Friday, 8 July 2011

Face to Face

I wasn’t born with a mobile phone in my hand. In fact, at that time, they didn’t even exist. Nowadays, it seems that you only have to be six years old before you get given your first mobile phone. It’s almost become an epidemic.

Recently, a friend told Ell about a study that took place about a different aspect of modern technology: two groups of teenagers were sent into separate rooms to play a computer game. One group played a football game, the other a killing game. When the kids were brought into a room to be interviewed afterwards, the interviewer would ‘accidentally’ drop something on the floor. The kids who had been playing the football game invariably helped pick the dropped object up off the floor, or at the very least, ask if the interviewer was alright. However, the kids who had been playing the game in which they murdered people, did nothing. No help. No engagement. No concern. In some cases, it didn’t appear as if they even registered that anything had happened. They were detached, disengaged, disconnected.

Closer to home, a couple of years ago whilst spending Christmas with my family, my nephew had been given a new computer game – one of those games where people kill each other for fun. During the holidays I barely saw him. One day I approached him and said that I would like to connect with him, spend some time with him. I gave him a choice, inviting him to hang out. He said, “I’ll carry on playing the computer game.”

Our kids are becoming disconnected from who they really are, wandering far from home, stuck in an alternate, illusory reality. It’s a sad state of affairs that could have dire consequences for the next generation and the one after that - all in the name of progress.

It’s not their fault though. We are all constantly bombarded with media companies making false claims about how we can achieve freedom and intimacy through technology, often spiritualizing their products.
In some ways, what we’re exposed to is no different to what German people went through in the run up to and duration of World War II. Hitler was a man who knew exactly what he was doing when he used the powerful technique of autosuggestion. He believed fiercely in the superiority of the Aryan race. He was very overt in his message, very charismatic, very persuasive. He bombarded people, induced terror, drove his message home again and again.

Are the media companies’ methods so different from this? (We’re not accusing any individual of being like Hitler here; this is more about the collective behaviour we’re perhaps unconsciously engaging in, the collective hypnotism that we are exposed to. After all, it is seductive; the ego usually is.) We are bombarded with advertisements, sometimes seeing up to 200 in a single day. Products are glamourized, idolized and spiritualized. Hype is created. Frantic buying and consuming ensues. Sure, we’re not imprisoning people in concentration camps, but we are giving the ego permission to run riot in our world and our lives, and in some ways imprisoning ourselves in the process.

Technology isn’t good or bad. The question to ask is, “What is it for?” It’s more about our intention. Are we using it to connect, or to disconnect? Are we using it for loving purposes, or fearful ones? Are we using it in service of Spirit or a higher purpose, or to reinforce the very guilt and shame that we seek to avoid in the first place?

The ego is ruthless in its quest for autonomy, and it will happily rip our lives apart. It is obsessed with separation – separate homes, separate bodies, separate lives. The very ‘advancements’ that are supposed to bring us closer together often leave us feeling further apart. It’s time to realize that freedom doesn’t come through the latest phone, computer game or tablet computer.

Maybe it is time to simplify things – to turn off the phone, become still, and listen. Because underneath all this, we are vulnerable. Maybe it seems easier to disconnect, because we are terrified that we don’t count or matter, or that what we have to say isn’t important. We believe that we have to hide ourselves, that it’s easier to live half dead, to become a ragged champion in a small corner of the dream, rather than step into the magnificence of our lives.

So, let's be still and reconnect with what is truly important: our family and our friends. Let's sit face to face and tell each other what is in our hearts. Bare our souls in the name of love and help build bridges to a better world.

Perhaps when it comes to technology, just a little is enough.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Edge Of Dreams

When a Course in Miracles speaks about having vigilance it is asking us to be alert to mind wandering. Let’s face it, the majority of us are undisciplined when it comes to our thinking and at different times it may seem like our thoughts are choosing us rather than us choosing them. These harsh thoughts when left unattended will often run amok and eventually manifest themselves as an idea of weariness in the world, resulting in fear, despair and the illusory death of love.

Becoming aware of the kind of thoughts we are thinking is a spiritual discipline in itself. I have been a student/ teacher of A Course In Miracles  for many years and in my experience the work is ongoing. Each and every day I am presented with new and exciting opportunities to weed out those troublesome beliefs and to transform them into ones that are peaceful and loving.
However, vigilance does not mean bashing ourselves over the head; rather it requires treating ourselves with kindness.

‘How can you wake children in a more kindly way than by a gentle voice That will not frighten them, but will merely remind them that the night is over and the light has come? You do not inform them that the nightmares that frightened them so badly are not real, because children believe in magic. You merely reassure them that they are safe NOW. Then you train them to recognize the difference between sleeping and waking, so they will understand they need not be afraid of dreams. And so when bad dreams come, they will themselves call on the light to dispel them.’ - ACIM

We are standing on the edge of something massive. This inner work we have chosen to undertake is a revolution in the way we think, eat, sleep, act, and is a breathe of hope - it is a revolution of the heart. The world doesn’t need martyrs but teachers - those of us who are willing to step up and teach the ways of the ancient ones.

‘ All shallow roots must be uprooted’ - ACIM

Vigilance has an essential part to play enabling us to open our minds to the love that was always there just waiting to be remembered.

 What kind of thoughts will you think today?

Sunday, 3 July 2011


The bicycle saves my life everyday.If you've ever experienced a moment of awe or freedom on a bicycle;if you've ever taken flight from sadness to the rhythm of two spinning wheels, or felt the resurgence of hope pedalling to the top of a hill with the dew of effort on your forehead;if you've ever wondered, swooping bird-like down a long hill on a bicycle,if the world was standing still;if you've ever,just once sat on a bicycle with a singing heart and felt like an ordinary human touching the gods,then we share something fundamental.We know it's all about the bike. - Robert Penn