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Chuck’s Place: Dream It Forward

So who says it's so? Embroidered by a Dreamer.

Each morning we awaken to our longest running dream, the world we live in. So compelling and consistent is this dream that we call it reality. In our reality dream, reason has come to be the guiding force, with magic and spirit really believed to exist only in other dreams.

Despite the limitations of reason, it has generated a dream we can count on, a safety net of order and continuity for us to build and maintain our lives on. Currently, our world of reason is under siege by a wily trickster who presents under the pseudonym of economics.

“It’s jobs, stupid; it’s the economy.” And with those words the world goes silent and is brought to its knees in servitude.

This past week I heard a music reviewer, on the eve of the American Idol finale, state that the show had become so formulaic and, despite some strong voices, that formula choked out new music. She herself felt the need to attend a rock concert that night, rather than be bored once again. The economic coup, the other “idol” of our times, has become equally formulaic and boring.

In our own American dream, currently dominating the world stage, a new economic American Idol was anointed this week, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. At age 28, he is now one of the twenty wealthiest people on earth. How did he get there? Well, his greed and speed launched Facebook initially. Despite dirty tricks at Harvard, he pulled it off. The recent Facebook IPO launch was filled, once again, with dirty tricks, with JP Morgan implicated once again, but Zuckerberg still landed at the top, and truly, that’s all that matters. Right?

Reason and fairness are no match for the “economic need” of the few. And, in the end, all dirty deeds are truly forgiven because, secretly, all is fair in the accumulation of wealth. What matters is getting there—at any cost. That’s the real dream of the economic dream.

We have to frack, to poison the water supply. Why? It’s jobs, stupid! We have to drill in the Arctic. We need more oil. Why? Homeland security and the economy, stupid! We simply cannot limit carbon emissions to forestall global warming, at least not now. Why? It just doesn’t make economic sense. How could we possibly shut down a nuclear industry in these times of economic need?

Ironically, such drastic economic delusions were created by the Zuckerbergs of the world, the Wall Street tricksters, the champions of finance and industry who continuously fool the world to their own wealth advantage. But truthfully, their power remains unchecked because, secretly, we’re all upholding the notion that the accumulation of wealth, through any means, is of the highest value and at the basis of our survival. That American dream, like American Idol, simply chokes out the possibility of other dreams, even one so simple as fairness, sharing, and taking only what you truly need. Or a dream that acknowledges interdependence, a dream that says, “no being left behind.” It takes all of us to uphold the dream.

Time to dream a new dream?

Our reality dream is breaking apart now because even rationality cannot uphold the logic of the economic trickster. Science, a most rational process, is severely checked under its influence. According to the economic trickster, science exists only for its money making potential and should only be funded to serve the market. Education is all wrong. Schools are markets now too; markets for iPads, markets for loans, for online degrees. It’s all about the economy—we need more to survive. Like cancer, that dream can only survive on the unchecked accumulation of more.

The good news is that new dreams are incubating to dream our world forward, as we begin to awaken from our current economic nightmare. Just watch Greece. They’re doing it. They’ll be damned, but that cradle of democracy is learning to just say no, as the trickster—the European/World economy—shakes in its boots. True reality is that there is no debt crisis, there is no economic crisis, there is more than enough to sustain all in this world.

The trickster’s crisis is the crisis of greed, with its insatiable need to have it all—that’s the true crisis of which we’re all deluded. The trickster’s dream insists that we dream its dream and pay homage to survival being based on feeding the insatiable need of its greed. That dream requires all of us, in consensus, to agree to it, to uphold that world. That’s why the markets are terrified at the implications in Greece and France. If Greece leaves the Euro, they break from that dream, and that dream begins a free fall into a nightmare that even the trickster can’t dream himself out of.

The other good news is that we are all dreamers capable of awakening from this dream that’s held us in its grip for so long. In our daily dreams, we can incorporate mindfulness practices to achieve a calm that allows us to dislodge from the frantic fears generated by the suggestions of the trickster hypnotist, found within us, as well as without.

We can dream our lives forward, beyond the constraints of the economic formula into new possibility. We can even dream a world of magic and fulfillment, freed of the delusion that we need to accumulate more. Come on, dreamers, let’s dream it forward!

Dreaming on,

Note: A good follow up to Chuck’s blog and the economic dream we are caught in is to watch the movie I AM by Tom Shadyac. If you haven’t seen it, it offers a romp through where greed has taken us and specifically the director himself. In the end, he allows simplicity to take it’s modest yet most appropriate place. Available in our Store, under the movies category.

Chuck’s Place: Under the Bodhi Tree

In a dream, I witness a family with young children confronted with frightening events. They play a game where they race to outpace the impending disasters by creating stories that keep them at bay.

We tell ourselves stories, or stories are told to us, to spin reality and make us feel safe. We live in a time of great storytelling delivered through modern machines. Economies are now driven by handheld storytelling devices competing to deliver the latest story the fastest. Who can give us the latest image, joke, and spin in the fewest nanoseconds?

Meanwhile, the post-American Dream reality continues to debunk an illusory world long over. There are no real American corporations. Corporations are moneymaking entities with allegiance only to that which generates profit. America’s manufacturing has long left its shores in search of highest possible profit. America has become a Third World country that industry now seeks to exploit for its final riches—its natural resources. All this under the story of keeping America safe, secure and, of course, working!

When could we have imagined that fracking—a known disastrously carcinogenic procedure to obtain natural gas—is almost certain to be allowed in the midst of New York’s Hudson Valley, the major water supplier to millions of people in New York City. The storytellers are powerfully suggesting that it is the only American thing to do, to shore up our economy and preserve our independence. Such a “safe technology!” We are assured that our drinking water won’t be compromised. How reassuring!

The corporate world has wormed its way into the internet, the final frontier of free speech. Algorithms, ultimately programs designed to cater to our likes, secretly prejudice the information we call for and unleash the modern “hidden persuader” in search of our money. Watch TED talk:

What FACEBOOK and GOOGLE are Hiding from world.

So blinded are we by our own hunger for self-importance that we readily reveal all our likes and dislikes to Facebook, who’s algorithms digest the data and hand it, on a silver platter, to industry. And, we don’t care! As don Juan said: We are happy chickens in a chicken coop! Happily pecking away in our imprisonment, being fed to bursting.

Tweetie Bird, Twitter, has come of age as a scientific storyteller, yesterday revealing the universality of global mood shifts. The big news: people are happiest in the morning and on the weekend. How enlightening. With that news I can now be happy when I awaken and when the work week is complete, knowing that I’m normal, just like everyone else. Do we really need a “scientific study” from this giant storytelling machine to tell us something that we know by simply observing ourselves? Or have we come so far from knowing ourselves that we don’t know what we feel or when we feel it without Twitter’s enlightenment?

We are indeed in a time of great change. The old stories are folding and we anxiously grasp at our storytelling machines for calming new stories like the young family in my dream desperately seeking to stave off impending doom. I think it might be time to turn to an old story that presents a simple technique to find calm without a story.

No CAT-astrophies

There was once a Buddha who sat beneath the bodhi tree. He sat in utter stillness, calmly breathing, as apocalyptic and sensuous, lustful stories passed before him. He knew them all to be illusions and so he grasped at none of them, allowing none to plant seeds in his mind to generate worrisome, anxious or fearful attachment. Instead, he remained with the truth—unspun reality, simply what is—in utter stillness. With this he found his way to enlightening calm.

In a post-storytelling world of fully recapitulated truth we find our way into utter calm. Release the devices, find a nice tree to sit under, go inward and, in stillness, bypass attachment to the storytelling mind and allow yourself to stay present as the truths of the heart flow through you. Allow yourself to breathe the side to side sweeping breath, releasing untruths while consolidating inner truth.

Discover true calm,

Chuck’s Place: Beyond The Sprawl

On a road trip through America, struck by the metastases of stores, hotels and restaurants. “Each town looks the same to me,” carbon copies, endless chains of unchecked greed, growth and expansion, a malignancy from sea to sea, and across the seas. We are sold on the notion that economic recovery equals economic expansion, the only cure for our slump.

Meanwhile, as we self-soothe, bathing in our personal history of self-importance on Facebook, this marketing goldmine with its own metastases—tentacles penetrating every lead, refusing to let go of any attachment— is now deemed unstoppable and has not escaped the eyes of investment giant Goldman Sachs, now offering Facebook stock to its wealthy investors. Remember Goldman? One of the investment leaders responsible, through its greed, for bringing down the economy a few short years ago.

Our world reflects our most dreaded disease: cancer. This is so, not only because of the carcinogens we create and consume, but also because our governing modus of survival is unchecked expansion. In a nutshell: how can I generate, market, expand, and accumulate MORE!

The God of Now is MORE! The rational mind is firmly in control, and regardless of lip service to the contrary, death=lights out. The only heaven is accumulation in the now. This is The Matrix we live in and feed. And it’s not just the puppet masters of the evil empire who tweak the local ambience to feed our illusions of specialness in their big box wonderlands. If we examine the habits of our lives, we are sure to discover the dominance of more in some form, whether it be in electronics, food, spirits, romance, objects, information, etcetera, etcetera.

The modern world has lost its connection and respect for ancient wisdom. China, the land that gave us The Middle Way, the ancient cure for excess, has completely metastasized. Like a pancreatic cancer, it spreads its ravenous greed, consuming all that lies in its way, including Tibet.

We are indeed at the climax of a dying age, as the ancient Hindus, in their Vishnu Purana text wrote, describing our age with amazing accuracy: “It declares that men will know they have entered the Kali Age when society reaches a stage where property confers rank, wealth becomes the only source of virtue, passion the sole bond of union between husband and wife, falsehood the source of success in life, sex the only means of enjoyment, and when outer trappings are confused with inner religion.”

On a global scale this age must burn itself out for new life to begin. Jeanne came to realize that sometimes cancer is the necessary remedy of transformation.

And lest I seem negative and hopeless, I am in fact quite optimistic. The seeds of a new era lie within us all. First, we must allow ourselves to see the truth of The Matrix, time for the red pill. Next we must disengage from the tentacles of The Matrix that feed upon and are supported by our vital energy.

Yes, we are free to reclaim our energy by facing all the truths, inner and outer; the stuff of recapitulation. As we filter through our experiences and reclaim our energy, we harmonize and achieve an inner calm, perfectly capable of sustainability outside The Matrix. We reclaim our birthright as energetic beings, freed to step outside the illusions of The Matrix, freed to live in infinity, NOW! Happy New Year!

If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.

Until we meet again,

NOTES: Each town looks the same to me is a quote from the Simon and Garfunkel song Homeward Bound. The Vishnu Purana text is from the book Tantra, The Yoga of Sex by Omar Garrison, p. xix. The Matrix refers to the movie of the same title, Chuck’s favorite movie, thus far and now.