Episode #35 Four steps to transformation – Manda Scott in a podcast Q&A
We know that our healing depends on our re-connection with the web of life, with what we call ‘The Natural World’ until we stop seeing it as something other and start seeing it as an integral part of ourselves.But knowing is different to doing. Declarative learning is not performative learning – both are necessary, but each occupies different bits of our nervous systems and it’s only when we actually begin to embody change that we understand it – and it’s from this embodiment that transformation arises. In a series of Answers to listeners’ questions, Manda outlines the steps to transformation – and reviews some of the wisdom of guests over the past 6 months.
Q & A
Hey, welcome to Accidental Gods, the podcast where we believe there’s another world is still possible and that together we can make it happen. I’m Manda Scott and I spent the first two seasons of this podcast laying out the basic toolkit that we think is essential to making conscious evolution a possibility, which is the entire premise behind the whole Accidental Gods program, this podcast, the website and the membership portal that arises from it.
Since then, we’ve been exploring, mapping out that extraordinary generative intersection where art meets activism, politics meets philosophy, science meets spirituality, from which we can craft a vision of a future that is generative. First of all, we can’t get there if we can’t see it. So we’ve been trying to create many different views into ways that we could be that are both practical and can happen now in the belief that if we can do this, if we can shape a strong enough version of a future that works for the human world and the whole of the web of consciousness of which we are an integral part, then we can get there.
So this week, as I said in the last podcast, you have me flying solo and as I said last week, the distinction between one season and the next is pretty arbitrary. But this seemed like a good time to take a pause. I wanted to look back at where we’ve been, look forward at where we’re going. And it seemed that the best way to do that was to look at some of the questions that come through periodically. You can always send questions to [email protected] and they’ll get through to me.I definitely read everything that comes through my emails a little bit behind at the moment. It’s harvest season. Other stuff is happening, but I will definitely read it. And here I’m going to see what I can do within the time that we have to answer the ones that will give us a bit of a framework of what we’re doing.
So here we go, top of the list. This one, I think must have come in many months ago is: ‘What is the Accidental God’s Membership program and where is it heading?’ So that’s two questions. We’ll go for the first bit first and the really clean, clear, simple, straightforward answer is it’s all on the website. AccidentalGods.Life has really got a lot of detail about what the membership program is and you can go in and explore it. However, you’re listening to a podcast, you might not have the time or the interest to go to the website, so the absolute edited highlight is Accidental Gods is our best endeavor to create a means by which we can reach conscious evolution as the next evolutionary step of humanity.
A little bit of background: it arose at the winter solstice of 2018, which is a little over 18 months ago. Faith and I sit with the fire at each of the solstices and particularly the winter solstice. It’s dark. We sit with the fire in the evening and we connect to the year just gone and they are just coming and every time something new arises and what arose then for me were two things.
One was that I needed to start teaching at scale. I had been teaching the shamanic dreaming work. I still do. We will collate that with AG soon. But I was teaching small groups because that’s what I consider to be safe. And what arose in the fire visions was a vision of me in the States on a platform talking to really quite a large number of people, which was surprising on a number of levels, not least being the one that I don’t fly. I wasn’t a member of Extinction Rebellion at that point. I am now. But even then, I’m not interested in creating that much of a carbon load. I spend most of my life trying to reduce my carbon load and flying is just not on the menu. We’ll come back to that in a moment. The other part of the vision was of the Earth as seen from space, the classic picture of the blue pearl floating against the blackness of space. But around it was a web of light. When I first saw it, it was dark. The moon was up. So it was moonlight. A other times its sunlight. But the vision is always the same. It’s a very, very, very complex web of light spanning the whole of the planet, many tiny fine filaments. And at each crossing point where two or more often, most often many filaments cross is a node of consciousness.
And these nodes are not all human. Some of them were, but most of them were not. They were the rocks, the trees, the rivers, the mountains, the young buzzard that’s flying over a hill at the moment, telling her parents exactly how hungry she is. This arises from a very Pan-Psychic way of looking at the universe where everything is conscious and it’s worth saying at this point that these are not exactly photographic clear visions, they’re much more of a felt sense onto which a concept of a vision is laid. We come up against this quite a lot with the shamanic work. And I think increasingly with the deeper work that we’re doing in Accidental Gods is how to interpret what comes through. I have quite a visual imagination, so I tend to interpret things in a visual way.
However, that particular image arose not just as a visual sense, but as a felt sense. I could feel the connectedness of the Web and it became the driving force of the rest of that year. First of all, to work out what ‘teaching at scale’ means and then to work out what that felt sense of the web of consciousness meant in that context.
And in the context of the teaching at scale, about three days after we did that fire sit, I had an email from the States that more or less said, there is one of you and 50 of us. And so that’s one flight or 50 flights.Which way would you like it to go? If I hadn’t had the visions, if I hadn’t been so clear that things needed to shift, then I think I would have said no. I’ve said no many times to invitations of a similar sort and really encouraged people to find teachers in their own geographical area.
[00:07:25.54] However, one of the things that one learns when we start asking for help of whatever we call the web of consciousness, we listen to the answers. It’s not a good idea to ask for help and then ignore the answers. There’s no point. If you ask somebody’s advice, then it’s generally because you intend to take it. So I did go to the States and that meant I had to work out what I could teach on a larger scale safely. And over the process of that year. A lot of stuff came together, if you keep asking questions and you keep going. I’m not quite understanding yet that answers come in. And by the end of the year, we had the Accidental Gods program – of which this podcast is an integral part. We weren’t quite ready and we kept having the conversations moonface along the lines of her suggesting that we could just let it run through till the spring of this year. For us, there are the eight festivals: the solstices, the equinoxes and the points in between. So we could have gone for Imbolc or we could have gone for the spring equinox.
And I kept going up the hill and asking and what came was, no, you have to get this out by the winter solstice. You just do. And I had no idea why. But one of the other things I’ve learned is that why is not my business. I get my head wrapped up into ‘why do I need to do this?’ And that’s not the point. The point is that if I choose to ask the questions, if I choose to listen to the answers, then the point is that I do what I can do to the best of my ability, not that I necessarily fit it into a framework that I already have because that framework is likely to be outdated or outmoded or something that doesn’t help us get forward. That’s quite an important point to where we’re going in a moment. Anyway, we did get it out by the winter solstice. There have been many tweaks since then because road testing is a good thing. And thank you to those of you who have been road testing since the early days. And then the pandemic hit – and it was obvious why we had needed to get it out when we got it out, because we needed to have done some road testing so that we could respond with something to the sudden change in the way that the world was.
So the basis of the program is that I believe conscious evolution is the next evolutionary step of humanity. We haven’t made a serious evolutionary steps for quite a while in terms of having physiological characteristics that are likely to be transferred down the generations because they confer some kind of competitive advantage, if we even believe that model of evolution and there’s lots of questions there.
However, we do not have time for iterations down the generations for a small tweak in this generation’s DNA to be replicated more in the next generation and even more in the third generation, so that 100 generations from now clouds of hydrogen gas have evolved into rosebushes, giraffes and human beings, as Rob Kobold said way back in our early conversations. We do not have time for that. Whatever else we believe. If you haven’t read the Deep Adaptation paper, I think it’s worth it. It’s been updated recently. We are heading fast as a species towards the possibility not only of wiping ourselves out, but also taking very large swathes of the rest of the ecosphere with us. And I would like to avoid that, if at all possible. And I think it is possible. But we need to change our trajectory. And so one of the things that came out of that year was this concept of conscious evolution. This is not a new concept. There are large corners of the Internet devoted to it. But what I struggled to find in the exploration of that year was an indication of exactly how we are going to do this.
It’s not that the corner of the Internet is short of answers. There are those who think that we all just need to meditate a bit more. More of us need to meditate for longer. There are those who, as far as I can tell, think we just need to philosophize a bit more. We need to have more clever ideas about who we are and where we’re going. And there is the group that think we’re going to implant nanotechnology into our brains and that will solve everything. So working backwards on that, I will put a link in the show notes to Sam Harris’s TED talk on A.I. and implanting it in our brains. I’m not going to reprise it here. It takes too long. And anyway, he does it more articulately than I can. I really don’t think that’s a good idea for all of the reasons that he enumerates. Then there’s the philosophising more and this is back to ‘No problem is solved from the mindset that created it’. If we could think our way out of the geopolitical and climatic and ecocidal space that we’re in. I think we’d already have done it. Really, I’m not seeing any signs that thinking our ways out of this are helping us and the idea that we as humanity have all of the answers. Is strange. I don’t understand why we think that, and I don’t think it’s true, and then we get to the possibility that we just all need to meditate for a little bit longer. And again, I think if that were the answer, we’d be there.
I think meditation is definitely a part of the answer, but I don’t think it’s the whole answer. So, in tandem with the other things that we were doing through 2019, I spent a lot of time setting up the hill, asking the questions about how do we do this? And what we got to was four steps, partly because a lot of people seem to have four steps. It seems to be a good thing, but also because they’re what I think we need, we could break them down into some steps if we want to get complicated. But why would we? So those four steps are first reawakening into connection with the web of consciousness. This is absolutely critical. This is where I think we get the answers from, and it’s reawakening because I really believe this is a part of our heritage as human beings. There was a time not that many generations ago, and depending on where you are in the world and how close you are to your precolonial indigenous past very few generations, when humanity lived absolutely in context with the Earth and everything else that lives on it. With that web of consciousness, we could ask, what do you want of me and respond in the moment and we can get back to that. And everybody knows that we need to.
We’ve been listening throughout lockdown to Humanity Rising, to Embercombe, to Schumacher, to all of the places where Zoom has suddenly taken over as the way of reaching large numbers of people. And everybody says we need to go out and connect more to nature or to the natural world. I’m endeavouring to shift away from that language. As Mac Macartney said in the last podcast so beautifully, the indigenous peoples – he spoke particularly of the Lakota – do not have a word for animal as being a class of sentient entities separate from us. We have done that. We have created that separation and in the same way, talking about ‘nature’ as a thing we go out to separates it at the start.
[00:15:25.41] Whereas if we say ‘the web of consciousness’ and know that we are an integral part of that web of consciousness. Then we are stepping towards actually connecting, but it needs to be more than that. There are two levels of knowing that are spoken about in neuroscience circles. There is performative knowing and there’s declarative knowing and declarative knowing is what I just said. We all know that we need to connect more to the natural world using the old parlance. Performative knowing is actually becoming part of the web of consciousness. And each of these is necessary. But they are distinct and they are different, and what we’re trying to do with Accidental Gods is enhance the declarative knowing, looking into in more philosophical, if you like, ways that we begin to understand at a cognitive level why this is so important. Adam Hamdy talked about the Phytoncides and all the reasons why going out and just being under a tree enhances our own well-being in so many ways.
And if that’s what it takes to get us doing the work, that’s great. But that isn’t the work. I’m making it sound hard. The word work is probably not the best one. That isn’t the connection. The performative part is how do we actually do this, how do we get to a point where we are so connected to our heart minds, our heart spaces and our heart minds are an integral part of this web, and then we can ask the questions that we need to ask.
So the Accidental Gods program is broken down as much as we can into: ‘Do this on day one and then do this on day two and then on day 93, do this.’ You don’t have to follow it slavishly. Absolutely not. But it’s there if you want a program laid out. And if you want to just follow the concepts or just follow some of the visualizations and meditations at your own pace, then that is completely fine. But it does matter that we do it. And part of what I did early on was look into the neuroscience of how we build habits because good habits are the ones that we enjoy. And it matters that we love doing this, that it’s not something we do because we think we should, because that will stop. And it also won’t actually connect us to the web of life.
I think this is really important and this is one of the things that has become, for me, part of the performative rather than declarative parts. If I’m not really looking forward to making that connection, the connection doesn’t happen however much I try to put myself into the space where I believe that it will. So this is back to the question of meditation, and if we all were just to meditate for a few hundred more hours, would that not transport us all to where we need to be? And meditation is definitely a part of it. This is our second part. So we have Reawakening and Connection and then we have what we’re calling Growing into Coherence. And that basically means learning how to understand the insides of our own minds, watching our own process in real time as it happens.
There’s a really interesting TED talk from Richard Davidson that I will link to in the show notes. He’s a neuroscientist and he goes through the reasons that our society is breaking down, how we as individuals are not coping with the accelerating rate of change around us. We’re becoming dissociated from ourselves and each other. He talks about societal ADHD, how our attention is being not just mined but hijacked. And we all know this up to a point, this is what social media does. If you want much more detail on that, I’d strongly recommend a podcast called ‘Your Undivided Attention’ by Tristan Harris, who may or may not be related to Sam Harris. I don’t know. It might be just a particularly bright and interesting family.
ristan was part of Google’s ethics department. And yes, you know, who knew? Google has an ethics department. And he left Tristan Harris because it wasn’t ethical in his view. And he set up other things, including this podcast. And he enumerates the many, many ways where our attention is being hijacked and what we can do about it. Well worth a listen.
So Richard J Davidson is looking at the hijack of our attention. He’s looking at the ways that we are becoming distanced from each other. Loneliness is now one of the key indicators of an early death, even more than obesity. He looks at all the ways we are distracted, and then he looks at what he calls the Four Pillars of a Healthy Mind. And they are: Awareness, Insight, Connection and Purpose (which I would take to be also Meaning and Agency). And the ‘Awareness’ is not just awareness of the moment, it’s what he calls meta awareness. So if I’m meditating and watching my breath and my mind wanders – at the moment when I become aware that it has wandered. Then I have the meta awareness. Bringing it back to awareness is the awareness. So looking at my breath, being aware of my breath, that is awareness. Knowing that my attention has wandered and being able to bring it back, that is the Meta Awareness that then gives us the insight into who we are and how we are.
[00:21:24.29] I think we can build on those four pillars. Because the part of Growing into Coherence is bringing Head Mind, Heart Mind and Body Mind into coherence, into alignment, into a way in which our Heart Mind leads and our Head Mind follows. This goes back to what I said about my belief that if I have asked for help and I have been given an answer, what matters is that I follow that with my heart. I heard that answer with my heart space and my head mind then works out how to do the logistical bits of this. So if my question is what do you need of me? And the answer is ‘Build a program that will teach at scale’, then it’s up to my head mind to work out how we can structure that. It’s not out to my head mind to get locked into asking ‘But why are we doing this?’ And developing a theory – based on nothing – about why we’re doing it.
[00:22:27.32] So in the same way, we can gain our insights into what makes us tick. And one of the things that has arisen in the process of lock down, in the process of teaching Accidental Gods, in the process of bringing the membership forward. is a real performative understanding of something that I only understood before at a declarative level, which is – we can curate how we feel. And this is not to say that we step into denial, or that we don’t feel the pain and the grief and the despair at the world, at the way things are going or at the local things where something dies and we feel tremendous grief.
Feeling is essential, and it’s a part of who we are and it’s there to be celebrated. But in between the great big rolling waves of grief or despair or hopelessness or joy or wonder or gratitude, there is a baseline. It’s what hits us as we wake, unless we’re in the middle of being broken hearted and we have that moment of who am I, where am I, what what was I doing, what was I dreaming? The wave of reality rolls in. If we’re not in that, if we’re just in our average daily life, then as we wake up and we begin to look into the day, a certain texture overlays itself. And I did quite a lot of personal work and I thought I was quite balanced. But what became clear, doing more and deeper work was the extent to which my baseline texture was one of believeing that hard work is necessary, the world is a difficult place and only by working every moment of every day with an attitude of getting stuff done to keep a very large number of people slightly happy, will I be able to keep the hamster wheel spinning and stop everything from falling apart. And it wasn’t a particularly good feeling, but it was innate and it was so embedded in my sense of how the world is that I didn’t question it. Until I did. Until actually I did somewhere it was with one of the ponies and asked for help and this structure was just dissolved.
[And the world is a different place without it. And it isn’t to say I don’t default to that if I’m not careful, but I am aware now that I can change my default, that with practice, with the understanding of how to evoke different emotions, I can settle into a space of compassion or joy or wonder or hope. And at the baseline of all of that has to be compassion for Self, which for most of us in Western society is the hardest. It feels unnecessary. It feels impossible. I think it feels like cheating. Certainly it felt like cheating to me. It’s essential. It really is. All of the major spiritual spiritual paths tell us this. Knowing it on a declarative level is not the same as doing it, I promise you.
So anyway, back to “What is Accidental Gods membership program and where is it heading?” So for the four parts we have, Reawakening into Connection is essential. In order to Reawaken into Connection, we need also to Grow into Coherence. We need to be able to follow the processes of our own minds. And I believe now we need to be able to curate our own feeling state so that our default place has a different texture, unless yours is already joy and wonder and self compassion. Going on from that, part three is Asking for Help. This is the obvious corollary to the Reawakening into Connection and to Being in Coherence is that then we can begin to become part of the web of consciousness and in being part of the web of consciousness, in being fully present in the moment which our Growing into Coherence gives us, then we can ask the question, ‘What do you want of me?’ and here are answers that are clear, coherent and constructive.
However, that’s a learned process. It isn’t a one hit thing. It comes with practice. It comes with going out there and asking of the Ash tree at the top of the hill, ‘What do you want of me?’ Or of sitting on the hill and asking of whatever comes, ‘I need help. I don’t understand the last thing that I heard. Can you help me to understand it more deeply?’ And in all of this, we need to be able to differentiate between the answers that come from our ego, from our hopes, from our fears, from our projections of self and other – from the ones that appear to come from the web of consciousness. They are distinct and part of the practice that we do in the shamanic work -one of the keys to the shamanic work – is learning how to ask the questions and hear the clear, constructive, coherent, authentic, grounded answers that have integrity. And the only real way that we know we got there, is by testing them. Because, as one of my early teachers said, if our Head Mind, which is to say, our ego wants to be heard, it will whisper in the whispering voice of the Heart Mind, if that’s what it needs to get us to listen to it. Which is to say that it’s very easy to fool ourselves that a projected want or need is actually the answer that came through.
So we test it. I’m really keen that we not set up belief systems, that what we do is evidence based spirituality, that we go out and we ask the questions and if an answer comes, then we try it out. And the only way that we know if that answer was worth listening to is if our lives – and the lives of everything around us – flourish more strongly. That’s our baseline. It means we have to have a concept of what flourishing is, but that’s OK, I think most of us can do that.
So we test it and then. It doesn’t matter where the answer came from, we can get hooked up into endless belief systems about where the answers come from when we ask for help. I strongly recommend we not do that because it doesn’t matter. There’s a metaphor that helps me and that might help you. Niels Bohr, who was a Nobel Prize winning physicist in the early parts of the last century, said there is only one electron in the entire universe. It’s just moving very, very fast. And I’m not a Nobel Prize winning physicist. I have no idea if that’s true. But it feels like a really interesting thought experiment, because if it is true, then where is the boundary between Self and Other between me and you?
[00:29:49.55] I don’t think that’s a clear answer. It’s clear on a physical level. We do not walk across a busy road when there’s cars coming because the impact will hurt and will potentially kill us. That’s clear. Physical boundaries are clear and need to be held. Up to a point, emotional boundaries are clear and need to be held. But energetic boundaries seem to me pretty fuzzy. I would be quite surprised if you listening have not had the experience of thinking of someone or dreaming of someone – and then in the old days the phone rang and you picked it up and that person was on the end and you might not have spoken to them for months, if not years. Nowadays, something falls into your email inbox or a message arrives through one of the many social media avenues. If you’re interested in this kind of thing, Rupert Sheldrake is very good at it. He has a website. The last time I looked, you were able to take part in experiments that demonstrate that this kind of phenomenon is universal. And it overturns some of what we know (or think we know) in material science. But material science is changing. Material science is becoming much less a system that views the world as complicated and much more that views the world as complex. And I did do an entire podcast on the difference between those. I’m not going to go into it here. Complex things move in ways we can’t predict. That’s the key bit. And I think that where we get to the boundaries of self and other is highly complex.
So – asking for help is a learned skill, or at least hearing the answers that are real is a learned skill that only comes with practice. So we need to practice it. So we need to Reawaken into Connection. We need to Grow into Coherence, and we need to practice Asking for Help. When we’ve got to a place where those answers feel real to us, then we get to the fourth part, which is the hardest and is the one that I’m working with and discovering quite how hard it is, and that is we need to Let Go of everything that we believe to be true.
Which takes us back to the concept that ‘No problem is solved from the mindset that created it’. This is attributed to Einstein. It probably isn’t something he said, but that doesn’t stop it being true. If we were going to solve the problems of our present era from our current mindset, I think we would already have done it. I really do. Letting go of the mindset is integral, I believe, to coming into the web of consciousness in a way where we can balance on the knife edge of the moment; clear, clean and open, knowing that we are the right entity, the right person, the right node of consciousness in the right place at the right time, ready to do what only we can do – without preconceived ideas of what that is.
If we go to this place with the constrictions of, ‘OK, I’m here to do this’, then we’re not open to the needs of the moment. And yes, letting go of everything we believe to be true is hard. I do know this and I also know that I’m not the first person to come up with this. Donella Meadows, who is – was the late Donella Meadows – one of the superstars of systems, thinking of understanding of complexity, created a hierarchy of 12 levers by which we can affect change.
And right at the bottom was was tweaking things like tax laws. In the middle was changing the entire legal structure, which the government of the UK seems to be trying to do in its favor, which if we weren’t on the brink of climate change and ecosystem breakdown, I would find it quite scary. However, right at the top, the top two – the second to top – is ‘Changing the Paradigm.’ And I left college a few years ago thinking, ‘Yep, we can do this. I can change the paradigm. That’s doable.’.
The top one was ‘Abandoned old paradigms’, and I so completely did not understand that, I didn’t even take it on board. I was fixated on how do we change the paradigm? How do we change the narrative that rules the ways that we live? And I still think that’s worthwhile. However, letting go of all paradigms is letting go of everything we believe to be true. And now I understand that that is essential. So that’s the fourth of our four parts.
So the Accidental Goes membership program is designed to walk us through that Reawakening into Connection running in parallel with Growing into Coherence. And then practicing the Asking for Help and hearing answers and testing them out. And then Letting Go of everything we believe to be true so that we can take our part in that extraordinary web of consciousness in a way that is real. And where we are doing what we are here to do, where we are being, what only we can be, as nodes of this consciousness. But also where we can be connected in a way that feels absolutely heartfelt.Because I think the disconnection from ourselves, from the rest of humanity and from the rest of the web of consciousness is the dis-ease that is destroying us, that is driving us towards the edge of so many cliffs. But I do think we can turn aside.
[00:35:44.85] So that was a very long winded answer to what is Accidental Gods membership program? It’s those four things. It’s a way of stepping through them in community in a way where we can ask questions, where we can explore the answers, where we can change things as we need to in the moment. And the next part of that question is, where is it heading? And the honest answer is, I don’t know. Because we need to be alive to the needs of the moment. We recently had an online gathering in the place of the planned in-person gathering that went south when Covid happened. I think we’ll do a lot more of those because it gives us longer to connect. It was five hours, two hours with bits of breaks, then an hour break to process, and then another two hours. And it allows us really to come together as a community and really to explore some of the deeper questions lik, ‘Hhow do we curate feeling in a way that becomes performative rather than declarative in ways where we can actually feel it happening in our heart space rather than it just being a good idea that we understand we need to do?
So, I think we’ll do a lot more of those. We may ramp up the mentoring calls again, if I can mine some time out of the days we may create more courses and make the membership a more baseline thing. And we’ll definitely fold the dreaming awake into it – that is the shamanic dreaming training into it such that dreaming awake becomes a subset of Accidental Gods, which is to say you can be an AG and never touch the dreaming. But if you want to do the dreaming, you have to do the baseline stuff that’s in AG.
So that was the first of a list of questions that I thought we’d get through in an hour. We’ll do the most interesting ones. So the next one is, ‘Do you (that is I) really think we can get to conscious evolution?’ Yes, I would not be here talking to you if I didn’t believe that, and I’m really enjoying talking to you, so I really hope it’s true. Della Duncan, friend of the podcast (I think I can say that when you’ve been on more than once), talks about finding the place where our hearts greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need and that being the place from which we really find our energy. And I have to say podcasting, I am discovering meets those criteria. I hope.
Certainly it meets one of my heart’s greatest joys. I’m hoping it meets part of the world’s greatest need because I love doing this. I get to talk to really interesting people and ask them probing questions that you might not be able to do otherwise in just general conversation. And then I get to share that with all of you. It’s glorious. So do I think we can really get conscious evolution? Yes. As I said, this is a thing that is alive on many corners of the Internet. It’s not my idea. The thing that was missing for me that I didn’t find anywhere else was how do we actually do this in a way that I think really gets us there. And so we’ve built the program.
I think that what we need is a critical mass of people. If I really believe that everybody in the world had to follow the Accidental Gods program to get us to conscious evolution, I’d probably be a lot more despairing than I occasionally am. I don’t think we need that. I think there is a critical mass. Partly because I’m beginning to understand more about the impact of changing the default feeling in our hearts space. It’s huge, people. It’s actually much more critical than I realized even six months ago. We walk around with whatever is our default feeling and our conjoined mass of default feeling creates an energetic reality that seems to shape the way the world is. Therefore, if enough of us can shape an energetic reality, that is one of potential and flourishing and mutual compassion and connection and connectedness to the web of consciousness such that we are not separate from it, then I believe the energetic reality of that will cascade outwards. I’m doing a lot of work with the ponies at the moment, exploring the energetic boundaries between me and them, and it’s teaching me a lot about this. We might do that as an Accidental Gods online gathering too at some point.
But anyway. I don’t know what the critical mass is. I don’t know how we will know, except in retrospect when we reach it. Gurdjieff said that you only need 200 fully enlightened people to transform the planet. I’m not sure I know what his definition of fully enlightened is, and I don’t know how he got to that number. I think it’s probably a lot more than that. But I think we’re talking in the thousands rather than the millions, depending on how we’re spread. Certainly, I don’t think that we need billions, which is good because that would be hard. So the key to this is that we do it wholeheartedly and we do it because it’s fun and we do it because we find it inspiring. I did a talk with Embercombe – one of their Zoome calls – and I said that this needs to be the most important thing in our lives. And I had more pushback on that than almost anything else from people who interpreted that as me saying it has to exclude everything else in your life. Which is not what I said and definitely not what I meant.
This becomes, I think, the bedrock from which everything else arises. It doesn’t mean it’s more important than rearing amazing, glorious creative children, or finding your vocation in the world, or loving your partner, or caring for whatever it is that you care for. It’s that each of these arises from greater coherence, greater connectedness and the greater aliveness and sense of self that arise from that. I hope that’s clear. So do I really think we can get there? I absolutely do. But we need to do the work and above all, I think this gives us a sense of agency. Because otherwise, we’re rolling towards a cliff edge quite fast, many cliff edges, and we are the butterfly trying to change the trajectory of the supertanker, which would leave me despairing beyond all possibility of hope.
So it may be that I am creating this as a way of giving myself a sense of agency. I would like to believe not, but I am aware that we are edging close to belief systems. The only way we will know if this is true is to try it, which is what applies to pretty much all of my spiritual path. This is evidence based spirituality, so I am prepared to give this a go, partly because as so far as the only thing that gives me agency and I really like having agency. But also because I am prepared to give this everything and if it turns out that all it’s done is lead me to be more connected, more aware, more alive for my sense of passage through the days to be sharper and clearer and feel more abundant, then I think that’s OK.
[Miki Kashtan talked about the wounds of the patriarchy being scarcity, separation and powerlessness. And what I think this gives me, and I hope you, is a sense of generosity and connectedness and empowerment. And I think that’s pretty good as a baseline from which to work, so I’m prepared to keep going with it.
[00:43:41.80] So next question. ‘I don’t have time to meditate. Can I still do this?’ Yes, but… I don’t believe you don’t have time to meditate. I just think that meditation has become framed for you as sitting on a cushion in total silence and stillness, watching your breath. And certainly that is a version of meditation and it’s jolly useful.
And then we come to how long would you have to do that for it to be valuable? And if you listen to Daniel Thorson’s Emerge podcast and the one with Vinay Gupta, he says that there’s no point in meditating for less than an hour. And for him, that may be true. For the rest of us out here in mortal land, it isn’t. So let’s call it ‘Being Present’ instead of ‘meditation’. Anyone can be present at any point in the day. And I think that being present helps us to find the four pillars of a healthy mind that that Richard J. Davidson talks about. We need that awareness and that better awareness. We need the insight it gives us into who we are. We need the connectedness that I think arises with ourselves, with the rest of humanity and with the web of consciousness that then gives us that sense of agency, purpose and meaning. And everybody needs that. And you may have three children under the age of 10 who are currently in lockdown, but you could teach them to Be Present also. Or you could take the moments when you were brushing your teeth, when you’re waiting for the kettle to boil. There must be moments when you can bring your mind fully to the present moment, to how you feel, to the bodily sense of standing on the floor, to the sense of the kettle boiling in front of you to the taste of the toothpaste.
[Just be present. And then what we can also do is check out how we’re feeling. And I think the evoking of different feeling does take some work. It does take some time when we can give that our total focus. What I think anyone can find a few minutes in the day to do that. You can do it while you’re walking the dog. You can do it while you’re commuting. You can do it instead of checking Facebook. It is possible. And another of the things that Richard Davidson says, one of the things that’s quite strong on the Heart Math Institute, is they have done the work that shows that if you do really heartfelt, compassion-focused meditation – so that’s evoking a feeling of compassion for self and others – for as little as three minutes a day, then there will be measurable physiological changes in your neurochemical self, and in the wiring of your brain. And I think these are good, measurable changes. Three minutes a day of really, really feeling total compassion for yourself and for everybody and all of the web of consciousness around you. And I realize I’m repeating myself, but I genuinely think you do have time to do this. And I think it will change your world if you do.
Another question from the list. ‘You have said several times that human intent is the most powerful force on the planet, but you don’t say what it is or how we can use it.’
I don’t do I. OK. I genuinely believe that human intent is the most powerful force on the planet. We touched on this a few moments ago when I said that we all generate a felt sense and that felt sense combines to create the reality, the sea in which we swim, if you like. There is an entire movement based on this, everything that grew out of The Secret. And if you’ve worked with me at all, you’ll be aware of the energetic change around me when I mention The Secret, it’s not my favourite thing.
But what grew out of it were some people who have made themselves eye-wateringly wealthy by telling other people how to set the Intent to make themselves eye wateringly wealthy. And it isn’t entirely an energetic Ponzi scheme, although it does kind of work like that. There is a reality in which if you can create an absolutely clear felt sense of something that you desire in the future and create it in such a way that you inhabit its arising, that you feel it, you actually feel – this is back to performative, not declarative – thinking about it a lot, is not it. Being in a place where it has happened, is it. And there is really quite a large body of evidence that if you can do this, whether that thing is becoming overwhelmingly wealthy or having fantastic sex or meeting the partner of your dreams (be careful what you ask for, you may get it) – or having the physique of a Greek God or at least being wholly healthy… These things are possible and that triggers huge amounts of stuff in anyone who isn’t one of those four things.
And what if you’re in the Yemen and you’re being bombed by the Saudis. is it because you’re just not thinking good enough thoughts? It’s problematic on many, many, many levels. But, it does still seem to be the case that if you can inhabit a reality really inhabit it, that reality does arise. And what I hit the most difficulty with is that then we all go away and we make ourselves very rich or get fantastic sex, and I think, ‘The whole of humanity is accelerating towards extinction, is that really where we’re aiming for? Really?’ What would happen people, if we all aimed for ‘How would it feel if everything were flourishing? What I phrase it as is, How would it feel if we got everything right?’
[00:50:16.36] And I got a lot of pushback on. ‘Don’t define things as right. That means that you were defining everything else is wrong.’ And I would really invite you to go with the spirit of this and not necessarily parse out your resistances to the language. It doesn’t matter what you define as right or what your response is to the word ‘right’. What matters is the feeling of being in a space where there is generosity and empowerment and connectedness, where our wounds have been healed, where we feel totally safe, where we feel utterly connected, where we feel fully present in the moment. How does that feel? And what I find when I started this at the start of lockdown was the distinction between knowing that it was a good idea and actually doing it.
I hit up against huge internal resistances on this one that I had no idea were there, and that it’s taken several months of really quite dedicated practice to begin to dissolve. But I am here to tell you that the other side of this, or at least in the dissolving of it, my world feels different and more open and more generative and more empowered and more connected.
So I would invite anyone listening to this, if you only do one thing, sit yourself down or go for a walk or do whatever it is that gets you into a space where you can really feel the edges of yourself, where you can feel what’s happening in your heart space… Go into what’s happening in your heart space and create a felt sense of a world in which everything is right, in which the whole of humanity and the whole of the web of consciousness are flourishing, where the boundaries have dissolved and we are a part of something being the right people in the right place at the right time. How does that feel? Really inhabit that such that it becomes part of your pattern and you can return to it in the quiet moments, through the day and the night. When it starts to become part of your dream life, for me, that’s when I know it’s become part of my patterning.
So we’re heading to the end of the hour. There are so many more questions. One was. ‘What one thing can I do?’ Well, that’s it. One was. ‘Tell us about the film script?’ I’ll do that another time. ‘Do I have to believe in homoeopathy to listen to the podcast and be part of Accidental Gods?’ No, of course you don’t. Absolutely not. I may be studying it because I think it’s really quite inspiring. I would also venture to suggest it’s not a belief system. This is another evidence based thing. It, of course, doesn’t adhere to the belief system of mechanistic medicine. But mechanistic medicine is predicated on living beings as complicated systems, and we’re really not.
And the thing about having been a vet for quite a long time is that you see the limits of that system. And then you either work within them or you choose to look at other stuff. And I do shamanic healing. So actually, homoeopathy is way, way on the normal end of my spectrum of what else we can do. But, really you just then have to look at it, find a good practitioner, because that’s hard. Homeopathy is much, much harder than standard medicine and see what happens. And I have seen too many instances of things that to my Western mind were intractable. And it’s not just that I’m crap at various aspects of Western medicine, which clearly is the case. I’m a specialist, not a generalist. I hated being a generalist. I became an anaesthetist because it was one thing that I could end up doing really, really well. But I was amongst other people at clinical referral centres, academic clinical referral centres, who were the people doing the best of their discipline. And we still hit up against things that just were not fixable in our system. And not everything is fixable by homeopathy because otherwise, even with all of the triggers that happen, we would be using it. But there are things that are, so I think it’s a useful tool in the kit.
But you do not have to believe anything. This is evidence based spirituality. Try it out, see if it works. Does it give you a sense of agency? Does it give you a sense of connectedness, of empowerment, of generosity? If it does, let’s do it. If it doesn’t, let’s get together and find the things that do. Because we need to find those things. We need to heal ourselves, those around us and our connections with the web of consciousness. So that’s it, I have to go off and do Zankel.
And anyway, we’ve run to the end of our hour. Thank you so much for listening, really. I love doing these podcasts. And if there were not people out there picking them up, I would have to stop. So if there’s only one thing that you want to do, share the podcast. You must know at least a dozen people who would be interested in exploring the edges of this, some of the things that we’re doing. And I will continue to try and find the most interesting people that I can. Who are prepared to come on the podcast and ask them questions and see where we get to. In the meantime, thanks as ever to Kharazi, who is our extraordinary executive producer, associate producer, sound engineer, composer of the music maker of the music general around good person, thanks to Faith for being the other half of everything, for building the most beautiful and amazing website which you can go and visit at Accidental Gods Dot Life. And thank you for being there. I said that already, but I really do mean it. So next week I will be back with somebody very exciting, I hope.
And in the meantime, have a good week. Do whatever you can to feel generative, to feel connected, to feel empowered. Thank you and goodbye.
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