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Week of December 3rd, 2020

The Secret of Change . . .

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

—Dan Millman.

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

—Buckminster Fuller

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Imagine that the whole world belongs to you. The birch trees in New Hampshire's White Mountains are yours, and so are the cirrus clouds in the western sky at dusk and the black sand on the beaches of Hawaii's Big Island.

You own everything, my dear sovereign -- the paintings in all the museums of the world, as well as the Internet and the wild horses and the eight-lane highways.

Please take good care of it all, OK? Be an enlightened monarch who treats your domain with reverent responsibility.

And make sure you also enjoy the full measure of fun that comes with such mastery. Glide through life as if all of creation is yearning to honor and entertain you.

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Dear Gorgeous Genius: You possess exceptional capacities that are absolutely unique. You're a masterpiece unlike any other that has ever lived in the history of the world.

Furthermore, the precise instructions you need to ripen into your genius have always been with you, even from the time before you were born. In the words of psychologist James Hillman, you have a soul's code.

You might also call it the special mission you came to Earth to carry out; the divine blueprint that contains the open secret of how to be perfectly, unpredictably yourself; the master plan that is your heart's deepest desire.

Would you like help in deciphering it? The Divine Intelligence Formerly Known as God is always on call, ready to help. It's your birthright to ask Her a specific question every day about what you need to do next to express your soul's code; it's also your birthright to receive a response.

The divine revelation may not be as unambiguous as a little voice in your head. It might appear in the form of a TV commercial, an odd dream, or an encounter with a stranger. It could be demanding and difficult, delivering information you'd rather not have to deal with. Or it might show up as a clear and simple feeling of knowing exactly what to do, and it could be easy and fun.

What question will you ask the Divine Wow today?

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"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium. It will be lost. The world will not have it.

"It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open."

—Martha Graham

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Some spiritual traditions teach the doctrine, "Kill off your longings." In their view, attachment to desire is at the root of human suffering.

But the religion of materialism takes the opposite tack, asserting that the meaning of life is to be found in indulging desires. Its creed is, "Feed your cravings like a French foie gras farmer cramming eight pounds of maize down a goose's gullet every day."

At the Beauty and Truth Lab, we walk a middle path. We believe there are both degrading desires that enslave you and sacred desires that liberate you.


Psychologist Carl Jung believed that all desires have a sacred origin, no matter how odd they may seem.

Frustration and ignorance may contort them into distorted caricatures, but it is always possible to locate the divine source from which they arose.

In describing one of his addictive patients, Jung said: "His craving for alcohol was the equivalent on a low level of the spiritual thirst for wholeness, or as expressed in medieval language: the union with God."


"The primordial fire that sparked millions of galaxies is the same fire that sparks the human creative impulse."

—Cindy Spring


"The human reproductive drive is a watered-down version of the godsex that spawned our solar system."

—"Lieutenant" Anfortas, the homeless guy in the Safeway parking lot


"Feelings that originate in the human genitalia are among the most powerful forces on earth. They have a complex relationship with the feelings that stem from the human heart: at various times in competition or in harmony.

Together these primal energies have forged and toppled empires; unleashed terrible and wonderful ideas; and generated the greatest stories ever told. Our goal is to harness our sexual urges in service to the heart's wisdom."

—Sheila Samizdat


"Mad! One must become mad with love in order to realize God. When a person attains ecstatic love of God, all the pores of the skin, even the roots of the hair, become like so many sex organs, and in every pore the aspirant enjoys the happiness of communion with the Supreme Universal Self."



Like all of us, you have desires for things that you don't really need and aren't good for you. But you shouldn't disparage yourself for having them, nor should you conclude that every desire is tainted.

Rather, think of your misguided longings as the bumbling, amateur expressions of a faculty that will one day be far more expert. They're how you practice as you work toward the goal of becoming a master of desire. It may take a while, but eventually you will get the hang of wanting things that are really good for you, and good for everyone else, too.


"The only way anyone is ever cured of desiring nonsensical things is by getting the nonsensical things and then experiencing the unpleasant but educational consequences."

—Ann Davies


"To become a master of desire, keep talking yourself out of being attached to trivial goals and keep talking yourself into being thrilled about the precious few goals that are really important. Here's another way to say it: Wean yourself from ego-driven desires and pour your libido into a longing for beauty, truth, goodness, justice, integrity, creativity, love, and an intimate relationship with the Wild Divine."

—Raye Sangfreud


"God has desires. Since I want to be close to God and to model myself after God, I therefore don't aspire to extinguish my desires, but rather to make my desires more God-like: i.e., imbued with an inexorable ambition to create the greatest and most interesting blessings for everyone and everything."

—Collin Klamper


As much as I love men and women, they can't satisfy the full extent of my yearning. I need intimate relations with clouds and eagles and sea anemones and mountains and spirits of the dead and kitchen appliances and the creatures in my dreams.

To be continued. To be enhanced and amplified and enlarged upon, world without end, amen. One day I really do hope to be a wise enough lover to be an ocean-fucker and sky-sucker and earth-boinker.

—Jumbler Javalina


"When I hold you, I hold everything: crones praying in the foamy sand at low tide, a shocked waterfall gracing a new housing development, the foxglove by the fence sipping the fragrance of distant blue straggler stars, my dream of the white crow dreaming of me. In your eyes I see everything that lives."

—mash-up of Pablo Neruda and Rob Brezsny


Imagine it's 30 years from now. You're looking back at the history of your relationship with desire. There was a certain watershed moment when you clearly saw that some of your desires were mediocre, inferior, and wasteful, while others were pure, righteous, and invigorating.

Beginning then, you made it a life goal to purge the former and cultivate the latter. Thereafter, you occasionally wandered down dead ends trying to gratify yearnings that weren't worthy of you, but usually you wielded your passions with discrimination, dedicating them to serve the highest and most interesting good.

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Brian Bruya wrote the following words: "Is desire the noxious weed that keeps us lurching from one unsatisfactory pleasure to the next? Is it true that uprooting desire is the only way to liberation?

"Daniel Odier, a scholar and teacher of tantra, turns this wisdom on its head in his book *Desire: The Tantric Path to Awakening*. He says that desire is the only true path to liberation.

"Odier objects to any belief system that pretends to offer liberation in any form other than simple, personal experience. Odier's tantrism focuses on 'micropractices,' conscious withdrawal from habitual activities for just a few seconds several times a day. The crux is to attain consciousness, presence—and beyond this, there is no goal.

"For when there is eventually presence in every activity, the luminosity of existence pervades everything. At this point, the smallest things give pleasure. Gross desires fall away, to be replaced by spontaneous desires arising in a life of grace and joy."


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The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.



Two dangers threaten the universe: order and disorder.

—Paul Valéry


Without order, nothing can exist. Without chaos, nothing can evolve.

—Oscar Wilde

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In 2000, novelist Tom Robbins read my docu-fiction novel The Televisionary Oracle, and wrote a testimonial. He said, "I have seen the future of American literature, and its name is Rob Brezsny."

Here's what philosopher Robert Anton Wilson wrote about The Televisionary Oracle: "A book so weird it might drive you stark raving sane."

I'm still waiting for Tom Robbins' prophecy to come true, but there's plenty of time.

Twenty years later, Wilson's description remains apt: The Televisionary Oracle may be the only book ever written by a man about the shamanic potencies of menstruation.

One of the book's plotlines is the kidnap of a rock star by a women's mystery school. Another is the coming-of-age story of Rapunzel Blavatsky, who the mystery school regards as the reincarnation of Mary Magdalene. An important character in the book is Jumbler Javalina, a transgender person who has an intimate relationship with Rapunzel.

The story also deals with my . . . I mean the rockstar's . . . life-changing actions in response to the death of his manager, rock impresario Bill Graham.

Would I . . . I mean the rockstar . . . be writing a syndicated astrology column today if Graham hadn't died in a helicopter crash? We'll never know. But The Televisionary Oracle provides clues.


The Televisionary Oracle is available as an ebook at Barnes & Noble.

It's available from Amazon in hard copy or ebook.

It's available through the publisher.

and also through

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Instead of being so relentlessly serious and thoughtful, I'm going to take a momentary detour into ridiculousness. See here.

I realize this may compromise my dignity and tempt some people to suspect I have less gravitas than I allegedly should have.

I may disappoint those who would like to believe I am a shaman, expert, authority, pundit, or intellectual.

And that's a good thing!

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I invite you to say this:

"Novel intuitions are now erupting from my smart heart, awakening me from any trance I've been ensnared in. I am hereby breaking and escaping obstructions that hinder my ability to express my soul's code. My unique capacities are being liberated, my potentials activated."

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Many spiritual teachers, some of whom I respect, say things like "I am not my body" or "This body is not me."

I don't understand that. It's an insult and disparagement. It's dismissive of our bodies' sublime beauty and our bodies' divine role in educating our souls.

I mean, I do agree that we are not ONLY our bodies. I do agree that a big part of us is eternal, lives free of all limitations, and is ecstatically immersed in the interconnected web of life—not just trapped in some solitary boundaried form.

But hell yes, I am my body. It's a glorious aspect of who I am. It's a miraculous creation that has taken millions of years to evolve into the masterpiece it is now.

So for me, yes, I am my body and yes, this body is me. I love my body. I am in awe of it. I am pleased to be united with it.

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How do we summon the right blend of practical love and constructive anger?

How do we refrain from hating other people even as we fight fiercely against the hatred and danger they have helped unleash?

How do we cultivate cheerful buoyancy even as we neutralize the bigoted, autocratic poisons that are on the loose?

How can we be both wrathful insurrectionaries and exuberant lovers of life?

How can we stay in a good yet unruly mood as we overthrow the mass hallucinations that are metastasizing?

In the face of the danger, how do we remain intensely dedicated to building beauty and truth and justice and love even as we keep our imaginations wild and hungry and free?

Can our struggle also be a form of play?

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The greatest gift you can give might be the gift that you yourself were never given. Give that gift.

The most valuable service you have to offer your fellow humans may be the service you have always wished were performed for you. Offer that service.

An experience that wounded you could move you to help people who've been similarly wounded. Heal yourself by healing others.

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That in a person which cannot be domesticated is not his evil but his goodness.

—author Antonio Porchia

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Make the invisible dark force beautiful. Create a song out of your moans. Brag about your wounds. Dance reverently on the graves of your enemies. Sneak a gift to your bad self. Dissolve the ties that bind you to hollow intelligence.

Train yourself in the art of unpredictability. Play forever in time's blessing. Lift up your heart unto the wild sun. Distribute your favors to the little ones who can never pay you back. Fall out of love with fear. Make beautiful messes in the midst of ugly messes.

Anything I missed?

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The ever-evolving truth is far too complicated and fluid and slippery and scrambled and gorgeously abundant for one human being to completely master.

I'm lucky to have gotten my percentage of mastery up to about 3%. On a good day, that’s how much I understand of the Maddening and Delightful Mystery we are embedded in.

Here's a hypothesis that's a cornerstone of my 3%: It's smart and healthy to joyfully rebel against everyone who assuredly tells me that they know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

How well do you understand the Great Mystery? What's your percentage?

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"Lama Surya Das, the “Buddha from Brooklyn,” is one of the handful of Westerners who have been teaching meditation for decades. And yet, he says we’re doing it wrong.

Lama Surya Das says there are other ways to meditate besides those that are currently popular: "So many people seem to be moving narcissistically into self-centered happiness-seeking and quietism, not to mention the use of mindfulness for mere effectiveness," he says. "True meditation generates wisdom and compassion, which may be very disquieting, at least in the short term."

"'Quiet your mind' or 'calm and clear your mind' are instructions I hear way too much," he says. "Some teachers actually encourage people to try to stop thinking, when in fact meditative awareness means being mindful of thoughts and feelings, not simply trying to reduce, alter or white them out and achieve some kind of oblivion."

"The anti-intellectual meditators, thought-swatters and imagination-suppressors have long ruled meditation-oriented circles in the West," he says. "But authentic meditative practices can enhance and even unleash the creativity and imagination.'

You don’t have to quiet the mind to do many of the types of meditation he proposes. They don't involve trying to find a quiet "moment of Zen" apart from the messy, noisy world of work, family and children, but rather inviting all of the noise into meditation.

These thoughts are from an article by Jay Michaelson. More here.

Lama Surya Das's book

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