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Week of October 28th, 2021

Your Most Beautiful Experience

Truth is so rare it is delightful to tell it.

—Emily Dickinson

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Here's a link to my free weekly email newsletter, featuring the Free Will Astrology horoscopes, plus a celebratory array of tender rants, lyrical excitements, poetic philosophy, and joyous adventures in consciousness. It arrives every Tuesday morning by 7:30 am.

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What's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen in your life? It's OK if you can't decide between the three or four most beautiful things. What's important is to keep visions of those amazements dancing in the back of your mind for the next two days.

Play with them in your imagination. Feel the feelings they rouse in you as you muse about the delights they have given you. Regard them as beacons that will attract other ravishing marvels into your sphere.

Now here's your second assignment: Be alert for and go hunting for a new "most beautiful thing."

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Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
—George Bernard Shaw


Sometimes, being true to yourself means changing your mind. Self changes, and you follow.
—Vera Nazarian


The person who never alters their opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.
—William Blake


The interesting thing is always to see if you can find a fact that will change your mind about something, to test and see if you can.
—Diane Sawyer


Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one's mind.
—W. Somerset Maugham


Almost all of my many passionate interests, and my many changes of mind, came through books.
—Annie Dillard


The snake that can't cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.
—Friedrich Nietzsche


I wanted to be a ballerina. I changed my mind.
—Beverly Cleary


A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson


Only the strongest people have the pluck to change their minds, and say so, if they see they have been wrong in their ideas.
—Enid Blyton


Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large — I contain multitudes.
—Walt Whitman


The willingness to change one’s mind in the light of new evidence is a sign of rationality not weakness.
―Stuart Sutherland


I came from a different mind-set growing up, and my mind has changed.
—Katy Perry


Total loyalty is possible only when fidelity is emptied of all concrete content, from which changes of mind might naturally arise.
—Hannah Arendt


There is no point in asking me general questions because I am always changing my mind.
—Michel Houellebecq


You have the RIGHT to change your mind
—Oprah Winfrey


A person is a fluid process, not a fixed and static entity; a flowing river of change, not a block of solid material; a continually changing constellation of potentialities, not a fixed quantity of traits.
—Carl Rogers


We are the sum of our efforts to change who we are. Identity is no museum piece sitting stock-still in a display case, but rather the endlessly astonishing synthesis of the contradictions of everyday life.
—Eduardo Galeano

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In my dream two nights ago, I told the mathematician-philosopher Ralph Abraham that what’s wrong with the world is that we are becoming embedded in machine consciousness.

More and more, we’re thinking like machines and expecting reality to be machine-like. This can be frustrating, because life is inherently non-machine-like.

I told Ralph that one cure is to spend more time in nature without a phone.

As a devoted dreamworker/player, I also regard the loving attention I give to my dreams as being essential in cultivating the alternative to machine consciousness.


As David Byrne says, "The world might be more dreamlike, metaphorical, and poetic than we currently believe . . . I wouldn't be surprised if poetry—poetry in the broadest sense, in the sense of a world filled with metaphor, rhyme, and recurring patterns, shapes, and designs—is how the world works. The world isn't logical, it's a song."


I have been listening closely to my dreams for decades. There's a lot to say about the subject, of course, and my upcoming book Lucky Storms will address the question in depth.

Simply, I think my dreams have loved me well because I approach them like a curious child more than as an exploitative entrepreneur looking for treasure to harvest and use in the waking realm.

I don't have any fundamental problem with looking in dreams for treasure that's useful in the waking world, and I have found great droves of it. But the attitude that predominates in me is the sense of wonder and innocence that loves to be amazed and surprised and mystified. I think that at least partially explains my modest success at being a dream listener.

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"Having very broad and abstract goals may maintain and exacerbate depression. Goals that are not specific are more ambiguous and, therefore, harder to visualize. If goals are hard to visualize it may result in reduced expectation of realizing them which in turn results in lower motivation to try and achieve them."

—Researchers at the institute of Health, Psychology, and Society


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A common obstruction to a vital intimate relationship is what I call the assumption of clairvoyance.

You imagine, perhaps unconsciously, that your partner or friend is somehow magically psychic when it comes to you—so much so that he or she should unfailingly intuit exactly what you need, even if you don't ask for it.

This fantasy may seem romantic, but it can undermine the most promising alliances.

To counteract any tendencies you might have to indulge in the assumption of clairvoyance, practice stating your desires aloud.

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The mantra "Fuck the world" sums up one of my favorite moods: rebellion against everything everywhere. It's beyond anarchy and nihilism. It's my utopian yearning to subvert and vanquish every facet of humdrum reality and replace it with soulful beauty. Fuck the world!

But wait! "Fuck the world" also sums up my favorite ambition: to revel in full-blast omnidirectional intimacy. Empathy and compassion, yes yes yes, but even more: never-ending ecstatic connection with all of creation. Being in unconditional lusty love with everything everywhere.

Are these two meanings of "fuck the world" contradictory? Maybe. Maybe not. I don't care. I love them bundled together.

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Some of us may have imagined, from time to time, that we are living in the hippest, coolest, most happening place in the world. New York? London? Berlin? Montreal? Shanghai? Barcelona? I can recall having delusions like that myself.

But the truth is, as far as I can tell, that everywhere is the center of the world.

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The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask.

—Alan Watts

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"Accept the possibility that there is a limitless range of awareness for which we now have no words; that awareness can expand beyond range of your ego, your self, your familiar identity, beyond everything you have learned, beyond your notions of space and time, beyond the differences which usually separate people from each other and from the world around them."

—Walter Evans-Wentz, The Tibetan Book of The Dead

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Your body is your oracle.

—Brooke Underwood

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In my dream last night, I told a woman I know, "Your soul will still be alive a million years from now."

In tonight's dream, I will tell you the same thing about your soul.

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Is the world a dangerous, chaotic place with no inherent purpose, running on automatic like a malfunctioning machine and fundamentally inimical to your drive to find meaning?

Or are you surrounded by helpers in a friendly, enchanted universe that gives you challenges in order to make you smarter and wilder and kinder and trickier?

Trick questions! The answers may depend, at least to some degree, on what you believe is true.
Formulate a series of experiments that will allow you to objectively test the hypothesis that the universe is conspiring to help dissolve your ignorance and liberate you from your suffering.

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Experiments and exercises in becoming an aggressively sensitive, thunderously receptive, ethically mischievous Master of Mutant Intimacy

1. As a boy, renowned Spanish matador Manolete was a sissy. He rarely played outside, preferring to be near his mother as he read books and painted pictures.

Psychologist James Hillman explains this by suggesting that the youthful Manolete had already sensed his destiny, intuiting that one day he would be alone in the ring facing down angry 2,000-pound bulls. His childhood behavior was a way of marshaling his strength and shielding him from the enormity of the challenges he would seek out one day.

Is it possible that what you have considered a weakness or vulnerability has actually been preparing you to express a signature strength?


2. Six miles from Maui is a Hawaiian island that tourists never visit—Kaho'olawe. The U.S. Navy seized it in 1941 and used it as a target range for decades. After years of protests by native Hawaiians, the Navy finally stopped bombing and began a clean­up campaign. In November 2003, it formally turned control of the island over to the rightful owners.

"You can get a feel on Kaho'olawe of what it was like to live on Hawaii at the time of our ancestors," says Native Hawaiian Davianna McGregor. "We can practice our traditions there without it being a tourist attraction. It's one place we can go to be in communion with our natural life forces."

Each of us has a personal version of Kaho'olawe: a part of our psyche that has been stolen or colonized by hostile forces. To grow bold in exploring pronoia, you'll need to take back yours.

How can you take back yours?


3. During my years in college, I enjoyed watching the evolution of Richard, a shy geek in my creative writing classes. Long before he penned a single good poem, he was a bohemian art poseur.

On his backpack there was a button with the image of rock poet Patti Smith. He often wore a T-shirt bearing a quote from poetry icon Allen Ginsberg, and he was never without his book of Rimbaud poems.

Everywhere I went I saw him scribbling ostentatiously in his journal as he chain-smoked clove cigarettes.

To my surprise, Richard's work gradually began to match his persona. By sophomore year he'd spawned some evocative poems, and soon after he graduated, he published a fine chapbook. In his development I witnessed a perfect example of the saying, "You become what you pretend to be."

Your assignment: Decide what you want to become, and start pretending to be that thing. Or else: Be careful what you're unconsciously pretending to be, because you just might become it.


4. In his book Starbucked, Taylor Clark says there's a woman who goes to a Seattle Starbucks every morning and orders a "decaf single grande extra vanilla two-percent extra caramel 185-degrees with whipped cream caramel macchiato."

Maybe her request seems overly fussy and demanding, but it could be a good act for you to mimic.

Try this: For a given time, say 12 days, be equally as exacting in asking for what you want. Assume that you have a poetic license to be extremely specific as you go about your quest for fulfillment.


5. George III was King of England from 1760 to 1820. During the last years of his reign, he gradually became more and more detached from reality, talking to himself for hours on end and addressing trees as if they were people.

When he first began losing his mind, his servants and assistants made a conscious decision to help him feel more comfortable by acting eccentric themselves.

Their collusion with George's pathology is an extreme example of a situation that all of us are at risk of. Our associates and loved ones may fall into a rhythm of going along with our odd ideas and bad habits, encouraging us to continue doing what we probably shouldn't do.

Are your allies refraining from busting you or calling your bluff, when they probably should? Bust yourself. Call your own bluff.


6. "Why, I don't even respect myself, I tell ya," said comedian Rodney Dangerfield. "When I make love, I have to fantasize that I am somebody else!"

Experiment with just the second half of that formulation. While you're making love, fantasize that you're somebody else.

But do it because you care deeply about yourself—so deeply that you want to transcend your customary reactions and expand your identity. Do it because you dare to awaken to previously unknown possibilities of who you might be.


7. There was an indignant uproar after revelations in 2006 that James Frey's best-selling "memoir," A Million Little Pieces, contains fabrications. He hadn't actually lived all of the experiences he depicted therein.

Hearing about it prompted me to ruminate on whether there's any such thing as a completely accurate account of any person's life. My conclusion: no.

In every autobiography and biography ever written, the author imaginatively strings together selectively chosen details to conjure up artificially coherent narratives rather than depicting the crazy-quilt ambiguity that actually characterizes everyone's journey.

If you and nine writers set out to tell your life story, you'd produce 10 wildly different tales, each rife with subjective interpretation, misplaced emphasis, unintentional distortions, and exorbitant extrapolations from insufficient data.

As an experiment, choose some day soon to celebrate the malleability of reality. Regale listeners with stories about the time you worked as a pirate in the Indian Ocean, or rode the rails through Kansas as a hobo, or gave a down-on-his-luck CIA agent sage advice in an elevator.

When you call to get pizza delivered and the clerk who takes your order asks your name, say you're Brad Pitt or Paris Hilton.

When someone you're meeting is annoyed because you're late, say you couldn't help it because you were smoking crack in the bus station bathroom with your mom's guru and lost track of time.

If asked how much education you have, say you have three PhDs, one each in astrobiology, Russian literature, and whale songs.


8. Sometimes the best gift you can give your ego is to tell it you're not going to be its slave anymore.

You say to it, "I'm tired of being whipped around by every one of your ever-shifting little needs, and I'm sick of having to kowtow to your inexhaustible demands. I want to be free of your insatiable craving to be appreciated, recognized, and adored. Go away and leave me alone. I'm just going to be who I am without worrying about you at all."

Delivering this message may stimulate a healing crisis. Your ego could be temporarily rendered numb and irrelevant by its near death experience, and you'll get to go off and do what your soul wants to do. Ironically, this often results in you attracting adventures that make your ego very happy.

Tell your ego you won't be its slave for a period of three days.


9. If a cow is given a name by her owner, she generates more milk than a cow that's treated as an anonymous member of the herd.

That's the conclusion of a study done by researchers at Newcastle University in the UK. "Placing more importance on knowing the individual animals and calling them by name," said Dr. Catherine Douglas, "can significantly increase milk ­production."

Building on that principle, I suggest that you give everything in your world names, including (but not limited to) houseplants, insects, cars, appliances, and trees. It will help you get more up-close and personal with all of creation, which is an effective way to cultivate pronoia.


10. Sometimes we have a strong sense of what our destiny is calling us to do, but we don't feel quite ready or brave enough to answer the call. We need a push, an intervention, a serendipitous stroke—what you might call "fate bait."

It's a person or event that awakens our dormant willpower and draws us inexorably toward our necessary destiny; it's a thunderbolt or siren song or stage whisper that gives us a good excuse to go do what we know we should do.

Do you have any ideas about how to put yourself in the vicinity of your fate bait?

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If it's inaccessible to the poor, it's neither radical or revolutionary.
—Jonathan Herrera Soto


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"Esoteric astrology teaches that anyone whose future can be predicted by any means is living like a robot. It assumes that some people are more robotic (predictable) than others; and that further implies some of us have more free will than others."

—Carolyn L. Vash, Noetic Sciences Review

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You Reading This, Be Ready
by William Stafford

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life––

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

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