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Week of December 2nd, 2021

The Healing You Need May Be More Available Than You Imagine

Who are the people in your life who've helped make you real to yourself?

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Experiments and exercises in becoming a blasphemously reverent, lustfully compassionate, eternally changing Master of Transgressive Beauty

1. 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.


2. The primary meaning of the word "healing" is "to cure what's diseased or broken."

Medical practitioners focus on sick people.

Philanthropists donate their money and social workers contribute their time to helping the underprivileged.

Psychotherapists wrestle with their clients' traumas and neuroses.

I'm in awe of them all. The level of one's spiritual wisdom, I believe, is more accurately measured by helping people in need than by meditation skills, shamanic shapeshifting, supernatural powers, or esoteric knowledge.

But I also believe in a second kind of healing that is largely unrecognized: to supercharge what is already healthy; to lift up what's merely sufficient to a sublime state.

Using this definition, describe two acts of healing: one you would enjoy performing on yourself and another you'd like to provide for someone you love.


3. Are other people luckier than you? If so, psychologist Richard Wiseman says you can do something about it. His book The Luck Factor presents research that proves you can learn to be lucky.

It's not a mystical force you're born with, he says, but a habit you can develop.

How? For starters, be open to new experiences, trust your gut wisdom, expect good fortune, see the bright side of challenging events, and master the art of maximizing serendipitous opportunities.

Name three specific actions you'll try in order to improve your luck.


4. What is the holiest river in the world? Some might say the Ganges in India. Others would propose the Jordan River or the River Nile. But I say the holiest river is the one that's closest to where you are right now.

Go to that river and commune with it. Throw a small treasure into it as an offering. Next, find a holy sidewalk to walk on, praise the holiness in a bus driver, kiss a holy tree, and shop at a holy store.


5. "Creativity is like driving a car at night," said E. L. Doctorow. "You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."

I would add that life itself is like driving a car at night. You're often in the dark except for what's right in front of you. At least that's usually the case.

But for a few shining hours sometime while you're communing with this book, I predict you'll be able to see the big picture of where you're headed.

It will be as if the whole world is suddenly illuminated by a prolonged burst of light; as if you're both driving your car and also watching your journey from high above. Write about what you see.


6. To many people, "sacrifice" is a demoralizing word that connotes deprivation.

Is that how you feel? Do you make sacrifices because you're forced to, or maybe because your generosity prompts you to incur a loss in order to further a good cause?

Originally, "sacrifice" had a different meaning: to give up something valuable in order that something even more valuable might be obtained.

Carry out an action that embodies this definition. For instance, sacrifice a mediocre pleasure so as to free yourself to pursue a more exalted pleasure.


7. Those who explore pronoia often find they have a growing capacity to help people laugh at themselves. While few arbiters of morality recognize this skill as a mark of high character, I put it near the top of my list.

In my view, inducing people to take themselves less seriously is a supreme virtue. Do you have any interest in cultivating it? How might you go about it?


8 "Two chemicals called actin and myosin evolved eons ago to allow the muscles in insect wings to contract and relax," writes Deepak Chopra in The Book of Secrets. "Today, the same two proteins are responsible for the beating of the human heart."

If you use your imagination, you can sense the connection between the flight of a dragonfly and the intelligent organ that renews its commitment to keeping you alive every second of your life. So use your imagination.

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Although we are all born geniuses, the grind of day-to-day living tends to de-genius us. That's the bad news. The good news is that you have the power to re-genius yourself.

Here's a link to a ritual you can use to jump-start the process:


Gaze upward and stretch your arms out high. Say the following: "I am a genius."

Put your arms out to the side, parallel to the ground with palms up, and say this: "I am a lucky, plucky genius."

Swing your arms back and forth from behind you to in front of you as you say this: "I am a lucky, plucky, good-sucking genius."

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The rise of modernity served many extraordinary purposes: the rise of democracy; the banishing of slavery; the emergence of liberal feminism; the differentiation of art and science and morality; the widespread emergence of empirical sciences; an increase in average life span of almost three decades; the introduction of relativity and perspectivism in art and morals and science; the move from ethnocentric to world­centric morality; and the undoing of dominator social hierarchies."

—Ken Wilber, *A Brief History of Everything*

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The soul should always stand ajar,
That if the heaven inquire,
He will not be obliged to wait,
Or shy of troubling her.

—Emily Dickinson

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"The psychic health of an individual resides in the capacity to recognize and welcome the 'Other,'" writes poet and translator Rosanna Warren.

"Our word 'idiot' comes from the Greek *diotes*, whose primary sense is of privacy or isolation."

With this warning, Warren builds her case for the virtues of reading literature that has been translated from its native tongue.

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"There is a strong current of thought in the field of development economics that the single most important factor in improving a variety of outcomes in the developing world—whether it be overpopulation, economic growth, violence against women, public health—is increasing female education levels." - Andrew Leonard,

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Butterflies can't see their wings. They can't see how truly beautiful they are, but everyone else can. People are like that as well.

—Naya Rivera

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I've been asking my allies whether they have discovered any of the 13 Useful and Soulful Secrets about the Real Reality — as opposed to the 13 Obvious and Sentimental Secrets about the Fake Reality. Below are among the best so far. I'd love to hear yours.

• Every act is an act of magick.

• You will find beauty in everything when you look for it. Conversely, you can ignore beauty if you really want to. But who wants to?

• In the long run, it's healthiest to side with those who tell the most truth.

• Confucius said, "All wisdom is rooted in learning to call things by their right names."

• Don't stop learning just because you know it all.

• Truth is sneaky and mischievous, often hiding in unexpected places.

• Ssshhhh — Communication doesn't solve everything.

• William James said, "I will act as if what I do makes a difference."

• Don't let yourself be trapped into being who you used to be if that's not who you are anymore.

• Question your ego, and you will know when to question others.

• No one is ever able to tell the whole truth. That is a package of facts known only to the Eternal Intelligence formerly known as "God."

• Be kind to yourself. That is not the same as indulging yourself or spoiling yourself. It means to conduct your inner monologue as though you were counseling a friend whom you dearly love.

• Look for an oracle who will ask you the right questions.

• Whatever your problems are, someone has it far worse and someone has it far better

• Applaud creativity, even when it bothers you.

• Pretending you don't feel how you feel doesn't make you feel different.

• Thoughts are inevitable, but believing them is optional.

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How do you get yourself into a sacred state that rejuvenates your emotional life and expands your mind beyond its monkey chatter and customary habits and same-old-same-old beliefs?

Some people go to church, synagogue, temple, or mosque. Some wander out into nature. (Very few hop onto Facebook to get into arguments.)

One of my reliable ways to slip into the holy dimension is to sing songs that stir me with righteous passion. (The lyrics must be exalting; can't be trivializing or dumb.)

Another is to feel the joy of my body exerting itself while I walk alone up hills.

The best is to sing righteous songs while walking up hills.

And you?

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Mythologist Michael Meade says that the essential nature of every human soul is gifted, noble, and wounded.

I agree. Cynics who exaggerate how messed-up we all are, ignoring our beauty, are just as unrealistic as naive optimists.

But because the cynics have a disproportionately potent influence on the zeitgeist, they make it harder for us to evaluate our problems with a wise and balanced perspective.
Many of us feel cursed by the apparent incurability of our wounds, while others, rebelling against the curse, underestimate how wounded they are.

Meade says: "Those who think they are not wounded in ways that need conscious attention and careful healing are usually the most wounded of all."

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Our trained Prayer Warriors are standing by, ready to study the protests and complaints you desperately want the Goddess to hear. Send your mad, rebellious, poignant, ingenious appeals and benedictions to us now.

Be assured that our Prayer Warriors have not only received extensive training in the language of the Goddess--they have pull with the Supreme Being Herself!

That's right! Every one of our Prayer Warriors has been on speaking terms with the Goddess for at least 10,000 years (over the course of many incarnations, of course).

And now YOU can have them working in your behalf.

The professional Prayer Warriors at ARGUMENTS WITH THE GODDESS will study your pleas and telepathically relay them to the Goddess from the profound depths of their meditations--in the most eloquent possible language--within 72 hours!


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"One must think with the body and the soul or not think at all," wrote historian Hannah Arendt.

She implied that thinking only with the head can spawn monsters and demons. Mere conceptualization is arid and sterile if not interwoven with the wisdom of the soul and the body's earthy intuitions. Ideas that are untempered by feelings and physical awareness can produce poor maps of reality.

I invite you to incorporate these empowering suggestions into your life strategy. As you seek understanding of what's going on, draw on all your different kinds of intelligence.

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The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don't go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want. Don't go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the threshold where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don't go back to sleep.

— Rumi, as translated by Coleman Barks


There is some kiss we want with
our whole lives, the touch of
spirit on the body. Seawater
begs the pearl to break its shell.

And the lily, how passionately
it needs some wild darling! At
night, I open the window and ask
the moon to come and press its
face against mine. Breathe into
me. Close the language-door and
open the love window. The moon
won’t use the door, only the window.

— Rumi, as translated by Coleman Barks


When I see your face, the stones start spinning! Water turns pearly. Fire dies down and doesn't destroy. In your presence I don't want what I thought I wanted.



We are pain and what cures pain, both. We are the sweet cold water and the jar that pours. I want to hold you close like a lute, so that we can cry out with loving.
Would you rather throw stones at a mirror? I am your mirror and here are the stones.



Forget safety. Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning/ long enough.
rom now on, I'll be mad.



Think how it is to have a conversation with an embryo

You might say, "The world outside is vast and intricate. There are wheat fields and mountain passes and orchards in bloom. At night there are millions of galaxies, and in sunlight the beauty of friends dancing at a wedding."

You ask the embryo why he or she stays cooped up in the dark with eyes closed. Listen to the answer. 'There is no *other world.*



"You've been walking the ocean's edge, holding up your robes to keep them dry," writes Barks in his translation of Rumi.

What he means is that you've been too tentative and inhibited in your relationship with the tidal forces of love; you've been holding back from giving your total devotion to the primal power that fuels the universe.

"You must dive naked under and deeper under," Barks and Rumi continue, "a thousand times deeper!"


You are the sky my spirit circles in, the love inside love, the resurrection-place.



A thousand half-loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.



Our defects are the ways that glory gets manifested. Keep looking at the bandaged place. That's where the light enters you.



Judge a moth by the beauty of its candle.



The 13th-century Sufi mystic poet Rumi is known mostly through the "translations" of poet Coleman Barks. The scholars I know say Barks takes EXTREME liberties with Rumi's texts, to the point that he should considered a collaborator, not a translator. But it's still great stuff, in my opinion.


PS: Shams-i Tabrīzī, Rumi's best buddy and mentor, was sometimes a stand-in for The Friend, aka "God." Rumi wrote 3,000 poems for Shams, expressing his love and devotion for his guide whom he referred to as the bird and the sun who showed him the right path.


In 1977, English professor Coleman Barks had a dream that changed his life. In the dream, he was relaxing on a riverbank near his childhood home in Georgia.

A ball of light floated towards him. It contained a man with his head bowed and eyes closed, sitting cross-legged and wearing a white shawl. The man raised his head, opened his eyes, and said, "I love you," and Barks answered, "I love you, too."

Some time after this dream, he met the same mysterious figure in waking life. It was a Sri Lankan holy man, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, who ultimately set Barks on the path to becoming a translator of the dead mystic poet Rumi.

Today Rumi's books are bestsellers, largely due to Barks.

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