. But no matter where you stand, trust me that they’re close to you, right this moment. If you want to find them, start with the breath. Start with removing distractions and devaluing what the world calls “efficient” and see what arises.

Note that this searching and implementing of heavenly counsel does not mean your life will get easier. I know of very few deeply soulful individuals that have what could be called an easy life. Monks live monkishly, after all, for a reason. John the Baptist was a wild man of the desert and true shamans generally are unable to live among civilization. It would appear that an easy life is usually not what the spirit-driven person ends up with. But if you are more interested in personal evolution than the status quo, if having multi-dimensional allies at your beck and call is more interesting to you than your favorite addictions, distractions and conveniences, there’s no real choice to be made. I promise you that it is that simple, and they’re waiting for you to listen. And the journey is where the purpose of your life will be found.

As each of us seeks connection with his or her true self, I promise the collective unconscious will evolve into something new, something afire with passion, deep love, reverence and meaning. Your life’s meaning will emerge like a treasure long encased in a block of ice that has been finally exposed to heat. This is the shift the world has been awaiting, about which the sages, prophets and seers have long prophesied. It’s no less than the Second Coming of the Christ consciousness. To the extent that we are able to implement the counsel of our unseen Guides, our longsuffering angels and spirit / archetypal animals, we need never feel separate from God again.

This, my friends, is how the world heals.

--Eric Aspen Marley

January 6, 2017

1.) In “Black Elk Speaks”, Black Elk speaks of his cousin, the great Oglala warrior Crazy Horse. He gives a hint about the Lakota worldview when he tells a few details he learned from his father about Crazy Horse’s vision. He said he “dreamed and went into the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. That is the real world behind this one. And everything we see here is something like a shadow from that world.” (italics added)

2.) Read “An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth” by Mohandas K. Ghandi for a detailed account of the extents to which this pious politician and prophet went to be able to feel connection to his soul. This Hindu man remains to me one of the most Christian people I’ve ever heard about in modern times.

3.) Read the New Testament. Start with Luke, head to Matthew. Concentrate on Jesus' life, his attitudes, how he moves through the world, who his antagonists are and who his friends are.

4.) At least initially. Within a shamanic worldview, one that I share, most of our physical maladies are the result of spiritual or psychic ones. The spiritual births the physical, even when it comes to our bodies. Maladies such as diabetes, cancer and depression among others have risen steadily with the growth of western culture. When our souls are unable to get our attention, or when we have emotional traumas that are unresolved for decades – or lifetimes - they can manifest themselves in physical ways. While this is not always the case, it is with enough frequency that it bears consideration.

5.) Good luck finding it, although it is out there. Most of the pure indigenous ways, from North America to South America, from the Orient to the Pacific and from Europe to Africa, have been affected by Western ways to such an extent that it’s becoming very difficult to find purely ancient teachings. Essentially we have to be led by soul to get what we need. If what furthers the trajectory of our souls is pure teachings, they will find us, often in dramatic fashion. If an amalgamation or old and new teachings will do, then those will find us. As long as it benefits soul, that’s the key. This being ok with pure or less pure teachings does NOT mean we don’t honor the old ways with as much respect as we can possibly bestow. We take what comes to us, honor the teachers and the teachings (as well as the genesis of them), and implement them with as much dedication as possible to reap the benefits they have to bestow.

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