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25 YEARS OF THE SEAT OF THE SOUL

25 YEARS OF THE SEAT OF THE SOUL

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Twenty–five years ago I published a book that I did not know if anyone would read. My publisher had been waiting seven years for a sequel to my first book, The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics. The manuscript I gave her was entirely different, but she published it anyway in Spring 1989. I called the new book The Seat of the Soul. This book immediately began to help people in meaningful ways, and in 1998 Oprah Winfrey and I cocreated a television show about it that aired on Christmas Eve afternoon. Almost everything changed for me after that. Oprah and I began doing audience shows the next Spring, and we did over thirty of them. Oprah needed to share The Seat of the Soul, too. This month the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Seat of the Soul was released.

I did not change the text of the original, but Oprah and Maya Angelou wrote remarkable prefaces for it, and I wrote a new foreword. The big change in the new edition, however, is the one that engaged me, transformed me, and liberated me in ways I could not have foreseen: the 85-page Study Guide in the back. The Study Guide helps you apply the principles in The Seat of the Soul to your everyday life in practical ways and to see more clearly the enormity of the context in which they are becoming visible – the expansion of everyone’s perception within a few generations beyond the limitations of the five senses. Each chapter in The Seat of the Soul has a corresponding Study Guide chapter. Each Study Guide chapter has opening paragraphs, questions, and different kinds of exercises. Before I began working on this Study Guide, I had not thought about explaining the principles in The Seat of the Soul this way. Once I began, I could not stop. Each chapter of the book became a surprising and deeply gratifying exploration for me.

I wanted the questions in the Study Guide to be meaningful, not intellectual, to draw from deeper places than thought, to elicit answers beyond words, to open new doorways. This required only an interest in supporting you, and that was deepest in my heart. The opening paragraphs, however, required me to dive deeply into chapters I had read many times before, clarifying everything that I felt might be unclear or need attention. I reread The Seat of the Soul four times. Just when I thought the Study Guide could not become more supportive, the idea occurred to me to add videos and audio meditations, and that required creating, in effect, a new website. Access to each page in this new website – which became the “Study Guide Extension” – is in the Study Guide at the back of the book. Now the whole thing is done – 25th Anniversary Edition with prefaces by Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou, Study Guide, and online Study Guide Extension. It is a joy to recommend them to you.

Some people might ask, “How could something written twenty-five years ago be engaging, much less liberating, to the person who wrote it? Understanding this requires understanding about inspiration, and how it comes from a source other than the mind. Before the mind can write anything, it needs to understand it in its own terms. All everyday writings are done in this way. But The Seat of the Soul is filled with things that do not present themselves in terms of the mind. They come from another place. That is why inspired people can not fathom with their minds the fullness of what they are writing, performing, and bringing into being as they are doing it. The mind can not fathom the fullness of inspired sharing because that kind of sharing comes from beyond the mind. They feel what they are sharing, express what they are sharing, and become what they are sharing, but they are not thinking about what they are sharing while they are sharing it. Thinking about it stops the process. Afterwards, the mind can recognize, appreciate, and revel in what inspiration has created. I have been recognizing, appreciating, and reveling in The Seat of the Soul for twenty-five years. Last year I began to see ways to help others do the same, and the result is the Study Guide and Study Guide Extension online in the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Seat of the Soul.

The publication of this new edition is so much more than the re-release of a classic book. It is an ongoing journey into love and nature of power – which are the same. I am grateful to share it with you.

Love,

Linda & Gary
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LOVING DR. MAYA ANGELOU

LOVING DR. MAYA ANGELOU

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I met Dr. Maya Angelou in 2011 when I interviewed her for a film project that Linda and I were helping some young friends create. Oprah made the connection, and we flew to interview her at her home in Winston Salem, North Carolina, U.S.A. As our questions became more substantive, I could see her engage more deeply in the interview, and her answers became more and more awesome to me. After the interview, to my surprise, she invited us into her dining room for tea. She also gave Linda and me one of her famous cookbooks and inscribed it to “My New Heart Throbs.” I soon realized that Dr. Maya Angelou was one of my heart throbs as well. This was the first of eight trips to her home that Linda and I would make during the next three years.

We both found ourselves thinking about Maya Angelou a lot when we returned home. It was as though we had never left her. Two weeks later she called. “I am still soaring!” she told us. Linda and I felt exactly the same. We decided to create a “salon” by phone and to meet monthly to talk about important and interesting things. Soon we were speaking every Sunday morning, and we continued to speak every Sunday that she was not traveling until she passed on.

There was nothing romantic about Dr. Maya Angelou that I saw, but everything she did came from a deep and deeply loving place. “When you know better, you do better,” she told us and the many members of her extended family that gathered around her dining table, especially on her birthdays and at Thanksgivings. “When you get, give,” she told us. “When you learn, teach.” “People will forget what you say and they will forget what you do, but they will never forget how you make them feel.” Dr. Angelou made me feel included, welcome, significant, part of the family, and a colleague. I have never met a person like her.

She traveled around the country giving events and inspiring talks, often to young people, in her private bus. We once drove to meet her in Portland, Oregon, where she was giving a talk to a huge sold-out audience. As we rode with her in her bus to the venue, she was quiet and inward, as though conserving her strength. When the curtain went up, however, there she was, seated elegantly without her oxygen, ebullient and unstoppable. I wondered whether going that long without oxygen was uncomfortable or fatiguing to her, but as one of the extended family observed, “If Maya’s got it, she’s giving it.” I often thought that she might be in pain as she moved on her walker from her private quarters in her house to the dining table, but if so, she never talked to us about it. Instead she told us, “When you are in pain, don’t be a pain.”

I did not at first recognize the greatness of our new friend or the scope of her reach. The First Lady of the United States described one part of it, “She reached a white woman in Kansas who named her daughter after her and raised her son to become the first black President of the United States,” while a few rows in front of us President Bill Clinton, who had invited Dr. Angelou to read her poetry at his inauguration, sat with the rest of us in celebration of her life.

“When I go on stage,” she told us often, “I bring with me everyone who has loved and supported me. They are on the stage with me. How can I be afraid?”

Dr. Maya Angelou inspired me to do more, reach deeper, and give more than I have in the past. She touched me with her love and caring and complete commitment to loving. The last time Linda and I called her, she came to the phone to tell us that she was speaking with her grandson and said in her matter of fact way, with complete authority, “I can’t talk with you now. The important thing is that you called and I love you and you know that.” We had no doubt about it.

Thank you, Maya Angelou. Your presence will always be a joy in my life.

Love,

Linda & Gary

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INTENTIONS OF INTEGRITY

INTENTIONS OF INTEGRITY

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Integritylove, and authentic power are inseparable. Integrity is much more than doing the right thing. From the perspective of your soul, there is no “right” and “wrong” thing. There are causes and there are effects of causes. When the cause is love, the effect is love. When the cause is fear, the effect is fear. When you are torn between love and fear, or between fear and love, your personality is splintered. It is not whole, not integral. You are out of integrity. Your wholeness is not present.

Only creating with integrity can re-establish it. That means creating with love, even while fear is present within you, for example, speaking with patience while impatience seethes inside you; acting with acceptance while anger rages through you; and honoring the needs of another while a frightened part of your personality demands that its need be met first. It means honoring others in deep and substantive relationships even when frightened parts of your personality demand that you exploit them – emotionally, psychologically, sexually, financially.

Integrity often requires courage. It takes courage to challenge a frightened part of your personality, for example, to not act in anger when you are angry and to listen respectfully when you feel superior. You act courageously each time you choose to act with love while you are experiencing fear. Courage is always required where will and fear intersect. What could be a better use of your courage than to create with love? When you hold the intention of love, when you act with the intention of love, you align yourself with your soul, and you are in integrity.

Love,

Linda & Gary
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PROACTIVELY CHOOSING TO LOVE

PROACTIVELY CHOOSING TO LOVE

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What does it REALLY mean to make choices from healthy parts of your personality? It’s not only when you observe that a fearful part of your personality is active (for example, one that is impatient), and you decide to act from a loving part of your personality instead (for example, one that is patient). This is the core dynamic of creating authentic power.

It also means proactively and consciously choosing to act from a loving part of your personality moment by moment – for example, a part that is grateful, or appreciative, or caring, or content, or in awe of the Universe as well as patient. When you do this, you will notice that you are naturally more givingcreative, and curious. You will feel your heart opening, and the joy of opening to others will fill your awareness.

Allow yourself to go on an adventure for the next week, or month, or even for the remainder of today in order to begin the process. Consciously and proactively choose to act from a loving part of your personality all the time. Cultivate loving parts of your personality moment to moment, interaction to interaction, activity to activity. Use all the circumstances of your life all the time – especially those that are unpleasant or painful – to bring patience, appreciation, gratitude, and care into your life. Can you imagine doing this all the time? Can you imagine taking the helm of your vessel and sailing toward love continually?

Love,

Linda & Gary
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SPIRITUAL LESSONS FROM CHARLESTON

SPIRITUAL LESSONS FROM CHARLESTON

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The root of the horror of a young person killing his neighbors in a bible class cannot be found in the young person. It can be found in ourselves, if we look.

What do you feel about these killings? Is it anger, sorrow, helplessness? If so, you will discover uncomfortable or painful physical sensations in your body – especially in your chest, solar plexus, or throat areas. These are experiences of fear. Is it compassion or appreciation (for example, for the compassionate response of the grieving families)? If so, you will discover pleasing or good-feeling physical sensations in your body in the same areas. These are experiences of love.

Only perceptions of love are true. Perceptions of fear are distorted. The young person perceived through fear. His neighbors appeared to him as less than himself and without value. Do parts of your personality perceive this way, too? For example, do any of them become angry, jealous, impatient, or judgmental of others? The actions of the young man are showing you these parts of yourself. Are parts of your personality grateful without reason for people in your life? Do they see beauty in each soul, including those that act in fear? The choices of the loving families of those who were killed are showing you these parts of yourself.

Which parts of your personality do you intend to cultivate? Which parts do you intend to challenge? Only you can decide. When you choose to act in love, no matter what his happening inside you and what is happening outside, you create authentic power.

That is how to grow spiritually.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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Love in Roseburg

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Roseburg is close to Linda and me. We drive through it frequently to see our Granddaughter who is a student at Oregon State University, then we drive through it again on our way home. We stop for coffee each time. Our granddaughter is the same age as some of the students at Umpqua Community College.
With each school killing conversations swirl around mental illness, racial and religious bigotry, and especially gun control. At first glance, gun control seems to be an immediate answer. The young unstable person who killed his fellow students had seven guns, all purchased legally. It is easy to buy an assault rifle in the United States. Here in Oregon, it is legal to carry it downtown. Changing that will be a step in a healthy direction, but the cause of killing lies elsewhere.

According to a Sioux story, the Creator called all the animals together and asked them, “Where can I hide from the humans the secret that they create their reality until they are ready to know it?” “Give it to me,” said the salmon. “I will take it to the bottom of the sea. They will never find it there.” “No,” said the Creator, “One day the humans will go to the bottom of the sea, and they will find it.”

“Give it to me,” said the bear. “I will bury it in the mountain. They will never find it there.” “No,” said the Creator, “One day they will dig into the mountain, and they will find it.” “Give it to me,” said the Eagle. “I will take it to the moon. They will never find it there.” “No,” said the Creator, “One day they will even go to the moon, and they will find it.”

Then Grandmother Mole rose to speak. Everyone listened quietly, because they knew that she lives in the breast of Mother Earth and is very wise. “Put it inside them,” she said. “Ho!” said the Creator. “It is done.”

Now the secret is out. We are all discovering it. Each unchallenged moment of judgement, jealousy, anger, superiority, inferiority, and lack of compassion fuels killing, fuels brutality, fuels suffering. To change these things, we must change ourselves. We are each ultimately responsible for the world. That is the message of love that comes to us from Roseburg.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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Paris – What Can I Do?

Paris – What Can I Do?

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The first thing you can do is look inside yourself. Look at the emotions you feel. Were you shocked, overwhelmed, angered, righteous, grieved, humiliated, or despondent when you heard the news? Did you feel superior to the suicide bombers? Did you judge them contemptible? Did you want to go to war with them? Are you already at war with them in your mind? Did you want to eliminate them so that you can be safe again at home with your beliefs and those who share them?
We all have experiences such as these, even if we think that could not be possible. The more you explore your personality with courage and integrity, the more of them you will discover. These parts of your personality originate in fear, in the pain of powerlessness that they can not be safe and feel valuable until everyone sees the world as they see it. They are rigid, closed, and disdainful. They exclude. In Paris, they killed.

When you experience all the parts of your personality, you give yourself the ability to choose among them – to change the parts of yourself that disdain and would kill or to act on them. The people who killed in Paris chose to act on them. They did not change the world. They contributed more to the world of what the world is already built on – fear. They worshiped at the alter of power as ability to manipulate and control, to detonate the bomb, pull the trigger. Everyone who wants to change others, impose a belief, and inflict harm worships at the same alter whether in the name of Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, or science.

Now the choice is ours. We can disdain and kill, or we can create harmony, cooperation, sharing, and reverence for Life. We can contribute a new power (authentic power) to a new world, power as alignment of the personality with the soul.

We cannot make this choice if we do not realize that we have it. That is why looking inside yourself is the first thing you can do when you read about the attacks in Paris or you think about them. These deeds, and all deeds like them, are reminders to us that we have a choice.

Love.
Linda & Gary
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CONSCIOUS HOLI (HOLY) DAYS

CONSCIOUS HOLI (HOLY) DAYS

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This time of the year contains one of the most powerful energies of the year and also some of the most powerful distractions

The powerful energy is the energy of Rebirth. People often think of this as a Christian word, but the roots of it run deeper and are older. They come from the Winter Solstice – the precise moment in the cyclical movement of the seasons when the day is shortest and night longest in the Northern hemisphere. In the Northern hemisphere, therefore (if we are far enough North) all is cold and grey, the trees are bare, and snow covers the ground, and seeds and animals lie in deep sleep. On the Winter Solstice life begins to stir again in them, although it will be months before it is visible to us.

In the Southern hemisphere, the day is longest and the night is shortest. This is the Summer Solstice. This powerful juxtaposition of opposite Solstices on opposite sides of the Earth shows us more clearly than any philosophy that balance is everywhere in the Earth School, and that physical death and physical life are parts of it.

Not accidently, religious holidays occur close to this energy and reflect it – Christmas (the birth of Jesus) and Hanukkah (the Festival of Light). Overlaying them are the commercial Christmas and the sentimental Christmas, often indistinguishable. They beckon us to sleep and dream the shared denial of violence within us. They envelop us in visions of “Home for Christmas,” “Oh, Baby Its Cold Outside,” and “Silent Night”. Through all of this we create strongly – either unconsciously in fear or – if if we develop the skill and choose wisely – consciously in love. In all cases, we are responsible for what we create.

Throughout this time of mixed energy and messages you are a powerful and creative, compassionate and loving spirit creating with love or fear and bearing responsibility continually for what you create. The Universal Law of Karma does not get lost in sentimentality or religiosity, even if you do. Then comes the time of making new resolutions for a new year – a relatively recent calendar-ordained event that shows us annually how feeble is the commitment behind most of them.

Use your commitment to stay awake and aware during this confusing time of alluring and conflicting messages. When you are not aware, you create destructive and painful consequences. When you are aware, you can create consciously and, if you choose, wisely. Independently of religious, commercial, and sentimental messages, what is your message? What is your message to the world to yourself and to those around you? Is it fuzzy, warm, and unconscious or clearmultisensory, and wise?

Happy Conscious Holi (holy) days!

Love.
Linda & Gary
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ORLANDO, LOVE, AND LABELS

ORLANDO, LOVE, AND LABELS

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“Terrorist” is a label. There is no humanity in labels. There is no compassion in labels. Labels create villains and idols. The pain of an individual who claims allegiance to a symbol of hate and righteousness and then kills without connection is extreme. However, that pain is not as extraordinary as it might seem. It is shared by all of us. This pain cannot be relieved by hunting, capturing, or killing labels, such as “terrorists” and “infidels.”

People who are most shocked by the violence in our world have the most to gain from looking inside themselves. The violence in our world comes from us. It is generated by the pain of wanting desperately to belong and not belonging, needing desperately to love and feeling unlovable, wanting intensely to love and feeling incapable, seeing ourselves as ugly inside, inherently flawed, and permanently defective. It is an ever-present ever-pressing need to be on the side of “God,” of “right,” of “good” regardless of the cost to others. This is the pain of powerlessness.

We experience powerless parts of our personalities as anger, rage, righteousness, judgment, and need for revenge. Acting on them creates the violence in the world. Those who actually pull triggers and detonate bombs are our proxy actors. Unchallenged pain of powerlessness in us fuels the violence them, and we see the results in Orlando, Paris, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and every country and culture. Who pulled the trigger in Orlando? Who detonated the bombs in Boston and Baghdad? Our proxies. We held the gun in our fantasies of powerlessness. They detonated the bombs in theirs. What does pulling triggers and detonating bombs accomplish? It creates more violence, more hatred, more righteousness, and more labels.

To end violence in our world requires the courage to look inside ourselves. It requires asking, “Do I pull the trigger in my thoughts? Do I detonate bombs in my imagination? How often?” Every judgment and fantasy of violence carries the same energy as attacks with bullets and bombs. Ending the violence in the world requires finding in ourselves the parts of our personalities that label fellow souls as “terrorists” and “infidels” and challenging them by not acting on them. These are the parts that perceive others as without Divinity, and they perceive us the same way. When we disparage, judge, despise, or label another individual, we become like that individual, and we contribute more of what we disparage, despise, and judge to the world. If we have no compassion for those who have no compassion, what is the difference between us?

To end violence in our world requires the courage to look inside ourselves. It requires asking, “Do I pull the trigger in my thoughts? Do I detonate bombs in my imagination? How often?” Every judgment and fantasy of violence carries the same energy as attacks with bullets and bombs. Ending the violence in the world requires finding in ourselves the parts of our personalities that label fellow souls as “terrorists” and “infidels” and challenging them by not acting on them. These are the parts that perceive others as without Divinity, and they perceive us the same way. When we disparage, judge, despise, or label another individual, we become like that individual, and we contribute more of what we disparage, despise, and judge to the world. If we have no compassion for those who have no compassion, what is the difference between us?

Everyone who is grief-stricken and saddened by the violence in Orlando, in Paris, in the Middle East, by the violence of poverty that is everywhere and always, now has an opportunity to feel the pain of powerlessness inside and still choose to respond with compassion. This requires courage. Those who are outraged, righteous, and tormented by hatred have the same opportunity. In this we are brothers and sisters to those who disparage, despise, judge, and label us. We give to one another opportunities to choose love instead of fear, to change the world once and for all and for good. We offer one another the gift of love that underlies appearances of “ally” and “adversary” and is deeper than we can imagine.
Love.
Linda & Gary

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DEPTH, BEAUTY, AND POWER

DEPTH, BEAUTY, AND POWER

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I am always amazed by the depth, beauty, and power of people. I see these things often at our events, and they thrill me. Last month at our first urban Journey to the Soul retreat, a large, beautiful, black woman stood to speak. She was big in size, voice, and presence, but she was trembling and struggling to find her voice. A previous sharing about loss had activated a frightened part of her personality, a part deep in terror, pain, rage, and humiliation. She spoke haltingly. “I am fed up with it. I am sick of being afraid. I am so tired of fearing the police. How many more of my black friends will be arrested, beaten, or killed?” She was sobbing with despair and rage and powerlessness. “Everyone I know who is black fears being stopped by the police. The police always have a reason. Its driving while black. Or breathing while black.” Now her whole body was shaking, and her face was wet with tears. She held to the back of a chair to remain standing. “I am fed up!” she struggled to say again. “FED UP!” Then she seemed to physically grasp herself and said in a different voice. “A frightened part of my personality is fed up. It has had enough. Enough!”

The transformation was palpable. Before she was speaking from a frightened part of her personality. Now she was talking about it. She was present again. Her shaking stopped, but her face was still wet. This strong woman was an executive in a multinational corporation. And she was black, terrified of the police, and had had enough. I could see her centering herself, scanning interior places for painful physical sensations, and deciding not to act on them more. This was a moment of creating authentic power. It was intimate and heroic. As she moved beyond the fear of beatings and bullets, beyond the control of this part of her personality, she entered a courageous, compassionate, and caring part of her personality, and we all moved with her.

Another woman on the other side of the room stood up. She was small and blonde. “I am the wife of a cop,” she said. “My husband is not like that. I feel what you are saying, but he is not like that.” There we were, all of us, courageously experiencing the ragged tear in our country and in our world without the anesthetics of righteousness and rage. It took courage, because creating authentic power always does. It requires challenging painful frightened parts of your personality that are so strong they shake your body or so beguiling they envelop you in blaming. These two souls did neither. They cultivated loving parts of their personalities, the big black woman and the white wife of the white cop.

Our dear friend, Maya Angelou, often said, “We are more alike than we are different.” She was so right. We are all immortal souls learning how to love in the Earth school, in the domain of the five senses, in the realm of right and wrong, gain and loss, good and bad. This requires creating authentic power, and we all witnessed a moment of that creation, one of myriad moments in the life of each individual who is growing powerful – aligning personality with soul.

Can you challenge the frightened parts of your personality and cultivate the loving parts of your personality like these two women did and do? Can you create authentic power?
Love.
Linda & Gary