Tag Archive: transhuman


Two years ago, I went on a week long silent meditation retreat where a form of Qi Gong was also taught. On the first day, I knew I had found the next practice that I needed, a practice that would nourish and cultivate my vitality.

After the retreat, I began to practice Qi Gong every day. At some point during the retreat, I really got it, like a revelation, that daily practice is truly key. Harnessing the diurnal rhythm is how to most efficiently and effectively establish and grow practices that cause you to thrive. For example, ten minutes of exercise every day is going to work a lot better than three twenty minute sessions a week. When you engage in a practice every day, it quickly becomes automatic, like brushing your teeth. (More on this later.)

To the daily Qi Gong, I added physical exercise, emotional/relational work, and meditation. In order to fit these sessions into the day, I made them nice and short: 10 minutes each.

I was feeling good. I was beginning to thrive. And yet, there was still something missing! I hadn’t taken my passion, working with synergistic practices, out into the world. I had not created a livelihood based on inspiring and helping people to thrive by engaging in healthful practices.  I had recently completed a Waldorf Teacher Training program. There I learned about how regular artistic practice is not only healing, but it develops the capacity to manifest and show up in the world. During those three years I did a lot of art. It became clear that daily art practice was the fourth spoke of The Wheel. I began to write every day. A new book and my new livelihood emerged from that practice.

After doing these five different kinds of practice every day for a year, I saw that this circuit had wheel like qualities. So, I called it “The Wheel.”

I entered into that daily turning of The Wheel, knowing that it would nourish me and bring health, because I had already experienced this with the various practices. What was new was shortening the sessions and doing all five kinds of exercises every day. I entered into this with an experimental attitude. How well would it work? After month or two, I was seeing that this was a very powerful and surprising easy approach. Once the Wheel was turning it accumulated momentum. It required very little effort to keep it spinning.  It centered and anchored the day. I was also struck with how efficient it was. Relatively minimal effort and time yielded maximum beneficial effects. In other words, I was becoming increasingly happy and healthy with ease.

How cool is that? I’d been engaged in various kinds of personal growth work for decades, and it was rarely easy. This is the central message I want to share that it is possible to heal and become increasing healthy and happy, easily and enjoyably.

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Engaging in a regular transformative practice will bring up many opportunities to work with your inner authoritarian structures. If we don’t work with those structures, then we may end up reinforcing an old regime that is in serious need of a revolution. We all have inner authoritarians. We internalized them mainly from our parents, but also from the culture around us. When we were young children, some of us had wise, benevolent, loving kings and queens for parents. Some of us had cruel despots. Most of us had parents somewhere in between.

A person can go very far with a practice without ever working on that inner authority. I’m thinking of Andre Agassi. His father amounted to a narcissistic despot, and Andre thoroughly internalized that tyrant. Andre mastered tennis by pushing himself mercilessly. His intense daily practice of competitive tennis utterly transformed his life.

However, he reached a point in his life where he was miserable. He was one of the world’s best tennis players, but the rest of his life was in shambles. In an interview, he revealed that he had always hated tennis. He never enjoyed it. He decided that he was either going to find a way to love tennis and make it his own (not his father’s) or he was going to quit.

I remember seeing Andre play after he had transformed. At the time, I didn’t know his story. And I was very surprised. I watched him for 5 minutes without recognizing him, and I did a double take when I saw the caption under his image. I had never liked Andre 1.0. But, I immediately liked Andre 2.0. He was a new person. He had shaved off his hair. He played differently. He was much more humble. You could tell that he was playing with heart. There was a depth to him that had been lacking before.

Transformative practices will transform you. But, if they are founded on a kind of inner fascism, they will prove to be unsustainable. Ultimately they will not thrive, or cause you to thrive. If they are founded on an open heart; if they are practiced in a loving and kind way, well then, your practices and you will flourish.

Today Mass Effect 3 is released. If you are into video games, you know this is a big deal. My copy will arrive some time today and I will be playing it tonight. Mass Effect 3 is a role playing game in which you and your allies are fighting to save all life in the  Galaxy from utter annihilation. If you have not played ME1, spoiler alert. I am going to reveal the bad guys.

The bad guys are “The Reapers.” They are an advanced A.I. Civilization or Machine Civilization that lies dormant for aeons while Life evolves. When Life is “ripe” they “harvest” it. They basically assimilate all of Life, all that has been learned, all that has been created. (I don’t know why that means all life must be destroyed.) The Reapers then sow the seeds for new Life and start the process all over again. This is a clever take on one of the most common themes in Science Fiction: our machines evolving beyond us and either “terminating” or “assimilating” us. A few examples: The Borg in Star Trek, The Terminator films, The Matrix Trilogy, and Battlestar Gallactica.

I actually find this meme pretty tired. It makes a good narrative for a video game, but enough already. We are at the end of an era and our technology is primarily responsible. This is true, and this is why this narrative resonates with us. However, we are not separate from technology. We are technology. Okay, that might be overstating it. At our very core, our essence, prior to form, we are not technology. But, as soon as forms/creations show up: hello technology (Check out Kevin Kelly, The Technium.)

There was a time when humans did not have spoken language, in the earliest hunter gatherer times. A huge shift happened tens of thousands of years ago when early agriculture emerged. This was a radical new technology that changed everything. Co-emergent with that (we don’t know if one came first) came spoken language. Jeremy Rifkin theorizes that this new communication technology (spoken language) was necessary to manage the complicated social dynamics and organizational logistics of basic agriculture which necessitated a whole new kind of culture. (By the way, culture is a technology.)

The emergence of the technology of Spoken Language was one of the great game changers: a true Singularity. Human experience after this Singularity was radically different than what it had been previously. Pre-Verbal humans could in no way imagine what the Post-Verbal human would live and think like. By the way, all of us have experienced this transition in this lifetime. Some time around 1 years old we made this Big Shift. And of course, we get to witness our children and others children go through this Big Shift.

Anyway, the point is technology is not something out there, alien from us. Maybe new technologies seem that way before we assimilate them (or are assimilated by them.) Did e.mail seem weird and alien 15 years ago? The internet definitely did to a lot of people. Now that I think about it, I think the Internet continues to get exponentially weirder and more alien. But, compared to our Pre-Internet selves, so do we.

Anyway, wish me luck in the epic battle against the Reapers. The future of the Galaxy is at stake.

In the last post I wrote about how one of Joss Whedon’s favorite narratives is that of a scrappy band working together to avert an Apocalypse. I said that I wished he would venture forth beyond the Apocalypse and imagine adventures on the other side.

It occurred to me that Firefly started in that direction.  It was set 500 years in the future. We are told the Earth was “used up” and humans had moved out into the galaxy.

When it first aired, I dug it. It had lots of potential. And I knew that Joss’s shows need time to really get going, so I was looking forward to it becoming even better. That said, I was also disappointed. What was awesome were Joss’s usual interesting, quirky characters, the almost poetic dialogue, and the masterful storytelling. The setting, however, I found less believable than Buffy or Angel. It seemed like a tired old vision of the Future. I am seriously bugged by Sci Fi which is basically just the 20th Century with flying cars, space ships, laser guns , and robots. At the end of the first and only (half) season and in the film, “Serenity” the “future” started to get interesting. Alas.

I believe it was Daniel Quinn, author of “Ishmael,” who said, “I’ve only made one prediction about the future, and that is if humans are still around 100 years from now, they will live very differently and think very differently than we do now.”

The “think very differently” part is what is so hard to imagine. Just like a medieval person couldn’t really imagine the way a modern person thinks and sees the world, its impossible from our level of consciousness to imagine the future consciousness. (Unless we have had some peak experiences, spiritual experiences, or psychedelic experiences.) The characters in Firefly were really just contemporary folks projected 500 years into the future.

I think that Joss got it partially right. He focused on the existential freedom on the other side of The Big Birth. His vision of outer space with infinite worlds to explore is an image of nearly limitless freedom and opportunity for creativity and exploration. But, there is more than bigger freedom on the other side. There is a a much bigger way of thinking, of seeing, and loving. Basically, what would the global community be like if a billion people were as evolved as the Dalai Lama? What if that kind of consciousness, that kind of compassion was the norm? Think of all those scientists, businessmen, leaders, teachers, engineers, parents, etc., operating from that level of consciousness? That’s the Sci Fi series I want to see.

I’ve been getting to urge to revisit Joss Whedon’s work. Recently, I watched the season 6 finale to Buffy, a few Firefly episodes, and last night: “Epitaph.” Epitaph was the episode of Dollhouse that Joss and Company made when the cancellation of Season One seemed certain. It’s about the Apocalypse.

If you’re a fan of Joss, you know the Apocalypse is a frequent theme of his.  I suspect that his upcoming blockbuster, “The Avengers,” will contain apocalyptic elements as well. His favorite narrative seems to be: a band of flawed, but decent friends work together to overcome impossible odds, and to defeat some form of “The Big Bad” in order to avert an immanent Apocalypse.

It strikes me that this is also the narrative of The Lord of The Rings. It is also the narrative of World War II. Maybe it is the narrative of our times. Who or What is The Big Bad? If you look at Joss’s work, it is typically narcissism run amok, and all the usual suspects: fear, hatred, greed, and lust for power. That seems about right.

Interestingly, in Joss’s work, once the current Apocalypse is averted, it’s mostly back to business as usual until the next one slouches forth. “Epitaph” (which is excellent by the way) is exceptional in that it is post-Apocalyptic. Everything has collapsed. Humans appear to be doomed. Yet, there is hope. There is the possibility of a New Beginning. A a scrappy band of survivors fights for the Future, for the possibility of “Safe Haven.”

I would love to see Joss continue in this direction. It’s time for him to turn his bright mind and imagination to life after the Big Shift that is happening. There are the slightest indications of such a vision in “Epitaph.” There are hints that “Save Haven” is a more wise and loving community of humans than the pre-Apocalypse folks. This is basically what needs to be imagined: a global, all-inclusive community of humans who are much wiser and more loving; living,working, and playing together harmoniously. What would that look like?

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