February 9, 2014

What’s next? …. Is it that important?

unnamedFor those of us interested in or engaged on the collective level, the desire to come up with solutions for the next seven generations, the desire to change the political, economic, legal, environmental games, the desire to create a more sustainable culture is ever present. The many noble quests of the “changing the world” movement however often hold the same consciousness of the world we are seeking to change. The common assumption is: now is not ok so let’s focus on the future – the bumper sticker of a mind-based society.

The beginning of the year it is often a time when we are filled with a drive to change and make this year a better year, and certainly a different year. We ask what is next and by the end of the year we think that the way things are is not enough and so we want change. And we do this year after year, personally and collectively.

“What could be happening next?” is a fundamental question that drives many of us every day in regards to pretty much any topic. Many of our “callings” to change what is are often driven by a surface noble and undercurrent anxious desire to know what is next.

Underneath the politically correct and great looking need to change the world and save what can be saved, there is often an unchallenged resistance and judgment of what is, in short fear. Since we think that the present is not acceptable we naturally invest into our future and hope it will relieve us from the misery of the present situation and the great suffering and injustices in the world.  Our mind gets outraged when challenged in this way because it is righteous in its belief of making a difference by focusing on “changing the world” and “creating “bridges into the next generation”. After all – the mind thinks – it is about the survival of our species!! Bingo.

Yes, it is about survival. Survival is the field of expertise of the mind – in particular when is not connected to the heart: survival is “get the hell out of here and find refuge elsewhere” which is another way to say “reject what is and focus on the future”. In fact, the very desire of “changing the world” is a survival-based illusion of the mind consisting of the resistance to what is and the future.

For eons we have been chasing our tail by wanting to bring about “world change” applying a consciousness that has created the misery in the first place. And we still do it no matter what our surface slogans are.

Our hearts have all along been patiently and compassionately witnessing the scrambling attempts of our minds to “change the world”. Again, there is nothing wrong with our minds. They are simply the incorrect key to open to door into freedom, health, wealth and joy which are the ultimate goals of “changing the world”.

Our hearts know that the present continually creates without judgment of right or wrong, good or bad, sustainable or unsustainable. Our hearts know that what IS needs to BE otherwise it would not exist. Our hearts know that life is a continual process of molding into new forms that best serve our growth as human being and as a species. Our heart does not care about who or what is right: red or blue, capitalism or socialism, global warming or climate change, rich or poor, the 99% or 1%.  The heart is about what IS now and thus surrenders the addiction to prediction, it surrenders outcome to the natural unfolding of each moment. The heart knows that change is happening with every beat of life. The heart knows that the embodiment of what is intended – and no matter WHAT is intended – naturally and effortlessly results in a new opportunity, relationship, job, system. The heart holds the key for effortless and potentially instant change because it is not engaged in the battle with what is. Most importantly, the heart is where freedom and justice naturally reside.

Collectively we have been battling and wasting many lives and energy in the mind-land looking for change and the collective heart has remained a foreign territory that we only erratically touched. We have never experienced collective freedom and justice because we never discovered and lived in the collective heart.

So, the biggest challenge for the collective mind is to release its grip and surrender to the 12 inches longest path into the heart. Walking down this path together seems a more effective use of our collective creativity rather than our focus in “changing the world” which is per se out of sync with the heart.

So, let’s surrender the “changing the world” syndrome and with an open heart accept all that is. Let’s open fully to the war zones within ourselves. Let’s open fully to the suffering, the violence, the injustices, the environmental and social collapse in the world. Let’s allow our hearts to burn with ache. Let’s embrace the individual and collective discomfort without escaping into the future. Let’s sit with all right now. Let’s sink into our being. This is the present. Each moment is the starting point and the end point. This is what is now. This is the key. This is why a heart-intelligent society, i.e. cor publicum, is not some utopian thought of the future but available now.

Walking this path takes courage, tremendous courage because we have to feel. And the mind is threatened by feeling. Our society including many of us in the “changing the world movement” are afraid of feeling and thus for the longest time we have numbed ourselves with the desire for a better future. And the future continues to be out of reach. Why? because it never is.

So, let’s free ourselves from the desire to “change the world”. Let’s rest in what is now and appreciate the juice of the experience, no matter if comfortable or uncomfortable. Let’s simply embody our choices of how we want to live this present moment as collective beings. Let’s embody in our heart the world our mind is seeking, every moment, every day, now, without needing to change anybody or anything. And let’s simply focus on what fuels our passion, our joy.

Peace is present in the midst of war and war is present in the midst of peace. Both are true, every moment. Feeling the acceptance of what is in our collective body creates spaciousness, a magical and timeless hiatus where manifestation is effortless. It creates the experience of freedom and joy from where a better moment, a better world naturally emerges.

When we let go for the need to change we find ourselves in a changed world.

Practice: engage in what makes our heart sing and breathe that music into the collective heart just because…..!!

December 29, 2013

Foreword by Tej Steiner to On Governance

ist2_2698522-cobblestone-street-texture-at-duskA great work of art.
An invention that changes the course of history.
A revolutionary idea.

All three of these things: the art, the invention and the revolutionary idea have something essential in common. In their own unique way, they each end up changing the very lens through which we perceive life. Historically, they forever alter our perception simply because the artist or the inventor or the inspired thinker brought their work into individual and collective awareness. As art, for example, Michelangelo’s ‘David’ permanently changed our perceptual relationship to the inherent beauty of the physical body and thus of Creation itself. As an invention, the internal combustion engine radically altered our perceptual and physical relationship with time and space. As an idea, political non-violence changed how we see our adversaries in relationship to our own inner longing for justice and peace.

What struck me immediately after opening Franca Baroni’s On Governance is that somehow she may have found a way to combine in one simple book all three of these things at once: a great work of art, a powerful invention and a revolutionary idea. How this book changes the lens through which we see life, depends purely on how it changes your perception as you read it. It has already significantly changed mine.

As a work of art, her prose alone is extraordinary. Like the stone walls of Machu Picchu, the words are so finely crafted and tightly fitted that one word removed, even for a second, would collapse its poetic perfection. Her writing feels inspired, almost channeled, seeped in layer upon layer of meaning. It’s bold, courageous, true and to the point. The following paragraph illustrates both the beauty and meaning infused in all her words.

“In the current Grid, the illuminated mind cannot be accessed, because the path that leads to it—the Heart—is severed and devoid of any legitimacy in the collective systems of governance and law, devoid of legitimacy in the operating systems of our society. Thus, the source that is currently accessed in the building of society is drained of Heart Wisdom, shrunk in its life force, and thus unsustainable.” P. 71

On Governance is also Franca’s invention. It’s an invention in the same way that the Declaration of Independence is an invention. It is a blueprint. A map. A model. A living document that actually shows the way out of the enslaving, mind-dominated system of governance prevalent today into a heart-centered system of governance that is required for our freedom and survival right now. What I found most inspiring about her model is that the book itself is an outcome of her using the model herself. She is modeling how to use the model as if to say: Anything is possible with this blueprint. What you are reading right now is what I have done with it! What do you want to do with it? Your possibilities are infinite. In fact, this model is essentially how to access infinite possibility because that is what true governance ends up being!

This segue ways into the revolutionary new ideas that she offers up as an invitation from her heart to ours. She invites us to change how the collective governs itself by coming out of our own conditioned illusion that we are separate from the collective. We enter this change through joy, stillness and accessing the Unknown; the very things our current system of governance has been created to fear and resist. What is revolutionary here is not that we are in a state of illusion and thus need to wake up. You are already quite familiar with this idea if you are drawn to this book. What’s revolutionary is how she connects individual freedom with collective freedom and that how we govern ourselves is totally determined by that inherent relationship of the one to the other through the reality of connection and Oneness rather than through the mind-distorted lens of separation.

History will decide what it wants to do with this book. I think that it has already chosen it for greatness. However, whether that is true or not is not nearly as important as what you do with it in ‘Yourstory’. There is personal choice woven into these pages. I hope that you find as much inspiration and insight reading them as I have.

Thank you, Franca.

Tej Steiner, 2013

Tej Steiner is a pioneer in the field of spiritual transformation and a master of small group dynamics. This has been his passion and focus for 40 years. He teaches and coaches individuals, couples and organizations. He is the founder of Heart Circles and the Heart Circle Model. He is also the author of The Heart Circle Process: Waking Up
with Everyone Around Us. There are currently Heart Circles in sixteen countries around the world. He lives in Ashland, Oregon. http://www.heartcircle.com

November 17, 2013

The Gift of Election Month: The Sheep and the Bird

November is election month. In November the sky gets darker, the air colder and nature is preparing to rest for the winter. Nature transitions within and prepares for the journey of hibernation and the long process of fertilization of the soil that allows for the explosion of life in the spring. November is a month when our bodies are begging us to start to slow down. November is also the month that activates our individual and collective subconscious. It is the subconscious that informs many of our decisions. In November, coincidentally during election month, our subconscious is lit up more than ever. This is a risk and an opportunity. Our choices determine whether it is the former or the latter.

In November most of us continue in the same pace of the summer and fall pretending nothing has changed in our environment. In our busyness we have become deaf to the gentle but obvious calls of nature to slow down. The price for our numbness is a weakened immune system, colds, and flus that stop us for a few days until we start running again. The best we can come up with is a flu shot – another jolt to our immune system- recreational and medical drugs, alcohol, shopping for the Holidays, or any other excuse to perpetually run. We inspire each other to run because if we are slowing down we think something must be wrong with us and our businesses. We want to keep each other afloat. We are like sheep running wherever the dog is chasing us. The dog is our mind which we find beautifully reflected in the values systems of our political, educational and economic mind-monarchies.

Grammatically, sheep is spelled the same in the singular and plural. No coincidence: no matter whether there is one sheep or 6 Billion sheep, sheep influence each other and do whatever the dog says. When one sheep has heard the command of the dog, the whole herd moves without even listening. This is a succinct description of what happens for the most part during election month: the great moving of the herds.

We hear a slogan, an ad, the word of a family member, a friend, an employer, co-worker, an endorsement of a political group or organization, the voice of big or small business, the word of the non-business group, the word of the red, blues, the rainbows. Our heads are so full and our dog so overstimulated by the many voices other than our own that all we can do is keep running looking for the dog’s order: with that mindset we go to the poll or stick the ballot in the mail without ever slowing down, without ever listening to the wisdom in our bodies, without ever listening to the rhythms of nature, thus without ever uncovering our own voice of wisdom.

Some of us would never admit that we are sheep following other people’s voices, some of us proud themselves of being a good sheep, what both have in common is that both participate in the sheep and dog game believing that this what a responsible citizen does. It is by slowing down that we can grasp that election month is an opportunity to serve a system that has merely reached child level responsibility. It is by slowing down that we can grasp that we are participating in a dog-sheep illusionary reality. Of course there is great comfort in being a sheep: it is fluffy, warm and padded from discomfort. But as we all know this comfort is temporary. Soon enough we can all recognize the trembling shaved sheep in us eternally seeking security. This is where the eternal “war on terror” comes from after all.

The great gift of election month is to slow down and find “in-sight” to shed light on our collective subconscious and identify the archetypal patterns that keep us locked in a long open cage with a chasing dog biting its tail. Rather than running like a sheep on the surface, election month is an opportunity to dive like a colorful bird into the caves of our most dysfunctional collective decisions and sit STILL with the collective monsters and inner monsters our mind has tangibly created.

The shadow land is fertile soil for spring. Our collective subconscious is fertile soil that leads to conscious collective choices. However, this is terrifying ground for most of us. We are trained to fear, avoid and reject the collective shadow and we have become masters at numbing ourselves from feeling it in our bodies. Some of us pretend in our waking sleep that during election month we are making a difference, some of us have stopped engaging in a disassociation attempt still aimed at not feeling, some of us participate in the awareness of its futility and in the hope for some happy change. In short, we all share a NO to what IS which keeps us stuck where we are.

Let’s embrace that the shadow land is an integral part of our collective human experience. Let’s master the courage to feel in our bodies the rage, grief and terror of the shadow land such as the many child pornography rings involving many “normal” people in high and low ranking positions and the countless less extreme creations of our twisted minds.  Without feeling and embracing our shadow land we ironically continue to feed the monsters and let them inform our decisions. There is no shortcut even though we are stubbornly looking for it. The good news is that the shadow land is fertile. It leads to the land of stillness, the land of peace, the dark womb of possibilities, it leads to the collective heart. Here we find what makes us tick as a collective, here we create the dream. To experience the American dream we have to slow down, put the dog on a leash and have the courage to feel our monsters during the fertile election month of November. When the dog is on the leash, the herd disintegrates and the path to our collective heart opens. Then, we can embody our own unique voice and realize that we are already living in peace.

A “fun” practice: find something or somebody that triggers us in our personal life and in the current system, then genuinely include it in our Thanksgiving list.

October 27, 2013

Beyond Obamacare

The surface debate over the economic and social feasibility of Obamacare resembles a conversation of two people stumbling towards the same hole while arguing about what clothes to wear for the journey: it does not matter whether they are going to wear red or blue or whether it is going to be sunny or rainy. Both are simply walking into the same hole. Yes, both sides have valid concerns. Yet, both are arguing about “health”care while being blinded by their own disease. In a society exclusively governed by reason, it is possible to endlessly argue without questioning the premise that is creating the hole in the first place. In this mindset, wider and new holes are created each day.

Disease is at the core of the socioeconomic exchange of society and “health” has been long relegated to a small compartment of disease management. Our mind-ruled society fosters a wide range of addictive behaviors that are feeding the disease machine. We live with and feed these addictive behaviors on a daily basis. We each respond in different ways: some of us are numb to the fact we are addicted in the first place, some of us survive with a hopeless smile on our face thinking there are really no other viable choices, some of us make healthy choices while complaining about the global disease thus ultimately feeding malaise. The numbing strategies to hide or cope with the disease are endless. As these strategies become more sophisticated, our individual and collective bodies are steadily deteriorating. The stress of living in a mind-ruled society is far reaching and “health”care costs are exploding everywhere – including and increasingly in areas of the world that are considered “wealthy”.

The disease-feeding machine reaches deep, right into the halls of hospitals where ailing patients are literally fed sugar filled and junk food meals. Allopathic doctors who fill our “health”care system have been taught and encouraged to look at the human body in disconnected compartments at war with each other. Remedies to restore balance are sought from this narrow, cropped perspective. When a medical condition is capable of being decoded from within the linear mind, a remedy is found. When a condition is unclear and uncontrollable from the standpoint to the mind, doctors scramble to make sense of the natural complexity of life. In the despair of their own impotence, they offer quick-fix remedies that – even when well meant – are often harmful to the individual body and to the public body because they disregard the impact on the whole web of life.

Our hospitals are filled with people looking for a quick fix without taking responsibility for their own unhealthy choices and with doctors offering a quick fix for their ignorance to recognize the human body as an interconnected web. This is a natural and heart-logical consequence of a diseased public body. There will be little change as long as our “health”care system – an organ of our public body – is anchored exclusively in the mind and is refusing to breathe through its heart and body. At its core, a mind-ruled society is a mentally ill society. It creates insane solutions in the name of reason such as “health”care system that feeds the very disease. A mentally diseased public body cannot realize its own insanity and will continue to find eloquent reasons to justify the premise of its operation.

Thus, moving beyond Obamacare, let’s start to question how we are feeding the mentally ill public machine through our own daily choices. We have the capacity to turn the machine into a living body that breathes through its heart. This requires that we start to disentangle and feel our repressed feelings to end the numbness of our bodies. It requires that we take honest inventory of our life style choices and addictive behaviors. If we are light-heartedly serious enough, we can continue in that we disengage from our numbing strategies and look at the impact our daily choices are having on our “health”care system. We can go a step further and stop making excuses for our choices. When we need support we can reach out for genuinely qualified help capable to feed the interconnected web of life rather than an outdated disease machine.

When we become adults and learn to take radical responsibility for our individual and collective choices and celebrate our ailing individual and collective bodies, we have opened the gate to the heart. When we start to cultivate the heart intelligence of our individual body, we are bringing to life a heart-intelligent, healthy collective body where Obamacare will be just a faint cosmic joke.

A fun practice: What is the main feeling that is creating stress or disease in your body? Anger, sadness or fear? Take inventory of one addictive behavior and determine its impact on the public body. Discover the fun of being awake.



“A society that is immersed in its fear of the uncontrollable spreads with each pulsation a disease. A society that lives in heart wisdom and embraces the unknown factor is one that creates balance and health.”

“A mind-ruled society is continuously at war with disease.”

October 13, 2013

Different ceiling – same debt

We all know that our economic machine is founded on the premise of debt. This is what we have chosen in our long sleep over the centuries. Debt and scarcity are the revered Gods of an enslaved society. Economics within a mind-boxed society is the caged version of free choice, the enslaved version of freedom and the inconsistent version of wealth. It is poverty disguised as abundance and control disguised as freedom and opportunity. The battle over the debt-ceiling is an empty battle over nothingness, a battle between two illusionary opposites trapped in the same illusionary premise of scarcity. In a mind-based society disconnected from its roots all creative efforts are drained and tunneled into making sure that the box survives.

The debate about the debt-ceiling is hitting brick walls. One side is trying to raise the ceiling, the other to lower it. No matter where the ceiling ends and how solid the walls will turn out to be, both and all sides are still and only dealing with a box. We can look at the box from many angles and battle over where the ceiling should stop and whether the walls should be thick or thin. We can engage in an ideological battle about fiscal discipline and entitlement and decide which side is right or wrong. Is black or white better? From within the box this seems a reasonable question but no matter what color prevails all precarious efforts are going towards finding a little more comfort in the same tight box. No matter how high the ceiling and who puts up the walls, what all sides have in common is a rotten foundation: a consciousness of scarcity which can only re-create itself.

In our daily lives how much longer are we going to invest our creative juice into a box that thrives on suffering? How much longer are we going to follow the political drama over the debt-ceiling debate or the next box-induced theater?  How much longer are we looking up at the ceiling and pretending we do not realize that the house is collapsing? We all know in our hearts that the foundation is rotten but we are afraid to listen to this voice because collectively, and even individually, it is new territory. We think that heart is just another buzz word or a political incorrect fuzzy-feeling.  Often it is pure ignorance: we were never taught how to access our heart, only to numb our feelings.

At the core, we are all terrified to lose our mind. Our good old addiction to prediction is at the very least familiar. There is comfort in familiar pain. We use different ways to numb this fear: by identifying with red or blue, Tea Parties or Move On, left or right, capitalist or socialist, by radicalizing our beliefs about good and bad, by blaming the poor or the rich, by projecting on the other side what we do not like about us, by distracting ourselves with other people’s dramas and the list goes on.

We are all masters in the senseless game of the mind and we are all participating in it to avoid taking full and radical responsibility for the debt in our personal lives and the scarcity tape the runs through our minds. A mind-ruled society does not realize its own insanity, it cannot. It always has brilliant and eloquent reasons to justify its premise.

The mind now asks: what is the solution? What is the recipe? What is the outcome? We each have different ways to access the heart and only our heart knows the way. This is a response that drives the mind “crazy” because it wants to know: in a “mind monarchy” the unknown is unacceptable.

The good news is that the box is already open and abundance lies in the dark field of the unknown, in the collective breath of this present moment, in the individual heart merging into the collective heart.

Do you find your mind racing, dismissing, judging? The mind cannot accept that life is a process, and it continually resists this most fundamental truth. If we keep labeling “process” as a political statement or religious/spiritual/pagan belief we will continue to lock the box.

A helpful start is to begin to feel the fear, anger and the sadness of scarcity in our bones. Then, find gratitude for what is happening in the world right now. Then, find courage – the first few layers before we get a glimpse of our individual and collective heart most likely hurt. Then, trust – our felt-feelings and opening to the unknown are both gateways into our heart. It is in our heart where the “fundamental economy” resides. It is the health of the “fundamental economy” that determines the wealth of the “surface economy”. With our light-hearted approach to the process of life we can begin or continue to feed a healthy “fundamental economy”.

A fun practice: As you are allowing abundance into your own box, just for fun call “your” representative and in your voicemail ask them to breathe with you for 1 minute into the “American society’s fear of scarcity” (the first step of the journey into the heart is to feel.)

October 4, 2013

What the reds and blues have in common: the need for violet.

The old and outdated “blame game” between the GOP and Democrats is a testament of powerlessness of both parties. Both are barking at each other and missing each other valid unconscious messages. At the head level both sides have reasons, arguments, data, constituencies and lobbies to please, rigid beliefs of what is right and wrong. At the heart level both are numb which allows them to be involved in the same ineffective game of pointing fingers (child level responsibility) and avoiding radical responsibility (adult responsibility). This dysfunctional game operates not only between but also within the parties. The GOP is re-directing responsibilities to the Tea Parties and Democrats will sooner or later point the fingers at their own leadership. This is the end result of any dysfunctional game: it self-sabotaging and self-destructive.

The red game is direct and blatantly obvious. The blue game is indirect and muddled. This is just a difference in styles but the game is the same. Underneath the anger both parties are simply terrified of the prospect of losing control in their quest for illusionary power. What we are seeing are scared lost teenagers fighting for the best spot at the top of the pyramid. The bottom of the pyramid is equally scared and acting as cheering fans for the team that makes them feel safer and more adequate. We all know this game well and in our daily lives we all are engaged in our own version of it, no matter if we are red, blue or rainbow. This collective unconscious behavior played out at the top and bottom of the pyramid is not wrong. It is just a game. If we dig deeper in the red and blue compartment and among the many colors that have opted out of red and blue -the rainbows-, we will find that most feel that the current game is not really working. At the same time, we all have unlearned how to inquire how the other truly feels. Inquiring about feelings requires that we feel and own up to our own feelings. It is simple to do but ridiculed in the current game because it disables one of the strongholds of the current game: the old Roman strategy of “divide and conquer”. Our basic feelings – anger, sadness, fear and joy – are what we have in common, no matter the color. They are an effective tool to pierce through rigid beliefs and positioning that keep us separate from each other and split within ourselves. As long as we avoid radical responsibility for our own collective feelings, we will continue to play the blame game and be stuck at the level of beliefs and reasons while missing the wealth of information that comes through our feelings.

In the current game, the reds are convinced the “problem” is big government, and the blue are convinced it is because of the greedy corporate monsters. The many colors in between either have stop thinking and have gone completely numb, they have joined the red or blue fans, or have partly dis-engaged from the dysfunctional game pointing fingers at the old game. Red, blue and rainbow hold grains of truth of what is not working in the game. However, the fear of losing their identity, i.e. their fear of taking responsibility for their feelings, clouds their ability to weave together their common insights and realize that they are dealing with the same monsters: corporate government and worldwide organized crime embedded in crumbling patriarchal structures. These monsters are not the perpetrators but simply the heart-logical result of a societal body that is exclusively operating from the mind and has cut off the body and heart. And we all share responsibility.

The way into our body and heart is opened through the conscious use of our feelings. The way into LOVE is opened when we learn to individually and collectively use our anger, sadness, fear and joy. A society that promotes the numbing of feelings has cut its own roots from LOVE, which is life. A society that relegates LOVE to a subsection of questionable art or places LOVE into a tight box labeled “religion/spiritual/pagan” is basically on death row. A mind-ruled society is a machine that has lost its nature as a living collective body.

Both red and blue are kicking – each in their own way – a dead machine and getting frustrated that it is not working. Under the surface, both red and blue and the rainbow majority are calling for the same: the end of the machine and the birth of a living and sustainable collective body. The ingredient that opens the birth canal is violet: the archetypal feminine wisdom, the body and heart of the collective body, the womb that gives forms to sustainable life. When the feminine wisdom is freed from the “gender box” and from the matriarchal and patriarchal battle of belief it has the power to bring to life a new collective body that has integrated the many painful lessons of the ages. Violet has the power to finally allow us to have fun while playing the game of life.

The good news is that this is all already happening as we speak. Many have identified the need for a new game, some have even created alternative games that are in their embryonic, thus in “mind vulnerable” stages, but nonetheless full of life. Many however are simply waiting not realizing that there is nothing to wait for. Time is yet another illusion of the old game. The game of the heart is available each moment regardless of the dysfunctional games around us. We all get easily sucked into the red and blue mindset in the most subtle ways. However, the more we learn to consciously feel, the more we catch ourselves playing the red and blue game, the more we have the courage to let the violet stream into our bodies, the more life force we will give to the game of the heart, the more likely we will have found our way into cor publicum: a living collective body moved by heart intelligence.

Let’s consciously feel the red and blue in all of us, breathe in the violet and let the heart game begin and refresh itself in each moment.

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