“Adyashanti – Finding Your Own Integrity” 

Published on Aug 5, 2016

http://adyashanti.org – Adyashanti responds to a questioner who writes in asking about the role that responsibility plays in freedom. How can you be sure that the ego doesn’t hijack your motives and twist them into something else? By getting in touch with a deep integrity that resides within you, responsibility flowers into being, and self-obsession naturally dissolves away. Adyashanti brings you back to your natural concern for the world around you—how that keeps you grounded—and the infinite potential that lives within each of you.

Video excerpted from the live broadcast of “A Quiet Place Within,” November 4, 2015.
MP3 available at: http://tinyurl.com/hct2nu2

Quotes from this video:

“When we really experience genuine unity, then we really do experience that all beings and all things are not apart from us—that in their most fundamental sense, they are us.”

“The aspect of spirituality that is concerned about the world around us is very important because it keeps you honest and it keeps spirituality real, and it’s the protectant to spirituality becoming an object of the self-centered ego.”

“An immature idea of freedom is that it’s the freedom to do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it, irrespective of the consequences or the effect it has on others. That’s actually a delusion. That’s really not freedom. That’s the mind’s idea of freedom. That’s the ego using freedom in order to indulge in its own self-obsession.”

“Part of becoming conscious is also becoming more and more aware of that orienting principle inside—what I call one’s integrity.”

“Freedom does come with responsibility.”

Nothing Can Interfere with the Experience of Being Aware

Published on May 19, 2015

A discussion with a physician who has regrets about decisions in his life which adversely impacted his patients.

Your Redefining Moments: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be by Dennis Merritt Jones

Who does your soul ask you to be? In Your ReDefining Moments, Dennis Merritt Jones provides an exciting road map back to our center, where we will find our Authentic Self.

It can seem like every person, every television show, and every ad has an idea of who we are supposed to be. But who does your soul ask you to be? In Your ReDefining Moments , spiritual teacher Dennis Merritt Jones offers a road map back to your center, where you will find your Authentic Self. It is from that center, Merritt Jones shows, that you can live the life you were born for, rather than the tug-of-war so many people get caught up in, trying to be all things to all people, trying to be anyone but who they truly are.

In Your ReDefining Moments , you will discover the Seven Intrinsic Qualities of the Authentic Self:

1. Wholeness
2. Reverence
3. Fearlessness
4. Integrity
5. Non-attachment
6. Non-judgment
7. Unconditional Love

Being who you are matters; the gift of your Authentic Self is the gift you have come to share with the world.
Dennis Merritt Jones has been involved in the human potential movement and the field of spirituality for the majority of his life as a teacher, author and keynote speaker. His most recent award winning book is “The Art of Uncertainty ~ How to Live in the Mystery of Life and Love It.” Jones is also the award winning author of “The Art of Being ~ 101 Ways to Practice Purpose in Your Life” and “How to Speak Science of Mind.” Dennis writes a free weekly MindfulPurpose E-Message available through his website, http://www.DennisMerrittJones.com, and is a regular columnist for the Huffington Post

Dennis Merritt Jones: The Art of Uncertainty

Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit ~ Parker J. Palmer

At a critical time in American life, Parker J. Palmer looks with realism and hope at how to deal with our political tensions for the sake of the common good–without the shouting, blaming, or defaming so common in our politics today.

In his newest book, Parker J. Palmer builds on his own extensive experience as an inner life explorer and social change activist to examine the personal and social infrastructure of American politics. What he did for educators in The Courage to Teach he does here for citizens by looking at the dynamics of our inner lives for clues to reclaiming our civic well-being. In Healing the Heart of Democracy, he points the way to a politics rooted in the commonwealth of compassion and creativity still found among “We the People.”

“Democracy,” writes Palmer, “is a non-stop experiment in the strengths and weaknesses of our political institutions, local communities, and the human heart–and its outcome can never be taken for granted. The experiment is endless, unless we blow up the lab, and the explosives to do the job are found within us. But so also is the heart’s alchemy that can turn suffering into compassion, conflict into community, and tension into energy for creativity amid democracy’s demands.”

Healing the Heart of Democracy names the “habits of the heart” we need to revitalize our politics and shows how they can be formed in the everyday venues of our lives. Palmer proposes practical and hopeful methods to hold the tensions of our differences in a manner that can help restore a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Click Here To Browse Inside
PARKER J. PALMER is a writer, teacher and activist whose work speaks deeply to people in many walks of life. He is founder and senior partner of the Center for Courage & Renewal. His books include “A Hidden Wholeness,” “Let Your Life Speak,” “The Courage to Teach,” “The Active Life,” “To Know as We Are Known,” “The Company of Strangers,” “The Promise of Paradox,” “The Heart of Higher Education,” and “Healing the Heart of Democracy.”

He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, as well as eleven honorary doctorates, two Distinguished Achievement Awards from the National Educational Press Association, and an Award of Excellence from the Associated Church Press. In 1998, the Leadership Project, a national survey of 10,000 educators, named him one of the thirty most influential senior leaders in higher education and one of the ten key agenda-setters of the past decade.

In 2010, he was given the William Rainey Harper Award (previously won by Margaret Mead, Marshall McLuhan, Paulo Freire, and Elie Wiesel). “Living the Questions: Essays Inspired by the Work and Life of Parker J. Palmer,” was published in 2005. In 2011, the Utne Reader named him as one of “25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World”–people who “don’t just think out loud but who walk their talk on a daily basis.” (See the Oct-Nov 2011 print or online edition.) He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

For those of us who want to see democracy survive and thrive—and we are legion—the heart is where everything begins: that grounded place in each of us where we can overcome fear, rediscover that we are members of one another, and embrace the conflicts that threaten democracy as openings to new life for us and for our nation.

— from the “Prelude” in Parker J. Palmer’s Healing the Heart of Democracy
Click Here To View

THRIVE DVD with Foster Gamble – An Audio Interview

Foster Gamble is the Creator and Host for THRIVE the movie, an unconventional documentary that lifts the veil on what’s really going on in our world by following the money upstream and uncovering the global consolidation of power in nearly every aspect of our lives.

Foster Gamble

A direct descendant of the late James Gamble, Soap-maker and Founder of Proctor and Gamble, he was groomed to be a leader in the establishment, but chose a different path. He immersed himself in science and in the exploration of consciousness and human potential, and THRIVE represents the convergence of these two paths. After meticulously researching and documenting what and how the reality of our existence in the 21st century is being manipulated, Foster connects the dots between the financial elites and the banking, energy, food and health industries, alien and space-age technology. He puts into sharp relief the consequences of continuing on this path, and suggests pragmatic solutions for change.

Miriam Knight of NCR

View Here for the audio interview with Miriam Knight of NCR.

For those viewers who want to re-visit to view the incredible movie,
View Here

OR review on the previous video interview,View Here

THRIVE: What on Earth Will it Take? by ThriveMovement

About THRIVE: What on Earth Will it Take?

THRIVE is an unconventional documentary that lifts the veil on what’s REALLY going on in our world by following the money upstream — uncovering the global consolidation of power in nearly every aspect of our lives. Weaving together breakthroughs in science, consciousness and activism, THRIVE offers real solutions, empowering us with unprecedented and bold strategies for reclaiming our lives and our future.


Duane Elgin, Nassim Haramein, Steven Greer, Jack Kasher, Daniel Sheehan, Adam Trombly, Brian O’Leary, Vandana Shiva, John Gatto, Deepak Chopra, David Icke, Catherine Austin Fitts, G. Edward Griffin, Bill Still, John Perkins, Paul Hawken, Aqeela Sherrills, Evon Peter, Angel Kyodo Williams, Elisabet Sahtouris, Amy Goodman, and Barbara Marx Hubbard.

In order to make THRIVE accessible to a worldwide audience, the movie has been dubbed in 9 additional languages: Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.

Gary Zukav and Linda Francis: Spiritual Partnership and Authentic Power

In Spiritual Partnership, bestselling author Gary Zukav reveals a profound new relationship dynamic that enables us to reach our full potential and create authentic power and a joyful life. Spiritual partnerships are not only for couples in marriage; they can be created anywhere two or more individuals decide to engage as equals for the purpose of spiritual development.

In this extraordinary book, Gary Zukav shares a revolutionary new approach to life, relationship, and evolution. Filled with poignant examples and including specific guidelines, Spiritual Partnership empowers and enables you to explore your emotions, your intentions, your choices, and your intuition and to use them to create profound spiritual growth. Deepen your joy. Begin the journey to authentic power today. Deepen your joy. Begin the journey to authentic power today. The world is changing around you and within you, and Spiritual Partnership is the road map to that change.

A Personal Note from Gary Zukav

I wrote Spiritual Partnership: The Journey to Authentic Power, to try to get out of my own cage. I wanted, and needed, to connect with people, not just reach them, but really connect for my own well being and hopefully for theirs as well.

I have learned that the difficult times in my life are not because of other people, they are because of me. They occur because of parts of my personality that are painful to experience. When I am with someone who brings them up in me, that is a painful time, but I know that it is not about the other person when I feel angry or impatient or irritable. It is about me, and so I am intent to use my experiences with others to learn about me so that I can change me because I am really tired of trying to change other people. And not only am I tired of it, I don’t want to. It doesn’t feel good. I know deep in me that it is a wrong path for me to take, and I feel that it is a painful path for anyone to take.

Spiritual partnership is a partnership with another person or other people who feel the same way. It is a partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth. So when my spiritual partners and I have difficult interactions, we do not point fingers at each other, we try our best to respond instead of react, and to support one another in doing that also. Spiritual partnership is a new kind of relationship, a different kind of relationship. We do more than talk about hair styles, life styles, car styles, children, and work. We do all those things too but those conversations take on a different meaning. While I am having them, I am noticing what I am feeling. I’m noticing if anything gets triggered in me and if it does, I pay attention to it, especially if I am becoming upset because those are the experiences that keep me from loving. They keep me apart from people.

“You cannot heal the fear of another and no one can heal yours, but you can inspire others with your emotional awareness, responsible choices, intuition and trust in the Universe.
—Gary Zukav

For a long time I thought that if I could change people enough, and get some that were just right around me, it would be easy to be loving, but it doesn’t work like that because everybody has parts of her or his personality that are loving and also parts that are not loving. I would say the not-loving parts are the frightened parts of the personality, the parts that are angry, jealous, vengeful, feel superior, feel inferior, etc. And when these parts become active, and this always happens sooner or later, that’s when the learning potential begins. Of course, it also begins when the loving parts come out, the parts that are grateful, patient, appreciative, content, etc. Being a spiritual partner means really wanting to support people because you see when they are in pain how they might learn from their pain, too, if they’re open. If they’re open.

My focus is on changing myself because I know that other people can’t change me, but I also know that each of my spiritual partners wants to change himself or herself, too. He wants to find and challenge the painful, destructive parts of his personality and cultivate the constructive, blissful parts of his personality, and so I assist him whenever I think I see that they might be active. I don’t just say, “This is what is happening in you, and this is what you ought to do.” I ask her if she is open to looking at something that I think I might be seeing. For example, some parts of my personality that I have become very familiar with over years feel superior, entitled, impatient, and don’t really care about the needs of others, but not everybody is like that. One of my spiritual partners feels a need to please other people when a frightened part of her personality is active; to see them smile or value her because of what she can do or give. So when I see that part come out in her behaviors and thoughts and attitudes, if she is open I will help her see them. And there are specific ways, very helpful ways that we can assist one another. This book gives them to you.

Once I started this book I kept writing because it felt so good. I love it when creativity begins to flow and I can think of a better way to express something—a story, or a metaphor, or a process. I love that experience of sharing. The more I stretched myself to think, “How can I say this in a way that is not by rote? How can I not take refuge in what I know how to say but really communicate in an even more meaningful way?” the deeper my understanding of spiritual partnership became and the stronger my ability to share it. One idea lead to another, one chapter lead to another, and after a few chapters I began to see an outline for the book, and that outline became WHY, WHAT, HOW, and WHO. That’s how this book unfolded.

There is a saying that people teach what they really need to learn. Doing this in a heart-felt way has worked well for me. I can tell that I am becoming more able to connect with people because to my surprise I have become interested in them. Let me put it this way, I am aware now, much more aware of how important people are to me than I have been in the past. I like hearing their stories. I like hearing what is happening in their lives. For example, Linda Francis, the spiritual partner I live with, and I met a couple on a plane and found them to be wonderful. He told me that he has pancreatic cancer and that he and his wife were going on a cruise to Mexico. When he learned that his illness was terminal, he realized that he could spend his last days in a hospital, but that didn’t sound inviting to him. Or he could spend them really living his life, and that invited him. That is what he is doing. What I really like about him is his aliveness, his interest, his interest in me and his excitement for what I am doing. He is as grounded as he is delightful and vibrant. He said, “I am a little afraid of what it will be like to die. I am not sure about that. I know I am going to get sick. I have done my homework on pancreatic cancer. It is an ugly way to die, but I feel so alive and so grateful for every moment.” In the little time we were together, I learned about myself as well as about him, but mostly I enjoyed myself and I enjoyed him, and I feel that he enjoyed himself and he enjoyed me.

Open Your Heart

So those are the kind of experiences that are coming into my life now. And I also know that when it comes to spirituality, I am not special. If I can create authentic power and spiritual partnerships, you can. If I can make the journey from an angry, drug-using, sex-addicted, motorcycle-riding, angry—did I mention angry?—young man to someone who is now enjoying becoming an elder, anyone can. As I began to open my heart up many wonderful role models came into my life over the years, men and women who have opened their hearts or are opening them, and they are still coming. Perhaps I can be one of those role models for you, and you can be one for someone else. We are all opening our hearts, but it is not a matter of opening your heart and, there, that’s a done deal. It is a matter of continuing to open your heart moment by moment. This book is about that, and how to do it.

Gary Zukav

Spiritual partners Gary Zukav and Linda Francis invite you to create spiritual partnerships and authentic power. Learn about meaningful relationships, emotional awareness, and responsible choice.

Gary Zukav is a spiritual teacher and author of four consecutive New York Times bestsellers. Beginning in 1998, Zukav appeared more than 30 times on The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss transformation in human consciousness concepts presented in The Seat of the Soul.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Zukav

Linda Francis has been practicing the creation of authentic power since she read The Seat of the Soul in 1989. In 1993 she met Gary Zukav and they created a spiritual partnership which is in its eighteenth year.

During this time, she co-authored with Gary two New York Times bestsellers, The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness and The Mind of the Soul: Responsible Choice. They also co-created Thoughts from the Heart of the Soul and Self-Empowerment Journal: A Companion to the Mind of the Soul.

Linda is a co-founder of the Seat of the Soul Institute, the premier organization dedicated to assisting individuals in the alignment of the personality with the soul—the creation of authentic power.

Linda has been in the healing profession for three decades, first as a registered nurse and then as a chiropractor. At the present time, she is involved fully in co-creating curricula and events with Gary. Linda also guides the Authentic Power Program, which is designed to give people the tools to create authentic power and spiritual partnership in their everyday lives. http://seatofthesoul.com/about/linda-francis/

Spiritual Bypassing – When Spirituality Disconnects Us from What Really Matters Written by Robert Augustus Masters, Ph.D.Author


Spiritual bypassing—the use of spiritual beliefs to avoid dealing with painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs—is so pervasive that it goes largely unnoticed. The spiritual ideals of any tradition, whether Christian commandments or Buddhist precepts, can provide easy justification for practitioners to duck uncomfortable feelings in favor of more seemingly enlightened activity. When split off from fundamental psychological needs, such actions often do much more harm than good.

While other authors have touched on the subject, this is the first book fully devoted to spiritual bypassing. In the lineage of Chögyam Trungpa’s landmark Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Spiritual Bypassing provides an in-depth look at the unresolved or ignored psychological issues often masked as spirituality, including self-judgment, excessive niceness, and emotional dissociation.

A longtime psychotherapist with an engaging writing style, Masters furthers the body of psychological insight into how we use (and abuse) religion in often unconscious ways. This book will hold particular appeal for those who grew up with an unstructured new-age spirituality now looking for a more mature spiritual practice, and for anyone seeking increased self-awareness and a more robust relationship with themselves and others.

Questions about Spiritual Bypassing

In this video interview Robert address questions relating to his new book “Spiritual Bypassing”.

The questions answered in this video are:

1) What compelled you to write the book Spiritual Bypassing?

2) Do you think that Spiritual Bypassing will transform everyone who reads it?

Robert Augustus Masters – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

Robert Augustus Masters, Ph.D., is the author of 11 books (including Transformation Through Intimacy and Spiritual Bypassing), a relationship expert, a spiritual teacher, and a highly experienced psychotherapist (and trainer of psychotherapists) with a doctorate in Psychology. His uniquely integral, intuitive work (developed over the past 33 years) dynamically blends the psychological and physical with the spiritual, emphasizing full-blooded embodiment, authenticity, emotional openness and literacy, deep shadow work, and the development of relational maturity.

At essence his work is about becoming more intimate with all that we are, in the service of deep healing, awakening, and integration. In all this he works side-by-side and in very close conjunction with Diane, his wife and partner in all things. His websites are http://www.robertmasters.com and http://www.masterscenter.net.

Healing the heart of Humanity

Humanity Healing Network invites you to embrace a revolutionary concept:
The Integrity of Human Nature
By valuing the Integrity of our fellow man
We can renew the Human Species

What Drives YOU? Take Our Core Values Quiz ~John Tsilimparis

Whether we know it or not, we all possess core values that drive our existence. These values are the pillars that support the infrastructure of our lives. They are the reason why we get up in the morning. They are also the fabric of who we are as individuals, because our values — things that are important to us — give us meaning and a sense of identity. Through the years, our core values tend to be neglected or put aside, especially if we have become depressed or preoccupied with excessive worry over life’s unavoidable difficulties. As a result, our self-esteem takes a big hit because we have lost our sense of direction. And, without that direction and purpose we don’t know who we are. Realigning ourselves with our core values will gives us insight into where we can begin to put our energy immediately, and what to begin focusing on as part of the process of rebuilding our self-esteem.

When we rediscover our core values and make a conscious decision to live by them as best we can, we gradually begin to see changes in our lives. And, over time, we start to feel better because we are in harmony with ourselves.

When I give this assignment to my patients (“Rediscovering Core Values”), many report the exercise brings up discomfort because the direct and deliberate focusing on the “self” feels overly indulgent. For example, feelings of shame are inspired, perhaps from the many years of deflecting personal attention. In many cultures it is the norm to put oneself second to the needs of others and to think of you as part of a whole, instead of a separate individual.

But one of the many aspects of building self-esteem is in fact, identifying and acknowledging our separateness in relation to others. But we need to keep in mind that the healthy separateness we are discussing here is not intended to mean indifference or even contentiousness with others. If we can appreciate our uniqueness and value as a person, we may be able to appreciate that in others too.


The following is a list of possible life values that may inspire ideas about our own personal core values that are important to us. Keep in mind that “life” itself cannot be used as a value for this exercise because it is too broad. The idea is to get as specific as possible.

Material things are also not workable for this exercise because they are not the kinds of values we are talking about. Therefore, things like money, 401k’s, real estate, cars even our iPods and smartphones are not considered values.

Please place a check mark next to the values that feel right for you. Or as mentioned, come up with your own:

_____Commitment to Family _____Commitment to Spouse/Partner

_____Commitment to Community _____Commitment to God

_____Spirituality _____Health

_____Nutrition _____Exercise

_____Integrity _____Responsibility

_____Self-Respect _____Honesty

_____Self-Reliance _____Sense of Humor

The next step is to think about what it means to begin living into at least two of these values one time per day. In other words, what actions are we willing to commit to taking each day that are in accord with these values?

For example, if one of our identified core values is our sense of Integrity and we are going to align our behaviors with that value, we may decide to make amends with a friend or an acquaintance we have fallen out of communication with in the past. We may call up a family member and perhaps open up a dialogue about an issue that is unresolved between us. Or we may be inspired to follow through on a task or a goal we have put off for a while that has been eating away at us and making us feel inadequate.

If another identified core value is say, our spirituality and we are making a conscious decision to align our behaviors with it, we may choose to engage in some mindfulness meditation in the morning before work or afterwards. We may choose to attend services at a place of worship, we may even pick up reading materials that inspire us and reconnect us to whatever our higher power is. We may decide to be in the presence of nature such as walking in a park, on the beach or hiking in the forest. Or we may even decide to just sit somewhere quietly during our lunch break and take in the sights around us.

So, after identifying two of your most important core values, use the following exercise to begin:


Core value #1 – Spirituality or connecting to higher power

Actions I will take today:

1) I will practice mindfulness and/or meditation exercises every morning for 15-20 minutes before I go to work.

2) I will attend church, synagogue or mosque, etc., 1 time per week for services and
while I am there, I will engage in conversation with 1-2 new people.

3) I will do 30 minutes of mindfulness walking in nature at a park, beach, forest, etc.

Exercise: List of Actions/Actions

(The list will comprise of planned actions/activities you will schedule or commit to one time per day.)

Core value #1___________________________________________________

Actions I will take today:







Core value #2____________________________________________________

Actions I will take today:







If we do this exercise one time per day, every day for one month, we may notice a change or a shift in our thinking about ourselves and about our place in the world.

John Tsilimparis is a writer and psychotherapist in Los Angeles and was featured on the hit TV show “OBSESSED,” where he treated individuals with OCD on camera. The show aired on A&E and received a great deal of exposure and success. John has also appeared on television as an expert on addiction and other psychiatric conditions. He was featured on “Larry King Live,” “The View,” Fox News, KTLA-News, and ABC News. He was also featured on several radio programs in the Los Angeles area.

In his psychotherapy work, he treats individuals suffering from anxiety disorders, particularly OCD, depression and addiction, and also specializes in bereavement counseling. His approach is a cutting-edge theoretical orientation called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which focuses on changing individuals’ personal thinking and belief systems about every aspect of life.

John is a former staff clinician at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Bever

Who Was Confucius and Why Does it Matter ? ~ Rodney L. Taylor, Ph.D

Confucius was born in the 6th Century B.C.E. in the small state of Lu, located in the present Shantung peninsula. He lived during the Chou Dynasty at a point when the central authority of the dynasty was being challenged by the growth of increasingly powerful states attempting to challenge the power of the central government. Confucius himself was a member of what was referred to as the ju, a class of people primarily occupied with the study of writing from the earliest generations of the Chou period, the writings that become known as the ching or Classics, numbering five or six, but accruing additional numbers with the passage of time. So Confucius was essentially a scholar of his time.

Confucius can be understood in his historic context. That context is the slow disintegration of the stability and order of the political order of his day. His focus is upon a series of writings that described the harmonious ways of the generations before him and even further in the past, a time when sages, sheng, brought their wisdom to the governing of the world. For Confucius the Classics were the documentation that when sages governed, the world was ordered. This concept of order was defined largely in terms of a moral code of humaneness, the concept of jen, goodness, exercised by the sage rulers toward their subjects and in turn became the governing principle for all people in society.

The contrast between what Confucius read of the records of the ancients and his own age was stark. As a result Confucius sought to bring the ways of the ancients to his own generation. For many years he traveled from state to state, often at great personal risk, to attempt to inculcate the teachings of moral goodness to the rulers of the various states

In this endeavor he was a remarkable failure! No ruler was interested in a teaching of moral goodness. Is it any different today? What a surprise, such rulers were only interested in strategies to guarantee their own sustaining power and authority! Finally with no measurable success, Confucius retired to his home state and gathered increasing numbers of students around him, teaching the moral principles of the ancient sages. The formal biography ends with his role as a teacher, but his influence began with his role as a teacher.

And what was the nature of these teachings? He stressed the need to learn, hsüeh, to engage in study of the Classics and the ways of the ancient sages. His hope was that through these teachings the world would be brought back to a state of harmony and order and all society would live at peace. What were the underlying features of these teaching? The focus was upon the cultivation of a moral self, self defined in terms goodness, caring, compassion, altruism and benevolence. There are many specific teachings corresponding to these various ideas but when Confucius was asked by his disciples whether there was not one principle idea running through his teaching, he answered by saying that the “single thread” of his teachings could best be described by the term shu, most frequently translated as reciprocity.

The term reciprocity is central to Confucian teachings. The Chinese character is composed of two parts: one part means “to be like,” the second part means “heart” or “mind.” Taken together the character means literally “like-hearted” or “like-minded,” suggesting one shows care to another. It could be expressed by our word sympathy, but sympathy suggests condescension of attitude and that is not implied. Our word empathy, however, strikes at the quintessential meaning. So reciprocity is empathy. But Confucius himself goes on to define the term in a sentence sounding remarkably familiar to our Western ears: “Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you.” Confucian teaching is articulated in no more basic moral axiom then this statement and it remains foundational throughout the history of the Confucian tradition.

Why does it matter who Confucius was? To answer this question we need to understand that in the centuries following Confucus’ death, his teaching rose to a position of greater and greater prominence in two spheres. Confucian teachings became the official ideology of the Chinese state, a position it held with virtually no break until into the 20th century. On the individual level, Confucian teachings became the central focus of individual learning and moral cultivation, the goal to become a moral person modeled upon the sages of antiquity.

And this aspect of Confucian teachings lasted not only into the 20th century but to our own day and presumably into the future. Historically we also witness the spread of Confucian teaching at both levels from China to both Korea and Japan and into South East Asia as well. The entire East Asian and South East Asia spheres have been dominated by Confucian values through out their history. To understand the thought and values of East and South East Asia, particularly in our own day, we simply must understand the teachings of this man Confucius.

But it goes further: to understand why Confucian teachings addressed not only the ideology of the state, but found their true focus upon the learning of the self to create a moral self, we must understand this man Confucius. Why? Is it important to create a moral self in a world not unlike the chaos of the world Confucius himself faced? Are we so very different? Have we travelled so very far from that fundamental necessity of finding the single thread of reciprocity and living by its virtue? Perhaps we all need to return to the simple teachings of Confucius to reacquaint ourselves with the simplest principles of living as a moral person and thereby creating a moral world. The message of Confucius is nothing more than the call to each person to fulfill his or her capacity of goodness, jen, and thereby, one by one, transform the world from what it is, to what can be and ought to be.

Dr. Rodney L. Taylor, Professor of Religious Studies at University of Colorado at Boulder for more than 30 years, received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in East Asian religion. His principle area of specialization is the understanding of Confucianism as a religious tradition both historically and in the modern world where Confucianism can be a voice in the contemporary discussion of religion and spirituality.

His books include: The Religious Dimensions of Confucianism; The Way of Heaven; The Confucian Way of Contemplation; The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Confucianism; Confucianism (high school text); The Cultivation of Sagehood as a Religious Goal in Neo-Confucianism; They Shall Not Hurt: Human Suffering and Human Caring (with Dr. Jean Watson); The Holy Book in Comparative Perspective (with Dr. Frederick Denny) and his most recent volume, Confucius, the Analects: The Path of the Sage from Skylight Paths.

Twenty-six centuries after their origination, the principles laid down in the Analects of Confucius still act as the foundation of Chinese philosophy, ethics, society and government, and play a formative role in the development of many Eastern philosophies. In this intriguing look at the ethical and spiritual meaning of the Analects, Rodney L. Taylor, the foremost American researcher of Confucius as a religious and spiritual figure, explains their profound and universal wisdom for our own time. He shows how Confucius advocates learning and self-cultivation to follow the “path of the sage” or “Way of Heaven,” a journey that promises to promote reason, peace and understanding.

Alongside an updated version of the classic translation by Sinologist James Legge, Taylor provides informative and accessible commentary that illuminates the meaning behind selected passages from the Analects and their insights on character development, respect and reverence, and the nature of learning, goodness, truthfulness and righteousness.

The Search for the Corporate Soul by David Ring

We live in exciting times it seems. In the recent Queens speech debate, Tony Blair claimed that a new Industrial Revolution is currently taking place; one which will take not two hundred years to transform our way of life, but twenty.

This revolution is being both enabled by and driven via the Internet. The ramifications are immense in terms of the nature and structure of work and the way we conduct our lives. The implications for managers and leaders of organizations are no less profound.

My own work centers around helping people and organizations to change, but more specifically to enable people to find more meaning and purpose in their work and hopefully their lives. Most organizations with whom I work are finding it harder and harder to cope with the overwhelming demands placed upon them both to change and to demonstrate continuous improvement along the way.

There is in my view a fundamental crisis developing in much of British industry and the public sector. This crisis is often vocalized by management as a morale problem or a demotivated workforce, whilst others describe it as the product of work-stress and overload. What most people do not express however, and what most senior managers will never admit, is that they have absolutely no idea as to what to do about it.

If Tony Blair is right, those people aged thirty-five to forty who currently occupy middle or senior management positions are, in the course of their own careers, going to have to manage the historical equivalent of two hundred years of change in working practices. Furthermore, they will have to do so in a climate in which a substantial percentage of their staff feel overworked and bewildered by the pace of recent change. Under pressure to become ever more efficient, managers are running out (at least in the private sector) of fads and quality schemes with which to improve productivity and commitment. It has finally sunk in that the quick fixes simply do not work. The quality programmes have run out of steam, by which people mean: “The results, after an initial burst of success have not resulted in the kind of sustained improvement we had hoped for.”

Not that there is anything inherently wrong in the quality systems, but the central tenet of the quality movement points out that 95% of the problems are the fault of the system. Whereas typical organizational improvement programmes are aimed at changing the people, not the system. It is also in my view a failure by the leadership of organizations to realise that if the organization is going to have to change then they themselves are going to have to change.

All too often, culture change and employee development is something senior managers view as being something those that work for them are in need of. They need only manage the process. Managing change is recognized as the most important skill requirement of modern managers. Personal growth and change is not usually even on the agenda.

The search is now on for a new system of managing that is congruent with our times and the new values and mission statements so popular in the eighties and nineties. Whilst we are on the verge of a technological revolution (if recent business titles are any indicator), we are also on the verge of a spiritual revolution. It would seem that the search is now on for the corporate soul.

With intellectual heavyweights like Charles Handy trumpeting the call for us to question our corporate “reason for being,” it is evident that the business world has begun to take notice. With companies like Boeing Corporation hiring the poet David Whyte as part of a programme to uplift the spirits and creativity of its managers, we can be assured that spirituality has finally arrived in the corporate boardroom.

And so, the search for the corporate spirit is on. The major question in my mind however, and one that remains to be answered, is why? What exactly is driving this shift toward the sublime? One thing that seems clear is that it has become fashionable in recent years to talk about the softer issues in management, to consider people as whole human beings with emotional and spiritual needs which cannot be ignored.

One only has to look at the proliferation of Employee Assistance Programs, Stress Reduction Schemes, and Staff Counselling and Welfare provisions to find evidence for this. We appear to be living in, or at least moving towards, a culture in which the well-being of staff is seen as a priority within organizations. But as we become a more litigacious society and, given recent test cases requiring employers to observe a duty of care to not only employees physical but also mental well being, one can be forgiven for suspecting motives.

Much is being written on this subject, and many people are beginning to question the role of business and the assumption that the sole purpose of business is to make a profit. “Profit for what?” is the question asked by Charles Handy in a recent work interestingly titled The Hungry Spirit. People are questioning the fundamental structure, power relationships and ownership of our institutions.

Talk of devolution of power, empowered organizations, spirituality in the workplace, etc. is being driven by something. But we are faced with an apparent paradox: big businesses, in their current structure, simply do not work as enterprises which serve the spiritual needs of their employees. This is hardly surprising, since they were never designed to do so. At the risk of stating the exceedingly obvious, the bottom line of business is to make a profit.

I must confess to a certain amount of ambivalence. The cynic within me might argue that the real reason that business has begun to embrace spirituality is born out of financial and economic desperation rather than compassion. If all else fails, why not seek divine inspiration as a last resort. But nonetheless, I remain cautiously optimistic.

The search for the corporate soul is on – and with it the need to find an authentic spirituality, one that is congruent with both spiritual traditions and the profit motive. Can western capitalist models of “for profit” organizations ever be reconciled with either eastern or western forms of spirituality, with their eschewing of material values (surely this is anathema)? Can one reconcile “awakening corporate soul” with the maximization of return to shareholders? Can the interests of the owners and other stakeholders be balanced? These are the pressing issues facing leaders of business today. My answer is an emphatic yes! But to explore this apparent paradox we must first define our terms.

Much of the argument in this debate will no doubt center around what we mean by spirituality, spirit, soul, religion, dogma, etc… we all know this old chestnut, and no doubt we will hear it again and again as spirituality takes hold as the preoccupation in every field, from science to art to sport to politics. We should be careful, however, not to mistake a growing interest in spirituality with a growing openness to explore its meaning.

As recent events show, Glenn Hoddle has been made a martyr for saying simply what a large proportion of the people on this planet believe, namely that our birth circumstances are determined a priori either as a result of karma or choice. No, the establishment, it seems, is far from ready to take an enlightened look at what other wisdom traditions may offer. For the moment anyway, political correctness is still much more important than the notion that there might be more to our physical life circumstances than the purely material, biological or genetic factors.

If commercial organizations are to fare any better at the hands of shareholders and the establishment, then they had better watch what they say, and to whom they say it. And herein lies the first great barrier to liberation of “corporate soul”: they lay themselves open to ridicule, but this is precisely what an authentic spirituality calls for. We can see clearly how the city treats the “romantic” notions of its leaders, with just one recent example: witness the treatment of Rocco Forte in the battle for control of his hotel group in the hostile takeover bid by Granada.

If the recent TV programme is a fair reflection it would seem stating your desire to put employees before short term profit is enough to condemn you as incompetent and out of touch. No, we must be more realistic, we should welcome the current trend as evidence of corporations recognizing the need to address spiritual issues, but settle ourselves in for a long and tough ride – which is, of course, just how it should be. Any individual who has experienced personal growth, especially into the higher realms (above the emotional and into the transpersonal), will bear witness that this is always an excruciatingly painful process and one which takes a lifetime. Why should corporations have it any easier?

So here we see the emergence of the second barrier to organizational growth: the timeframe involved. The arguments and problems of short-termism in our economy are well known. This factor alone will mitigate against organizations’ attempts at liberating soul. Ignoring the fact that growth can be slow and often involves periods of pain, the rewards are very often not what was expected or sought. Convincing organizations to undertake a perilous, long journey with no guarantees as to even the destination, expecting stormy weather and certainly encountering despair, this is a seemingly impossible task. And yet this is precisely what will need to be done, and what an authentic spirituality calls for. The path of the spiritual adventurer is a lonely one; few have the courage to take it.

But (and perhaps here lies our most optimistic prospect), there there is no longer any choice. It is inevitable that we recognise the only long term strategy offering any enduring hope is to open oneself to the possibility that there may be another way.

I started this article by saying that it is possible to integrate an authentic spirituality with business, that this integration is indeed possible. Why my emphatic yes? Well, in fact, the argument does not even arise once we correctly define spirit and stop confusing it with soul or corporate soul. What do the great wisdom traditions tell us about God, Spirit, the ultimate ground of being, Atman, Gaia, Ati, Nirvana, Enlightenment, however you personally wish to recognize it. All of them point to the fact that spirit is all embracing, all encompassing, everywhere and everything. In eastern traditions particularly, you are already enlightened spirit, the act of grasping or trying to attain it is simply to deny Spirit.

Spirit pervades, includes, and composes every realm – material, emotional, mental, social, cultural – it is all manifestation of Spirit. Carl Jung supposedly had a sign over his study saying, “Invited or not, God is present.” In the act of attempting to grasp spirit or soul, to liberate what is already present, organizations fall prey (just as individuals do) to the Buddhist notion of samsara, and thus perpetuate and exacerbate the problem.

Even logically, if the management of an organization sets out to awaken its corporate soul, then it means that they must recognize its presence. But it was there all along; it did not manifest only after being acknowledged and added to the corporate mission statement. Organizations can indeed liberate the soul, if by that they mean make the workplace a fit and worthy place for the soul to shine in. They can liberate and engage the submerged iceberg of skill, talent and energy that lies both fallow and neglected in most organizations. But they are guilty of the worst form of spiritual materialism and reductionism if they believe that they can appropriate, or buy, peoples’ souls in the pursuit of material gain.

Workplace communities, fluid project teams and networks, these are indeed the way of the future. They are the template for future organizational structures. Indeed business organizations are realizing that to retain their life force they will need to cater to employees higher needs, lest they end up as sinking ships, with nothing more than hydrophobic rodents as crewmates. In attempting to incorporate spiritual values into a new ethical business structure, however, leaders must also be mindful, to render unto Caesar only that which is rightfully his.

David Ring is the owner of The Personal Development Partnership of Manchester, England, whose purpose is to help organizations recognize the need to raise their heads from the numbers and integrate an authentic and sincere spirituality in their workplace. He has run workshops entitled Managing Change in the Workplace for The British Association for Counselling and The Association for Counselling at Work. he can be contacted by email at david@thepdp.co.uk and on the web at http://www.integral-business.com

Muhammad and the Litmus Test ~ Deepak Chopra

Does the truth need to pass a litmus test? When you tell the truth about anyone’s religion, the answer isn’t so clear. Before I engaged in writing a novel on the life of Muhammad, the risks were only too apparent. Islam was a hot-button issue. Tempers were running high. Looming large were the fatwa and Salman Rushdie’s controversial novel, The Satanic Verses, and the worldwide uprising among Muslims over a cartoon in a Danish newspaper that was thought to blaspheme against the Prophet. Therefore, simply to set down the events of Muhammad’s life — events that are by turns gripping, exciting, disturbing, and inspiring — leads directly into an inflamed debate.

To me, the danger of writing about Muhammad are, frankly, a red herring. You can’t know what is safe to say these days and what isn’t. Before he backed down at the urging of President Obama and others , an obscure Florida pastor with less than a hundred in his congregation, proposed, against all sense, decency, and caution, that everyone join in Burn-a-Koran Day to commemorate 9/11.

Terry Jones feels perfectly safe to incite potential violence, because he has prayed over it, and apparently his God can’t stand Allah (I thought they were the same God) and favors ignorant intolerance. By lineage, Jews, Christians, and Muslims share The Book, meaning the same antecedents in the Old Testament, which each faith interprets so that it comes out number one. Being “people of The Book,” a term frequently used when discussing the relationship between Islam and Judaism, hasn’t stopped historical feuding and bloodbaths.

To keep their claims of absolute divine truth, each religion has learned to moderate its criticism of other faiths. It’s not so much live and let live as people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Your founder walked on water? Yours heard a voice in a burning bush? Yours was visited in a cave by the angel Gabriel? From inside the faith, these are articles of belief that cannot be questioned. If you stand outside the faith, they seem unreasonable, to use the mildest term possible.

As a non-Muslim, I was writing from outside the faith. Therefore, I didn’t challenge the accepted life of Muhammad as taught for over a thousand years to all devout Muslims. Yet at the same time I couldn’t give them only the aspects of their Beloved that are the most attractive. Muhammad, viewed as a historical figure, was involved in military campaigns; he asked God to strategize the battles. At one point he ordered the execution of Jews who had collaborated with the enemy. He was told by God to marry a girl of six who was betrothed to another man.

I didn’t judge any of this from a modern perspective. Child marriage was part of a society that existed across enormous gulfs of time and mores, just as the ancient Greeks do. Once you apply litmus tests to someone else’s faith, the result is guaranteed to be explosive. Fundamentalists in all religions don’t care. The benighted Terry Jones has counterparts in the Islamic world who are just as disturbing, and both say “God wants me to do this.” It’s not up to me or any chronicler of Islam to judge either side of religious conflict.

To me, putting on my writer’s cap, the only muse that must be honored is the truth, told with respect and without distortion. The great enemy here is denial. None of us has the right to deny another person the dignity of faith, and by the same token, no person of faith has the right to claim sole ownership of the facts. Outsiders are allowed to peer in the window of churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues. Those inside then have a choice: slam t window shut or open it and let in some light.

Published San Francisco Chronicle

Andrew Harvey and Swami Chidanand Saraswati

At the IONS 2007 conference, Andrew Harvey and Swami Chidanand Saraswati respond to the question ‘What do you see as right spiritual action in relationship to the current war in Iraq?

Andrew discusses authentic spiritual movement and leadership in America and a need to discover a new way of living. The Swami agrees and suggests we light a candle in the darkness of what has happened and pray for all involved.

Spiritual Slavery and the Prostitution of the Soul

A Dialogue with Andrew Cohen

Question: I’m very confused about this matter of ethical conduct and its relationship to the enlightened understanding that you speak so much about. Why is it that so many gurus seem to be prey to the very same weaknesses as ordinary people? I would have thought that an ego that had died would not be able to act in the same selfish way as people who did not claim to be enlightened.

AC: Maybe in the cases that you are speaking about, the ego didn’t die. Maybe in these cases, there is a fully intact ego coexisting with a profound realization. Most people don’t realize that ego and profound realization can coexist. It is for that reason that so many people have gotten into trouble.

Q: But I don’t understand how, even after the failings of the guru have become obvious, people will still allow themselves to be taken advantage of. They often will continue to be followers in the face of unethical behavior, and in some cases even gross abuse.

A: Often when a person meets a teacher in whom the Absolute is manifesting to a powerful degree, their heart will open up unexpectedly. They may experience unusual insight and understanding just through mere association with this kind of extraordinary individual.

After this kind of experience it is easy to understand how one may get very attached to that individual. The bond that is formed through experiences like these runs very deep. Slowly without even realizing it, in order to protect the love and beauty of that precious event, the person starts to be willing to overlook things. The minute that begins, they become corrupt themselves.

Q: Is that when they start to rationalize?

A: Yes, then they become corrupt, in the same way the guru is. When you try to talk to the disciples of these gurus about simple virtues, they often are unable to make any sense. Also, they will frequently say things like, “Ethical conduct and enlightenment have nothing to do with each other,” in an attempt to justify the confusing behavior of their guru.

The minute anybody allows themselves to tolerate corruption they become a part of it. These people desperately don’t want to see the depth of the corruption that they themselves are immersed in. The security of their spiritual well-being depends on the fact that no matter what, the actions of the guru are never questioned. Because their hearts are so invested in the guru, they will make almost any rationalization or justification for the guru’s actions.

They will do almost anything in order to protect that love that the guru has revealed to them. This is spiritual slavery and prostitution of the soul. In weak-minded people the seal of enlightenment becomes a license for abuse.

Q: How is it then with the matter of trust? Does one ultimately only surrender to one’s own knowing of the truth?

A: Yes.

Q: Then not to the guru?

A: Ultimately the guru and your knowing of truth should be one and the same. There shouldn’t be any difference. If there is, there’s something wrong. That means there is either something wrong in your idea of what the truth is and your experience of what the truth is or there’s some defect in the guru. Ideally they should be perfectly synonymous.

Q: But shouldn’t surrender be to truth alone?

A: But in a sense that’s all people surrender to anyway. They surrender to their own experience. If you go to a teacher and you have a powerful experience, it’s that experience that you surrender to. What usually happens next though, is that you get involved with the personality of the teacher.

Powerful experience makes you hungry for more. That’s why people get more involved. They want to get to know who this guru is. They fall in love and then want to be more intimate. Then they get involved with the personality of the teacher. At that point it’s no longer just a spiritual experience; they begin to get involved with a human personality. That’s when the trouble starts. If there’s any trouble that could start, that’s when it’s going to begin.

When the personality of the guru and the love and beauty that the guru revealed begin to conflict with each other, that means something is wrong.

As I said before, people are weak, weak-minded, and if someone is truly enlightened, they will have a very powerful mind and be very charismatic. People are easily overwhelmed by that. Because their heart has been awakened, because they have been deeply touched by something, they often don’t care about anything else.

And in order to protect that experience, they will often tolerate just about anything. This is dangerous. This is a corrupt condition that a great deal of the spiritual world is in these days. If the guru is corrupt and you’re intimately involved with the guru, you can’t help but be corrupt yourself. It’s unavoidable. By association it’s an automatic result. It’s a very delicate business.

Q: So how does one discern? To what degree do I question my own perception and trust?

A: Just go by the basics. There are some very basic, ethical laws that anybody who’s not insane knows. They are not esoteric.

Q: So where do you draw the line?

A: The line is drawn where suffering is caused to other people due to selfish actions that stem from ignorance. That’s where you draw the line.

Integrity Is More Challenging than Enlightenment

Q: Doesn’t enlightenment automatically imply a rare degree of integrity in the self?

A: In the way I define Evolutionary Enlightenment, it definitely does. But too often, in the postmodern interpretations of enlightenment, there is not necessarily much of a correlation between the two. In fact, the cultivation of profound integrity seems to pose a much greater challenge to the postmodern self than the attainment of higher states of consciousness does.

Even individuals who would typically be considered enlightened because of their consistent access to higher states can be sorely lacking in moral development. I’ve known many people over the years I’ve been teaching who were not afraid of letting go into deep and profound states of consciousness but were literally terrified of the call to cultivate integrity of self and soul.

Integrity means that there is a foundation of moral virtue in the structure of the self. In the teaching of Evolutionary Enlightenment, morality is not based on externally dictated traditional values and ethical codes, but rather is a naturally emerging result of the revelation that the creation of our future depends on what we do, right now and in every moment. That profound awakening to our inherent responsibility as evolving human beings at the leading edge becomes the basis for a new moral context for human life.

So the expression of integrity or moral virtue would be that the choices we make and the actions we take would consistently express our recognition of this responsibility and our genuine care about creating our future. In such an individual, there would be a significant correlation between word and deed, and a steady demonstration of moral courage and soul strength. The fact that we are deadly serious about what it means to be alive would be demonstrated with unusual consistency.

There would be a discernible hierarchy of values in our relationship to life, and that which we had recognized to be of the highest importance would be something that we would honor and respect in all the important choices that we make. So integrity of self would mean there is a significant correlation between our deepest ideals and convictions, and the way we actually live our lives.

Integrity, in a context of spiritual evolution, is always directly connected with the awakening to a higher meaning, purpose, and reason for being that one feels inherently beholden to. But we live in a culture of postmodern narcissism, in which most of us are unaccustomed to being beholden to anything other than our own desires and preferences.

No narcissist, however profound his or her access to higher states, is going to strive for this degree of integrity merely for their own sake. The call for deeper wholeness and moral development for the sake of a higher purpose rains on the narcissist’s parade. It instantly corners the ego, and that’s the reason so few of us are actually interested in it.

So, surprisingly enough, there seems to be greater power in the cultivation of integrity than there is even in the experience of enlightenment. It’s much easier to have an experience of the enlightened state than it is to develop the kind of integrity I’m speaking about and to stand for that, as yourself, in the world, for the sake of the evolution of consciousness itself. That’s a step that few human beings I’ve met are willing to take.

Andrew Cohen

%d bloggers like this: