Life lessons of fruit

As I took a walk around the fields in the lovely evening sun plucking blackberries and other fruit, I thought about how nature provides many metaphors for life.

The harvest of an evening walk. Blackberries, plums, mirabelles, and cherry plums. Much more than my lunchbox can hold.

The plum tree won‘t grow blackberries, no matter how often it is told by society to grow blackberries because ‚that’s what everyone else does here‘. Every plant grows the fruit that it is designed to grow.

What is mine to do? What fruit do I bring forth? Currently, it is writing blogposts about the orchestrating force behind the veil.

Even though there is an abundance of fruit, plucking it requires a bit of effort and attention. Dangers and hurdles are everywhere. The blackberry bushes have thorns and are frequently accompanied by stinging nettles. And in front of the plum trees, I walked into some burry plants which ended up sticking on my pants. And even eating the fruit comes with dangers. The wasps on our patio wanted to have their share of the plums.

I think back to all the hurdles I had to get over in life in order to come to where I am now.

Plucking fruit before it is ripe is not a good idea. The fruit tastes sour.

When did I force some of my fruit to be plucked even though it was not ripe? When did I try to get something from someone else which they were not ready to give?

The best fruit can be found on paths which are apart from the main streets.

I have found the biggest gems of insight apart from mainstream culture.

I had intended to harvest blackberries. But I came back with just a few blackberries and many mirabelles instead because I stumbled across them.

Life can sometimes take an unexpected turn and we get what we didn‘t intend in the beginning.

One could separate the fruits neatly into blackberries, cherry plums, mirabelles, and plums. But a fruit salad with the diversity tastes much better.

Diversity is important. Wouldn‘t it be boring if we were all the same?

The fruit contains seeds which can grow new plants.

The fruit we grow as humans also plants seeds and then the cycle continues anew.

Inner peace and the universe taking care of things: the team event story

Here is a story about my upset calming down and the universe taking care of things with divine timing.

This was a luxury problem. Really, I felt like I shouldn’t have been upset in the first place. But I was having an inner temper tantrum nevertheless.

Why? Because I was about to have to attend a day of enforced socializing with team members at work.

The planned team event and my resistance

The circumstances were benign. We would be allowed to take the time from an entire workday. There would be a generous budget to spend. And we could even choose for ourselves how we would like to spend the day as a team. Sounds wonderful, doesn‘t it.

But the downside was that -in contrast to the ususal company outings- this event was mandatory. Sort of. To make team members meet after the Corona break. Which I do understand. And in addition, this sort-of-mandatoriness wasn’t communicated clearly enough and not early enough.

Since I had to attend, I stated my conditions. The event had to take place outside to minimize the danger of getting COVID19 (as I got only one vaccination and am basically unvaccinated). And not farther away than my usual bike ride to work because I would not want to buy a public transport ticket. And during the workday, please, because I don’t want to spend my evenings for work events.

Among several options, the team chose to do archery combined with BBQ lunch. I thought that archery might be a bit too strenuous for my shoulder because of my rheumatoid arthritis. But never mind. I had agreed to participate and I would just sit at the side and watch, eat, and do chit-chat.

So, that sounded very generous from the company side and very nice of my coworkers to accomodate my conditions and like I should have been grateful.

But I was not.

I am an introvert. And the thought of having to spend not just lunch but at least half a day with small talk with team members put me off. My coworkers are really nice people. It’s just that I can only connect with two of them on a personal basis while for the rest I don’t know what to talk about. And with the two people I can connect with, I’d rather meet them one-on-one than in a group setting. And I‘d rather be by myself and get some work done than spend the day socializing.

So, my inner alarm, defensiveness, and resistance were on high alert. I was pissed that we would be expected to attend (even though similar events in earlier years had never been mandatory) and that the communication about that fact was unclear and not early enough.

And then I spent way too much time mentally with this planned event. Not only did I google different options of bike routes I could take and the public transport options as a backup, but I also spent hours reading about whether such events can be made mandatory in Germany at all, how other introverts felt about such situations, and how they dealt with them.

But since I had already agreed to participate, I figured that at some point it was probably best to come into a state of inner peace about it ( – this had always been proven to be good in the past – ) and just go and see what happens . Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad?

Cancellations

We tried to get an archery instructor for the only date where almost everyone had time. But last minute, it turned out that the archery organization could not find an instructor for us on that date. We would have to look for another date. Even though I had made peace in my mind with having to attend, I experienced a huge relief when I heard that this date was canceled.

Then the events took another unexpected turn. A day later, we were told that we were to rather save money and that also meant that the team event would be canceled for this year.

Even though I felt truly sorry for my colleagues and the team coordinator, for me, this cancelation due to spending cuts felt like a huge relief. I also felt gratitude and wonder about the ways of the universe. Isn’t it nice how things are taken care of?

Synchronicities

And some funny synchronicities occurred: When I thought about sharing this story, Facebook brought up an ad about about a sculpture of a woman who did archery and the sculpture was made of willow branches. And when I looked at my spam comments in WordPress, one of the spam comments was by username “Crystal Bogenschutz”. “Bogenschutz” is very similar to the German translation for the English word “archer”.

But there were also some not so funny synchronicities. It was as if the topic of ‘cancellation’ showed up all around me. After the team event had been canceled, there were also other completely unrelated events in my environment which were canceled or shifted, too (like several trains and a funeral). I kept wondering whether that was just a coincidence or whether it showed that all is connected.

What was this about?

I am relieved that this is over for now, at least (- who knows what will happen next year…). But I am still wondering what this has been all about.

I know that I can get disproportionately triggered, angry, and stubborn whenever someone tries to force me to do something I don’t want to do. It doesn’t just happen with things related to work but it happened in general, for example, also with family members or the administration of our little town Walldorf. A psychic reading from a couple of years ago told me that this anger might be due to many past lives as a victim. Maybe that old wound came up again this time.

Or maybe it was about learning to trust more that things will work out once I make peace with them. The first cancellation happened after I had agreed to participate in the team event and after I had come to a state of acceptance and inner peace. And I have experienced this many times that the state of letting go and inner peace is what allows life to fold itself in such ways that things will change for the better.

Benefits of inner peace

The weather forecast had said there would be heavy rains. Would I still be able to take a walk outside? As I walked around the field trusting that it would work out, I saw that it was raining from dark clouds to the north and to the south very close to where I was. For me, however, it was sunny and I remained dry.

I enjoyed the beautiful view of a meadow glowing in the setting sun against the backdrop of a dark, cloudy sky.

Meadows in Walldorf (Germany)

I think this is a metaphor for how things work in life. Even if there is a bad forecast of shit hitting the fan, if I remain in inner peace and trust that things will work out well and that I will be taken care of, then life tends to fold itself in such ways that things do turn out well.

It does not mean to be a doormat. There can still be boundary setting and appropriate action against threatening behavior. But the action has to be inspired from that place within which is peaceful, i.e. the awareness which is looking out through our eyes and which is the same for everyone, the void, Source, however you want to call it.

It is like inner peace is the license for miracles.

I have to tell that to myself over and over again when I feel threatened with bad news in my personal life or on a more global level.

Be who you are

During the first half of June 2022, I’ve had several long conversations with different people, and the common theme was always about simply daring to be who you are and not giving in to the fear of „what if others don’t accept me?“ I realized that the fear of being ridiculed and ostracized is all pervasive and some people rather get sick or commit suicide than come out of hiding. So, I took this as the writing prompt for this week‘s post.

***

Here‘s to all the people who don‘t fit into the norm.

To all the people of the LGBTIQ spectrum who struggle to come out.

To all the mystics living secretly among muggles.

To all the introverts who are are coerced to party after work with their extroverted colleagues.

To all those who have been sexually abused by family members or by priests of the church and struggle to find someone who believes their story.

To all who’ve had extraordinary experiences like spiritually transformative experiences or alien abductions but who are ridiculed when they talk about it.

To all the black swans and white peacocks.

Be who you are. Unapologetically. Because the effort of hiding and pretense takes a huge toll.

Share your story. Writing your hero’s journey not only helps you to process your experience, but sharing it feels freeing and could also encourage and help others.

Dare to shine.

You are beautiful.

Messengers from beyond the veil – a list of mind-expanding books and other material

Starting in 2006 up to now (2022), I have read many books and other materials which have expanded my worldview. Reality is so much more than what we can see and touch in this realm. Why are we here and why do we keep coming back? And what is it that we have to do here?

In my search for answers, I felt drawn to channeled material and also to real-life stories of real people. Not the study of ancient religious texts or dogma or theoretical essays. Neither poems, nor greeting card wisdom. No fictional experiences by fictional people, but real-life experiences shared by actual people. So, these materials below contain mostly case studies or autobiographies, sometimes in combination with channelings.

Here is a list of which websites, books, videos, and podcasts have influenced my understanding along with what the key takeaways were.

Please note that I mention only my personal key takeaways. There is much more in these books which would be worth writing about. But I want to offer a short, condensed list here and therefore restrict myself to just one or two short statements about each author.

The materials are sorted in the order in which I encountered them.

Jeffrey and Jody Long: The collection of exceptional near-death experiences at nderf.org
Consciousness can exists without a body. Coming from a scientific, materialistic worldview, that was a huge shift for me.

During the life review, people experience the emotions of everyone else who was involved in an event.

What matters are the little things. Kindness to a stranger can matter more than worldly achievements or than donating money.

These NDE accounts helped me to let go of the attachment to my day job. Because from my soul’s point of view, my career is not what really matters.

Michael Newton: Journey of Souls; Destiny of Souls
Michael Newton regressed people hypnotically not just into past lives, but into life between lives.

We reincarnate over and over again. And in between lifetimes, we review our past life and plan our next life.

For me, this sparked several questions: What did I plan before I incarnated? What were my past lives? Do I have any recurring (dysfunctional) patterns in my incarnations? And how can I get out of having to reincarnate over and over again?

Bernadette Roberts: The Path to No-Self; The Experience of No-Self
An autobiography of the journey to enlightenment.

On the spiritual journey, beyond the unitive stage (where the personality acts in alignment with the soul), the experience of being a separate ‘I’ ( or of being a self or having a self) can fall away, not just temporarily like in a spiritual peak experience, but permanently. Isn’t that mind-boggling? Our usual experience of a ‘me’ being in this body and a wall over there as a ‘not-me’ – this subject-object relationship which we take for granted – can collapse into just being a bubble of experience without a sense of a separate ‘I’ in there.

For me, this provided a map for my journey and gave me like a bird’s-eye view on where I am located on this map (i.e. probably at the mere beginning of the unitive stage, I guess).

Gary Renard: The Disappearance of the Universe
Gary Renard’s spirit guides appeared to him in his living room and taught him about the book A Course in Miracles (ACIM).

Gary’s book acted as a tin can opener for the difficult to read ACIM.

The key message for me was that forgiveness is very important (but can be very hard to do).
Worldview shattering book with spirit guides who suddenly materialize and more mind-blowing stories.

Robert Schwartz: Your Soul’s Plan; Your Soul’s Gift
Channeled insight into the pre-incarnation planning sessions of people with challenging biographies.

Before the incarnation, we plan challenging or even traumatic life events in order to grow.

This encouraged me to make peace with the challenging events in my own life.

Jurgen Ziewe: Multidimensional Man; Vistas of Infinity; youtube uploads (in English and German)
Jurgen is an out-of-body traveler who travels into different astrals realms (from hellish to heavenly) where he meets various beings. He reports his experiences and insights. On his youtube channel, he also shares artwork which depicts several astral realms.

The key messages for me were that not only do we take our emotional baggage with us into the afterlife, but thoughts and emotions manifest much faster in the afterlife than in our realm and thus the outer becomes an immediate reflection of the inner.

This encouraged me to make peace with my life and learn to manage thoughts and emotions better (- which is still work in progress, though).

Dolores Cannon: The Custodians; The Convoluted Universe: Book One to Book Five; The Three Waves of Volunteers and the New Earth
Dolores Cannon puts people into hypnotic regression where they go into past lives.

Contrary to what I had learned before, life forms on planet Earth are not a random development, but we have been seeded.

And this experiment of separation and free will here on earth was on the brink of going into a bad direction. Interference to help us from the outside was forbidden, but as a workaround, volunteers incarnated here to help us to get back on track.

I thought I was done with the worldview shifts when I had accepted that consciousness can exist without a body, but nope, there is always more mind-blowing stuff to digest.

Cash Peters: Soul Crossings (youtube)
Cash Peters channels pictures of the transitions of famous people from life to the afterlife.

What makes a transition hard and what makes it easy?
Attachments and wrong views make a transition hard and need to be let go of.
Success and fame in the world do not mean that life was lived in alignment with the soul.

Guy Needler: The Anne Dialogues
Guy Needler has a channeled conversation with his deceased wife Anne about what happens during the process of dying until the next reincarnation.

If you read this, I would recommend to make use of the glossary because of the many unknown terms.

I found it interesting to see how much effort by how many different beings goes not only into the planning of a life, but also into the life review.

Wendy Garrett: Wendy’s Coffeehouse (podcasts); Blog talkingtonightlights.wordpress.com
Wendy Garrett had several paranormal experiences of various kinds, among which are experiences with guides who made her nightlights flicker to initiate and facilitate communication which she shared in her book Talking to Nightlights 2.
In her podcasts, she interviews people who have experienced extraordinary things (for example, UFOs, alien encounters, near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, fairies, miracle healings, crop circles, ghosts, Bigfoot/Sasquatch, remote viewing, etc.).

The key message for me was that there is so much more out there that I was not aware of yet. After listening to her podcasts, I have ended up with many books on my list which I plan to read in the future.

And finally, a big thank you to all my fellow WordPress bloggers and others who have pointed me into the direction of some of these materials, either directly or across several stepping stones! Without you, I would not have come across these wonderful, worldview-expanding books and websites.

Results of working with divine guidance: a transformational journey

In the previous post, I discussed the coming into alignment as a result of working with divine guidance. I presented the octopus model (like an invisible giant hand which moves us) with strings with more or less slack representing more or less free will. I suggested that the spiritual journey is about shortening those strings, i.e. going from willfulness to willingness. From ‘my will be done’ to ‘Thy will be done’. From resistance to surrender.

What does the journey feel like on a personal level?

Understanding this journey from the bird’s eye view is one thing. Another thing is to understand what it feels like for the person who is actually going through this shift. Going from the macroscopic view to the microscopic point of view.

This is a transformational journey. Think about tadpole to frog. Or caterpillar to butterfly.

And the journey is very individual for each of us. But still, I think there are some commonalities that can be mentioned:

  • Awakening
  • Falling away of the old
  • Shift to something new

The stages / milestones do not necessarily happen in this order. Awakening can come before or after the falling away of the old.

And the term awakening might mean very different things to different people. While I would define it as the insight that consciousness is prior to everything and that there is a greater invisible force orchestrating events, other people might say that their awakening was that the mind feels very peaceful when it is clear and when there are no thought spirals running amok. Or that developing more self-compassion was the most important game changer for them. It is probably a combination of all of these viewpoints.

Regarding the transformational journey, I’m thinking about fictional example-biographies like the following:

  • High-achieving in a stressful career –> burnout with 40 years –> recover with alternative methods of healing –> change jobs to become an alternative healer.
  • History of being abused –> breaking point is reached –> recover with spiritual healing –> change jobs to help other victims of abuse.
  • Leading a pleasant life, but with the feeling that something missing –> become a spiritual seeker –> separate self falls away –> become a spiritual teacher.
  • Coping in life with alcohol abuse –> breaking point is reached –> recover with an AA group –> surrender to a higher power. Life is turned around and lived more in alignment with the soul.
  • Leading a sort of ‘normal’ life, but with the nagging feeling that something is wrong with one’s body –> inner coming out as transgender –> outer coming out as trans. And following that, a complete change of one’s life.
  • Leading a ‘normal’ run of the mill life with a job and family duties –> have an NDE –> experience a complete turnaround of life’s values and as a result, there are life changes.

My own transformational journey was triggered by rheumatoid arthritis after the birth of my first child which led me to homeopathy which in turn broke my materialistic worldview open. Then it was like a hike up to a mountain with a winding path uphill (- this represented the falling away of the old, e.g. former hobbies and former engagement at work). Afterwards it was like going downhill again, this time following the flow of a river – with more or less resistance from my side (loops at the riverside). This represented the coming into alignment with the new (e.g. sharing my experiences in this blog).
You can read more about my journey here.

So that is what the shortening of the strings in the octopus model can look like for the indivual person. A journey with the falling away of something old and coming into alignment with a new direction in life.

It can be deeply traumatic and heartbreaking.

It can be more or less dramatic with more or less messy upheaval.

It can be done with much resistance, kicking and screaming, or it can be done voluntarily and willingly.

It can be a sudden change or more gradual.

But it is usually transformational. And this transformation is one of the results of working with divine guidance.

Results of working with divine guidance: coming into alignment with the soul

In addition to the paradigm shift that consciousness is prior to everything (see last week’s post), another result of working with divine guidance is coming into alignment with what the soul wants.

The Octopus Model

Back in the early years of my spiritual journey around 2007/2008 when I became aware that there was an invisible force behind the veil like a giant invisible hand moving everything and orchestrating events like chance encounters and synchronicities, an image dropped into my mind. It was a something like a giant octopus with more than a million arms (or a hand with a million fingers) and each arm had a puppet sitting on the tip of each arm (like one would put a thimble on a fingertip while sewing). We were like divine puppets moved by a giant, invisible puppeteer.

The ‘octopus’ came into my mind with the color of transparent light blue and it represented the giant invisible force (consciousness/ awareness / the void) which moved everything.

The puppets or thimbles on the tips of the arms had the color of opaque bright red and they represented the things in the visible realm (other people, animals, cars, etc.)

At first, I struggled with the color coding of this mental image or vision. I thought if I am ever going to share this, wouldn’t it be nicer to have the octopus in red and the puppets in blue? Because most people are probably familiar with the red pill vs blue pill choice in the film The Matrix where the blue pill represents staying in the illusion and the red pill represents waking up. But even though I tried, the mental image didn’t want to be changed and somehow insisted on keeping the octopus in transparent light blue and the puppets in opaque bright red. So, I gave up and stayed with these colors.

When I was in awe and wonder about all the synchronicities but struggled with the question ‘How does this work?’, this model dropped into my mind as an answer. I gave me an explanation of how the world is not made up of separate bodies which move around randomly and bump into each other just by coincidence. But there was a hidden force which orchestrated everything.

The model could also explain how it would be possible to have a telepathic connection to someone else. The connection from one being to the next was via the route of up one arm to the body of the octopus and then down another arm to the other being.

What about free will?

Even though this model could explain some mysteries, I still struggled with the aspect of free will. If we are steered like puppets by the divine force all the time, then why is life on earth such a mess? And why can it sometimes be so hard to decide what the best next step would be to take?

Some years later, I read a Raj/Jesus channeling by Paul Tuttle which described the spiritual journey as starting with a connection to the divine like a string with much slack (i.e. a lot of free will). And as the journey progressed, the string would become shorter and shorter and exercising free will would become more and more uncomfortable.

I found the string analogy helpful and put this element into the octopus model. The red puppets were now tied to the octopus’s arms with strings which had more or less slack. As the spiritual journey progressed, the strings would become shorter. At a certain point when the string had no slack anymore, the red puppet would only follow the movement of the octopus’s arms.

Octopus model with puppets with strings with varying amounts of slack

I remember reading in one of Bernadette Roberts‘ books about the path to no-self or the experience of no-self that at one point in her journey any decision making process was like walking or balancing on a log of wood. It was completely clear where the next step had to be placed. Exercising free will and choosing any other direction would have resulted in falling off the log of wood. That is what I assume will happen in the journey and that is what I mean when I say that free will becomes less and less.

I had my own experiences with giving up free will. When I chose to act contrary to my guidance, things would break in the house or I would get sick. This was a precursor to the situation described by Bernadette Roberts.

There is free will. But choosing a direction different from what the divine would have us do becomes harder and harder as the journey progresses.

Coming into alignment

Following divine guidance leads to a coming into alignment with one’s soul. In the model discussed above, it is about shortening the strings. In the beginning, they are long and have a lot of slack. That means for the individual person there is a lot of wiggle room to exercise free will and go into all directions of which they think that it would make them happy (money, career, admiration, shopping, etc.)

After a while, if the person planned to have an awakening in that lifetime, their string becomes shorter and shorter when looking at the journey from a bird’s eye view seeing the big picture.

In the next post, I plan to write about what that journey of shortening the string and coming into alignment might look like from the person’s point of view.

Results of working with divine guidance: a paradigm shift

When one works with divine guidance, where does this lead to?

There are several topics that can be mentioned. And one of them is a shift in worldview.

Nothing actually changed when people started thinking that the Earth is round and not flat or that the Earth moves around the Sun (instead of the Sun moving around the Earth). In daily life, the streets and fields looked as flat as before. And the Sun still rose in the East each morning and went down in the West each evening. It was just a change in the worldview in people’s minds.

And yet it had large consequences because the way was paved for more scientific discoveries.

When working with divine guidance, there is a similar shift in worldview in store for us. Namely, that consciousness does not originate from the neurons of the brain, but that it is prior to everything material. That means the neurons of the brain (and everything else in the 3d realm) originate from consciousness.

Consciousness is another dimension. And much like a three-dimensional sphere would at the same time encompass and pervade a two-dimensional plane (for an entertaining story with examples, see book and movie Flatland ), so does consciousness at the same time encompass our world and also pervade everything.

This shift in worldview can happen before working with divine guidance. For example, for me, it happened when I read many stories about little children who started talking about their past lives spontaneously out of the blue, and also when I read many Near Death Experiences.

Or the shift in worldview can happen during the journey with divine guidance because so many things happen which cannot be explained with the former worldview.

In the former worldview where the world consist of separate objects and people moving around randomly and where consciousness does not survive the death of the physical body, it is hard to explain things like channeling dead people, telepathy, precognitive dreams, or synchronicities.

I came from a scientific/materialistic worldview, and it was a big shift for me to accept that consciousness is prior to everything. When this realization hit me, I remember that I felt the floor shaking below me. Suddenly my solid former world had become instable and I could feel it physically as some kind of vertigo.

I think that this paradigm shift is currently happening in society, but it is still located in the fringes of what is publicly accepted.

In science, people are still trying to find out how consciousness arises from the activity of neurons in the brain. For example, this article Decoding the neuroscience of consciousness (published July 2019) says,

Newly developed techniques for measuring brain activity are enabling scientists to refine their theories about what consciousness is, how it forms in the brain and where the boundaries lie between being conscious and unconscious. 
[…]

” “It’s still just fundamentally mysterious how consciousness happens,” says Anil Seth, a cognitive and computational neuroscientist and co-director of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK.
[…]

As scientists have become more adept at detecting consciousness, they have begun to determine which brain regions and circuits are most important. But there is still much debate about what constitutes consciousness in neural terms, with particular disagreement over which brain processes and regions matter most.

So, that is what scientists think: ‘Just look long enough and close enough at the brain activity. Measure it, think deeply, discuss, and publish. And then finally one day, we should be able to really understand how consciousness is produced by the brain. And where exactly it is located. Because the fact that consciousness is produced by the brain is our assumption. Our infallible assumption which must not be challenged. And it is such an infallible assumption truth that there is not even a need to state explicitly that this is our basic assumption on which we operate.’

That infallible-assumption thing reminds me of the Catholic Church and how it was upset when Galileo said that the Earth moves around the Sun.

And the article quoted above was not written like 100 years ago, but fairly recently in 2019.

But within the new paradigm, studying the neurons in the brain to find out how consciousness happens is about as smart as if one would look at the electronic currents in the TV set in one’s living room trying to find out how the evening news broadcast is created in the TV.

Everyone would laugh at that fruitless attempt.

Isn’t that ironic how it was the church which said that the Sun revolves around the Earth? And woe unto you, Galileo, if you dare to challenge that belief!
And now it’s science’s turn to make a fool of itself and say that they believe that consciousness comes from the brain and woe unto everyone who dares to challenge that assumption! They might lose their license to teach at the university.

And in the meantime, some people who came from the materialistic worldview and were forced by their life’s circumstances to accept this paradigm shift that consciousness exists independently of a functioning brain are contributing to the shift.

For example, one of them is Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon who had a near-death experience which changed his worldview. He wrote the bestselling book Proof of Heaven about his experience (with currently more than 16.000 customer reviews on Amazon).

Maybe enough stories like his will help the new paradigm to seep from the fringes into mainstream thinking. Or if that doesn’t work, maybe it needs personal experience for each and everyone. So, in order to shift the paradigm, maybe everyone needs their own near-death experience, out-of-body experience, past-life memories, alien abduction experiences, after-death communication experiences, ghost encounters, telepathy, etc.

Regarding the time frame, I was hoping that, well, maybe in a few decades this new paradigm that consciousness is the basis of everything has become mainstream.

But if I consider that it took the Roman Catholic Church more than 350 years to admit that Galileo was right, then if science takes the same amount of time to shift its paradigm, that may mean it may well take another few centuries instead of just decades.

So, if you are on a spiritual path and your paradigm shifts, then this might mean that you live in a different paradigm than the mainstream for the rest of your life. Which may have advantages and disadvantages. It can feel a bit like being a Hogwarts student and living among muggles. Sometimes lonely, at other times exciting.

The spiritual journey and the workplace (part 3/3)

In the previous posts (part 1 and 2), I shared how I had changed with regard to my work at the office and what kind of follies I observed. In this post, I write about the problems with technical solutions in general.

Layers of emergent problems

I was working in a technological environment. When there were issues, the usual approach was to fix the bug in the computer coding, to improve a process or workflow, to automate more, or to improve the documentation. And there is nothing wrong with these approaches. In fact, they brought us a long way. I think these approaches are needed in a corporate environment and it is common sense and best practice to use them.

But I saw how not only at work but in our society in general we always tried to solve one issue only to have new issues arise from the solution. For example, having mobile phones is great and useful. But with these gadgets, new issues arise like trackability, data privacy issues, and also smartphone addiction- It is as if every solution to a problems breeds a new layer of emergent problems.

For example, with the tool I developed to prevent our stress-inducing last-minute issues, I did indeed solve one problem. But afterwards I had the burden of the maintenance for that tool and had stress with that. So, one problem solved, but a new one arising.

For every issue, there was always this hopeful feeling, “Never mind, we are going to find a solution. We are going to fix that. And then life will be easier.”

But that never happened. While we did find a solution and we could fix the initial problem, things did not get easier after that. Instead we had an new layer of emergent issues. So, this hope that things would get easier was an ever evading carrot. And it was after waking up that I was able to see this.

What did work, though, for making things easier, was finding inner peace inside and going into inner peace whenever the shit hit the fan. This was the key which made my life easier – and not necessarily some new tools or technical processes.

While I see the necessity to keep improving technical solutions and business processes, an improved common sense and best-practice approach to the usual approaches would be to educate people about the fact that we are consciousness, that consciousness embraces and permeates everything in this world, that thoughts coupled with emotions are literally creative, and that choosing inner peace and acting from inspiration and guidance from that improves results.

Technical or process solutions vs synchronicities and intuition

In the movie The Matrix, there is a scene where Neo walks with Morpheus through a crowd of people. While Neo frequently bumps into another person, Morpheus navigates this stream of people without issues. In the corporate world, people are like Neo on the sidewalk frequently running into collisions with something or someone.

So, the usual approach would be to develop tools to prevent these issues. Hey, we could develop an app for our smartphones which measures the distance to other people and beeps whenever we come to close to someone else. Isn’t this a great idea? Then we would surely solve the issue of bumping into people once and for all. How about marketing that, making some money with it, and feeling great about the fact that we have made the world a better place with this new tool?

But Morpheus has a different solution. He is awake and navigates the world at a different level. So, the issue of bumping into people does not arise for him and therefore does not need to be solved.

I thought that this movie scene was a wonderful metaphor of how waking up and then learning to navigate the current of life can be the solution to so many problems of daily life.

I want to share one story where I saw this principle in action. I had encountered a technical issue and opened a ticket in our Continuous Improvement Process. Someone took care of that ticket and even though he shared a lot of links with knowledge in the ticket, he was not able to get the issue solved because it required the collaboration of another department.

I had already given up and thought this issue would never get fixed, but then one day I synchronistically met a colleague who was a student doing an internship at our company, and he knew what the problem was and whom to contact. So, in the end this issue got solved without our sophisticated Continuous Improvement Process, just by a chance encounter with a student worker who was willing to help.

Just to be clear, I don’t mean to condemn technological advancements or improved processes in any way. They do have their place and they can be very helpful. I just want to point out that they alone are not the way to lead a more happier and peaceful life because of the issue of layers of emergent problems discussed above. And in addition, I think that we need to be aware that there is another way of finding more peace and happiness in life, namely coming into inner peace which in turn will lead to the adjustment of the outer circumstances (something which science hasn’t realized yet and which it cannot explain). So, if someone wants to develop an app which would help people to find a parking space, maybe that would be helpful. But in addition, asking for help from beyond the veil to find a parking space might be a useful option.

The spiritual journey and the workplace (part 2/3)

In the previous post, I wrote about how my shifted focus at work led to more relaxation. Here I share what I observed about my work environment. While in the beginning of my worklife, I was enmeshed in the corporate world, now I noticed much more about what was going on in the corporate environment and how insane some of it was.

Laboro, ergo sum

I saw the need to always have something to do just to look busy and feel valuable and how that plays out.

Once, a co-worker complained to me that he could not really enjoy his vacation because he had so much work to do. So, in order to be able take time off, he would have to work harder before the vacation and also right after the vacation. But on the other hand, I noticed that he had enough time for optional activities like participating in work-related knowledge quizzes and doing stuff just for the sake of gaining visibility. And I wondered why he did not drop these optional activities and then enjoy his vacation.

And I have been there before. I have felt this pressure, too, to always look busy, to always show in team meetings and in meetings with the boss how much I contributed and how engaged I was.

This attitude can breed unnecessary work. Work which is done just for the sake of doing something because one feels obliged to do so.

I remember when I rode my bike to work, I came across a retirement home every morning. In the windows I saw pretty, colorful handicrafts and thought, “The old people are doing occupational therapy here. They need something to do to keep them busy, and so they are producing pretty things for the decoration of the windows.” I thought that I would not have time for this.

But then a thought hit me. What was I doing at work everyday? A lot of not so necessary stuff. Wasn’t it something like occupational therapy, too? Well, but maybe this is what’s needed for keeping people so busy that they have no time to ponder the big questions of life of ‘What are we? Why are we here? What is the purpose of life?’ Just to keep ourselves busy, running in the hamster wheel, chasing the ever evading carrots of happiness out there.

In the corporate world, it is not ‘cogito, ergo sum’ (I think, therefore I am), but ‘laboro, ergo sum’ (I work, therefore I am). (Of course, even Descartes did not get it completely right because the I AM presence is there even when I do not think , but that is a different topic.)

Communication distorted by fear

Another folly in the corporate world is how things are communicated – or not.

If a status of a project is red, it evokes fear to clearly communicate this to the hierarchies above because of the consquences it might have. And so, out of fear, people can feel tempted turn the red status lights into yellow lights. And sometimes, the yellow lights can be turned into a more greenish color when the status is reported higher up. Until the people at the top are unaware that there have been issues in the hierarchy layers below them.

I also noticed that the communication of unpleasant news works as follows: For example, instead of writing an email with the subject line “We are planning layoffs”, write an email with an introduction with how great the company is and blah, blah. After reading that first paragraph, one third of the employees will have deleted the mail because who has time to read such business emails anyway.

In the second paragraph communicate that you will have to do something unpleasant like layoffs, but rephrase it like “In order to be able to continue to be successful we will make our workforce leaner, reorganize, restructure, and streamline our departments and leverage synergies.” People will read that, yawn, and not understand that it means layoffs.

At the end, conclude again with a statement how fantastic and amazing the company is. This way one can communicate layoffs but without people becoming upset – at least not immediately.

Basically, I became aware of how fear was ever-present and how it would lead to distortions when unpleasant things had to be communicated.

How to get a promotion: the dos and don’ts and the power of letting go

After my frustration about not getting a promotion for my work, a colleague let me in on a secret.
She told me that if people are intelligent and have a good heart, then they do things in a most efficient and cost saving way. Just solving problems fast to everyone’s satisfaction. And let the boss know afterwards that they have solved a problem.

Then they will be promoted – NOT!

Why?

Because they are not visible.

The ‘correct’ approach to a promotion would be to make the boss aware of the issue which needs to be solved, and let it stew. To wait until the boss comes and begs them to solve it.

Then set up a project with ten people. Lead the project. Organize a lot of meetings. Discuss. Have others do the work. Present some nice slides at the rollout. Even though this would burn resources and would much more expensive than the original approach, it will give them visibility to those bosses up in the hierarchy who can decide about their career. They will demonstrate that they are a teamplayer and a leader. And then they might get a promotion.

Okay, that was eye-opening. While I was successful in school and up to my doctorate degree, my approach to work had never fit into the corporate world all along. I had too often solved issues using the fast, efficient, but invisible way.

The weird thing was that I got my promotion after I dropped some of my efforts and handed most of my tasks over to other colleagues, signaling to my boss that I was not willing to play this game with the ever-avading carrot anymore.

Surprisingly about six months later (in 2016), he gave me a promotion.

I am not sure that I would recommend this method of ‘try hard only to fail repeatedly and then let go‘ to everyone, but I noticed that there was definitely something remarkable about the power of letting go.