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Week of April 1st, 2021

Your Joy Is My Joy

firgun (n.) the act of sharing in or contributing to someone else's pleasure or fortune, with a purely generous heart and without jealousy; or of sharing credit fairly. (From the Hebrew.)

mudita (n.) sympathetic, vicarious joy; happiness rather than resentment at someone else's well-being or good fortune; the opposite of schadenfreude. (From the Sanskrit.)

unne (adj.) to be happy on someone else’s behalf. (From the Norwegian.)

compersion (n.) an empathetic state of happiness and joy experienced when another individual experiences happiness and joy. (From the English.)

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Here's a link to my free weekly email newsletter, featuring the Free Will Astrology horoscopes, plus a bunch of other stuff. It arrives every Tuesday morning.

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Someone paid me the highest compliment. She said, “I want to make sure I tell you how often your process of being you has helped me in my process of being me.”

One essential element of my teachings is that I don't want you to be like me; I want you to be like you—to the fullest, deepest, most glorious and sacred and eccentric extent possible.

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I’m probably going to write my horoscopes for only another 60 years. My tentative plans are to retire in 2081.

Don’t worry about it, though. I’m sure that by then, I will have conspired with cyberhackers to create an ultimate Artificial Intelligence that will generate “Rob Brezsny”-style horoscopes until the sun explodes in about 7.5 billion years.

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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 master—even for genius bodhisattva avatars (I’ve heard rumors that there have been a few of such characters), let alone me and you and virtually everyone else who has ever lived.

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.

That means I don't know 97% about how the Great Mystery actually works. This is despite the fact that my heart and mind have always been greedily curious to learn and experience as much as I can.

Here’s the solution I’ve come up with: I employ an empirical approach to life. I formulate amusing, non-binding hypotheses about what the Great Mystery might be like, and then collect the experimental data that’s generated as I test my hypotheses. I observe and analyze the results to determine how well each hypothesis works the following magic:

1. Does it liberate me from suffering and does it inspire me to help liberate other creatures from their suffering?

2. Does it make me a smarter and kinder and trickier and humbler fool?

3. Does it motivate me to embrace what I call the FLUX MOJO? In other words, does it fuel me to overthrow my own fixations, cooperate enthusiastically with the never-ending change that life asks me to deal with, and continually reinvent my attitudes, perspectives, ideas, and feelings?

4. Does it engender in me a lust for life and a primal urge to respond creatively to the glory of being alive and conscious?

5. Does it fuel my longing to inspire and nurture and play with those who are interested in sharing space with me?

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I write daily horoscopes, available as text messages sent to your phone. They're shorter than the weekly Free Will Astrology 'scopes, but more frequent. They're called SUNBURSTS.

You can get these regular bursts of inspiration for 67 cents a day if you sign up for a subscription. Register or log in. On the new page, click on "Subscribe / Renew" under "Daily Text Message Horoscopes" in the right-hand column.

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A famous Sufi teacher named Hazrat Inayat Khan said, “All that produces longing in the heart deprives the heart of freedom.” I am in fervent disagreement with that idea.

In my experience, longing in the heart is the single greatest motivator in my own quest for liberation from delusion and suffering.

The longing of the heart is a treasure, a divine blessing, a joy that inspires me to love the world, myself, and everything in it.

Here's another Sufi teacher, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, whose thoughts match mine: "From a Sufi perspective, the whole universe is a phenomenon of desire. The Divine desire pervades all things and beings, empowering each according to its capacity. For the mystic, the truest education is the education of desire. By means of this education the indwelling Divine desire is liberated from the constraints of the ego and becomes a force for the transfiguration of the world."


Here's an excerpt from a review of one of my favorite books, Daniel Odier's Desire: The Tantric Path to Awakening:

"The old saw in Buddhism is that desire is the noxious weed that keeps us lurching from one unsatisfactory pleasure to the next, and that uprooting it is the only way to liberation.

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

"Odier objects to any religion that pretends to offer liberation in any form other than simple, personal experience."

More by Daniel Odier.


Some religious 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 man in the Safeway parking lot


"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.


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.


"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


John Botiller‎ writes: "There are a lot of false beliefs about Buddhism which make it seem unpalatable. I've used it successfully to improve my life when I need to. I don't identify as a Buddhist, but it pleases me to share this misinformation with you if you are interested in reading. I correct 3 big misunderstandings that exist in the American cultural narrative. My source is as close to the original as possible-Theravada Buddhism.

"1) Buddha didn't teach that all life is suffering. He acknowledges the pleasures that exist. What he taught is that suffering does exist and it happens when we try to hold onto things that are subject to change. That's all. We can all agree.

"2) Buddha didn't teach that desire is at the root of suffering. He taught that craving, which means the plans you formulate to make contact with pleasurable sense objects, is the cause of suffering, not desires. He said desires are conditioned by nature. If you want to have sex, you want food, you want companionship, you want to see beauty, hear awesome sounds, feel tactile pleasures, you want to because of nature. You can't undo these things. You might as well hold your breath.

"3) Buddha didn't teach that there is or isn't a self. He taught a strategy called the not-self strategy. He did this because you can get attached to a sense of self that is destined to change and if you cling to it you will suffer. So he has you look at what's happening in the present moment and see that whatever's in front of you has a cause and that cause isn't a self.

"Everything is a series of causes and effects that happen through a body, but there's never a self you discover that's doing it. Everything has a logical basis.

"That doesn't mean that a self does or does not exist. He puts all existential questions of existence/non-existence (is there a god, is there a self, is existence real?) aside as not belonging to what he teaches-- Stress and the cessation of stress."

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I've known conservative white men who place great emphasis on the fact that throughout history the migration of people from one land to another has always been common. Everyone on earth originated somewhere else, they say. From an historical perspective, it's not unusual or problematic that Native Americans were displaced by invading Europeans. After all, Indians had originally wandered to the Americas from original homes on another continent.

Amusingly, the conservative white men who make this argument are usually worshipers of the right to own land. For them the concept of private property is a sacred dispensation. They also neglect to notice the huge distinction between humans migrating into previously uninhabited land and humans invading land already occupied by great numbers of humans.

Their hypocrisy would be hilarious if it weren't so astoundingly ignorant. They sputter and go blank when I remind them that the ancestors of modern Native Americans arrived in what's now the United States at least 15,000 years ago—600 generations. They seem unable to acknowledge the truth that even if their forebears reached the "New World" as early as the 17th century, their people have occupied the land for a mere 16 generations—less than three percent of the indigenous span.

In light of these thoughts, here are three questions for us:

• Let's say you bought the property and home where you now live, or else inherited it from your family. Is that place more thoroughly your personal property than, say, the places inhabited by the Dwamish people, circa 1800, who had been living in what's now the Seattle area for at least 390 generations?

• Imagine this scenario: An invading army of extraterrestrial beings with highly advanced technology arrives on Earth. They seize your land and home, and force you to flee. Do you complain? Do you fight back?

I guess it's possible you might say to yourself, "Oh, well, the migration of people from one land to another has been common throughout history. I'm just another example. Guess it's time for me to move on."

• How well do you know the land and the ecology of the place where you live? Can you name ten local species of trees and plants? Ten species of birds and insects? Do you know the geological history? What are five bodies of water near you? Do you know which indigenous people once dwelled where you do now?

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Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!

—Allen Ginsberg

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Below is a list of possible salutations. Any you'd like to add?

• Good fortune and long life to you.

• I wish you many beautiful things.

• Do no harm but take no sh--.

• May your forge burn bright.

• Here's to your health and joy.

• May guidance and clarity find you.

• Ride hard. Live free.

• Boomshakalaka flashbang!

• May the forces of evil never know how to find you.

• May the Divine Wow give you what you want, exactly when you want it. Forever. Now. Once upon a time.

• Have fun storming the castle.

• I see the divine spark within you.

• Nice mask!

• My ancestors honor your ancestors. My descendants bless your descendants.

• Many bright blessings to you and yours.

• Happy eternal world orgasm!

• Hope you have sweet and provocative dreams.

• Be wild and free and mysterious.

• I bet marvels and wonders are coming your way.

• May your journey be fun.

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into Italian, French, Dutch, and Japanese

If you prefer to read my Free Will Astrology horoscopes in English, they're here.

Read my horoscopes in French.

Read my horoscopes in Italian.

Read my horoscopes in Dutch.

Read my horoscopes in Japanese.

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Here's an excerpt from my compendium of healthy, exalted, positive states of being.

JOYFUL POIGNANCE. Feeling buoyantly joyful about the beauty and mystery of life while remaining aware of the sadness, injustices, wounds, and future fears that form the challenges in an examined life.

NOT HAVING TO BE RIGHT. Fostering an ability, even a willingness, to be proven wrong about one of your initial perceptions or pet theories; having an eagerness to gather information that may change your mind about something you have fervently believed; cultivating a tendency to enjoy being corrected, especially about ideas that are negative or hostile.

RELENTLESS UNPRETENTIOUSNESS. Possessing a strong determination to not take yourself too seriously, not take your cherished beliefs too literally, and not take other people's ideas about you too personally.

ACUTE FLUENCY. Happily immersed in artistic creation or scientific exploration; lost in a trance-like state of inventiveness that's both blissful and taxing; surrendered to a state of grace in which you're fully engaged in a productive, compelling, and delightful activity. The joy of this demanding, rewarding state is intensified by a sense that time has been suspended, and is rounder and deeper than usual.

AUTONOMOUS NURTURING. Not waiting for someone to give you what you can give yourself.

BLASPHEMOUS REVERENCE. Acting on the knowledge that the most efficacious form of devotion to the Divine Wow is tinctured with playful or mischievous behavior that prevents the buildup of fanaticism.

COMIC INTROSPECTION. Being fully aware of your own foibles while still loving yourself tenderly and maintaining confidence in your ability to give your specific genius to the world. To paraphrase Alan Jones, Dean of Grace Cathedral: following the Byzantine ploys of your ego with compassion and humor as it tries to make itself the center of everything, even of its own suffering and struggle.

FRIENDLY SHOCK. Welcoming a surprise that will ultimately have benevolent effects.

ECSTATIC GRATITUDE. Feeling genuine thankfulness with such resplendent intensity that you generate a surge of endorphins in your body and slip into a full-scale outbreak of euphoria.

INGENIOUS INTIMACY. Having an ability to consistently create deep connections with other human beings, and to use the lush, reverential excitement stimulated by such exchanges to further deepen the connections. A well-crafted talent for dissolving your sense of separateness and enjoying the innocent exultation that erupts in the wake of the dissolution.

NONRESENTMENT SYNDROME. Having an ability to be friendly, open, and helpful to people with whom you disagree.

RADICAL CURIOSITY. Characterized by the following traits: an enthusiasm for the mystery embedded in the mundane; a preference for questions over answers; an aversion to stereotyping, generalizations, and jumping to conclusions; a belief that people are unsolvable puzzles; an inclination to be unafraid of both change and absence of change; a strong drive to avoid boredom; a lack of interest in possessing or dominating what you are curious about


For more of these healthy states, check here.

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The writing above, about healthy, exalted, positive states, is excerpted from my book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings

It's available at Barnes & Noble

Also available at

Available at Powells

Available at Amazon

A free preview of the book is available here


Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings is translated into Italian.

Pronoiais also translated into Spanish.

is also available in Spanish here.

Pronoia is also translated into Greek.

An Italian journalist interviews me in English.

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We have to be militants for kindness, subversive for sweetness and radicals for tenderness.

—Cornel West

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There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well.

And while I don't expect you to save the world I do think it's not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.

—Nikki Giovanni

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Life is a vast and intricate conspiracy that's guaranteed to keep you well supplied with blessings.

What kind of blessings? Ten million dollars, a gorgeous physique, a perfect marriage, a luxurious home, and high status?

Maybe. But it's just as likely that the blessings will be interesting surprises, dizzying adventures, gifts you hardly know what to do with, and conundrums that dare you to get smarter.

Novelist William Vollman referred to these types of blessings when he said that "the most important and enjoyable thing in life is grappling with a complicated, tricky problem that you don't know how to solve."

Sculptor Henry Moore had a similar idea. He said, "The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is -- it must be something you cannot possibly do."

So in other words, pronoia does not guarantee that you will forevermore be free of all difficult experiences.

It doesn't ask you to pretend that everything is sweet and harmonious all the time.

On the contrary, when you embody the spirit of pronoia, you build your optimism by loving your challenges, not repressing them.

You know that your problems are gifts from the Goddess that are designed to make you smarter and wilder and kinder and trickier.

You welcome each fresh puzzle as a potential source of your future bliss, as an exciting teaching that will usher you to your next breakthrough.

Now here's a spell to commit pronoia created by psychotherapist Jennifer Welwood. I invite you to say it aloud.

Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;

Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within me;

Opening to my loss and pain and ignorance,
I remember who I am and what I'm here for.

Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.

Each condition I flee from pursues me,
Each condition I welcome transforms me
and becomes itself transformed
into the blessing it always was.


Hear this as a spoken word piece with music:

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We have to create. It is the only thing louder than destruction.

—Andrea Gibson

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Free your body. Don't ruminate and agonize about it. Do it simply and easily. LOVE YOUR BODY!

Be brave and forceful, gentle and graceful. Free your sublimely imperfect, riotously intelligent body. Allow it to be itself in all of its mysterious glory. Love your body exactly as it is.

Praise your body. Thank your body. Tell it you adore its uncanny majesty . . . you yearn to learn more of its secrets ... you promise to treat it as your beloved ally.

Be in love with your body—no shame, no apology. Be in awe of your body's unfathomable power to endlessly carry out the millions of chemical reactions that keep you alive and thriving.

How can you not be overwhelmed with reverence for your hungry, curious, resourceful, unpredictable body?

Study your body's magic. Exult in the blessings it bestows on you. Celebrate and beautify its fierce animal elegance.

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What are the qualities of a person who embodies sublime feminine intelligence, as I personally aspire to do?

* They are progressive: committed to social and economic justice; lovers of equality; in service to all those people who are under-served; in service to the health of the natural world; in service to diminishing the power of militarism, plutocracy, bigotry, misogyny, and racism

* They have a Bodhisattva's orientation: that none of us is really free unless we all are free; that the supreme goal, above all others, is to reduce the suffering in the world

* They have a holistic understanding of the interconnectedness of all things

* They listen well to others who act respectfully

* They are willing to expand and adjust their understandings of the world if they encounter new information that renders their previous beliefs as being too narrow or obsolete

* They are inclusive: willing to consider the needs of as many people as possible, not just those of their own tribe

* They are emotionally intelligent; they understand that it is as crucial to develop a mature relationship with our feeling nature as it is to be intellectually smart

* They are not fundamentalists and authoritarians who believe that only their truths are true; are rather willing to consider additional points of view as having value; are willing to consider the perspective that "everyone has a piece of the truth, but no one has the entire truth"

* They are storytellers who understand, as the poet Muriel Rukeyser said, that "the world is made of stories, not atoms"

* They understand that to accomplish practical changes that serve the greatest good requires hard work in the trenches of political struggle, often having to deal with people who have different beliefs

* They are nuanced, not simplistic; respect dialog, not pronouncements from on high; seek consensus, not doctrinaire obeisance; understand that perfectionism is the enemy of the good; radiate kindness and avoid polarization

* Love is their primary motivation

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