Sun and Saturn Conspire to Give You a Long Weekend

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My take on today’s twice-yearly Sun trine Saturn transit — click HERE for your ticket to ditch work a little early today….

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Sling-Shot Into the Multiverse


From the most recent Winter Solstice (December 21, 2009) until upcoming March 9, we all will have been experiencing Mars retrograde in Leo.

A retrograde movement is an optical illusion that makes a planet appear to journey backward in its orbit, and it has the effect of internalizing much of the planet’s influence. Rather than manifesting directly into our immediate environment, there is a sense of requisite preparation that may entail all sorts of cleansing and letting go.

You are not alone if, throughout this period, you’ve felt charged-up and ready to go… even while being held back, like a stallion chomping at the bit. It would also not be surprising if you’ve been asked to separate from important relationships, jobs and other once-solid commitments.

This has been a time of incredible inner churning — fiery intensity, dominated by a sense that the world is moving at break-neck speed and we are somehow falling behind — shouldn’t we be doing something to address the situation?

Frustration results, as our conditioning prompts self-judgment around an inability to take a step forward. We feel as though we are moving sideways, at best, even when it looks like we’re taking care of business “out there.”

The skillful way to be with this transit — no matter how it impacts an individual natal chart — is to relax, allowing the fire of Mars and Leo to cleanse away hindrances to what will unfold when the retrograde movement ends on March 9.

* * *

When we look ahead to early March, we notice a stellium (or grouping) of planets in Pisces: Uranus, Sun, Mercury and Jupiter.

Pisces, the Mystic, transcends conventional boundaries of consciousness. With these planets moving through Pisces at precisely the time that Mars goes direct at 0″17′ Leo, we will not only begin to move out of our insulated comfort zones, but we will be blasted beyond the margins of our conditioned reality. With so much emphasis on Pisces, we will collectively sense our individual participation in a much, much larger cycle of transformation — and we will secretly desire that our lives will shift into alignment with our “true mission.”

I really do see the period between March 9 and June 7 (when Mars moves from Leo into Virgo, with Chiron having dipped into Pisces to join Uranus and Jupiter) as a challenge that demands deep and unconditional surrender within each and every one of us. We will be asked to trust in ways that we’ve successfully avoided in the past, no matter how deep our fear of being “burned” again. We will also be asked to assume a larger perspective within ourselves, connecting with something higher and more powerful.

We will, in fact, be prompted to allow this larger part of us to run the show.

The hours, days and weeks from March 9 to June 7 signify a collective acceleration of consciousness, which will find grounding once Mars has finally entered the earth sign of Virgo. During this acceleration, potential changes that have been incubating since the Solstice will blossom into manifestation — likely more than one, flying toward us like blowing embers — such that we may not be able to collate and organize things in real time, requiring that we (again) trust that everything is falling into place according to some higher design… knowing that a time for assessment will arrive with Summer.

So, good friends, just know that this strange inner chaos that seeps outward from time to time — the jerking forward and back, feet stepping on themselves — is actually part of a necessary adjustment that has been moving through us all. Our wish for resolution will not only be met, but will be met in ways that we’ve not even dreamed of.

Ours is to remain patient during these final days of inner preparation, and to buckle-in for a three-month trans-dimensional journey into uncharted space… knowing that there’ll be time enough to make sense of it all in due time.

Those who consciously embrace the shift will be the first to realize that the awaiting reality is perfect and fine in every way….

The Politics of Just Living

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One of the tensions in my life, especially since doing a Sociology degree in college, has been between spirituality on the one hand and social engagement on the other.

A part of me (Libra Moon, some would say) has always been concerned with issues of justice. I’ve always come down on the side of the underdog, knowing intuitively that the “have-nots” are continually screwed by the “haves,” and that the “haves” will do just about anything to maintain their status as overlords. At the same time, I’ve known intuitively that, should a “have-not” somehow scramble out of the muck and into the rarefied stratosphere occupied by the “haves,” this new arrival will most likely take on the behavior of his new social class, so that the oppressed is now the oppressor.

With all of this in mind, I have in the past spent a lot of time and energy keeping up with the drama played out between “haves” and “have-nots.” I purchased and devoured books on the following:

The Cold War

The Vietnam War

— The JFK/Malcolm X/MLK/RFK assassinations

The CIA

Watergate

The Spanish Civil War

Nazism

The Federal Reserve

U.S. Intervention in Latin America (and beyond)

The Red Scare

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

AIM and the Black Panther Party

Conspiracy Theories around all the above, plus

9/11

Danny Casolaro and The Octopus

The New World Order

UFO’s

Iran-Contra

COINTELPRO

The War on Drugs

And so forth… you get the picture.

At a certain point – say, around the year 2002 – I looked at the many piles of these books that had mushroomed in my office – some of them already read, most of them waiting – and I asked myself, “What is the point in all of this?”

I’d spent all that time thinking there was an answer to the who, what, when, where and how of our political history. The same names popped up, going back centuries – the same families, same money interests, same bloodlines. I thought that, if I just studied this stuff diligently enough, there would come a time when a light would snap on in my head, and I’d finally emerge into an intellectual clearing – and I’d be able to tell others about my discovery, thereby rendering thousands of years of human ignorance obsolete, so that we may all move forward into a Golden age of total honesty and mutual assistance.

Silly me.

Instead, I came to that moment in 2002 – having already spent years in meditation, studying holy texts and engaging in nonstop spiritual dialog – when I understood that these conspiratorial (or not) machinations were not going to end just because someone like me thought he’d stumbled onto “their” game. It occurred to me that, even if all the worst aspects of all the conspiracy theories – that royal bloodlines are connected with extraterrestrials, that bankers are the new slave drivers, that the New World Order will turn humanity into a Borg hive of soul-less automatons – there is no amount of screaming and hollering and “revelatory disclosure” on my part that is going to bring measurable change. The more you shout CONSPIRACY, the more marginalized you become – laughed at, ridiculed, pushed straight out of “respectable” conversation, relegated to Internet forums filled with other nutjobs who you’d otherwise not touch with a mile-long pole.

It’s not been, however, a matter of simply ignoring my passion for social justice in order to escape into spiritual practice. Rather, it’s been a matter of slowly shifting the emphasis from screaming and hollering (i.e., complaining) about the degenerate state of the external world, migrating toward greater and greater inner awareness, withdrawing from my anguished projections onto the world mirror and allowing something more essential (as in, of my Essence) to bubble up to the surface of my worldly presence.

In other words, I decided to elevate meditation, study of the sacred, and spiritual dialog to occupy larger and larger parts of my daily existence, so that when I now take a look at the horrors of current events, I’m able to honestly assert myself as “not that” — as an antidote, a solution, a reason for hope.

And in the process, I’m meeting many others who’ve come to a similar place. They’re no longer sniveling, playing the victim and waiting for the worst. They are making of themselves living examples, trusting that as a collective expression, millions around the world will form a wave of positive change from within. They trust that external circumstances stand no chance of holding back this wave.

So hey… vote for your favorite Presidential candidate. March for change. Slap bumper stickers on your car. Write to the Editor, to your Representative, your Senator. Sign petitions. Hold placards on street corners. Argue your point of view. Give your two cents. Participate.

I’m for all of this.

I just hope that we all remember: our Paradise is already here, right now, beneath our feet, in our hearts. It’s been here all along; it was never gone. We just have to live it from where we are, no matter what our external circumstances may be. We have plenty that we can do to build-up our Paradise. We can meditate. We can eat right. We can walk instead of drive. We can love instead of hate.

The point is, life’s too short to spend it in opposition to the world around us. With the time we’ve been given, how can it hurt to assert our own Paradise every moment of every day? All those Players of the Game – teach them by your example! They know not what’s best for them, as they are bought into a set of values born of television. Love them, even as they wave weapons in your face. They may not know it, but they are not separate from you.

In this way, the bridge between social justice and spirituality is maintained. In this way, the puzzle is solved… and we are free to get on with just living.

The Way It Works

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I’ve spent a lifetime — 45 years as of the 21st of this month — butting up against the issue of “success,” only to take two steps back before sliding sideways, all the way to the comfort zone that is my insulated existence.

I’ve maxed out my cards several times, ending up in credit counseling the last time around. I started out with $35,000 in student loans, and now, twelve years after graduation — despite making payments along the way — the principle has grown past $45,000.

I’ve lived in crappy apartments, roomed in party houses in the university district, and depended on well-to-do housemates in order live in the occasional cush crib. I did own a home once, for a year or so — then let it go on a take-over-payment basis, so I could uproot my life in hopes of greener pastures. I’ve had three cars die on me, carted away on a wrecker when various apartment managers couldn’t stand looking at them any more.

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We’re talking about a static existence here, at least where the issue of finances is concerned. That I continue to have my physical health (knock on wood) is a good thing, because after all this time, I still exist one paycheck away from homelessness. (Okay, maybe two paychecks… and then we’d probably figure something out with the family… but you know what I’m talkin’ about.)

The thing of it is, I could never fully sell my soul for the mighty dollar bill. I couldn’t go the career route; couldn’t put in 70 hours to fatten the wallets back at the Home Office; couldn’t see putting an end to my wild years for the promise of the Golden Years, when I could easily step off the curb and be run over by a bus tomorrow.

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I always wanted to “beat the System,” and to this day, I continue to look forward to such a thing happening, whatever it means. Lottery? Anonymous million dollar donation? Rich uncle I never knew I had? Publish a novel, sell the movie rights, watch it break all box office records?

Meanwhile, I still live by the rent check, still cook at home to save on food costs, still walk to work and ride the bus downtown. I still buy my books used and sell them back at a quarter the price so I can buy more (worse than going to the library, which is a flat zero cost). I don’t consider traveling to any of the places I’ve dreamed of — India, Scandinavia, New Zealand, Europe — and always stay at Motel 6 on cross-country drives, which come every few years, if at all.

I still wear t-shirts I obtained in high school.

Get the picture? We’re talking about a severely limited prosperity consciousness. We’re talking about a negative outlook. We’re talking about a belief system that’s going nowhere fast, closing itself off from all the luscious goodness that used to seem possible, back before The Routine set in….

So I’ve been looking into the situation for a few years now. I’ve studied my beliefs around things like success and financial empowerment. I’ve asked myself, “Is it more spiritual to be poor?” I’ve also asked myself, “What is this System that I keep railing against? Is it written somewhere that money only comes when I’m doing something I don’t want to do? Must I go through my entire life wishing for something that was available the whole time?”

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Eventually — during my years as a clerk at the local metaphysical bookstore, where we had a pretty beefy Prosperity section — I discovered the New Thought Movement, which was all the rage during the first half of the 20th Century and comes down to us largely through the Unity Church and the United Centers for Spiritual Living (formerly known as Religious Science, or Science of Mind). Some still, silent part of me recognized a truth that says, “Michael, the circumstances of your life are a direct result of the patterns in your mind and heart. What you think, feel and believe becomes manifest in your surroundings. Let go of the conditioning that has led you to a state of dissatisfaction, ponder what you truly desire, and offer what you truly desire to That which shapes life according to the Word.”

Perhaps easier said than done, but this simple realization was enough to initiate a process that continues to this day, several years later. Yes, I still wrestle with lifelong conditioning. Yes, I still find myself operating according to discredited and harmful beliefs about money, empowerment and freedom within the world. These time-stretches, however, have shortened considerably. My willingness to seek support and guidance from others who’ve been working on this longer than I have has grown, as well. There are Principles to learn and integrate. Entrenched attitudes are in need of deconstruction and overhauling. Meditation, study, online courses, affirmations, Grace over meals, mindfulness, recognition of and unification with the One Mind — there’s so much to do, and yet the old ways have led to nothing but a prolonged diversion from the life I thought I came here to lead, so what is there to lose by subjecting myself to a total and complete spiritual makeover?

So, I’d like to offer some links and snippets from some of the better New Thought websites out there. I want to show how, in my search for a better belief structure around money and financial empowerment, I found that my lifelong passion for unification with the Divine has been good practice for the most powerful techniques for invoking a meaningful, satisfying… and yes, prosperous existence.

First off, we have the Rev. John Adams (a Unity minister),

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running the Golden Key Ministry — the “Golden Key” being a metaphor given by the great Emmett Fox, way back when. From the Golden Key website:

If you are seeking peace, prosperity, love, healing, enlightenment, you’ve come to the right place. We are here to help! Powered by Love, helping people through prayer, positive ideas and inspiration, this has been our passion since 1974.

Founded on the principle of the Golden Key, this global prayer ministry is dedicated to lovingly and positively supporting you in your quest to live a happy, healthy, peaceful and abundant life. We’re here to help!

On this site you’ll find well over 100 pages of real spiritual food to nourish and enlighten your soul, and enrich your life. It’s available for you 24/7 and at no cost.

Next comes one of my personal favorites, Swami Kriyananda (aka J. Donald Walters),

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who was a disciple of the great Yogananda. Besides being a compassionate and eloquent spiritual teacher, Swami Kriyananda has written one of the most straightforward and practical guides to financial freedom, called Money Magnetism:

“Deceptive in its simplicity and brevity, this little book has the power to effect great changes in the lives of its readers. With an entirely unpretentious and sincere style that shines through every word, Walters relays what wisdom he has gleaned from his own personal experience.”
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“Money Magnetism will help you take charge of your life. True abundance—of both the material and spiritual kind—can be found through the wisdom of this small but powerful book.”
—John Ernst, Richland Financial Services


Charles Fillmore
,

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who co-founded (with his wife, Myrtle) the Unity Church, is another excellent guide to changing our beliefs and attitudes toward money:

The superconscious mind within you discriminates among the kinds of food you assimilate, controls your digestion, your breathing, and the beating of your heart. It “doeth all things well,” and it will help you do this important work of directing you in the thoughts you should hold and the ones you should cast out. As you develop this mind within yourself you will find that you can gradually turn over more and more of your affairs to its perfect discrimination. Nothing is too great for it to accomplish, nor is anything too trivial for it to handle with perfection and dispatch. This mind of the Spirit will guide you in perfect ways, even in the minute details of your life, if you will let it do so. But you must will to do its will and trust it in all your ways. It will lead you unfailingly into health, happiness, and prosperity, as it has done and is doing for thousands, if and when you follow it.

It is just as necessary that one should let go of old thoughts and conditions after they have served their purpose as it is that one should lay hold of new ideas and create new conditions to meet one’s requirements. In fact we cannot lay hold of the new ideas and make the new conditions until we have made room for them by eliminating the old. If we feel that we cannot part with the goats, we shall have to do with fewer sheep. If we insist on filling the vessels with the bad fish, we shall have to do without the good. We are learning that thoughts are things and occupy “space” in mind. We cannot have new or better ones in a place already crowded with old, weak, inefficient thoughts. A mental house cleaning is even more necessary than a material one, for the without is but a reflection of the within. Clean the inside of the platter, where the food is kept as well as the outside that people see, taught Jesus.

Old thoughts must be denied and the mind cleansed in preparation before the affirmative Christ consciousness can come in. Our mind and even our body is loaded with error thoughts. Every cell is clothed with thought: every cell has a mind of its own. By the use of denial we break through the outer crust, the material thought that has enveloped the cells, and get down into the substance and the life within them. Then we make contact with that substance and life which our denials have exposed, and by it express the positive, constructive side of the law. When we consistently deny the limitations of the material, we begin to reveal the spiritual law that waits within ourselves to be fulfilled. When this law is revealed to our consciousness, we begin to use it to demonstrate all things that are good.

Another favorite is Joel S. Goldsmith,

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discoverer of the Infinite Way and a true American mystic if there ever was one:

The secret of harmonious living is the development of spiritual consciousness. In that consciousness, fear and anxiety disappear, and life becomes meaningful with fulfillment as its keynote.

The degree of spiritual consciousness which we attain can be measured by the extent to which we relinquish our dependence on the external world of form and place our faith and confidence in something greater than ourselves, in the Infinite Invisible, which can surmount any and every obstacle. It is an awareness of the grace of God.

There is a specific practice which will aid in the attainment of this spiritual consciousness. It is a practice which can be carried on throughout the day as the world crowds in upon us, reminding us that we need this or desire that. To every such insistent demand, let our answer be: “No, no. This is not what I need or want. Thy grace is my sufficiency, nothing else — not money, not marbles — only Thy grace.” Let us learn to hold to that resolutely. If the need seems to be railway fare, rent, clothing, housing, or health, let us steadfastly acknowledge that our only need is His grace.

Our work may require greater strength, greater knowledge, or greater ability than we seem to possess, or there may be greater demands made upon our purse than we can meet. Instead of accepting this apparent lack, let us remember, “He performeth the thing that is appointed for me…The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me,” or some other scriptural passage. The human belief may be that there is a physical, mental, moral, or financial demand made upon us greater than our ability to fulfill; but the very moment we turn to that He that is within us, recognizing that He performeth that which is given us to do, He perfecteth that which concerneth us, a weight drops off our shoulders, and the sense of personal responsibility lifts.

Finally, of course, I can’t leave this post without providing a little Ernest Holmes,

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who explained The Way It Works as well as anyone ever did:

We are surrounded by an All-Seeing, All-Knowing Mind, which is One and runs through all. The belief in the dual mind has destroyed practically all philosophies and religions of the ages, and will continue to do so until the world comes to see that there is but One. Whatever name is given it there is but One. It is this One that creates for us, whatever we believe. Our thought operative through this One produces all our affairs. We are all centers in this Mind, centers of creative thought activity. There is nothing which appears in the manifest Universe other than an objectified thought, whether it be a bump on your head, a growth on your foot, or a planet. It could not be there were it not made out of Mind, for mind is all there is to make anything out of. Whatever is made is made out of it. Nothing exists or can exist without a source from which it springs.

We are not dealing with a negative as well as a positive Power—not two powers but one; a power that sees neither good nor evil as we see it. It knows only that it is all, and since it is all, it creates whatever is given it. From our limited standpoint we often think of good and evil; not realizing that, as yet, we do not know the one from the other. What we call good today, we may call evil tomorrow, and what we think to be evil today, we may tomorrow proclaim as the greatest good we have known. Not so with the Great Universal Power of Mind; It sees only Itself and Its infinite ability to create.

To the thinking person this will mean much; he will see that he is no longer living in a limited universe, a world of powers, but that he is immersed in an Infinite Creative Medium which, because of Its Nature, has to create for him whatever he believes. Jesus understood this, and in a few simple words, laid down the law of life: “It is done unto all people as they believe.” This is a great thing to keep in mind. It is done unto us; we do not have to do it, for it is done unto us of a power that knows itself to be all there is. Could we even believe that some material mountain would be moved, the power is there to do it. Without this belief there is no real impulse for the Creative Mind, and we do not get an affirmative answer. We must realize more clearly that this Great Power has to operate through us.



So… have I become insanely rich? Do I live in the home of my dreams? Do I have to “work”, or does money flow through my life by virtue of me doing whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want?

Well, not so fast.

There are some intermediate stages that one needs to traverse on the way to living one’s life according to Principle.

At this point, I’m working on learning how to give, even from what I sometimes consider to be an impoverished reservoir of goods. I’m working on feeling gratitude for the miracle that is my life — for the things I already have, which include (in no particular order) a personal book library do die for; a wife who is my love bird and my spiritual co-cosmonaut; a slack work schedule that opens up time for the better things in life; a rigorous and skillful contemplative practice, taught and supported by an amazing teacher who found his way into my life at precisely the right moment; another teacher, Rev. Gloria, who sees far more of me than I seem able to recognize, at least some of the time, and who knows exactly what to say when I need it most; a house over my head, affordable and private, spacious and comfortable, in a beautiful neighborhood in one of America’s garden spots; a family that loves me; and a strong sense that I’m on the right track for me, which is something I didn’t have for the longest time.

The idea is (and I believe it to be true), if we can see just how much goodness we already have in our life, we are then able to glimpse those things that would amplify it, expand it, and bring even more meaning to it. If we see how Spirit has already blessed us, we may “grok it” that there’s more where this came from. Slowly, by letting go of a mentality built on lack, need and insufficiency — by replacing it with a constant recognition of abundance and goodness — we make room for an expansion of our lives along the lines of our true nature, of our deepest desires, and of our spiritual “mission” in this existence.

It starts right here, right now, and it continues to challenge us as it gradually (yet thoroughly) integrates itself into the fabric of our lives.

It’s happening.

I can feel it.

And it is good.

Radical Reverend Bates

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Just a quick note of welcome to my new friend, Rev. Hank Bates of Desert Cities Religious Science in Palm Springs, CA.

His brand of Radical Religious Science appeals to my tendency toward taking a practice to its logical extreme — which is to say, I’ve no interest in watered-down spirituality, and Rev. Bates is all about walking the talk when it comes to the business of living in communion with the One Mind.

So, I’ve added his website to my blogroll, and am appreciative of his willingness to engage my earnest questions in a series of email conversations. For those interested in the prospect of 24/7 communion with All That Is, please check him out at the above link….

The Wisdom of Gandhi

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I just found an incredible site that is filled to bursting with Gandhi quotes. Here are some samples:

  • If you have faith in the cause and the means and in God, the sun will be cool for you.
  • A fear-stricken person can never know God, and one who knows God will never fear a mortal man.
  • The force of nonviolence is infinitely more wonderful and subtle than the material forces of nature, like electricity.
  • Forgiveness is the quality of the brave, not of the cowardly.
  • A life of sacrifice is the pinnacle of art, and is full of true joy.
  • The human society is a ceaseless growth, an unfoldment in terms of spirituality.
  • If it is man’s privilege to be independent, it is equally his duty to be inter–dependent.
  • An India awakened and free has a message of peace and goodwill to a groaning world.

Lots more of Gandhiji is available online:

In college I T.A.’d two classes on Gandhian nonviolence, and found it to be one of the most powerful experiences of my entire life. Popular conception says that nonviolence (usually derided as “pacifism”) is a gutless, cowardly way to avoid confrontation. Nothing could be further from the truth, and an honest, in-depth study of the Mahatma would leave no doubt in your mind that engaged nonviolence is not only a truly effective strategy against oppression, but one of the most intense spiritual exercises available to humanity.

Unfortunately, without a Gandhi to stand up as a living example to the masses, we cannot expect this most demanding of philosophies to arise automatically.

Thus, we must live the philosophy in our own lives, one person at a time, leaving mass movements to arise according to the Divine Plan.