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Teal Swan: The Role Of Spiritual Resilience

While much less tangible, it's no less important
Sunday, March 27, 2016, 12:55 PM

This podcast requires a special introduction because it is reflective of a side of myself that I have often alluded to, but largely kept private until now. 

And that is my searching for personal insight, meaning, and deeper inner fulfillment.  I’ve been actively and intensively exploring this area for roughly 5 years.

Some might call this a spiritual questing, while others would call it inner tracking.  Either way, this part of my life involves building my emotional IQ and resilience.

It is perhaps the hardest, bravest,and most important work I’ve ever undertaken. It requires being willing to face my own deepest shadows, beliefs, and sources of grief.

In this interview with Teal Swan, a modern spiritual teacher and catalyst, I use this quote by Carl Jung:

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul.

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

More and more I am concerned with how individuals are going to face the painful awakening that is before us all as our earth’s ecosystems continue to decline and collapse. 

Our larger narrative of growth is being increasingly revealed as hopelessly wrong and misguided.  Our other narratives about fairness and justice are being proven utterly wrong on a daily basis by monetary printing and selective Justice Department actions and inactions.

When our narratives get shredded, either on a personal basis by some major loss such as being fired, getting divorced, or losing a close loved one, we either experience a major round of grief or we numb ourselves and shut our feelings down. 

If we dare to really experience and move through the grief, we have the chance to be transformed by it, to be renewed into the sacredness of life.  

But I am increasingly certain that our culture lacks the ability to really face and process such intense emotions and therefore is doing everything, no matter how absurd, to avoid the painful truth of our current predicament(s).   Which means that there’s a more painful set of moments awaiting us before we’ll collectively and finally face reality.

That’s the central thrust of this podcast, and my questing is both personally important and something I am doing because the world needs people to bravely wade into the waters of actual transformation. 

I am highly cognizant of just how dangerous and tricky these waters are.

I fully expect to lose some of you along the way, because this topic is simply too emotionally charged and we are not communicating face-to-face where there’s a chance to decipher and defuse complex interactions but via the internet where our humanness is reduced by the medium to a difficult flatness. 

Oh well, there’s not much we can do about that except (shameless plug alert) come to the Rowe seminar, or simply work at maintaining an open mind.

Others will be challenged and excited by this line of inquiry because they share the understanding that this inner transformation is really our only path to a better future. 

In my view, we’re not going to elect a savior, ever, it’s simply not possible. There’s no fixing this from the top down, and the outside in.  There are no outer laws that will ever be sufficient. 

Our only salvation as a species will require us to each individually change first so that we can once again exist in balance with the greater world, returning to a relational (and regenerative) stance by turning away from our transactional (and extractive) practices.   We need to work from the inside out.

That is, our inner guidance on knowing the difference between right and wrong is the only thing upon which we can truly pin our hopes.  No, we don’t need more studies and rules and regulations to determine the right amount of neonicotinoid pesticide use to allow, we need farmers who would never dream of using a biocide on their fields because it is the wrong thing to do.  

We need personal integrity and that comes from within.

This is my deepest truth, the one I’ve been sitting with for a long while, wondering how and when to reveal it.  Well, here it comes.

And this brings me to the final and very important point I want to make.  I am going to ask you to put into practice your best and highest form of discernment as we wade into these waters.

Said simply, I want you to trust yourself and take from these podcasts and investigations what nuggets work for you and to then leave the rest behind.  You decide what works and what doesn’t.  I’m not going to find any one teacher, guide or source that everyone likes or agrees with.

The key word here is discernment.

My interview style is to let whomever I am interviewing say what they are going to say.  I feel no need to confront and try to change their views on the fly, but to hear them out and listen to what they have to say.  Usually I find something useful ion every guest even if it’s “hey, now I know how the opposition is thinking.”

This is my style.  I go forth and collect everything I can, winnow it through my utility filter, and then share it with you and put it to use in my own thinking and life.

So the invitation here is to receive this material with an open mind, taking what works for you in the here and now while leaving the rest.  Trust yourself to know what works for you. 

In closing, Peak Prosperity has always been about three things.  Knowing, doing and being.  All of the data we collect and present provides the context that allows us to know where we are in this story.  We then put that knowing into practice by doing things.  We build gardens and support our neighbors and reposition our portfolios. 

It is the beingness that is more openly on display now.  The thing that treebeard is always so eloquently writing about.  How do we want to be?  How do we find and offer our deepest gifts to the world?  How do we process the inevitable flood of emotions that accompany the loss of a guiding narrative? 

I don’t have all the answers to those questions, only my own years of experience and practice to offer to anyone that might find them useful and my own open ears ready to listen to those that can help me as I continue my life-long journey of growth, inner discovery and outer mastery.

I am honored to be able to be in relationship with each of you at this time, on this journey, doing this work.

So that’s it…have courage, practice discernment, trust yourself, and let’s create a world worth inheriting.

Click the play button below to listen to my interview with Teal Swan (51m:33s)


Chris Martenson: Welcome to this Peak Prosperity podcast. I am your host, Chris Martenson and today we are going to talk about something a little different. You know, when Adam and I wrote the book, Prosper, we have a couple of chapters in there. One is on emotional and spiritual resilience—one of the chapters I consider to be one of the most important ones that is in there. And part of the reason I think it is so important is that if you have emotional resilience, you can make it through almost anything. But if you lack emotional resilience—even if you are rich in all the other seven forms of capital—you might still fall apart and find yourself having a hard time dealing with what is.

And it is not just some possible future I am talking about. I mean look, we know that the world is in crisis. We know we face predicaments. We know that there is an ecological crisis out there that is extraordinary. We know that there is an economic crisis that is brewing, a political crisis—whatever lens we want to look at, we see that there are extraordinary predicaments and crises out there, but I am going to submit to you that each of these is just a symptom. What is really happening is we are having an existential crisis as a species because our main narrative doesn’t work anymore. Our main narrative is out of tune with reality. We have overpopulation, we have farmers who are farming in a way that depletes soil, we have money printing that really only exacerbates an already too large wealth gap—the largest in all of history.

We have all of these things going on, but they are really happening for the same reason, which is that people are just being people again. Only this time, the whole world is involved so it really puts a different spin on it this time, which means that personal development and spiritual growth is really one of the most important things you could undertake. In fact, it has been one of the most important things that I have undertaken in my life in the past several years. I wanted to begin to share that with you.

To help us get there today is an extraordinary individual, a woman named Teal Swan, who is an author, she is increasing internationally famous as a spiritualist, a spiritual catalyst, as she describes herself. She is an amazing presenter. I saw her in New York with my wife and daughter some months back and she is just absolutely out there helping to illuminate the inner world for an increasing number of people and does incredible work. You can check her out on YouTube; she has a great blog and all of that. With that I would like to welcome Teal to the program. Teal, thank you so much for being here with us today.

Teal Swan: Thank you. That totally makes sense to me why you would be talking to me seeing as how I am pretty much the queen of the existential crisis.

Chris Martenson: You are talking to somebody who is a – I’m a scientist by training and got an MBA. I went into this very hyper-rational head world. When I was younger I knew a lot. I don’t know as much anymore. I am much more open to the idea that there is a sacred experience here to be had in this life and that it is not about accumulating things, or dominating, or all the things that seem to be – I would say my culture is very much fascinated with at this point in time. But from my perspective increasingly I am talking with people who are managing huge amounts of money, to housewives managing small budgets, and increasingly I am finding people that are understanding that something seems really wrong, like something is really out of alignment here. We are told that the economy is doing okay and this and that, but people are feeling things are not right. And I am wondering from your spiritual perspective, what is going on here? Are they actually tuning into something that is realistic or are they – what is happening to what I perceive as a real crisis in people’s confidence in the story today?

Teal Swan: Well, I think that people don’t give themselves enough credit for just how sensitive they are to the general energies around them. You don’t even have to be a scientist and understand the process, really, to know that when you take a person and put them in a room they instantly get a feeling about that room they are in. So the first thing we have to understand is we are tied into the collective conscious of all of us on planet earth. The reality is the story beyond what we are being told in the media is that we are not doing well. Like, the earth is not doing well right now. Economically I am absolutely surprised that we have managed to make it work. I feel a lot of this is that the people in the general public have been kept dumb to a lot of the stuff that people who are in the higher positions in society are trying to fix, and have been for a while, but don’t know how. It's the reason, if you want to know the truth, for many of the wars that have been started recently. It is because they are trying to maintain something that they cannot maintain.

What we are tapping into is the fact that we are headed towards a massive collapse, an absolute 100% massive collapse. I mean, it is real difficult for somebody in my position to help people to feel okay with the collapse because we are not in the position where we are going to be able to pull out of this one, because we invested so heavily in systems that had no sustainability. The real issue that we had is that capitalism reigned triumphant. Now there is nothing inherently negative with capitalism. I mean I would consider myself a genuine capitalist as someone who makes the most of whatever they are given.

The difference between straight capitalism, which has a lot of ignorance in it, and what we would call conscious capitalism is the conscious capitalist knows that it depends upon the people at the very bottom. We have gotten ourselves into a system where essentially it screws all the people on the bottom to benefit the people on the top. That is not a sustainable system long term. It will never work. What we are experiencing right now is that bottom is essentially corroding out from under us. A good example, we will say a more practical example of that is you have got the pharmaceutical industry. For example, they are the kind of industries who, to begin with, they may have started for people’s health, but now they saw that it was possible to make money off of people being ill or to make money off of people being in jail or to make money off of filling in the blank. Now that we have got that type of attitude there is no way that you can actually make that work long-term.

Yeah, I think that people are picking up on all that. To tell you the honest truth, being a person who looks at what we would call life path potentials for planet earth, the fact that we are still actually able to go put money in banks right now is really surprising to me. The feeling in the universe is almost like "okay we are running on fumes at this point. When is it?" You know.

Chris Martenson: Absolutely. I am also equally surprised we have made it this far, but the number of tricks and levers and things that have been pulled to just deny that and keep it going just a little bit longer. But the problem is—I think this is what I detect and what I talk about and people understand increasingly is that the more that we deny it, it is like we are having more drinks as an alcoholic. We are going further up—we were three rungs up a step ladder but now we are 12. So the fall from here it is going to be hard.

I noticed when you did say the word "collapse" you wrung your hands and a look of sadness came over you. I want to talk to that part because I feel my culture in particular doesn’t do grief. Right? So when I say people feel unhappy what I am really detecting under there is a strong, repressed feeling of grief.

Let me speak for myself: I feel grief when I read about what is happening to the oceans. I feel grief over the fact that I make a practice of stopping whenever I see a turtle and I get out of my car and I help it to the other side of the road and I haven’t stopped in 15 years because I haven’t seen one. And I feel grief over that. And so that is really part of my motivation in doing the work that I do is to say "how do I reach people with this information?" I think a blocking point to that is if there is grief down there.

So first talk to the grief we are experiencing and then I want to get to the second part, which is how do we begin to surface it if it is possible?

Teal Swan: The most critical aspect of going through any emotion is that you have to actually let yourself admit it is there and to go through it. Getting people to admit it is there is really about us getting so sick of our controls strategies because they are not working anymore that we are kind of forced into it. Honestly, if I found a way to convince people that they needed to go into their grief, I would have done that already but I have never found a way. I have only ever seen it work that people basically run into a dead end in their own life trying to escape from this emotion or trying to control it away. Then they go look for somebody that can help them get into the emotion. It is that willingness that has to surface first in the person and we can’t really create it.

Once a person is ready for that, then what we have to do is to actually admit to what we are losing, you know? But through that, after we let ourselves go through that, that also tells us what is wanted. This is the most important thing to understand about the way this time-space reality that we are living in is designed. It is designed so that the unwanted gives rise to what is wanted. So for example, going through all of what we did in World War II, there is more of a desire for peace delivered to mankind as a result of that particular war than at any other point in history. A lot of the subsequent peaceful social dynamics that came out of that were the results of that contrast. What I would say to people who are really feeling grief at what they are losing is that the time after you have gone through the grief, the time has come to shift your focus to what you want to build instead.

This is the issue with the human race is that we continue to make the same mistake over and over again because we are unwilling to actually face the music. If we face the music, then we are going t learn from the mistake. We won’t continue to build the same structure which then collapses again. So our entire social structure is looking in the future to be completely different than it is. We are going to be oriented more towards support of each other. It is not going to be a competitive type of society. The way we raise children will be completely different.

Something that we are not real present to yet is that if you raise children differently with an entirely different attitude towards the way that they are breast fed, the way that they are brought to the world through birth, the way that we keep them in the first three months, the way that they initiate their own independence instead of us pushing them out there, the difference in the school systems, then you will raise an entirely different adult that looks at the world differently. Once we do that you are literally not even going to recognize the way that society works.

Right now we would say there is no way for us to support that amount of people. There is definitely a way, but you essentially have to create socialism. The thing is when I say that people get really nervous, right? Like "Oh my God socialism!" This is the thing – socialism is genius; it works. Except it will never work as long as there is one person that doesn’t want it. If you have one person that wants more power than another person, socialism will not work. And it will never work to enforce socialism.

Basically, socialism that is enforced becomes communism and there is nothing in-between. It doesn’t benefit anyone because it is just restriction. But what we see when people’s consciousness increases, when we realize what we would prefer instead for the world is that people will sort of on their own accord will move into a socialist ideal and then society will reflect that. You won’t have people that are out of alignment so as to create negative capitalism. This is why I tend to focus—rather than like forcing social change—I tend to focus on transforming individuals. Because what we have to see is that a society is made up of individuals. So if we can get an individual to find a state of awakening or a state of enlightenment or a state of embracing their own emotion then society will reflect the individual.

Chris Martenson: I totally agree. I am going to skip ahead to a quote I have here because this has been my own path – I truly believe, like I am not out here trying to change the world. I am not out here trying to influence political systems. I am not a top down person. I am helping people achieve resilience in their own lives first because if they have resilience in their lives they can bring it to their families. If their family is resilient they can be in a position to help their neighbor. If their neighbors and them are all resilient then you have a resilient town. If we have that then we can have a resilient state and on it goes. It can’t be top down.

I have this quote from Carl Jung that I just love. He said, “There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything no matter how absurd in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” So the questions here for me are: Things seem pretty absurd right now. How much more absurd do they have to get before we begin to really face that darkness?

Teal Swan: Pretty absurd. What we are going to start seeing is what we have already started seeing, which is a giant polarization within the human race. We are going to see a whole huge demographic waking up, and in higher numbers than ever before, and a whole huge demographic resisting more so than they ever have. It is that splitting, essentially, which is I guess the necessary conditions. For a lot of people—we have to understand the human ego to understand why it is so difficult for us to awaken. I mean I can make it super quick. Do you want me to make it super quick for people who are interested?

Chris Martenson: Please do.

Teal Swan: Alright, when you are young you are born essentially devoid of a separate sense of self and you learn primarily about your sense of self by mirroring through people. So you act a certain way and your mom says "oh my gosh" and you learn about yourself because of that reflection. It is why kids who don’t have that reflection from any adult future—we would call this feral child syndrome—those types of kids have no self concept because they have been completely devoid of reflection.

So when we are socializing into society we learn that certain things are acceptable and certain things aren’t. Emotions, acceptable and unacceptable. Actions, acceptable or unacceptable. So everything goes into that "acceptable" or "unacceptable". The subconscious is comprised of what we have been reflected as unacceptable. We have to differentiate our self from that. We have to hide it essentially and create a façade of the human ego. We have to create a façade which is an idea of self, that is all it is. It is how we look to the world. That is absolutely protected at all costs because we are a social species. What happens when mom or dad punishes you or puts you in timeout, which is even worse for a lot of kids, is that we get taught that the risk of essentially exposing our true selves is to be abandoned or to be punished.

So with those kind of consequences—severe consequences for a social species, because being separated from the social group meant death. That is just embedded in our DNA. Essentially we would rather face death – we have to face death quite literally before we are willing to take that "this is my acceptable idea of self" down and out of the way. What we have to understand is the reason that Carl Jung is right about that particular statement there will be no coming into consciousness without pain is because what created the sub consciousness to begin with was pain. It is the fact that I presented myself and I just learned that all of myself is not okay. So I start suppressing it, rejecting it, denying it, disowning it, so it is my own rejection of self that has created that. You have to go back through that window that was created back through all that self rejection and pain that originally happened through the creation of the ego in order to break past the ego.

Obviously if what matters to us more than anything in the world – I mean entire wars are waged, by the way, so that we can keep our self concept. Essentially, the ego deciding that it is right, that it is justified, and that it is good. If you look at any of the war mongers—Stalin, Hitler—they all believed (and this was the ego) that they were right, that they were justified, that they were good. It is almost like the ego's need to see itself that way will create any kind of pain that it needs to on the world.

The scary part, which is the answer to your question of "how bad does it have to get?" It has to get that bad for a lot of people. It has to get to the degree where—I mean my own enlightenments a long time ago was as a result of that. Sometimes you literally have to be looking at an entire field full of dead bodies for you to get out of the ego. That is the danger of the human ego.

But I also don’t want to give the idea that the ego is all completely wrong. The ego was a design that would help us to enlighten. We cannot understand what we are unless we understand what we are not. So the only way that we would ever get enlightenment is if there is the existence of ego. We can’t understand oneness unless we understand separateness for example. So it doesn’t work to go to war with the human ego either. Going to war with the human ego is doing nothing but fueling the fire for the ego. What we have to do is love the ego into alignment. The ego is the byproduct of the small child that learned that it wasn’t right or good or okay.

Chris Martenson: In 2016 then – here is where I was wrong about a lot of things. So in 2008, I had been calling for a large financial crisis for a while. It was very obvious. I am a very public writer about all of those things. And then we got this close to a really serious breakdown, and that was a pretty good shot across the bow. In a large sense we were doing something that didn’t make sense, right? We were borrowing at twice the rate our economy was growing, and that doesn’t make sense for an individual, it doesn’t make sense for a country. And instead of taking that moment to say "huh, that wasn’t a good idea," we doubled down on the whole thing. We said "nuh uh, we are going to keep this going." We printed more money, we got more people in student debt, the government is more in debt than ever before. We just did it again. So that led me at this point here in 2016 to think "I think we are going to have to have a pretty hard fall in order to really confront..." or culturally, I think individuals are waking up to this, but culturally I am less sanguine than I used to be that we are going to have anything other than a pretty hard path. Do you have any particular visions or ideas around what you see coming for the next few years?

Teal Swan: Yeah.

Chris Martenson: You don’t have to share them if they don’t make sense, but…

Teal Swan: My struggle – more of an interesting thing for this conversation would be for me to expose the fact that as somebody who very much so has their finger in prophecy and sees life path potentials for collective consciousness, not just individuals, it is very difficult for me to stand onstage at this point with complete confidence every time and to feel incredibly excited about what we are headed towards. What I am seeing is a conjunction. And with a conjunction of purification, than basically that spells not just economic collapse, not just interpersonal collapse, but also environmental collapse. I see like basically the kind of calamity that religions have ironically been talking about for thousands of years and now scientists are starting to think "wow, they might be completely accurate" even though there is not a sort of religious stint put on it.

I’m watching wars. I mean for a while now—in fact since about 2001 we have been a match and haven’t changed off of that path. We have been a match to a third world war. At this particular day and age with the weaponry that we are dealing with and the egos we are dealing with in charge of that weaponry essentially it means destruction. It means destruction. Like you can’t – there is no such thing as an isolated war in today’s world. Everything is just a sequence of dominos, one stacked on top of the other.

What I am starting to do now instead of educate people that they can pull out of it is to put all of their focus on what is going to come after the fact. It is almost like that moment—have you ever played the game Jenga?

Chris Martenson: Yes.

Teal Swan: We are in a moment in the game where we are at the point where the next one that gets pulled out is going to collapse the whole system. So if we have an attachment to it staying up at this point we are going to really hurt. So a lot of my education would be to see the beauty in the whole system collapse and try to figure out what we want to build in its wake, which is why I am hoping a lot of people start going that path. We are not trying to do anything with the current system that we have. We are not trying to recover.

What we are trying to do is figure out, based on what we learned didn't work this time, what to do instead so that there is kind of a safety net that captures the people from the fall. In my world, a lot of that is going to revolve around community. The single-family household and property ownership is what got us into this particular mess, if you would like to know the honest truth. We used to operate in a tribal kind of setting that had its own issues because we went to war with each other all the time, but the real problem is the minute that we go attached to property ownership we got real capitalistic—very like "me, mine" and the ego got so incredibly fueled essentially that it started to be able to do things at the detriment to everything around it. It lost its connection with the rest of the world, which is, if you want to know the psychological issue that we have really got going that has led into this, it is that.

With tribal societies that could not see themselves as separate from the world that they lived in, it could see that by overhunting for example it was only killing itself. By creating the single-family household and property ownership and making it all about me, basically, and being able to farm so we never feel the impact of the seasons or the world around us, essentially, we believed ourselves to be so outside of the system that we were not longer a part of the web. We are about to be dealt a very harsh card, which is, guess what, you are part of the web.

If the web decides you are not assisting it, you are going to be treated by the totality of the universe like a cancer cell. For us, we need to get back in touch with those kinds of connections. It is one reason why right now I am putting a ton of my effort into intentional community, trying to bring people together, because we are headed towards a kind of world where we are going to be really dependent on each other. I think it would be an interesting thing for even the people – you have a lot of people who are really invested in that single-family household ideal and like living deep within society, not fringe dwellers, right? So that person that is pretty easy to say "oh I am a pretty independent person." But independence is not possible. My challenge would be: Think about how many things you are dependent on today. Think about what you are dependent on if your internet goes out or if your grocery store doesn’t exist anymore. Like what would you do if X, Y and Z fell. This is a good way to see how dependent you are and then kind of inspires a person to lend their energy back to these things that they are dependent on.

I feel like it is going to be a lot of the self sustainable communities that do well in this particular collapse, the people who get together and they actually have a way of growing their own food, for example, and everybody is lending their energy to a piece of the pie.

Chris Martenson: This is touching on our work at Peak Prosperity. You look out my window, there is a garden, there is chickens, there is an orchard, and we do have a lot of people who are going down the self sufficiency path, but we don’t take the survivalist, we don’t take the prepper mentality because you are only as safe as your neighbor anyway, as it turns out.

Teal Swan: Basically the survivalist attitude is going to do nothing in a law of attraction universe except for attract the very thing that they are afraid of. But my absolute favorite thing to do is to call people on it because so many people who are in that survivalist mentality—they have got this image of like zombie apocalypse. So what they have got in their mind of war time is essentially bad guys that are banging your door down and it is easy to shoot them. What they really have to realize is there are not going be those types of people on your doorstep. It is going to be a person with six kids who are all starving to death. Are you prepared to shoot them or turn them away? Nobody is prepared to do that. So yeah. That survivalist mentality is never going to work.

Chris Martenson: Let’s talk a community. You said a very important word and something that we are increasingly focusing on ourselves in my life but also in my larger professional life is how to really build that community. One of my projections about my culture: very isolationist. We have these wonderful smart phones. I have got one and they are very good at creating the appearance of connection, but not really. I was really turned when I saw this TED talk on addiction. Really, addiction is just a measure of the degree of personal isolation somebody is experiencing. Addiction is really a symptom of lack of connection.

Teal Swan: One hundred percent.

Chris Martenson: How do we go about—begin making it okay to be vulnerable and be able to step out of our shells, as it were? I was born, raised and bred to have a single-family household. I know exactly how to do that. Building community: little messier, little harder, more human. How do you advise people to go about beginning that messy process?

Teal Swan: Well first you have to be willing to feel. All of it starts from that base. Like absolutely everything. If we are unwilling to take a step it is because we think taking that step is going to feel bad. Everything boils down to how we feel. So if we become willing to feel emotion to begin with, then we are going to be more likely to not be inhibited by those emotions.

Fear for example—if it is not okay to feel fear, then you are going to avoid everything that causes you to feel fear. If you become okay with feeling fear, you change what it means to you, essentially, then you are probably going to take a step that enables you to do something regardless of the fact that fear is present. That is the real difference between any kind of success and real failure is just the willingness to feel.

What we have to understand is that people are essentially imprisoned in this position where they have been taught—part of that ego forming; part of that socialization process—we have been taught that certain emotions are okay and certain emotions are not okay. So the second that you feel an emotion that is not okay, you are going to instantly go into control mode about it. You are basically going to do anything you can to either escape from it or to control it away.

But that actually is adding fuel to the fire. What we have to get is that suffering, genuine suffering, which is what we are really afraid of, is not actually the result of experiencing pain. It is the result of us resisting experiencing pain. We have made it not okay. This is the best thing you can ever tell somebody who has anxiety by the way. It is good we are having this conversation right now because what is the number one emotion that comes up as a result of all this imminent doom within society is anxiety. Anxiety—if you think "oh my gosh it is not okay; why am I feeling this way? It is not okay to feel this way. Something must be wrong with me." Those types of thoughts as a result of feeling anxiety—it is like a rash. You might as well just go with kerosene on top of a fire you know. If you can talk to yourself in a way where you are saying "you know what, these are just, at the end of the day, sensations. It is an uncomfortable sensation but doesn't mean anything about me. Doesn't mean anything wrong is happening, doesn’t mean that I am messed up, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be there; it just is there," then we will have that willingness.

Second step is to realize that we are living in a world where intentional community doesn’t have to look a certain way. I feel like that is really important for people too because it is easy to listen to spiritual teachers like me and think "oh she is transferring everyone to a hippy commune." No. I feel like intentional community is going to look totally, drastically different for this group than it does for this group. Like let’s pretend that even if you are in medical school for example – let’s pretend we get a whole group of people that are in medical school and what is really challenging is doing medical school and getting everything else done at the same time. So if we can get all of these people together in a kind of community living setting, then they could all support each other in that process. So if one person doesn’t have something to do this day, they are cooking for the house. And then for example somebody who has maybe a test that lasts until 10:00 pm at night comes home and there is food there. Oh my gosh I feel so much more supported. And then they can of course fuel each other with that emotional support of "I know exactly what it is like to be going through this type of a thing." That is just one example.

I mean intentional community doesn’t have to look a certain way. That is what I think is so beautiful about what is happening in centuries like Denmark right now is that they are basically creating these apartments and they are doing fabulously well with them. They are mainstream apartments. These are not hippy at all. It is a huge apartment building, but there is a common area and a common kitchen. And everybody like lends their support, almost like a family or a tribe would, to the collective child rearing, to the food that is created there, and they are all just shifting around in a supportive type of way. But it doesn’t look hippy. People still have jobs. They still have families, but they also have this social support. I feel like that is a really beautiful bridge for getting us out of the single-family household so that we have more support so that you can collapse without losing your entire life. You know, but also not taking people so far outside of the box that they are like "oh my God" you know.

Chris Martenson: Too far. Too far, too fast. So you are really saying it begins with a personal transformation first. There is an element of looking at our own isolated lives and saying "not ideal" or "can be improved upon" but there are lots of ways to do that, but it really begins with ourselves and that first willingness to be uncomfortable. And I guess what I hear—

Teal Swan: The thing is it always starts with the individual, but either we are going to consciously make the decision to do it or we will be forced to do it. It is the same process. It is going to be an individual process whether or not we do this before a collapse or whether all of society collapses and we are in the position where we are like "oh now I have to face all of this stuff." So my wish would be that people would say "okay I can feel this kind of percolating, so let’s think about in my life right now right here with me what kind of changes I can make to invest my energies in a kind of society which I feel like is actually sustainable."

Chris Martenson: That is the goal. Of course a lot of what we have today is very unsustainable and we know this.

Teal Swan: Do we? That is the thing, I keep getting this message from the collective which is almost like there is an unwillingness to actually look at the fact that it is unsustainable.

Chris Martenson: Well there is something that could be sustainable. In my work I get to go to places like Singing Frogs Farm that is out in Sebastopol, California where they have now created four feet of top soil, they are making $100,000 per acre, they grow year round when everybody else can only do two, maybe three seasons. So it is clearly possible. Or Polyface Farm in Virginia—we can do things regeneratively and relationally, but we are still doing them extractively and transactionally, right?

Teal Swan: I am just interested in your opinion as to why you think we are still doing it this way when we know that these things exist. This has been – I mean I am just interested to hear your perspective too. I’ve got my own perspective also. What I watch over and over again is that we have got these genius ideas, we have got free energy, we have got all of these things, so why have they not been adopted yet?

Chris Martenson: Well, in my business—I thought I was in the information sharing business for a long time. I have this book and this video series called The Crash Course, it lays out all the data. I did that for years with my wife watching audiences as I gave these talks. I’m a slow learner, so about five years into this process I realized I am not in the information business. Information works for me, you know, the way my brain is wired. It turns out I am in a very small minority, and I realized I was in the belief challenging business. I had to do this whole detour into understanding psychology and behavioral economics and all the science that underlies why people actually make decisions based on emotions. The amygdala is running this show, right?

Teal Swan: Everything.

Chris Martenson: Then I had to recraft everything and structure my whole talk so that I went from little beliefs to the hardest so that I gained currency along the way, and that was ultimately my path to learning how to effectively communicate. But information doesn’t do it. We have all of these really – we knew how to build zero-energy homes in the 1970s. We have known how to farm regeneratively in a way that actually has more – it is better for everything, right? We can put solar-thermal panels on our roofs, which makes environmental sense, local jobs, economic sense, you name it and we don’t do it. So we don’t do it for reasons; we do it for beliefs. So really my ultimate question to you is—I’m always trying to—and I don’t have the answer so I am always digging, is how do we most effectively communicate in ways that shift beliefs?

Teal Swan: You have to appeal to people’s needs. Right now I think a big issue that we have—and honestly I would love to tell you that it is just purely accidental, but it wasn’t. A lot of the corporations that wanted to make the kind of money they wanted to make made it complicated enough that we would have to do what we have done. Basically right now we have got to make things so easy for people because they feel so overwhelmed.

Overwhelm, especially in the western world, is the most common emotion. So every action that will be taken will be taken to escape from overwhelm-ment. So it takes somebody who has got usually a serious crisis with their own conscience to force them to take the effort and add to their feeling of overwhelm to go figure out how to put solar panels on their house. So the reality is that for those of us that are in this kind of business—I hope somebody is watching that is right now—we have got to make it so damn easy and available that it does not add to people’s overwhelm-ment for them to adopt change. The companies that have done really well/screwed the world have done that. They have made things so convenient that it has decreased people’s sense of overwhelm–ment. Financially, time management-wise, everything.

Chris Martenson: Well now we are sort of at a loggerheads because the whole idea of beginning the personal journey begins with something that most people would experience in—I hate to use these terms, but a painful or hard or something like that. I now use in my own life the word "intense"—it is just, I like intensity now.

Teal Swan: That’s true but there is an interesting little caveat here. I see a lot of people who are real wealthy who are really interested in this stuff. Why? Because they have time on their hands. So I feel like if people weren’t completely overwhelmed all day long every single day—it is like you can go two ways: Either having nothing to focus on leads you towards the questioning of the universe and then breaks you out of the box, or being so overwhelmed that everything collapses breaks you out of the box. So either we wait for people to basically hit their crisis point and have an existential crisis to wake up, or else we make it so easy on them—essentially make life so easy that they start asking those questions in and of themselves.

Chris Martenson: Well, for me speaking personally again, I had a pretty tough introduction. I had my own personal crisis but from that I am now happier, healthier, wealthier more connected and more alive than I have ever been. So I actually look back on that moment of crisis in my life and I say thank you. Thank you and I wish it had come earlier. I wish it had come decades before but I’m glad it happened when it did. So there you go; it happened when it needed to.

Part of the thing I struggle communicating to people is: Yes there is this hero's journey you might embark on, but it is so worth it. It is also so essential because when you look at the data, if you really allow it to come in, you say "we have to do things differently." But not "we" – it is "I" have to do things differently. So that is the part I still struggle with. Because I drive a car and I have got a warm house and I have other things people in the world don’t have which I have to begin really looking at in my own way.

You are laughing at that.

Teal Swan: What I am laughing at is that what we are talking about is a spiritual rebirth of self. It is a birth process. And if you ever watched a woman who is in the throes of labor, no amount of "oh, this is going to be worth it" is going to work for her. I mean even though we wish we had that voice coming in when we are in the middle of the existential crisis being like "it is all going to be so worth it in the end," it is almost like empty words at that point, which is why I feel like even though that is completely true, when we are in the middle of it I think what we need most is somebody who is saying "you know what, I am right here with you, we can go into this, it is okay that you are in pain right now, this isn’t going to kill you" type of energy.

It is like what we see with women in labor and we can apply this completely to this existential crisis, the spiritual self rebirth, is that when a woman is in the middle of transition, which is the worst phase of labor, essentially the women that do the best with that are the ones that surrender to it. It is the women who say "oh my god this is so much pain and I can’t deal with this" feel that kind of resistance to it—they are the ones that get put in the real hurt locker and can hardly make it through and often end up getting epidurals if there are epidurals available. I feel like we can learn a lot from that. If we completely surrender to the process than we are not going to be in as much pain. But that means willing to feel pain. This of course comes back to this theme which keeps coming up in this particular interview which is that we have to be really willing to feel things.

Chris Martenson: Thank you for that. Is there more?

Teal Swan: I mean are we – we've got to ask yourselves a question: Are we willing to feel something? Most of everything we do during the day, even the people in the self help, spiritual business, we are kind of culprits as well. Most of what we do all day long is just trying to control our emotion. Why do you go on a walk? To feel better. Why wasn’t it okay to feel bad?

Chris Martenson: Yeah. Well then I have a personal question for you because of my particular spot in life, maybe you have some insight for me is on the idea of authentic leadership. I am in the business of challenging people’s beliefs, and they don’t always appreciate that. Slings and arrows and all sorts of things, and I’m sure you have received your share of all of that, and the balance I struggle with is personal transparency and privacy.

Teal Swan: Oh my God.

Chris Martenson: I am wondering what you got to say on that subject.

Teal Swan: When you are in the middle of being transparent and it comes back to bite you because they use it against you, it is very, very, very freaking hard to stay transparent. But to tell you the honest truth, coming from my absolute biased space, transparency is the only thing that is going to transform this world. And what do we see with revolution over and over again over the course of history is it takes one person who is willing to do it first. And they are not going to be treated well.

But it is almost like the person who ends up standing up for racial equality—they are going to have those arrows slung at them, but 20 years down the road they are going to be exalted. Rosa Parks was an outrage and now she is a hero because we see essentially what is right and what is in alignment with creating a world that we would rather be living in. Transparency and openness is what is going to create a world that is not completely run by ego. So I feel like it is going to take those of us who really feel that is the way to go to be brave enough to do it no matter what the cost is. And we have to keep our eyes – this is not about martyrdom—it is about keeping our eye on the vision we want to create.

Picture that world like it would be so amazing that no pretense existed. If you picture that world, whatever that world of – I mean you can tell me what the world that is the byproduct of transparency would look like to you, but that has to be 100% what you hang onto regardless of what gets thrown at you. It's almost like you make it bigger than you. I mean to a certain degree there are aspects of a spiritual practice which it is beneficial to be super self centered about it and self reflective about it. But this is one of those cases where I feel like it is really important to bring in the greater vision for the collective of humanity with it and make it bigger than you. For those of us back during the whole racial inequality phase, we had to make that bigger than us to be okay with the amount of backlash we were receiving. So we have to make it bigger than us if we are willing to be transparent. And there are some of us that are doing it.

Chris Martenson: Uh-huh. It is – I have been called everything in the book I think Malthusian, Cassandra, all of this. It is just data, you know? Yeah there are some times it is hard. There are some days I wake up thinking "Why didn’t I think to sell pet rocks? That sounds so much happier and easier."

Teal Swan: We should maybe video ourselves and send it to each other to make each other feel better. I have days like that all the time where I'm like, "Gosh I should have just been a housewife." Like something else.

Chris Martenson: [Laughter] Well blessings on that part of your journey. It is something that I feel as we get closer and closer to the ___ [00:45:43] of this show that you are right that polarization is getting very extreme. I can feel it widening. The emotions are going to be really up and center to the point that people just can’t ignore them anymore. It is already pretty clearly out and evident at this point. I don’t see how it gets better until it gets worse, if we want to use that language, because we still aren’t really facing up to the core piece at this point. All the conditions that have ever been in place for revolutions in the past are here. The elites lose touch with the people; they say "let them eat cake." The people go, "Yeah, that is kind of annoying." That is a big part of where I see where we are in the story right now is a lot of denial and that is going to have something to teach us certainly.

The last question: Your latest book is: Shadows Before Dawn: Finding the Light of Self-Love Through Your Darkest Times. Sounds like an appropriate title for this. Why did you write that book?

Teal Swan: Well, basically I was having a conversation actually over the radio and I was talking about how everything boils down to self love. But really even the word "self-love" makes me cringe too. Just so you know, anybody who is watching this interview and I say "self love" and you feel everything in your body just—your fibers go "ugh" you you know I actually get the same reaction to "self love." It is basically a trite, self-help sort of cute, spiritual, let’s call it a white wash.

But what I really realized going through all the hell that I went through is I was in such a distance to myself; that is what was really doing the majority of the damage. And so I was talking about how everything boils down to your relationship with yourself and really how to practically develop a relationship with yourself so you can wake up and actually want to be in your own skin every day. And I thought, "oh my God, wait a minute, I am saying everything boils down to self love. Why the hell haven’t I written that book yet?" And what was really pissing me off is that everybody and their mother, when you go to see them for help, says "you know what – you just got to learn how to love yourself." And you are like, "thank you... I don’t know what that means." Like how do I practically do that? And nobody can answer that question. So I embarked on this quest to basically figure out how to do that.

I have a mind that works a lot like you. I am an information person too. It is about looking in as an observational thing. Looking at the people who really do love themselves and put themselves first—what are they doing differently? What is the variable there that is making them that way as opposed to other people in society that aren’t, that are going to jobs they can’t stand? The people who are self hating to the point where they got addictions and are injuring. What is the difference? If I can figure out that difference, I can figure out how to teach this person to come bridge this gap over to being the kind of person that values themselves. And so that book essentially was a how-to, practically how to do it.

Chris Martenson: Would that be suitable for somebody who—I get this a lot in the seminars. I get people who say, "I feel like I am leading two lives – the one I am leading and the one I am supposed to be leading." Would this be an appropriate book for that person?

Teal Swan: Yeah it would be a super good one. I am watching this more and more —this is the inauthenticity. Right now we are in the time of purification essentially. Purification means the human ego disappears. Fear is what fuels the human ego—fear and pain. Fear essentially is what is causing this double life. It is basically that there is a difference between the real me and what I think is right. We have to brave enough, if we are going to embark on this particular path, to be willing to say what is real instead of what we think is right or just okay or good. Until we are willing to admit to that, we can’t work with anything real.

For example I just did a video on racism. It got more blowback than almost any other video. People were livid because in that video I made the statement that there is not a single person that is not racist. Not one. If you have a different reaction when you walk down the street to somebody that is a different color than you, then that is a form of racism. Because now in today’s world we have made that so not okay, we can’t admit to what is real about ourselves. But until we admit to that, we can’t work with it. There is absolutely no improvement you can make to a person who says "no I am not racist no matter what. No that’s not me. That may be you but not me." That level of defense—you can do nothing with it.

Sometimes what we have to be willing to do is to say what is real even if it doesn’t sound good and we are – I mean it is all fear on the other side of that. If I admit to this thing that is real about me, look what is going to happen to me. But unless some of us —and this is part of why you feel so called to do that authenticity thing, that transparency thing—unless some of us actually lead the march and say, "This is what is real about me," no one is going to follow suit. And if we have a whole world that follows suit we can’t make an enemy of certain things anymore because it is too diffused.

For example, moms. Moms are never supposed to admit to how hard it is to have kids and how it sucks sometimes. Sometimes as a mother you are like "why the hell did I do this?" You know? And because we are not willing to admit it, we go to parties together and we all say "oh my God it is lovely, it is wonderful, let me show you how good I am doing with my kid." We can’t admit to what is real then we can never actually make improvements to the way that we mother or the way that we involve other people in our parenting. So really the shift in society is going to be the result of us all being like "Yeah, this is what is real."

Think about what we could do with that, if you just had a whole group of women – imagine just the transformation of just that one thing. Like a whole group of women who are like "Yeah, it sucks sometimes." Imagine the amount of weight that comes off. And then it can be about: How do we actually make it better, instead of pretending it is okay?

I mean I realize that was a little bit of a tangent but what you are basically saying is what I am seeing all the time, is that people in general have to live the mask and then there is what is real behind it, but often we don’t even know what is there until there is a crisis, and then it is like... you know.

Chris Martenson: And then it all comes crashing down. We are in the tunnel for a while and hopefully somebody is there helping us in that process. That is I think why I was so afraid for so long to have any sort of a crisis in my own self because I created that mask. I had a full armored system around so I knew intuitively I had no support system that I could really count on. Right? Who was I going to talk to about this? It took a lot of reforming for me to get through that. It was a process. Again, for anybody listening – so worthwhile.

Teal Swan: I mean gosh, can you even remember the pressure? Like I remember that, the days where I am getting slaughtered publicly, I have that moment where I remind myself: Do you remember what it was like? Just the amount of pressure every day going out there and not being able to say what is real about yourself. It is actually a relief, even though it is kind of scary, it is also a relief to have everybody know what is going on with me all the time.

Chris Martenson: Yes. Well, absolutely. I am a few steps behind you on that, but I am getting there. I just really wanted to thank you for your time here and also your guidance in the past. I have watched a lot of your videos as well, attended one of your seminars in New York city a while back. That was very illuminating. It was fun to watch how you work with people.

I do want to help direct people to your book, which is Shadows Before Dawn, and also you have got a website and maybe some other appearances coming up. How can people learn more about you and follow you?

Teal Swan: My website is www.tealswan.com. And so you can follow me there. I am also on all of the social networks. I am on Twitter, I am on Facebook, I am on Instagram and then I have also got a weekly YouTube video that comes out on YouTube. Most of the people who like to stay tapped into the information coming through me like to go on there. Every Saturday there is a new video on a new subject and nobody knows what it is going to be so it is super fun.

Chris Martenson: Alright. Any presentations coming up or anything like that?

Teal Swan: I have a crap ton, that is why it is probably – I don’t actually keep track of my own schedule.

Chris Martenson: I totally understand.

Teal Swan: I know that I am going to be in Orlando actually in a week and a half. Then after that I am going on a European tour. Those are the two I know for a fact that I am doing.

Chris Martenson: Okay and people can find that on your website I am sure. Teal thank you so much for your time today and thank you for your work and mostly for you authentic leadership. I really appreciate it.

Teal Swan: Thank you so much.

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Time2help's picture
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When I heard the words “voluntary socialism”, I cringed a bit. Not because of any err on Teal's part, but because the words “socialism” and “capitalism” have been hijacked, manipulated and twisted so completely in our cultural discourse.

For me, a better word would be “responsibility”. We need to be responsible; to ourselves, to each other and perhaps most importantly to this beautiful gift on which we happen to live.

We need to act like guests.

It’s not mine, it’s not ours and it never was. It belongs to her.

SagerXX's picture
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Will look forward...

...to listening to this podcast.  Been engaged in this part of the journey for some time now and it's the challenging/tricky/rewarding/essential piece, IMO.  Too late tonight to take it in but will be back soon...

May we all have the courage to undertake this work!  (Which never ends... <smile>)

Viva -- Sager

jtwalsh's picture
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A welcome post

Chris:  Thank you. The conversation made me feel like the first warm day in Spring when you open the windows and let the fresh air fill the house.


treebeard's picture
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I'm done

I don't have to post any more.  Yes indeed, meditation is not like walking on a Caribbean beach at sunset, its more like being locked in a closet with a maniac with a megaphone, thanks for having this interview.

cmartenson's picture
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But please do!
treebeard wrote:

I don't have to post any more.  Yes indeed, meditation is not like walking on a Caribbean beach at sunset, its more like being locked in a closet with a maniac with a megaphone, thanks for having this interview.


Ah, if only inner growth were a "one and done" sort of a process.  

Alas, it is not.

So please keep posting.

I find that my inner progress follows a pattern like a slowly lifting spiral.  I keep revisiting the same ground as the spiral comes right back to where I started on the x axis, but I am in a new position on the y axis.  

Or perhaps it's like the tide coming in.  Successive waves seem to keep advancing and  retreating and over the same ground over and over.  However, later on we notice that the water is a lot higher than it used to be.

This line of inquiry is really important to me right now because I truly believe we are facing a deep existential crisis which boils down to the fact that humans had better start inhabiting this planet differently or we'll wreck it for ourselves.

From a very high perspective the earth will be fine.  It will recover.  give it 100,000 years, or a few million life will go on and the human presence will not even be detectable if we manage to snuff ourselves out.

So this is really a story about humans, and our free will, and how we are going to use our conscious abilities, each individually and then all of us collectively.

My hope for the future springs from the fact that even I, a person so invested in his brain for so long that I doubted I had any spiritual capacity at all, have managed to make astonishing transformations in my ability to be present and detach from my pre-programmed emotional reactions.  I still experience them, but they are no longer the "truth" they used to be.

Yes, even an old dog can learn new tricks.  :)

RoseHip's picture
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Treebeard you've only just begun.

Within my individual existential crisis, I welcome this difficult path and conversation. I largely identify with going thru pain to gain a greater clarification of my consciousness and my challenges. Listening, I found myself feeling very emotional and full of grief for a variety of reasons. For the last 5 years I have found it impossible to monetize any parts of my experiences (except for traditional employment), as I am from the crowd that realizes how sensitive I am to the world today and I feel that one issue I can confront is returning some aspect of my experiences that have been captured by economics and returning them back to the land of the gift/sacred (Surprise this is very detrimental to financial capital, yet very encouraging to all the other forms of capital). On the spectrum I am from the younger crowd here at PP late 30's, young children full time job mortgage ect... So I have much skin left to leave in the game. Emotionally speaking I have found planning for retirement (cough/cough) to be so impossible to even consider because that jenga tower that will fall before I realize any gains/losses. That my only REAL option feels like removal of participation, and then buy do things that have actual returns, small home, large land, garden, bees, orchard as examples.

At the same time the vulnerability aspects are raging because our state of economics is becoming so parlous that keeping the house to see that future tree fruit ripen isn't a guarantee. So planting/planning potentially for others to come in and use or even disassemble is something that doesn't feel very nice. Yet I press on and confront these emotions, cause all other options are even more emotionally concerning. I don't like when I feel forced to place more emphasis and energy toward collecting $$$, it feels like we've completed that aspect of the story yet consequences persist. It has been difficult walking these lines at times where there is sooo much uncertainty that as I look into my emotional tool bag many of my tools are being transformed and reflecting this uncertainty. 

RoseHip's picture
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Change is a constant

Also I forgot to add not having a large disposable income has encouraged a mind racing with creativity supported by my other forms of capital, community, time, spiritual, knowledge, health, cultural and living capital are exploding of the charts reflecting these realities. For example I just built a chicken containment fence from raw tree limbs, a few bag of cement and other pieces laying around the yard, the whole project cost less than $100 for 40 feet of fence. Now I can't imagine a finer physical representation of who and what I am becoming. Everyone I meet I keep saying under my breath, please be as weird as I am. Which encourages me to share with them just how weird that currently is. 

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Mish and "Spiritual" Resilence??

Please see my comments at the end.  


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by mishgea

California governor Jerry Brown has proposed a $15 minimum wage by 2022. If the legislation passes, it will wreak havoc on city budgets, state budgets, businesses, and jobs.

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JimSander's picture
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Teal Swan

While I enjoyed certain parts of this dialog, I found myself feeling uncomfortable about it.

Something seemed a bit strange.

When I researched a bit more about Teal Swan, I found some things from her background that seemed very strange indeed. Just do a Google search....

I would take this interview with a very large grain of salt....

Pipyman's picture
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Hi Rosehip,


i am in a very similar situation; I very much resonate with what you said. Thanks! Are you in the UK?

cmartenson's picture
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Take what you will...

Let me repeat what I wrote in the in intro to this podcast:

So the invitation here is to receive this material with an open mind, taking what works for you in the here and now while leaving the rest.  Trust yourself to know what works for you. 

If it doesn't work for you, or makes you uncomfortable, that's great.  Trust that and go with it.

I will note that it's pretty hard to delve into these spiritual and self-help waters without attracting at least a few of the sort of people that put you on a pedestal that you then inevitably disappoint.  I too have a variety of internet detractors with a wide range of motivations, most of them centering on me not validating their emotional responses.  Or jealousy.  Or whatever.

For example, over a year ago there was quite the kerfuffle on this site when Adam and I first began working with Robert Kiyosaki and his organization.  We had a few highly emotionally charged people level all sorts of charges against us, with the prime ones being that we/I were no longer in integrity because we were working with a man who promotes leveraged real estate deals and buying golf courses and such.  We were going to be corrupted by him and that meant our entire message of the Crash Course was no longer valid.

I will happily note that none of that happened, and instead I happen to own zero golf courses and apartment buildings while Robert is busy working on a book called Rich Spirit.  Such is life.

But none of that mattered or will matter to the people who were so full of anger at me for having violated their internal sense of who I should be.  Or not be.  And so you can find some pretty wild and awful things said about me too.

When cruising the internet for detractors and criticisms on the internet, just be aware that it's usually best to take those with a big grain of salt first.  Who are these people?  Do they actually know the subject well?  Do they use their real names and cite other real names when leveling charges or do they say things like "a person, who shall go unnamed, told me X about this person"?

I always consider the source.

I can tell you, from personal experience, I have never seen anyone be so open, honest and incredible while being in front of 400 people working one-on-one with individuals on very tricky subjects than Teal.  How she came to have that ability or whether someone thinks it's fake, does not detract from the fact that she's really amazing at working with people.  I trust myself to be able to recognize excellence.

But, at the end of the day, we each need to decide for ourselves what we let in, why, and practice our own discernment.  




KennethPollinger's picture
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Programming, Deprogramming, Reprogramming

Some years ago these words emerged from my pen.  The only thing I add now is that the "Reprogramming" is constantly changing.  And I am totally grateful to the Source for allowing me to attempt to co-create an intentional Community in Costa Rica: www.AwarenessCenters.com

Hope you enjoy his,  Ken






  1. Inherited genetics, plus 
    Childhood conditioning (socialization) 
    -believe that I am a person with an ego 
    -believe that the world is real as sensed through the five senses 
    -believe that God is the Judeo-Christian Father in the sky (heaven) 
    -believe in my religious training 
    -believe that I have free will.




  1. Aware of different cultural programming= 
       relativity of programming 
  2. Quantum Physics: I'm more space than solidity 
  3. Different religions with different beliefs 
       (each has THE truth!!) Contradictions abound. 
    Buddhists don't even believe in God. 
  4. Meditation; new emphasis--instead of From Without to Within, 
       now, From Within to Without (a la Zen)



  1. A Course in Miracles and Advaita Vedanta (Indian thought),1 
       both stressing NON-DUAL TEACHINGS.
  2. The ego and the world are illusions. 
    Both of these are the dreamt. 
  3. Go beyond the CONCEPT of God 
       to the CONCEPTS of Consciousness or Source. 
    And even beyond ALL concepts 
       as they are just POINTERS. 
    For the Infinite cannot be comprehended! 
  4. Realize that there is only this body-mind organism 
       being used by the Dreamer for Its own design. 
  5. Wake up to ONENESS/UNICITY
       (an impersonal awareness),
       there are no objects only Subjectivity,2
       with manifestation WITHIN Itself). 
  6. A New Species arising3
    The Final Understanding is experienced.4
    No free will! Just conditioned to believe you have free will.5
    And Consciousness manifests Its will through 
       these body-mind organisms.
  7. So Enlightenment and Endarkenment yield to Enlivenment.6
    The opposites are reconciled 
       and the illusion as well as the Reality can be embraced. 
  8. Is this the culmination of the New Age Movement?



  1. See the literature listed in the Vision of the Point of Infinity--visitwww.NewAgePointofInfinity.com
  2. Ask the Awakened, by Wei Wu Wei.
  3. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, by Eckhart Tolle.
  4. Your Head in The Tiger's Mouth: Talks in Bombay with Ramesh Balsekar, ed. by Blayne Bardo. "So all that happens is that Consciousness is witnessing whatever is happening among the objects It has created. And that wanting to know Itself is something that is created by Consciousness."
  5. "Nothing can happen unless it is God's will."
  6. The Laughing Jesus: Religious Lies and Gnostic Wisdom, by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy.
RoseHip's picture
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Posts: 150
Hi Pipyman

No UK for me Boise, Idaho is where Home is currently. 

I would love to hear about any experiences you'd like to share, or anything you willing to share about yourself. 


Mento.Music's picture
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Cheers for taking the courage

Thanks, Chris, Adam and team for the Teal Swan interview.

Good Going!!

Been visiting this site for a few years (with great interest), but HAD to register today just to post a supportive comment.  My family was already familiar with Teal Swan's work, so imagine our surprise when we visited Peak Prosperity today and saw her name.  Spiritual resilience + economic improvement are two favorite subjects of ours anyway.

Keep up the great work,



herewego's picture
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Posts: 157
Resource and Transformation

I fully welcome exploration here at PP of the existential level of our current situation.  I've accepted that we will create a world worth inheriting through some very deep reworking of our understandings and relationships with everything.  It's hard to capture in words how profound this shift is - or, to say it another way, how huge this opportunity is.  With a cultural narrative as untrue as ours, the unexplored territories are vast.  What will we discover when we become skilled enough to remain standing while telling the truth?  What will humans turn out to be?  How will this biosphere look to us when our hearts and eyes are clear of the mesh of lies that obscure them now? 

The truth about humans includes a horrifying load of deadly dysfunction. But what isn't noticed as easily is that this truth also includes our love and intelligence.  We are a brilliant species, which turns out is quite dangerous when we forget a foundational truth - that we are one with our surroundings, which we love. So yes, let's get existential on a regular basis.  Let's find out what we are actually made of.  It most certainly is NOT what we have absorbed from our culture.

There's also this:  pain alone does not cause transformation.  Hitting rock bottom isn't a guarantee of being able to find one's feet.  Pain can wake us up, grind down our lies, make us desperate enough  to try something new, true.  But it take resource to achieve a shift.  From somewhere must come the skills and knowledge-base of transformation. Examples:

- Getting the distinction between feeling emotions and acting out/believing them.  Feeling emotions is painful, but safe.  Acting them out or believing them is less painful and very unsafe.

- Knowing how to create a strong healing context before diving in.  Going where the pain is without finding the strength of your being - or that of a healing companion - first is asking for overwhelm, not healing.

- Recognizing clear thinking as distinct from emotional distress masquerading as thinking.  Our intelligence is easily derailed by unacknowledged pain.  Then it "makes sense" to "think" and do the nastiest things.  A clear mind is qualitatively different than a mind in pain.  We can learn that difference.

- The ability to be with an overwhelmed person without blocking, discounting or believing their distress.  This requires that we have done the same with our pain and know it is a safe process.

Healing/transforming the distressed human being requires a body of knowledge, creativity and relationship.  The points above barely touch the topic.  I see us as a species that has proven itself able to learn the skill set of transformation, but remains too distracted to make the shifts en masse. 

It is our development of these skills and their availability to the world that will determine how much good we humans can find within in hard times.  The pain of hard times will not cause transformation unless there is resource for that inner level work. 

We love the world.  I know it.  We exult in being human and all the superpowers that come with it.  I know it. We carry a formidable load of undigested pain and the profound confusions that come with.  But we can claim the love, joy and abilities that are also human NOW, and set ourselves to learn the skills of transformation.  Existential?  Intense?  Bring it.  We also love healing.

In those days we finally chose to walk like giants & hold the world in arms grown strong with love & there may be many things we forget in the days to come but this will not be one of them.  Brian Andreas


Transcend's picture
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Cold Shower

Over the last few months I've become much more aware of realizing people's brains work differently.  Growing up, at the age of 10, I remember wishing I would die, crying my eyes out and since then I've always struggled with bad (should I be so critical of them?) thoughts of committing suicide. Growing up, I also remember thinking that everyone else thought this way although I thought no one understood my specific circumstance and how I felt, I believed everyone lived with their own struggles and managed these thoughts. It was about 5 years ago that I opened up to someone and they told me they've never thought of that and it was as surprising to me to hear her response that it was to her hearing what I had said.  What I've been even more aware of over the last few months is that there are a lot of people who don't share the same emotional intelligence as I've been gifted (I see it more as a burden, but I'm trying to see the light). This provides me with a greater sense of relief when people say or do certain things.  It makes more sense to me now whereas before it would be a source of anger or frustration for me. I don't claim to have a high EQ and certainly don't believe to have a high IQ, I'm not sure where I stand on either and don't care. I am certain that we are each born with different ways of thinking and recently the true understanding of that has helped me be less critical and more patient, which to me is important for my own survival.

Before ego was mentioned in the podcast, that's what came to my mind. A series of events can change someone for better or worse and it would be great if people could see the role they play in the grand scheme of things instead of thinking they are worthy of some ultimate existence and sense of entitlement. The mindset of hierarchy needs to be saved for fiction IMO.  I mean, do we really have princes and princesses still? Is this necessary? Is it just me or should these terms be used only in fairytales. I don't know, the whole thing is strange to me and it's hard to wrap my head around it. I can't say for sure because I'm not in their shoes, but I feel like if I were to be born with that label, I'd drop it at this point. Would that be disrespectful? Possibly I don't know enough about the subject, but at first glance it seems outdated. 

I just had a shower.  I always start with warm water, but usually try to make it cold at least before I'm done.  We are so accustomed to certain ways of life, it's time to explore and have an open mind.  A cold shower doesn't have to feel uncomfortable, it can be refreshing and awakening. Give it a try!

I'd like to show my gratitude again for this site as a significant resource to my life and the people involved, which means the whole community.  Thank you and have fun for those going to Rowe; last year was one of the highlights of my life.

davefairtex's picture
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Posts: 5740
my approach to new gurus

So being a naturally suspicious fellow, there are a few (mental) tests I give each new guru I see.

1) are there "levels", "secrets", and ever-increasing amounts of money you need to pay to gain more knowledge?  Or, does the guru demand you turn over all your wealth?

2) is there some physical compound where the inner circle resides?

3) Does the guru (or their guru .org) sue people frequently?

4) Do you end up learning techniques that help you achieve consciousness expansion on your own, or must you depend on the guru (or annointed sub-gurus) for any progress made?

5) Does the guru keep strict control over who you can have in your life?

6) Is sleep deprivation involved?  Outside contact discouraged?  Heavy peer pressure employed?

7) Is kool-aid served as a refreshment at functions?

Ok, so I'm kidding about #7.  I too looked up Teal Swan and saw the unpleasant claims, but I'm not seeing #1-#6 show up, so I think she's probably all right.

She definitely has an interesting "origin story" though.

For what its worth, she has a similar message to others I respect.  As Chris says, you can tell a fair amount about someone by attending a workshop and seeing how they deal with people in real time.  And - if she's not demanding tribute, and Chris feels that her teachings have helped him make significant progress, proof is in the pudding...

fgdore's picture
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I am deeply touched to see Chris moving towards a deeper integration of life, including an interest for spiritual questions and people that promote and support this process.

I am a little worried though.

 Having myself worked with people as an integrative medicine physician for 35 years, a have developed a strong BS meter.

My observation in listening to this talk is that Teal is far from integrated herself and playing a seduction game...

I would strongly encourage Chris to invite people that are part of a long tradition that monitor's their process and progression along the path, and are not self promoting.

The world abounds in self promoting gurus that are smart and seductive.

I would encourage your readers to exert discernment in choosing teachers.

There are many good ones.

I have met and been instructed by many.

I will mention one for those interested, who is very accessible and has followed the Buddhist path.

Here name is "Pema Chaudron". She has written several books. A good starter could be

"Start where you are" or "When things fall apart"

I have prescribed this book to many patients through the years.

Many have found great benefit from them.


KugsCheese's picture
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How About Definitions?

The presenter tries to use logic without defining terms like "Capitalism" (let's call it Sophistry).   And then we have this http://thetruthaboutcameron.blogspot.pt/2015/10/the-complete-interview-of-teal-swans.html .  I cannot say which side is true but I got a strange feeling watching Swan that reminded me of the psychopath I had to deal with years ago (not a good memory).   

north-of-the-border's picture
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Going off the rail?

Just shaking my head. I had an instinctively negative response to that cold frightful woman.

Penny551's picture
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"Challenging Beliefs" / Jesus


First, I wanted to commend you for having the guts to discuss spirituality and your personal journey in such a public forum.

Several times you mentioned the challenge you face in countering people's false belief systems.  I can relate!  I suspect this post may ruffle some feathers, as I've noticed that (in general) it's OK to talk about spirituality, but once the name of Jesus is mentioned....well, emotions rise :)  I'm grateful for the PP community's ability to discuss/debate in an intellectually honest and respectful manner.

Approx 10 yrs ago, I set out to discover if the "truth claims" made by Christianity could be supported by empirical evidence, or were mere myth created by man over the centuries.  What I discovered was astounding, in that there is overwhelming archeological, manuscript, and scientific data supporting the truth claims of Christianity.  You could fill a library w/ the data/evidence, but suffice it to say that it is clear that Jesus Christ existed, his death/burial/resurrection are the most documented events of antiquity and those that claimed to have seen him after his resurrection chose to endure death rather than deny seeing their risen Lord.  For me, after a meticulous study of the evidence, I determined that it takes more faith to not believe than to believe the basic tenets of Christianity. A book titled, The Case for Christ is a great primer and was the book that set me on the course of study that I'm still pursuing today.

On a spiritual level, having a personal relationship w/ Christ has given me more peace about the future, direction and guidance in life than I ever imagined possible.

**Disclaimer: I do NOT subscribe to the "FoxNews / NeoCon / Warmonger / Bomb all of MENA, ask questions later / Israel can do no wrong / George Bush is my Hero! / Drill Baby Drill! / etc :)" brand of supposed Christianity that has hijacked the true message of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

I hope I haven't ruffled too many feathers, but felt led to share my thoughts.  




north-of-the-border's picture
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yes me too

Psychopath is what I thought too. I'm disappointed in this turn of things...

westcoastjan's picture
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Posts: 577
it looks like we have both learned something...

Hi Chris,

As a person who was in the middle of the incident you reference re Mr. Kiyosaki I just wanted to clarify something. My concern at that time was not about his involvement in leveraged golf courses but rather concerns over allegations of improper activities by Kiyosaki, as shown under the Wikipedia entry for his name, under the sub-heading "Criticism and Controversy".  My concerns as a devoted PP member was that you and Adam were getting into bed with a questionable person in order to grow the business. The whole golf course thing became a sidebar to the main point as the discussion deteriorated, from my standpoint.

Fast forward to this podcast, which I have appreciated greatly, and I note that had the intro/message in this podcast been present in the Kiyosaki podcast, then perhaps that kerfuffle would never have happened. So I guess we both learned something. But it was a crying shame that it happened for PP lost some very good women participants over that incident, women who I think can and did bring balance to comment threads. I still miss them here, even though we are in touch away from PP.

We all learn as we go, we make mistakes, and if we have some emotional intelligence we learn from those mistakes. The salient point for me in this podcast, regardless of what people think of Teal Swan, she has enough insights to make one think deeply, provided one is willing to think deeply, and do the personal work.

I always marvel that people are willing to work ridiculous long hours for monetary gain yet are hard pressed to spend an hour just thinking about life, who they are and what matters. The latter is a much better investment, but our society does not yet realize that as it is still stuck in the old mindset.

Chris, I am really glad to see you on this path. It reaffirms who I thought you were before the Kiyosaki thing blew up.


Jim H's picture
Jim H
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Some real nuggets there Jan...

You said,

I always marvel that people are willing to work ridiculous long hours for monetary gain yet are hard pressed to spend an hour just thinking about life, who they are and what matters. The latter is a much better investment, but our society does not yet realize that as it is still stuck in the old mindset.

Amen to that.  Thank you. 

SagerXX's picture
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Posts: 2262
SagerXX wrote: ...to
SagerXX wrote:

...to listening to this podcast.  Been engaged in this part of the journey for some time now and it's the challenging/tricky/rewarding/essential piece, IMO.  Too late tonight to take it in but will be back soon...

May we all have the courage to undertake this work!  (Which never ends... <smile>)

Viva -- Sager

So that was cool.  It's such a "tough sell" in our culture to get folks to just totally sell out and get down into the squishy hard-to-put-words-on work of self inquiry.  But the rewards are remarkable and IMO anybody who's serious about really inhabiting and *living* this life needs to do this sort of work.

She doesn't seem to have any revolutionary approach or insight, but one could do worse that follow her prescriptions vis-a-vis personal inquiry, self-work, and getting really unblocked around things that are lurking in one's shadow.  

(For the purposes of this post I am using the word shadow is a more-or-less Jungian way -- the shadow is disowned parts of ourselves that we refuse to acknowledge.  They hamstring us, they rob us of energy, then keep us from really BEING...until we get in there and [1] see them, [2] acknowledge them and [3] integrate them.  Simple goog search will offer more [and likely more useful] information about this, but suffice it to say you can't really know yourself until you get right in this way.)

I have found that integrating my shadow bits is exhilirating, and the amount of energy freed up by not having to carry all that $h!t around anymore made plenty of mojo available for other things, like prepping and building a new business and learning to play the ukelele.

For those that find the messenger in this podcast gives them the squicks, please pay mind to the words an ignore the person speaking them.  Would you refuse a nutritious sandwich just because somebody you don't like made it?

Viva -- Sager

LesPhelps's picture
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Posts: 819
I am a racist

I challenge you to reconsider political correctness.  It is pretty much on par with a lot of other things politicians think are a good idea.

Stereotyping is a necessary tool for every day existence.  I regularly apply it to snakes and bugs to avoid painful and dangerous encounters.  Heck, I approach dogs differently depending on breed.  I suspect you do also.

I try to treat everyone with dignity and respect, but where caution is concerned, I consider dress, demeanor, size, sex and yes, race.  

When I am queued up to board an airplane and a 5 foot tall 100 lb 85 year old woman in front of me is randomly singled out for a more thorough search as a means of avoiding any form of profiling, I know we've lost our way.

Yes, everyone is racist, to an extent and should be.  I'm less so than many.



Yoxa's picture
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Posts: 313

 gives them the squicks

My new word for the day!

I hadn't heard of this woman before this podcast. My reaction was a mixture of "of course, of course" for some things she said, and "wow, what a self-important nut case" for others. I listened to the podcast rather than watching, so I wasn't reacting to her appearance.

I don't remember having the "nut case" reaction to any other PP podcast.

It made me sad to scan some of the things that turned up in the Google search.

mmm357's picture
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Posts: 6
Transparency and authenticity


You said you are in the belief-changing business and asked Teal for advice on the best way to communicate to enable shifts in belief. I think you're already doing the most important thing you can do - the most powerful tool you have is leading by example - and you demonstrated that again here.

The Crash Course data is the negative (albeit important) side of the equation which highlights all the ways in which we as humans on this planet have gone astray. But in order to create the positive side, a new narrative is necessary - a clear vision we can work towards. Being willing to not only do the hard work of acting in accordance with that narrative in your personal life, but also being transparent about it and sharing it on PP with all its inherent risks, is a powerful example and one that I think is tremendously valuable. 

Personally, I visit PP because it’s motivates me to be better in my own life. Like many here I live in two worlds, but the incentives and social inertial all pull me towards business as usual which does not fulfill me. I use the examples and ideas expressed here to try to align my actions with my personal nascent vision of a world worth inheriting. It's a messy process, and sometimes just a daily grind. Seeing vulnerability in others is actually comforting and encouraging because it makes it easier for me to forgive my own perceived weaknesses and keep pressing forward. The PP community in general acts as a form of social inertia pulling me towards a better way of doing things.

All of which is long winded way of saying don’t mind the naysayers. To broach this subject and to publicly show your process was courageous, and I believe that kind of trail blazing example is the best way to teach, inspire and lead. Any quibbles with the details of this podcast are in some ways besides the point - it's the process of doing the work that really matters, messy or not.

Keep up the good work.


David Allan's picture
David Allan
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Posts: 110
Let's keep the theme going

Excellent interview Chris

I can sort of agree with fgdore (comment 18). Lineage and the structure of a proven system can be tremendously valuable if pursing a deep exploration - many times a profound state has been mistaken for ultimate realization, or so I have heard.

But hey, we're not selecting a guru here, we're listening to a podcast. And it was the best one in quite a while IMHO.

So lets keep the theme going. I can't wait to see who you come up with next.

Oliveoilguy's picture
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Posts: 578
Chris Stretched the Boundaries on this one

Teal Swan seems to be on a journey like the rest of us. I would think that she grew as a person during Chris's masterful interview. I learned a lot.

My spiritual "task" at the moment is to try to give something to everyone I encounter and leave a "trail of smiles" behind me as I go. The more I do this...The more I notice others making the same effort.

davefairtex's picture
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Posts: 5740
parallel journey

After re-reading what Chris has written on this subject, I realize that I have been on pretty much of a parallel journey to his over the last eight years or so.  I read many books - I got lots of great concepts, but for me, the thing that helped most was learning specific tools (roughly, "healing techniques") for how to address problems and situations in which I found myself.  Its great to read about "what life potentially could be", but without a specific process for how to get there from here, it felt like I was just viewing a mirage from across a very large desert, without any clear way to get there from here.

But now I feel as though I have a set of tools that not only did I lack before - I didn't even realize they existed, nor did I understand what was even possible.  Its like magic, compared to where I was before.

Most importantly, my free will remains uncompromised; nobody tries to control what I do, who I talk with, I don't need to feed cash into someone's "system", I don't need to drink the kool-aid, but help is there if and when I need it.  That's what works for me.


cmartenson's picture
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Posts: 6035
Great guide!

I really like this guide as it mirrors my own process and understandings.  Therefore I liked it!  :)

Here are my comments to your excellent post:

herewego wrote:

There's also this:  pain alone does not cause transformation.  Hitting rock bottom isn't a guarantee of being able to find one's feet.  Pain can wake us up, grind down our lies, make us desperate enough  to try something new, true.  But it take resource to achieve a shift. 

Comment to above:  Yes, it does take resource.  I suppose that biologically we might be wired to avoid such shifts because they are energetically expensive.  Not just in raw calories, but also in alertness and outer awareness.  

Back when survival was more marginal it would make sense for nature to wire us up to take the easiest path, not the harder one.  

However it came about, I have great and growing compassion for the difficulty of being in what we call in our household "the tunnel."  When in "the tunnel" everything seems harder, vision is crimped, and it feels sometimes as if nothing will ever get better.  It can be a tough place to be, especially if one does not have the external and internal resources to assist along the way.

Which brings us to:

- Knowing how to create a strong healing context before diving in.  Going where the pain is without finding the strength of your being - or that of a healing companion - first is asking for overwhelm, not healing.

Yes, yes, and yes!  Having a support structure is really helpful and sometimes essential.  For example, there are different wounding patterns we receive in childhood and the one that happens first in life (0-18 months of age) is a wound of (mis)connection and that one requires moving very slowly and carefully.  Overdoing it simply restimulates the wound that can be retraumatizing rather than healing.

So having the healing context before diving in is really a very good idea.

And having your team in place is critical too.  My best healing involves my mind, body and spirit (or energy, or chi, or lifeforce, or whatever term you prefer) and for each of those I draw upon different people.  Which brings us to:

- The ability to be with an overwhelmed person without blocking, discounting or believing their distress.  This requires that we have done the same with our pain and know it is a safe process.

My advice is to only have people in your support team that have already begun their own work.  they will have a greater capacity to 'hold space' for you meaning they will simply be with you, and not be interjectingng their own ego and wounds into your process.  This is not a malicious thing, but it happens all the time, in my experience.  

One example is based on the work of Alice Miller (author of The Body Never Lies) where she notes that many therapists in her psychological profession unconsciously and covertly steer their patients towards forgiving someone in their past, especially a parent.  This is because our culture is heavily built around the forth commandment (Honor they father and mother) and it's taken to be an article of faith that it's essential that one be able to forgive their parents and thereby heal the wounds.

But Ms. Miller's view is that sometimes parents do really awful things that really have no better explanation than "that was a really messed up thing for them to do to you.  Full stop."  and the inner child does not need to be convinced to forgive them but instead needs a compassionate witness.  With such an ally the wounded inner child can begin to find safety and healing.

So now one of my litmus tests is to only work with people who can hold space for me and my process and do not have the inner need for me to be any particular way towards or about anyone or anything in my past (because that's what helps their ego feel more powerful or avoid facing something uncomfortable for it).  

That's what works for me.


- Getting the distinction between feeling emotions and acting out/believing them.  Feeling emotions is painful, but safe.  Acting them out or believing them is less painful and very unsafe.

Great insight here.  Ekhert Tolle was instrumental on getting me started down the path of separating my emotions from my reactions to those emotion via a process of developing an inner witness.  I still have the emotional storms but now I also have an inner voice that is curious and detached.  This allows my reactions to become separated from the emotions whereas before they were one and the same and TRUE! (goddamnit!).  

Being curious allows me to bookmark the reaction and follow that thread later to see where it came from.

Being detached allows me to uncouple the experience from the emotion from the reaction.  

There's so much more to say, but I'll stop there.

cmartenson's picture
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Some projections there...

First let me say, fgdore, thank you for sharing your experience and input.  

I will note though, that where you have a BS meter I have a very strong "projection detector" and what you posit below I experience as tilted more towards projection than 'observation' (which sounds clinical and possibly data driven.

To say that Teal is BS because you project that she's not integrated (enough?) for you to trust, leaves me wondering and with my own projections.

The biggest of them is that I have a projection that my culture, and a lot of European culture has it all wrong about seduction.  You say "seduction game" like it's a bad thing and I'm going to push back on that.

It's not a bad thing at all, but instead a big missing element in our lives.  This TED talk gets right to the heart of my beliefs on the subject:

I would strongly encourage Chris to invite people that are part of a long tradition that monitor's their process and progression along the path, and are not self promoting.

The world abounds in self promoting gurus that are smart and seductive.

I will mention one for those interested, who is very accessible and has followed the Buddhist path.

Her name is "Pema Chaudron". 

I too would encourage everyone to check out a very wide range of teachers and use the ones that work for them.  Discernment is the key word here.

Here too I will challenge your view that there's something more authentic about someone like Pema, who is a fantastic teacher with many good things to say.  But to say she and other Buddhists are not self-promoting is not at all accurate.  Of course they are!  And they should be!

Here too I will take the other side and say there's nothing wrong with being self-promoting because otherwise nobody will hear about you.  Pema used to come to nearby "guru centers" like Kripalu and Omega all the time and I know because the events were heavily promoted.

By her own admission she wears special spiritual clothes, changed her name from Deidre Bloomfield to something more spiritually aligned for her and has a special haircut. That is, there's something in manifesting her outer appearance that is important to her inner and outer work in the world.

Again, nothing at all wrong with that. I have no problem with that. But if I were to apply a different "BS meter" to that I could easily tear her down if I wished to for some reason (like being threatened by her for some reason).

Teal has won my trust largely because she is 100% open about why she dresses seductively (it makes her feel good and she likes the attention) and she talks about her troubles and failings as a human all the time, and does not perch on a chair in front of a room saying she's above all that and has all the answers.

Here's a recent piece from her blog (Mar 16, 2016)...this is full of the sort of humanity that I find utterly missing from Ekhert, Pema, and other hugely valuable teachers to me.  The part in bold invites me to be more human myself, to be more vulnerable, and to be more open.

In a previous blog where I revealed the theme of this year I said, “Let yourself and your life be stripped clean. The theme that is the most dominant this year is purification. This year will be the year for purification on a mental level, on an emotional level and on a physical level. 

Despite this purification theme, I have been trying to keep a very precious friendship of mine together for nine months. This week all attempts to resolve the conflict made the conflict worse and the friendship ended. Regardless of the more objective truths that say, “no relationship can end because we are all one”, the more subjective experience of my life feels the pain of the loss.

Part of me knows this ending is in accordance with the theme of the year and is somehow meant to be. The other part of me has temporarily succumb to a disheartening feeling that if someone like myself (with all the awareness and tools I have at my disposal) can’t resolve a conflict with someone in my own life, there is no hope whatsoever for other people on this earth. It has made war on our planet seem unavoidable.

Over the years I have observed that it is the intention with which a conflict is approached that makes all the difference. All too often we have different intentions going into it so we can never find a meeting of minds.

In the beginning of my career I used to jump at the opportunity to address people’s grievances about me. I’d try to resolve the issue with people who made up their mind about me, slandered me on the internet or posted disapproving comments about me. Long story short, it was a short-lived endeavor. I discovered the hard way that not everyone enters into a conflict with the desire to re-connect and resolve the conflict.

When the human ego goes into a state of defense, because it perceives you to be a threat, it becomes rigid. Relationships involve the inevitability of rupture and the degree of security and joy felt within a relationship is really about our capability to create repair. People, who cannot repair ruptures in relationships, cannot do so because they feel power and control over others is safety. When conflict arises, their ego (which is in a state of fear) immediately seeks to win or to punish the other. Their ego seeks to stay safe and survive by being right, justified, good, and victorious so that the other person is the one who is wrong, unjustified, bad and loses.

This dynamic is where the game of conflict resolution ends. It ends because the people involved are playing two different games with two entirely different goals. It’s a bit like trying to build a house of cards with someone who is determined to play a game of battleship. And it starts to feel like no matter what you do, you cannot win. There must be vulnerability for there to be conflict resolution. But vulnerability is enemy #1 according to the human ego.

Conflict is both the invitation to expand our consciousness and the potential cause of complete destruction. Like a root that can either grow a fragrant flower or a poisonous weed depending on how it is tended. If it is poorly tended, it is the root of the damage that we do to each other on this earth. It is the heart of war. It is the destroyer of connection and as such, it ruptures relationships.


Isn't that great?  A spiritual teacher not afraid to say "hey, I struggle too and experience pain and loss and moments of extreme self-doubt."

This is the part of authentic leadership that I think I could learn a lot from.  This is a piece of insight I've not gotten from any other teacher out there yet, except as advice.  Teal is modeling it, which is, so far in my experience, unique.  

The part in italics in her piece I also find compelling because I still find myself wanting to jump to my own defense from the many critics I have on the internet and especially, and painfully, right here on my own website.  

But she's right...not everyone has a desire to resolve a conflict...some are simply there for the conflict.

That's the purpose.  So I simply don't respond to these people anymore, but I still struggle with the reaction to defend myself...and that becomes a thread I can follow to find out where that particular "need" comes from and discover if it can be shifted.

RoseHip's picture
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There are many more that support than distract.

Beautiful words Chris and if its working for you then I'm a big fan. For me you already peaked, there is nothing better than those that support Charles Eisenstein and his work, who is a favorite teacher of mine! So it hasn't surprised me of this part of you, although I am pleasantly surprised by the risk taking included to do it with this medium. I'm sure that hints at some part of your work that is to coming... You have my best wishes and unwavering support. 

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Non Combatant and Spiritually Challenged

A lot of the conversation was spiritual and psychology oriented and outside my areas of interest.

However, a vein of the discussion blamed our current predicament on consumption again, specifically private land ownership.  There was no mention, that I recall, about population and overshoot.  Any world view that doesn't at least consider 7.3 billion humans and overshoot is, in my opinion, incomplete.

Frankly, I don't want to be forced into communal living solely to accommodate people procreating irresponsibly.


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Whatever floats your boat.

Lots of warm and fuzzy discussion and beyond the pale of my peasant perspective. While slogging through the trenches, many of us, only reflect on the bigger picture if prompted by a sunset or soaring eagle on a summer's day.

Ultimately, it is not an issue about me, but rather, its about WE. Unless you are a member of the psycho/sociopathic 5%, the rest of us are more concerned about family, community and society than our own personal space. Revolutions occur on a regular basis after the necessities of our finite world are in short supply due to over consumption or greed by the select few. Does it surprise any of us that the developed world continues to widen the gap on the bell curve? Trump verses Sanders; I wonder if the symptoms are right there in front of our face. Where are my suspenders, black hat and buggy when I need them.

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To the point

Thank you Chris for your response to my comment. 

This is an important topic.

Yes we all do project and I am in no way immune to this fundamental human behavior.

What had me decide to intervene and share my impression was the discrepancies between what Teal was saying and her body language. Of course this is personal interpretation and it belongs to me. I did choose to speak, to somehow possibly protect those more vulnerable to a form of seduction that I consider overly self interested. Not that seduction, as a game with lightness and playfulness is of no interest.

I'm addressing the issue of seduction as a form of domination for self serving purposes.

My experience of Pema and other teachers of similar lineages is that they are not using charm for the purpose of self aggrandizement but for the purpose of supporting others in freeing themselves of suffering.

I have never met through the years, a genuine awakened teacher that speaks of his own illumination.

Usually these are words that others will use when in the presence of such people.



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Head Count

I think I posted a link to this article a while back.


There's more to read than the snip below, but these comments were really interesting to me.

Weisman travels to several countries with moderately to very high fertility rates. When he asks people in these countries what should be done to bring down the numbers, mostly the answer is “Nothing.” In Niger, in the village of Mailafia, he encounters a mother of eight who laments the lack of milk in her town. “All we want is food so we can produce children,” she exclaims. Also in Niger, in the city of Maradi, he meets an imam who tells him, “We know the future is alarming. But man cannot hold back doomsday.” In the Israeli city of Brei Brak, Weisman meets another mother of eight. She tells him she’s not the least bit concerned about the world’s burgeoning population, because “God made the problem, and He will solve it.” At a clinic in Karachi, Pakistan, he meets a technician who refuses to administer the contraceptive injection that one of the clinic’s patients has just been prescribed. “I don’t believe we should practice family planning,” the technician says. “Our community should increase in number.”

Yeah mon, no worries.

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Sorry for the interruption.

I've known of Pema's work for a long time she and I having had a common teacher, Trungpa Rimpoche.

I can tell you with confidence that Pema is not very interested in self promotion.

Groups like Omega institute and publishers are the ones that recognize the value in her work and decide to promote it. She, being interested in being of service to others, will go with the flow and accept the promotional support if the intentions are aligned with hers.


I am weary of people that define themselves as "spiritual teachers" outside of some lineage. There are exceptions though and I do not have a crystal ball.

I have experienced teachers that had declared themselves enlightened and were far from that.

In the late seventies, I became in contact with a group offering what was then called the 'Est training"

This organization was then quite large and internationnaly known.

I was then very impressed with their  ontological approach into  experimenting the nature of "being human"

So much that I approached the founder and expressed my  interested in becoming a trainer for his organization if I was first offered the privilege of working closely with him as an assistant to see if my foot fit the shoe.

I was invited to do so and did for a while until It got really clear for me he was not what he was promoting himself to be. He was a very ego driven individual, strongly motivated by power over others.

Not long after I left he was accused by his family of having sex with his daughters and was ejected by his peers. 


Very few people would have suspected such an outcome. He was adulated by many and considered a through spiritual leader.

I am of the opinion that caution and discernment are useful in the promotion of spiritual leaders.

fgdore's picture
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Sorry for the interruption.

I've known of Pema's work for a long time she and I having had a common teacher, Trungpa Rimpoche.

I can tell you with confidence that Pema is not very interested in self promotion.

Groups like Omega institute and publishers are the ones that recognize the value in her work and decide to promote it. She, being interested in being of service to others, will go with the flow and accept the promotional support if the intentions are aligned with hers.


I am weary of people that define themselves as "spiritual teachers" outside of some lineage. There are exceptions though and I do not have a crystal ball.

I have experienced teachers that had declared themselves enlightened and were far from that.

In the late seventies, I became in contact with a group offering what was then called the 'Est training"

This organization was then quite large and internationnaly known.

I was then very impressed with their  ontological approach into  experimenting the nature of "being human"

So much that I approached the founder and expressed my  interested in becoming a trainer for his organization if I was first offered the privilege of working closely with him as an assistant to see if my foot fit the shoe.

I was invited to do so and did for a while until It got really clear for me he was not what he was promoting himself to be. He was a very ego driven individual, strongly motivated by power over others.

Not long after I left he was accused by his family of having sex with his daughters and was ejected by his peers. 


Very few people would have suspected such an outcome. He was adulated by many and considered a through spiritual leader.

I am of the opinion that caution and discernment are useful in the promotion of spiritual leaders.

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Thank you for this, Chris

This interview was such a refreshing change of pace. I am a longtime reader/subscriber (but never comment) and I greatly appreciate Chris delving into spirituality as an important part of resilience, and sharing his own journey. I can imagine that Teal made a lot of people feel uncomfortable, as the topics discussed are so often taboo in our dominant patriarchal/analytical world.

That said, there are numerous podcasts on this site that do not interest me in the least. Sometimes I listen to them and often learn something. Sometimes I don't bother. As Chris said, we can practice discernment and use what resonates with our personal experience.

In any case, being female, highly intuitive and empathic, and deeply involved in spiritual awakening for nearly twenty years, this interview brought me to tears because it was finally something I could relate to. Thank you for a perspective from someone other than a middle aged white guy (please note, I am saying this tongue in cheek and mean no offense. But that's often what it feels like on this site). 

I am really bad at debating and arguing my point, which is why I never comment. I am posting this comment in the spirit of 'we need more diverse voices talking about resilience' so here goes.

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Please join in


Thanks for your post.  I hope it is the first of many more.  We middle aged (for me well past middle age) white guys could benefit from hearing other points of view.


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Two Halves

For me, there were two halves of the talk;

  • First Half - About Systems (capitalism and socialism)
  • Second Half - About the individual (responsibility and leadership)

Honestly, I didn't much like the first half - talk of socialism generally makes me nervous (Hayek's 'Road to Serfdom' explains it better than I can).

However, the second half I liked a lot; especially the part about individual responsibility and leadership (Rosa Parks example). I know Teal erred on the side of caution regarding ego but the feeling of indignation comes from a recognition that someone has violated your rights. I think a sense of empathy may also help protect the natural world better if our feelings extend that far. Ultimately, she is correct in saying whoever starts building an alternative system (i.e. one that works) is in for a lot of flak.

In summary I think she has a clear grasp of the problems (individual greed/need for recognition causing destruction), but seeking an answer in socialism generally means someone with a lot of influence gets to write rules which favour their own agenda.

Anyway, I'll stop there as I realise T2H said it better than I.




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Spritual Directions?

If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s--- Joseph Campbell

So I decided to practice vulnerability today, and try authentic.  To me spiritually is quite close to ones belief systems, and how they change.   We will see how being authentic goes, seems like PP gets a eye full from me today.  I know in the end it is all about 'we', but we all got to start where we are at, right?

The podcast was good; much I agreed with most of it at some level.  Belief systems and such things are incredibly hard, my personal creed on spirituality and beliefs is I speak for me and you speak for you.  I don't do prophets or preachers or family members who speak to God and have God's answers for me. (all the stories that I should not tell!)

“God is a comedian playing to an audience that is too afraid to laugh.”― Voltaire   

Here is something I wrote to myself a while back about how I see/believe:

"My belief is if I ask Mother Nature something, she will tell me if I ask nicely and in a correct method.  She owes me nothing and she gave me everything.  If you want to play with the outer world God, my strongly held option is that you are then dealing with Mother Nature, Gaia, she has many names.  You can ask her questions, but it has to be in her language. “The cosmos speaks in patterns” –Heraclitus.  If I get arrogant with Mother Nature she will beat me down, she is good at that.  And best of all Mother Nature keeps trillions of secrets “Things love to conceal their true nature” –Heraclitus.  She always has another puzzle to solve and I love her for it.  She is there when you look in a microscope or a telescope. She allows herself to be predicted in physics equations. She emotionally bonds offspring to parents for the survival of the offspring.  She will atomize you if you fly into to the sun like Icarus. She does not bend for you, you bend for her, she is the true outer world God."

As Time2help pointed out it all belongs to Her in the end. Mother nature can speak for herself (i.e. good data) and if you are ignorant or ignoring it then She will burn your wings.  The biggest reason I come to the PP website is that, for the most part, emotions run high but in the end the data from nature wins out on the dogma most the time.  Thank you for that.     

On aspect of human nature that spirituality deals with, is the really tough business to face one's 'shadow'. It came up a time or two in the discussion.

“The worst sickness of men tends to originate in the sentimental way they try to combat their sicknesses. What seems like an easy cure, in the long run produces something worse than what it's supposed to overcome. Fake consolations always have to be paid for with a general and profound worsening of the original complaint.”― Friedrich Nietzsche

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain.  People will do anything, no matter how absurd in order to avoid facing their own souls.  One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious” – Carl Jung

For me over the last several years spiritual work has equated to shadow work, or unlocking that part of myself that my culture deems inappropriate or shameful.  It is centered in my nature is a need for connection to others.  We will die  with out connection to other humans, it is really that simple, that is our nature.  I am in Utah, a Mormon, and I believe Joseph Smith wrote the book of Mormon, and have for over 15 years.  This belief makes me a heretic in many Mormons eyes.  This is just one example which will only likely offend other believing Mormon's (awe the perils of beliefs!).  My actual believes are much more on an atheistic to pantheistic side.  So I disbelieve the root metaphysics or mysticism of the faith tradition I was born into, but I am still OK with the morals and day-to-day culture.  In many respects, I have to be involved in my culture, it is really not a choice (anyone in a similar situation will get that).  My wife and all my family on both sides have lives which centered in this belief system, I can not ever fully escape it, nor do I want to fully escape it.  But the hard part is the entire society and family requires the proper Mormon Avatar, a shell or persona, which was forged in me as a 19 year old missionary.  A central story to me, which I will not take time on, at 19 years old I had the choice of unconnected death, or Mormon Avatar life.  My need for connection to the group out weight the cost of being authentic at that time, and I choose a Mormon Avatar life.  I could not do authentic then, I did not have the tools.  My imitate family culture made sure I didn't have such 'shameful' tools for self actualization; its a family control thing that I am sure that I am not alone in.         

Well it is damn hard work breaking out of such things and maintaining connections. Fighting both deeply held family shame and cultural shame (Mormon for me) is very hard shadow work.  I could run off and start over, but that price is way too high.  I still love my wife, I still want to be married.  Mormons still do have a excellent support structure, they are a great group to hang with when times get tough.  Didn't Buddha say something about the middle path?  Its a tough one.   

All this said, I have been breaking out of the Mormon Avatar required by my culture and being authentic.  I can do things now that where impossible for me as a 19 year old. As Ken's message listed, I have been de-programing for quite a while, but it has been in a high gear for several months.  At the same time I am trying to be careful to not drive my wonderful wife crazy with insecurities based in the Mormon belief system; as I said in the beginning I have my own believe system and I speak for me and I need to allow my wife space to speak for herself.  I cant let the sins which were perpetrated on me when I did not have power, be perpetrated by me when I have power.  Shadow work is tough stuff!  

All I will end with is there is defiantly a price for authenticity, as well as emotional and spiritual reliance.  But I also agree with Jung and Nietzsche, not doing this work has a price which is much higher in the long run.

I wish you all well on each of your journeys.



treebeard's picture
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Religion and spirituality

I went through my own spiritual questing stage quite a while ago, wow, scary to thing about it, how time flies,  started some thirty years ago.  Read everything I could get my hands on and did fairly intense practice, enough to know if I went any further, I would be in trouble. I had too many personal defects to make the endeavor sensible. 

As in all things balance is required. A spiritual practice can be a quest for power, just as any other endeavor in life can be.  Some "guru's" do take that approach to the matter, as well as those the more accepted western scientific fields. Human beings can develop skills that seem mind boggling, if not impossible altogether.  Look at  any great musical virtuoso, composer, mathematician, physicist,etc..  Here in the west, what is taken for granted in many other cultures, raises the immediate BS meter alert.  I did experience enough to see the limitation in the Western materialistic world view.  There was a time I would relish debates with died in the wool materialist in their own terms, to prove that materialism is a religion, a self generated mental construct like the religions they loved to denigrate and attack.  Such arguments would usually end in a respectful agree to disagree.  To me that was victory, there was a bit more tolerance in the world.

But that endeavor required training, same effort staying shape for a marathon, endless reading and debate. Much of it was, I discovered was my own desire to convince myself of the things that I had discovered but had not yet fully integrated. When awareness expanded the desire to convince the other ended.  Now there was only individual development and the focus on a concrete outward manifestation that would lead to a better world.  Fast forward twenty years, now the mental gymnastics required to continue to believe that consciousness is a byproduct of chemical reactions in brain is so hard maintain on a scientific basis, that to me the religiosity of such mental constructs are obvious.  But what is the point, even here if we again agree to disagree, there is much common ground to be had that is more useful.

The world is about relationships.  The problem with a financialised world view is that it is a step removed from direct relationship.  Financial analysis is fine as far as it goes, it is a useful tool of sorts, but transformation can only occur from direct relationships.  Take for example, Polyface farms.  The productivity there, by the owners claim, is five times his neighbors.  Such a transformation would not have been possible through economic analysis, it required a direct and intense relationship between the farmer and the detailed ecological fabric in which the farm exists.  There is where the transformation occurred. If you want to quantify the results after the fact, fine, do your financial analysis.  All of us, what ever we are doing, be fully in relationship with it, transform it, be authentic and transparent, do the financial analysis afterwards. To me this is where all the useful work is.

And if you want to call BS on someone, read 100 pages a night for a year, both pro and con.  Meditate, not for the purpose of spiritual enlightenment, but to gain metal control and acuity, and be ready to clearly articulate where the feelings of BS are coming from.  I have smelled a lot more BS on some of the financial guests, but did not hear the same kind of reaction.  I might want to dig back into Goethe, Heidegger, Kant, Steiner, some of the American transcendentalists, some of the better books on the new physics, Bruce Lipton, EO Wilson, etc to name a very few of a very long list, go back into training and have at it again.

SagerXX's picture
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Sterling Cornaby wrote: We
Sterling Cornaby wrote:

We will see how being authentic goes, seems like PP gets a eye full from me today.  

Magnificent post, dude.  

Viva -- Sager

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Me too...

that is all i can say.

cmartenson's picture
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SagerXX wrote:
Sterling Cornaby wrote:

We will see how being authentic goes, seems like PP gets a eye full from me today.  

Magnificent post, dude.  

Viva -- Sager

I second that (e)motion!

Very bold and I heartily endorse your courage in finding your own authenticity from inside.

One of my 'tests' for a guru, or teacher, is that they know that all the answers come from inside of each of us.  They do not come from the outside.  A teacher, or guide or guru, then, is a catalyst for my own inner discovery.

Everything form the outside is highly suspect to me as it may or may not be laced with someone else's shadows and unworked traumas and it for sure had to suffer through two translation filters - one coming out of their mouth and one passing into my ears.

I truly believe that our bodies are exceptional healing devices...what they accomplish on a second  by second basis, every single day, in discriminating between 'self' and 'other' is beyond my comprehension.  I've learned by personal experience and by careful observation that each person has within themselves everything they need to both heal and transform.

A good guide helps us discover that.

Which is why I keep pushing the discernment angle.  You already know, each of you, inside what your next steps are and how to heal and grow.  Nobody knows as well as you.

Right now I am reading (on the recommendation of Kim Kiyosaki...again, life is always surprising and interesting) a book called Untethered Soul.  So far I am enjoying it a lot as it is taking the Ekhart Tolle practice of divorcing one's sense of self fro the incessant chatter of one's mind to a deeper level.  

The whole process is really being fleshed out and expanded and that's helpful to me.  I think I'll see how much of today I can spend pretending that the chatter in my mind is a room mate (a practice in the book) and see if I would keep that person around if they were outside of me saying the things they say.

If not, then what?  :)

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Chris,You stated......all


You stated...

...all the answers come from inside of each of us.  They do not come from the outside..

I would respectfully disagree and contend that the answers to life's most important questions come from the Designer, not the design; from the Creator, not the created.

From what I've gathered, it would seem that the root of where we disagree is that I hold a theistic worldview, where you (seemingly) take more of a pantheistic view.  

This is perhaps a little off-track, but below is an excerpt of a white-paper I wrote several yrs ago addressing the question of the origin of life: 

....For example, to embrace the Darwinian view and its underlying premises of naturalism and atheism, by necessity you must embrace the following:

·      Nothing produced everything

·      Non-Life produced life

·      Randomness produced fine-tuning

·      Chaos produced information (ie DNA)

·      Unconsciousness produced consciousness

·      Non-reason produced reason


From what I've observed, it seems that neither Swan, Tolle, or any of the other New Age types offer explanations or answers to any of these challenges/issues, let alone empirical evidence/data to support their claims.

Thx again for the willingness to even open this thread and publicly engage in these incredibly important (and emotionally charged :) issues that everyone must wrestle with.  IMO, there is nothing more important.







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One question

Why isn't Jesus mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls?

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