It's the future, Jim, but not as we know it...

There's more to tomorrow than robots, flying cars, and a faster internet.
22C+ is all about Deep Futures, futures that matter. Welcome to futures fantastic, unexpected, profound, but most of all deeply meaningful...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Intuitive Review: LeShan's "Paranormal"

Lawrence LeShan’s A New Science of the Paranormal is a very readable and excellent tome, which seeks to address the way forward for research into the paranormal and fringe areas of consciousness research. Lawrence LeShan is a veteran researcher in the field, and at just 125 pages, this book makes for a quick, enjoyable and thought-provoking read.

As with my other intuitive reviews, I will take a look at not only the explicit knowledge detailed in the book, but I will also add my intuitive insights into the writer, and the way his psyche has helped shape the book. I am a spiritual counselor, so in this process I apply a similar process to that which I apply when counseling people: I intuitively glean information from the psyche – in this case that of the writer. It shouldn’t surprise you then, that I am a “proponent” in the so-called “psi-wars.”

In A New Science LeShan argues passionately for the argument that the paranormal is crucial to understanding our place in the cosmos.  Contemporary science and philosophy have created an extreme distortion of experience which alienates us from our spiritual roots, and psi experience can help redress that imbalance. I am reminded of Susan Blackmore’s 1996 paper “What can psi teach us about consciousness?” Blackmore concluded that it can teach us nothing, basically because it doesn’t exist, and especially in lieu of her belief that consciousness does not have agency. LeShan’s and Blackmore’s perspectives are diametrically opposite, yet the question is crucial. Let me then be clear. My long experience in working with the intuitive mind leads me to conclude that LeShan is correct. Blackmore’s position, although supported by mainstream establishment thinking in science, is simply wrong. As LeShan states, this is a question of monumental importance, and I believe that A New Science is a little step in the right direction. LeShan calls the quest to understand psi “a terribly important adventure” and “the wild card in our seemingly hopeless attempt to get the human race off the endangered species list.” (p. 18)

LeShan lists four definitive ways “psychical research” can help move us forward. The following outcomes might occur if “the existence of large-scale psi events becomes part of the background assumptions in our culture.” (100)

1.       The idea that we are separate, isolated entities will change.
2.      We will see ourselves both as individuals and as part of something much greater. This is in line with the teachings of many spiritual traditions.
3.      As a result of the first two points, the way we behave towards each other and the planet will change.
4.      These changes will be of a significant scale, such that they will help the human race survive its current critical evolutionary impasse. (p. 101)

These are all positive outcomes which I concur can happen. However... (click below to read more)

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Extended Mind Video

Does the mind extend beyond the brain? For years I have been stating precisely this. Here is a great little video (15 minutes) on this very topic, featuring Dean Radin, Robert Jahn (Princeton Uni), Garrett Moddel and others. It comes at the problem from a science perspective, and Part 1 focuses upon the PEAR experimental data from Princeton. This lab has produced small but significant mind/matter interaction data (telekinesis) for many years. 

The video is produced by the people involved with the Global Consciousness Project, and features some discussion on the effects of mass consciousness events like the 911 incident.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Death, Angels and Music

Here's something that I thought I'd share with you. It's not from me, but from a remarkable man named Frederic Delarue. In the video below, Frederic recounts a remarkable and moving near death experience, which occurred when he was involved in a traffic accident as a child. It is well worth watching. I find the energy of this man to be quite gentle and beautiful. There's a lot of grace about him.

Equally as beautiful is his music. On his website you can download an entire CD of angelic music called Musical Rapture

Frederic says the music was 'given' to him by the spirit of a deceased man who had died unexpectedly. The spirit told him that he died specifically so he could communicate angelic music back to human beings on this world. Musical Rapture is free because Frederic insists the music is meant to be made available for all humanity for free. The album is indeed quite angelic. I have downloaded it myself.

Here's the video where Frederic recounts his near death experience. 


Deep Futures talk

A couple of weeks ago I gave a talk about Deep Futures, at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. It's now available online. In the talk I discuss the need to deepen our view of the future to acknowledge a broader range of human experience, and move beyond what I call Money and Machines futures. The talk includes a discussion of the changing nature of human intelligence, as well as the idea of a non-local intelligence, or Integrated Intelligence. I also link this into the futures of digital technology. 

The first five minutes or so is an introduction by Dr Luke van der Laan of USQ. Here's the link:


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Grave Findings

It’s been a bit quiet lately around here at 22C+ for a good reason. I have been on holiday in Australia for three weeks now. In fact as I write this I am about 35 000 feet above sea level traveling from Melbourne to Brisbane by plane. I have been fortunate enough to get a window seat, and I can tell you that it is a magnificent day out there. Far below me the flat earth of southern New South Wales is a magnificent mosaic of patch-work green. I have spent little time in my home country in the last 15 years, but my trip here this time has truly reminded me what a beautiful country it is. Wide open spaces, fresh air and magnificent blue skies really do restore the spirit after four years in Asia without a break!

In this post I am going to share with you something beautiful and remarkable that happened to me about a week into my trip here.

After delivering some lectures at universities in Queensland, I traveled south to my mother’s home in Taree, on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. I arrived late in the afternoon, and it was only an hour or so before dusk. My elderly mother has just rented a new home in a peaceful retirement village on the outskirts of town. After chatting with my mother for a while I told her I was going out for a walk to stretch my legs, as I’d been on a train for eight hours. In fact I was being a bit sneaky, and had another plan in mind.

Fourteen years ago my father died unexpectedly of a heart condition, just before his 58th birthday. Tragically, a week later, the day after burying my father, my young brother Jerome took his own life, essentially out of grief and remorse over unfinished business with my father. It was a truly traumatic time for all the family, as you might imagine. Only one week after burying my father, we returned to the same cemetery to lay Jerome’s body next to my father’s. Jerome was only 21 years old.

As it happens, my mother’s new residence is only a couple of kilometers from the cemetery where my father and brother are buried. So my secret ‘other plan’ for that day some two weeks ago was to walk to the cemetery and pay my respects. I didn’t want anyone else to be there with me, as I intuited that the event would require privacy.

I had not been back to that cemetery since Jerome’s burial, and my memory of the exact location was fuzzy. I recalled that it was in bush land along an obscure road. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure how far it was from my mother’s house, nor whether I could get there before dark. But I set off by foot, nonetheless, walking along the Pacific Highway, over a small bridge spanning the Dawson River, and moving down a tributary road which ran off to the right. After walking along the wooded road for about five minutes, I saw a smaller road off to the right, which disappeared into the forest. I knew that the cemetery was around that approximate area, but wasn’t sure of the precise location. I centered myself, and my intuition told me it was the shadowy road was the right choice.

Less than five a minutes later, at the end of the road, I found myself looking across the expansive lawns of the cemetery where my father and brother lay at rest. It was a slightly spooky scene, as dusk was falling, and the headstones and graves already lay in dark shadows. I was the only soul there. Well, the only living soul. I guess people don’t like wandering around cemeteries at nightfall.

There was a problem. There were thousands of graves there covering a huge area, many of them recent ‘additions’, and I had no idea where my relatives’ graves were. I had perhaps fifteen minutes to find Dad and Jerome’s resting place before it got too dark to read the headstones.

As I scanned the area, I saw a large kangaroo leaping away across the lawns. Talk about lack of respect for the dead!

I began to wander down amongst the graves, and realised immediately that the odds of finding my target in time were very slim. I stopped, and asked my intuition to connect with the relevant graves. A small voice said clearly “To the right”, and so I made my way towards the other side of the cemetery, all the time scanning the headstones.

I really wasn’t sure what would happen if I found the graves. Would I feel peace? Would I feel grief? Would I feel nothing? Would it help me heal any lingering issues within my psyche I might have with my father and brother? I chose not to try to predict what would happen. I just let go and allowed Spirit to take its course. If there was nothing to feel or acknowledge, so be it.

It was quite some time after the sun had disappeared below the horizon, and probably in the last few minutes of any visible daylight that I found them. I turned around from examining one headstone, to look at the one behind me, and there I saw it. On the small headstone was a photo of my brother Jerome. I had taken that photo myself, standing at the bottom of the stairs in our old family home when he was just 16 years old. Immediately beside was my father’s grave, and upon it was a small picture of him in his baker’s clothes, working in the small bread shop which he had owned and run for about 20 years.

As soon as I saw the photo of my brother, I was hit by a wave of grief. The grave sites were covered in manicured lawn, so I sat down cross-legged in the precise position between the two graves, and allowed myself to feel fully all the feelings that came to me. I let go. This is something that I have been guided to do by Spirit over many years of seeking healing and spiritual well-being. When emotional rivers begin to run, I just let the water flow.

There was nobody else present as I sat upon the graves, so there was no need to hide or deny anything. I simply channeled the hurt inside myself, and let my tears flow freely. There was tremendous grief and guilt about my not having done enough for Jerome, or seen what was coming in those days before he killed himself.

I’m sorry, Jerome, I’m so sorry.

There was also anger.

Why did you do this? You are so selfish. Why didn’t you open up more? You could have lived a full life.

There is no true forgiveness unless we acknowledge our anger.

Then I turned to my father’s grave, to my right, and spoke to his spirit. I was surprised to find more guilt coming out.

I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to talk to you Dad. I’m sorry I have not turned out to be a better person.

And then anger.

Why were you so cruel and unloving? I hate you! I want to kill you!

The psyche does not actually exist in the present, but contains a reservoir of repressed emotional energies from the past. Still, I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of the angry child within my wanting to kill my old man, who had been dead 14 years.

Just then headlights appeared at the top of the hill, about fifty metres in front of where I sat. Someone else had arrived. In the dim light I saw the car. Someone got out, and standing near the vehicle, lit a cigarette. I thought about getting up to leave, as I knew I would feel self-conscious with someone else listening in. I asked Spirit if it was time to leave. A voice said: “Wait”. So I did. The car remained for several minutes, and then I asked again if it was time to go. Again the voice said: “Wait.”

I am very glad I listened, or the next phase of the process would not have unfolded. For just a minute or so later, I heard the car door close, and the stranger drove off. I tuned into my emotional body again, and the energy of Spirit.

There was just a little more emotional energy remaining, but soon my consciousness shifted to a more gentle peacefulness.

By this time it was completely dark. Remarkably, a beautiful full moon appeared at the horizon, sneaking above some spooky, twisted gum trees on the hill, just to my right.

I began to channel the energy of forgiveness. I prayed to God, asking that any lingering hurt or blame towards Dad and Jerome be acknowledged, so that all three of us might have peace and healing. I told my father that I loved him, and that I understood why I had been sent through him as a child. The truth is that my father was often cruel and just plain mean, and had masses of unresolved issues which he projected onto me and other family members, sometimes brutally. As I sat there in meditation, I found that I could acknowledge that without judging it. I told my father and Jerome that no matter what unresolved emotional energy I discovered within myself in the future which involved them, that I would release it.

I moved into a gentle and peaceful meditation as the last of emotional energy dissipated.

I turned to God, and opened my crown chakra. I felt the light pour in through my head.

Dear God. Please forgive us for our mistakes, for we are only human. Let there be healing for all of us, if that is your will.

Spontaneously, my arms dropped to either side of me. My left hand began to move in a counter-clockwise direction above the grave of Jerome, while my right hand began to rotate in the opposite direction, above my father’s grave. My hands were right about where what remained of the hearts of my father and brother would be, some six feet below me. As I did this, a bright blue light began to pour out of my hands, and move down into the earth. I could see the light very clearly, despite the fact that it was then night time, and the only source of light was the full moon sitting low on the horizon before me. Yet there was another brilliant light there too. This was the light pouring in through my head. I always find that this is particularly strong in the evening, when I am outside in nature. It was as if a second full moon was shining directly above my head, illuminating me from within. Many meditators and mystics will know what I am talking about when I say that the light is perfectly visible, but it is not with the physical eyes that it is seen.

The blue light was stronger in my left hand, above Jerome’s grave, and less intense in my right. I don’t know why, but I can only speculate that the connection with Jerome was stronger than that with my father. Maybe he needed more healing, or it was the right time to heal my issues with him. It is also true that the left hand tends to channel more healing energy than the right, as it is connected to the right brain and its intuitive capacities.

Then I knew that it was time to leave. The love and gratitude that I felt were spontaneous and genuine.

Thank you God. I love you.

So many healing and unity experiences lead one to a consciousness of gratitude and love.

I had probably been there about an hour. I said goodbye to my father and brother, and walked back down the dark wooded road, along the highway and back to my mother’s place.

As a child I remember being terrified of cemeteries, and going to one even during the day was scary. But once death is simply acknowledged and embraced, the fear of death and 'the dead' dissipates. That evening was a truly beautiful experience, sitting there in the moon-lit darkness, meditating and praying above my brother and father’s graves. By myself, but not alone.

Friday, August 12, 2011

"Light" Chapter 19: Easy

You can read all previous chapters of Light at .

I blame the beer. Alcohol does strange things to people. It makes you do things that you wouldn't normally think of doing. Or maybe you think about doing it, but you wouldn't actually go out there and do it. So, the beer made me do it. Then there was the moon, just in case you are thinking I actually had something to do with what happened a few hours after I sat down with Paul at the uni bar. For as the afternoon became cool evening, an almost-full moon appeared above us. It would have been quite romantic if Amanda had been there. But she wasn't. Instead I was with my mate, Paul.

It was after the third drink that Paul and I were starting to get quite pissed. Still, I managed to avoid all his questions about Amanda.

"She seems pretty hot to me, dude. How did a guy like you manage to pull it off? Tell me some more."

"Bugger off," I said. "You're just jealous."

"You got me there, bro."

"How about you tell me about your women."

"You got a couple of hours?"

"As a matter of fact, I do."

I should never have asked. Paul had a way with the women that I certainly didn't. He started out telling me about his exploits in the sixth grade. Primary school no less. By the time he got to senior high school I had enough material to write several submissions to Penthouse forum. I was beginning to feel a bit inadequate. My recent efforts were starting to look rather tame by comparison. I tried to change the topic. But Paul was on a roll, his mind fixated on one thing.

"Let's head out for a few more at Fanny's."

"Fanny's? It's Tuesday night, mate."

"Exactly! It's the last thing they'll be expecting. A couple of young studs like us on the prowl."

Don't ask me why I agreed, but not much more than an hour later we arrived. Fanny's was a popular downtown nightclub and pickup joint in Newcastle, not too far from the waterfront. Yeah, I had indeed been there a few times, and I have to say it really wasn't my kind of scene. The carpet was so sticky from all the beer that had been splashed around that if you stood in one place for too long the service staff had to bring solvent over to get your feet moving again. Some have speculated that it was in fact other unmentionable bodily fluids you could feel squelching under your shoes in that place.

The oversized bouncer at the door sized us up, and checked our IDs. After paying ten bucks each, the steroid freak plugged a stamp on our wrists. I looked down. In bright fluorescent colours it read. "Easy lover." I blinked and looked again. I had to check myself for a moment to see if I was back in my bed dreaming. But as far as I could tell I was in the real world, albeit a rather alcohol-flavoured one.

Paul and I walked into Fanny's and we were immediately met with a cacophony of bass-driven house music and the sight of young people standing around or dancing in various stages of inebriation. The air tasted so foul you could pass it off as dirty dishwashing water. It was about as clear as sink water too, and I struggled to see through the haze. Not that I was trying too hard. All I could think about was that song. Easy lover? What kind of message was I being given?

Paul tapped me on the shoulder, indicating for me to stay put, and then disappeared. I figured he'd gone off to buy a couple of beers. I certainly hoped that was what he was generously doing, because it was seven bucks a beer, and on a student income, that was a pretty penny. 
I looked around and saw a whole heap of young drunk people trying to pretend they were cool. I knew I wasn't cool, so didn't bother trying. I guess I must have looked pretty dumb standing there with my hands in my pockets. I tried hard to convince myself that I was cool on the inside.

Paul returned. I was right about the beer.

"Get this into you, mate." He yelled above the bass boom, thrusting the beer into my chest. It was Victoria Bitter. Again. He pulled me by the arm, and we went off to stand not far from the women's toilet.

"This is a great place to park your butt, dude."

"Why's that?"

"Think about it, Greg. Every chick here has to pass this point, unless she has a bladder the size of a watermelon - and just quietly that's not the kind of woman I want to hang out with. It's the perfect pickup point."

"You've got it all figured out, haven't you? However I might point out that it's quite possible we could be arrested if we stand here any longer." Paul just laughed.
Paul was quite possibly the most devious person on the planet. But for some reason I still mostly liked him. I do say 'mostly', because there was part of me that was kind of revolted by him. Just a little bit.

We stood there for a while, and Paul kept checking out the babes as they passed by, while I pretended I wasn't checking them out. When Paul made eye contact with one he'd say "Hi" or "G'day." I looked at my shoes.

"Don't just stand there like the rock of Gibraltar," Paul scolded. "You gotta say hello to 'em. Even if they don't stop to talk, later on they will remember you, and you have already half broken the ice."

"Maybe you forgot something. I already have a girlfriend."

"It doesn't matter." Paul nudged me on the shoulder and grinned. Why did I have the feeling that I was standing next to the devil?

It wasn't long before Paul was making eye contact with a couple of girls standing across the other side of the room. I tried not to look, but sure enough, they were checking us out. Suddenly Paul was pulling my arm again, leading me across the floor and towards the girls, who were standing by a tall round table with drinks on it.

One of the girls was tall and quite attractive. She looked a few years older than Paul and I. With her with her long black hair and leather jacket, she looked pretty hot. But there was something about her that scared me. The other girl was shorter and slightly overweight. She had shorter black hair and was wearing a leather jacket too, but somehow it just made her look like she was trying too hard. She wasn't the kind that would attract a lot of attention from guys at a place like Fanny's. Certainly not standing next to her smokin' hot friend.

Paul went for the sexy one like a magnet to steel, and she was onto him right away. There wasn't much I could do except turn to the shorter one.

"Hi, I'm Greg," I said.

"Really, I'm Greek too!", she said with a grin like a split watermelon.

"No, no," I shouted above the music. "I said, I'm Greg. That's my name. I'm not Greek."

The grin dropped from her face, and suddenly she was finding her fingernails a lot more

interesting than me. To be honest I was kind of glad. But Paul and the tall one were getting on

like a house on fire. They stood so close they were just about grinding their pelvises together, and kept grabbing each other's backsides. I'm pretty sure that meant they liked each other.

I was starting to wonder what the hell I was doing there. The Greek one kept fiddling with her phone and looked pissed off. I had the distinct impression that she would rather speak to an undertaker than to me. I soon turned right away from her and Paul, and scanned the room. That was when I noticed that there were two girls dancing together on the dance floor, and through the smoky air I thought I saw one of them waving a hand, gesturing for me to come over. Remembering the song "Easy lover", I grabbed my drink and stumbled towards them. Don't ask me what I was trying to do as I started dancing next to them, because I sure as hell didn't know. And if one of the girls was the easy lover, she was sure playing hard to get, because both of them just kept dancing with each other, completely ignoring me.

Suddenly someone grabbed me by the hand, and I spun round to find a rather thin girl of about eighteen dancing next to me. There wasn't much I could do as she grabbed my other hand, and before I knew it she was pulling me close. For some reason all thoughts of Amanda had vacated my mind.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Skeptic Caught Out

Here's something well worth reading to cheer up those despairing that modern science has become hardened and closed minded. It's a preview of Rupert Sheldrake's new edition of his book The Presence of the Past. The preview is written by deputy editor of  New Scientist magazine, Graham Lawton, on that magazine's web site. Lawton dismisses Sheldrake's work with snide sarcasm, but the comments that follow the preview are an eye-opener. Most are deeply critical of the the hardened skepticism shown by the reviewer, and rightly so. To be genuine, science must be an open-minded investigation of the universe we live in, not a narrow-minded dismissal of ideas that do not fit neatly into our worldview. The fundamentalist-like approach to rigid, mechanistic science has a name: scientism.


Getting Lucky

After a little break I'm back into writing my online novel Light. (You can read all previous chapters on a separate website here). This chapter, number 18, is called "Getting Lucky" for a good reason. This is a family show, so all references to bodily fluids and the lower  anatomical extremities have been removed.


Chapter 18: Getting Lucky

I don’t think either of us really planned it. Or maybe we did. Like I have been saying. The mind is deep. Sometimes we actually have an intention sitting just below the surface somewhere, but we hide it from ourselves. So I can’t say for sure that I hadn’t really been thinking about it when I looked into her eyes, and she looked into my eyes, and our lips met. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? It would be more Australian if I had said that she soon had her tongue so far down my throat she could have tickled my toes with it.

“Wait.” She suddenly pulled back.


“If we are going to do this then you have to be clear about something.”

“Do? Do what?”

She looked at me for a moment, as if she was checking out the label on an item at the supermarket. 

“What do you think I’m talking about?” And just like that her face changed. If I wasn’t mistaken she was pissed off. One minute she was massaging my tonsils with her olfactory equipment, next minute she was on my case. Women.

“Do what? That’s what I said, didn’t I?”

It was about then that I realised I had said probably the dumbest thing ever said in the long history of dumb things said. And the childish giggle that came out at the end of the question didn’t help much. Don’t ask me why I laughed. Maybe it was just my way to hide my nervousness. Or maybe it was because I’d actually thought she was talking about having sex. No such luck.

“I haven’t had a relationship for nearly a year. That’s what I mean.”

“A year? Wow, you work fast. It’s been five years for me.”

“Why so long? I mean you are a good looking guy and everything.”


I should have been happy about the compliment, but now it was me who was getting pissed. Why did she ask me that? Was she trying to suggest there was something wrong with me?

“Okay, it’s time to come clean. I’m not normal. I’ve been tested, and I stand more than two standard deviations outside the mean on the normal curve. So it’s an empirical fact.”

“Can you ever be serious?”

“I am being serious. It’s all true. Okay, not the part about the test. But I am a bit strange.”

Amanda put her hands over her face and let out a huge sigh.

“Okay, okay. I’m sorry.”  I wasn’t just a clown. I was an idiot.

“Yeah, I know. I shouldn’t goof off so much. I’m sorry. It’s just my way of dealing with things.” I sat there looking at her. She was starting to sob.

Then I said it. “Yeah. I’m scared.”

Amanda’s hands dropped from her face and I was looking into her moist eyes. Somehow the contrast between the red rims and the light blueness opened a portal into her soul, and I saw for the first time that I was sitting beside a vulnerable and confused human being. One who wasn’t that different from me.

“You are the first guy I have ever met who admitted to being scared.”

I didn't know what to say to that.

“You are right.” She was looking at me, her face and hair all soft and feminine. “You aren’t normal. You are quite special.”

I just sat there blinking, staring into her eyes. I think I can honestly say that it was the first time that I had ever felt truly loved. Something inside my chest, like a great invisible waterfall opened, and we fell into each other’s arms.

There’s an episode of the 80’s nihilist comedy The Young Ones where chronic loser Rick awakens in a bed with another young woman and can’t quite believe it. Nor can he remember  how on earth he ever managed to get her there.

I mention this because when I opened my eyes the next day and saw a golden haired beauty lying beside me, there was a period of a second or so when I knew just how Rick must have felt. Who was this guy in bed with the babe? Naked, what’s more. Surely it couldn’t be me. When I then remembered what happened the night before it seemed even less real.

I mean, it wasn’t like I had been the most experienced guy on the planet prior to that day. On another parabolic curve I was undoubtedly several degrees towards the freaky extremities when it came to such things.

Not anymore.

But, what was I supposed to do next? The answer came when Amanda stirred a few minutes later and put her arm around me. We kissed again.

For days I was on a high. All I could do was think about Amanda. I texted her as often as I could. Not too much, though. I didn’t want to give her the impression that I had fallen for her or anything.

Yet there was now no doubting it. Greg Marks had a girlfriend. I had finally found someone who cared about me.

Out of the blue Paul called me. I had almost forgotten about him.

“How’s things, bro? Are the stars arranging their interstellar location to bestow upon you favorable fortunes?”

I could have been have been offended. But I was in high spirits, and I knew this was just the way Paul liked to work his words. You always knew where you stood with him.

“I never thought if it that way, mate. But now you mention it, I reckon the Heavens are indeed portending great tidings.”

“You got lucky?”

“You’re quick, I’ll give you that much.”

And there it was. Within twenty seconds of the call I had spilled the beans. A minute later he knew all about Amanda and me.

“Sounds like it’s time for a beer, dude.”

The uni bar was rather quiet. It was a Tuesday afternoon, after all. Besides Paul and I, there were just a few other students and one or two older professors there. We sat down out on the back verandah near the big gum trees. Somehow it seemed more appropriate to find a discrete location. To celebrate the occasion Paul shouted the first round, and headed off to the bar, returning with two bottles of beer. Victoria Bitter, to be precise. He had forgotten that I drank Tooheys, and probably didn't care. That was Paul.

“Congratulations, bro,” Paul raised his beer. We clinked and chugged back a few mouthfulls.

“How can you drink this shit?” I said.

“In Victoria we drink real beer. Not this girly stuff you have up here in New South Wales.”

“Yeah, right.”

“So tell me about it. Was she good?”

“That’s something you’ll never know.”

I couldn’t possibly imagine it at the time, but those were words that would come back to haunt me.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Radio Out There

He's out there: Barry Eaton

After my lecture at the University of Southern Queensland four days ago, I had five days to burn before my next lecture at the University of the Sunshine Coast (tomorrow). So I decided to head south from Brisbane to spend a few days in Byron Bay, in northern New South Wales. I did so purely on the basis of intuition, and I had no idea what would happen when I got here (I'm in BB right now). Much to my delight, after arriving in BB, I discovered that Australia's major writer's gathering is coinciding with my visit. I have to say that it has been just fantastic to be able to be present here to listen to so many wonderful talks by some of Australia's best writer's, many of whom have a spiirtual perspective on life.

I attended quite a few talks yesterday and today. I wanted to buy so many books, but have been faced with the physical reality that I have a very loaded suit case, and just not enough space to add them to my luggage. Amongst numerous wonderful volumes on sale, I decided to buy just one book: Afterlife by veteran Australian broadcaster Barry Eaton. Barry Eaton is a very well known media figure in Australia, and I grew up watching and listening to him. Later in life Barry had a spiritual transformation, and actually became a practicing clairvoyant. I saw him speak yesterday in a panel with two other writers. It was on the basis of seeing him that I bought his book.

We walk on paths that are always turning, and the way those paths converge is often wonderful and seemingly inexplicable. When the paths cross in ways that seem highly coincidental, there is a name for it; synchronicity. 

Today I was walking past one of the many huge tents at the writer's festival, and decided to drop in for the talk that was proceeding. I honestly had no idea who was talking (there were five or six talks happening at any given time). I stood beside the tent and began to listen to the speakers. There were too many people there for me to actually get in, as all the seats were taken. So I just stood there and listened to the talk, not paying much attention to who was sitting near me. A few minutes later the woman beside me stood up and left, and I was tempted to take the seat. However I saw that there were a few elderly people standing near me, so I let an older women take the seat. But there was someting else I sure noticed as soon as the woman got up. When she vacated the seat, I was able to see that the person sitting two seats away from me was none other than Barry Eaton himself! To cut a long story short, after the talk I made a point to talk to Barry. I found him to be an extremely friendly and humble person. It is great to meet people like Barry who have been part of the mainstream media machine, but who are open to the voice of Spirit.

Barry told me that he now has an online radio programme, Radio Out There. Barry interviews extraordinary people doing extraordinary things in the world, especially those involved in the spiritual evolution of humanity. If you are interested in human spiirtual development, then I highly recommend Barry's show.

Those life paths keep on turning. Who knows where the path will take us next.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Listen to Your Heart... or else

As I mentioned in my last post, I am currently in Australia for three weeks. I am in the greater Brisbane region in the state of Queensland for the first week or so (for benefit of non-Aussies). I have two lectures I am giving at universities here

My first lecture was delivered at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba. not far from Brisbane. I was invited to talk by the Australian Digital Futures Institute there. 

Associate Professor Luke Van Der Laan, a futurist who is very sympathetic to my kind of Futures thinking, was instrumental in arranging the talk. The lecture was entitled "Deep Futures in the Digital Age".  Deep Futures is my term for a way of looking at the future which expands discussion beyond politics, technology and economics, and includes a greater reflection upon meaning, purpose, spiritual well-being, and the greater relationship of human beings to nature and the world we live in.

Both Luke and I were quite amazed at the interest in the talk, which was not widely publicised. About 60 people gave up their lunchtime to attend. I spoke about how digital technology and modern education can actually be used to deepen our thinking about the future, and the way we live in the present. I spoke about the way that modern society and education has been accelerating certain kinds of human intelligence (visual/spatial and abstract), while effectively retarding other expressions of intelligence (intuitive and self-reflective). I brought in the ideas of mindfulness (bringing the mind into presence) and Integrated Intelligence (spiritual intuition).

I admit I was a bit worried about how the audience would receive some of my ideas, which are a bit "out there" for mainstream university discourse. After all, almost all of the people there were academics and university workers (there wasn't much publicity for the student body). However the audience was very receptive, and the feedback I got from all quarters was very enthusiastic. The sense I get, and from what people have been telling me, is that many people are now ready to discuss these kinds of things, and there is a general thirst for them in Australia. 

This is one of the reasons why I am going to move back to Australia. I have to say that getting people in Hong Kong and China to listen to ideas like mine has been a real struggle. The general mindset of the population is so tightly focused upon finance, work and (I don't know how else to write this) shopping that there is almost no cognitive space left to consider a more deeply meaningful approach to life. 

I'll briefly mention one contrasting example of a talk I gave at a tertiary institution in Hong Kong. The talk was about how to use the intuitive mind in research and learning. Only four people turned up, and two of them got up and left when I introduced the topic, just a couple of minutes into the talk. Apparently they thought the talk was about something else. The two who were left were actually doctoral students who had chosen me to be their supervisor for their doctoral theses, and had come to meet me for the first time. After the talk both told the school they didn't want me to be their supervisor anymore. 

Unfortunately I have had just too many experiences like this in Hong Kong, and I finally have to admit that my situation there is a bit of an oil and water combination. Hong Kong is a place where efficiency and convenience are king, and the goal of education is to get a qualification and get the hell out of the school. "Education for transformation" (one of my favourite sayings) makes no sense in that intellectual climate. I'm not deluding myself that Western education is a paradise for educators like me, but it is further along the road.

I have long written about the importance of following your heart in making decisions. Recently a lot of my spiritual guidance has been reminding me of this. Yesterday I was walking along a street in downtown Byron Bay, and saw a sign for a bookshop, and immediately felt a pull to go in. Inside I found that it was a metaphysical bookstore, and I bought some books. At the counter I asked the older blond haired woman if they did readings there, and she told me they did. So I booked a half hour session. It turned out that the session would be delayed 30 minutes, but I felt a strong sense to hang round for it, and I'm glad I did. The reader, a woman of early middle age named Missy, picked up my situation immediately. It takes one to know one as they say (I do readings myself), and she was very, very good indeed. She tuned into my situation straight away, and emphasised the importance of listening to the heart. Sometimes even inituatives need insight from a second party!

I have to admit I have not listened to my own heart enough with my situation in Hong Kong. I have been getting the "message" to leave for a year or two but have been delaying it. The result is that my own mental state has suffered. That is what happens when you ignore the voice of spirit. But in this instance I'll forgive myself for my stubbornness. 

Better late than never, as they say in the classics.

On Monday I give another talk, this time at the University of the Sunshine Coast, which will be to a much smaller audience - the Futures graduate students at that university.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Clear thinking...

Things have been quite on 22C+ for a while! And for good reason. I have a five week break from teaching in Hong Kong, and am now in Australia. Perhaps I should tell you that I went to Beijing first,which is part of the reason why I am feeling pretty good right now. Let me explain.

There are a lot of nice things about Beijing. The streets are wide. The pace of life is merely hectic, not frenetic like Hong Kong. The infrastructure is good. There are spanking brand new shopping malls, bridges and buildings all over the place. The subway - which barely existed when I lived in Beijing - is now half decent. People aren't exactly friendly, but they aren't hostile either. Oh, and there are beautiful women all over the place. Don't tell my wife that bit.

Here's a nice video of some Chinese kids playing in a fountain in The Village shopping Centre in Sanlitun, Beijing. It's a hot summer evening.


The pollution in Beijing is horrific. For the first three days of my week there the air filth was at Armageddon levels. When I went out for a walk at midday (remember, this was mid summer), visibility was often no more than a few hundred metres. When the air cleared enough, I could actually see that there were no clouds in the sky. This surprised me as I had  thought there was one hundred per cent cloud cover, so dull was the day. The air smelled and tasted awful. I actually felt concerned for my health, imagining what the stuff was doing to my lungs. On the fourth day a big storm arrived, and the air was much improved thereafter. Maybe the Beijing authorities just got tired of breathing crap, and ordered the clouds sprinkled with chemicals, to induce precipitation. This is, of course, what they did to create the illusion of a clean China for the Beijing Olympics. Check out the video, taken at luchtime. The temperature is in the 30s, and there are no clouds in the sky.

OK, so now I have absconded to Australia. And what a difference! Currently I am staying in Byron Bay in northern New South Wales. I went for a walk this afternoon and gazed upon a sparkling clear blue ocean. The air was crisp and so clean it was a delight to breathe. There were birds everywhere. People were playing with children and walking dogs. I walked along wide, quiet, tree-lined streets. As evening fell the clear blue sky dimmed to a darker shade of azure, the moon came out in a clear night sky and the sound of hundreds of birds chattering filled the evening. As I strolled around my mind became as clear as the atmosphere, and something dawned upon me. Some things are priceless, and no amount of money can ever buy them. No amount of relentless "You so handsome!" ego flattering from pretty Chinese girls can ever replace the quiet presence of being in a culture which values simply being present - no dodgy karaoke bars to compensate for non-touch relationships, no pop songs pumped through public sound systems and endless fiddling with mobile devices to anesthetise the pain of a soul numbing dash-for-cash culture and its face-obsessed society.

I never actually bought into the materialism on Hong Kong and China, but in the quiet of a small Australian seaside town I can see how it subtly brainwashed me. And I can see how it brainwashes almost everyone in the Confucian world. Chinese people are born into a society where their entire identity is determined by how far they can climb the social ladder, and how much cash and how many assets they can accumulate. Sound familiar? It is like the West on steroids.

Not for everyone. But true for far too many. There is discussion of all these issues in China, but the entire system is in a self-perpetuating vicious cycle. The legitimacy of the government depends upon continued high rates of economic growth, so it has no choice but to keep investing energy into the continuation of the system. But on the other side of the coin it is the people who are demanding economic growth, and many have bought into the consciousness of greed.

Don't get me wrong. I have met many wonderful Chinese people. But they are embedded in a very repressive political/social system (and I might add there are plenty of people in Australia who I wouldn't give the time of day). China is a fascinating country, but for me it is vital to get distance from it at regular intervals, to avoid being pulled into the consciousness of the place. It is, in my opinion, suffering from collective insanity, or perhaps we could simply downgrade the diagnosis to mass delusion. The charade will end, just as it is ending in the USA, Greece, Italy, Spain etc. The USA and friends are just showing how it is done. The entire world economic system is unsustainable. Either there is a massive restructuring of material values or there will be a very, very heavy landing for us all. It won't be nice anywhere, but I definitely wouldn't like to be in China when it happens.