Dear Ms. Thunberg,
You are in a unique position to make a difference in protecting the planet, and I am here to serve this cause and to support you in your efforts however I can. In that spirit, I offer the following proposal and ask only that you read and consider it with care:
You can take the lead in forming an Earth Council representing people from every part of the world. Each member of the council takes a Pledge of Service to the Earth (POSTTE). The function of the council is to pass resolutions consisting of specific strategies to save the Earth’s ecosystems from permanent damage and protect the natural beauty and abundance of this planet for future generations.
A big reason why humanity cannot get out of the mess that we have created for ourselves is that we cannot see our way out. We need people of vision and high ideals to lead us into a peaceful, sustainable and balanced future. This is not an easy task and will take an extraordinary combination of imagination and practicality. Even those in power are enslaved to the current system, which is broken, outdated, and destructive. True leadership does not yet exist on a global level, but such leaders must arise in order to ascertain that life on Earth will continue to thrive. I believe in my heart that you are one of those leaders, and that you have the ability to attract other like-minded individuals to you.
The Earth Council will make decisions about major issues regarding the use, allocation and replenishment of the Earth’s resources. It will be advised by teams or subcommittees that will work on specific issues, such as: cleanup, culture, distribution, economics, education, food production, health and welfare, justice, manufacturing, re-introduction of endangered species, restoring habitats, spirituality (focusing on ethics and ideals), transportation, and waste management.
The size and makeup of the Earth Council can be whatever you think is right. This is your council, which you can lead as you see fit, according to your principles and ideals. Millions of people trust your integrity and dedication. I am one of them.
Here is what I ask for myself. I have devoted my life to these issues and would like to be involved in the process in the following ways:
1. It would be my great honor to help you create the POSTTE. If you assemble a team to carry out this task, I would love to serve on that team. This is key to the Earth Council's success because the POSTTE will be much more than words. It is a full-fledged lifelong commitment to being of service to the Earth, including ecosystems, human civilization, and all life forms. Each person who takes the POSTTE is obligated by a sense of honor to embody and live in accordance with the ideals it expresses.
2. I would like to take the POSTTE myself and serve the Earth Council in some way, along with my wife Maria. We are fully in support of what you’re doing and will prove to be loyal and selfless allies in this cause, even if it’s just on an advisory basis. If there are teams assigned to address issues of Health and Welfare or Spirituality, we have both devoted our lives to these matters and can help the Earth Council generate effective strategies that can be implemented in a realistic manner.
The existing machinery of power in the world is coming off the rails at this moment. You and I can see this happening all around us. While it is important to speed up the collapse of this system, it is also urgently critical to start establishing reasonable, humane, and inclusive forms of global leadership to replace it. I know that the Earth Council I am describing can fill that void. What I am offering here is simply a proposal—a start to a discussion that I would be honored and thrilled to have with you and other like-minded people. Please know that I am at your service.
in the body
PLEASE SEE THE END OF THIS POST FOR A SPECIAL OFFER!
I love my body! Do you love yours? Look. I get it. There is pain, and trauma, and illness, and injury. Looking in the mirror, it's hard not to judge, compare, or criticize. Some part of your body may seem misshapen, too big, or too small.
But here is the basic truth of Ram Dass' profound teaching. To BE HERE NOW means to BE IN THE BODY. How could it not? You and I are embodied consciousness. And that consciousness is not just in your head. It imbues every bit of your body, from head to toe, from molecule to organism.
Three years ago, I was involved in the co-creation of the following video, which is a meditation on the fundamental truth that the one light of awareness called the Creative Spirit is embedded infinitely upon itself throughout the universe. Everywhere you turn, you will find the Creative Spirit--starting with your own body. That is why the soundtrack of the video repeatedly states that "there are no boondocks." Nothing is devoid of the Creative Spirit. Absolutely nothing.
Try this simple meditation: Take in the video without trying to judge or analyze its message.
When you arrive at the realization that physical is spiritual, that changes everything. This body that I occupy is not MY body. I had nothing to do with creating it and play hardly any role in regulating the myriad events that take place in that body every second, from the firing of neurons to the formation of new cells. Neuroscientists say that my conscious mind is an epiphenomenon, meaning that it's more of a passenger than a driver.
This body belongs to the entire universe. It is layer upon layer of lila, the divine play of the Creative Spirit. In moments of inspiration, I embody the Creative Spirit at play so fully that there is nothing else to be. As I said yesterday, Victor ceases to exist. I am utterly lost in the moment, in this bodily experience of the here and now.
Somehow, spirituality has become disembodied for many of us. The body is often seen as a source of guilt and shame. I heard a Hindu swami refer to it as a "sack of stools." And make no mistake about it: this kind of dismissal of the body has had an influence on all of us. Even though we are living in a supposedly materialistic society, many of us are disconnected and dissociated from the bodies that we inhabit. Comedian John Mullaney captures this state of affairs perfectly: "I don't know what my body is for, other than taking my head from room to room." It is time to find out what the body is really there for, so that we can experience the joys of living in a body to the fullest extent possible. For me, that is the true meaning of BE HERE NOW.
Yesterday, I posted an image of a glass dildo that you might have found inflammatory. My intention was not to shock. I see this type of sex toy in the same light that I see the temple bell Maria and I were given as a wedding gift. Both can be extraordinary tools for inducing the bodily experience of inspiration. Every morning, I ring that bell before stating the following invocation, which you might want to try for yourself:
I LOVE BEING ALIVE!
I AM BEAUTIFUL. AND GRACEFUL.
AND VITAL. AND PERFECT.
I AM FREE TO LIVE IN THIS MOMENT.
HERE AND NOW, BABY!
In 2020, my year of BE HERE NOW, I am happy to offer a brief daily meditation on this theme, exploring the different tools and techniques I have found for inducing and enhancing the bodily experience of inspiration. But I need to know that you are genuinely interested in this topic. Rather than posting to this blog, I will send out a short daily email that includes something you can try for yourself. There is no cost to sign up for this email. I will only send it out when at least 50 people have signed up.
HERE IS MY SPECIAL OFFER: Sign up for my FREE email list by clicking on the image below or sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Just write the words "BE HERE NOW" somewhere in the body or title of your email. Then you will receive a daily meditation from me in your inbox once enough people have signed up. I promise to keep it short and sweet!
the year of "be here now"
“Here we are—here and now. That’s all there is.”
Happy 2020! On New Year’s Day, I decided to dedicate this year to one of the most profound spiritual teachings I have ever encountered: BE HERE NOW. These three simple words have had a lasting impact on my life, as they have had on countless others. It seems only fitting to honor the life of Ram Dass, who taught us their significance, by delving into the present moment as fully and deeply as I can and writing about my experiences here. My intention is to offer daily meditations on this theme.
But what does it mean to be here now? How does it feel? And what does it take not just to have the experience but to live sustainably in it? Such questions have been the focal point of both my spiritual practice and my life’s work as a psychologist. I call the experience of being fully present in the present “inspiration” and have devoted over three decades to exploring the nature of this experience, as described in my recent TEDx talk:
Inspiration lies at the heart of virtually every major creative breakthrough in human history. That’s a pretty big deal! Some have tried to downplay the importance of inspiration in the creative process. Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” While there’s no denying all the hard work that goes into creativity, inspiration happens to be the tail that wags the dog. If you take it out of Edison’s equation, all you’re left with is...well…a whole lot of sweat.
For me, inspiration matters regardless of the outcome. This is the ultimate experience of the here and now. As psychologist Abraham Maslow observed, when you are inspired, you are “totally immersed, fascinated and absorbed in the present.” A radical shift happens—one that has been reported by creative people in every age and in all parts of the world. You become so utterly lost in the moment that you are, in Maslow’s words, “timeless, selfless, outside of space, of society, of history.”
Here is one of the great paradoxes of spiritual life: To be here now, in the fullest sense imaginable, is to disappear into the present moment. Ram Dass said, “The game is not about becoming somebody; it’s about becoming nobody.” I have found this out for myself, over and over, through direct experience. In moments of inspiration, there is no Victor to be found in this body. He is gone. All of his history—the total sum of his thoughts, words, and actions—ceases to exist or even matter.
So, what is left? When I vanish in this way, the only thing remaining in my body is: the Creator of the Freaking Universe! Call it what you will. I have tried all kinds of names for this ultimate source and essence of creation, this genius that inhabits the body, this light of awareness that illuminates all thoughts and all things. No words are adequate to name the ineffable or describe the indescribable. Currently, I have settled on “creative spirit.” Feel free to fill in the blanks with your own wording. Honestly, I hardly care what you call it. I am far more interested in how you experience it.
For me, an undeniable transformation happens that is thrilling and instantaneous. Suddenly I become a total embodiment of the creative spirit at play. It’s like the experience of staring at a Magic Eye picture such as the one shown here. At first, you see only a seemingly jumbled color pattern. Then, in a flash, your perspective shifts to reveal the 3D image hidden in that pattern.
You can see the underlying image of a bird in flight when you stop trying to see it and just give into the experience. The change in perspective that reveals the bird to you is a combination of art and grace. Your ability to relax, surrender, and allow the 3D image to show itself takes practice, like any art. Grace comes into play when the image appears, unforced, without any effort on your part. It feels like a gift or favor that has been bestowed upon you once you are prepared to receive it.
This is my recipe for inspiration: Art and Grace. I have no issue with the use of props, tools and toys that can help draw me into the here and now, as long as I don’t become so attached to them that I end up giving these vehicles far more credit than they deserve. I have spent a lifetime developing and refining the art of inspiration. Part of my art is recognizing when an external device can help stimulate my internal process. More about that tomorrow.
I want to hear from you! Please share your questions and comments. And sign up for my newsletter, where I will pass along the insights, ideas, and inspiration that come my way.