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Blogging For Nirvana

These days, spiritual folks are just beginning to embrace the latest craze to hit the internet—blogs (short for weblogs). These oh-so-personal and popular online journals are the newest way to share one's thoughts, ideas, and spiritual experiences with a few, or a few million, of one's friends. Blogs like Christdot (news for Jesus freaks), Veiled for Allah (the occasional thoughts of a Muslim woman), and Paperfrog (Buddhist news) are at the forefront of the movement, but the “spiritual but not religious” types are getting in on the action as well. There is Facing Inward (motherhood, marriage, and yoga) and White Light (all things spiritual from Advaita to Zen). And recently, author and popular American Buddhist teacher Lama Surya Das fired up his own online e-diary. So what revelations does it offer about America's favorite lama? Well, such things as his presidential preference (hint: it's the guy who lost) and his reflections on water (“Water flows,” he writes. “It reminds me to allow things to proceed naturally, spontaneously, unhindered”). Another one to check out is Kundalini Splendor, a blog started by Dorothy Walters, author of Unmasking the Rose. Given the site as a “birthday present,” Walters was hesitant at first, but soon this seventy-seven-year-old mystic got in touch with her inner blogger and now describes the forum as her “letter to the world.” She uses it to chronicle her ongoing experiences and thoughts about a Kundalini awakening that transformed her life two decades ago. Like many blogs, its entries range from the mundane (“Today, because it was a bit cold, I decided to do my chi gong stretching in the kitchen, rather than in my usual place”) to the sublime (“We are being filled with light we do not comprehend, lifted toward essence, assaulted by nameless love, at this juncture of the finalities”).

So to all those frustrated writers out there recording their spiritual lives in the obscurity of a pen-and-paper universe, welcome to the self-publishing event of the millennium. Gutenberg himself would be impressed. But just remember, on the untamed frontiers of the internet, the only rule is BYOD (Bring Your Own Discrimination) . .

The Passion of the Planets

Include philosopher Richard Tarnas among those who are taking a serious scholarly look at where we as a civilization are headed in the next years and decades. The highly successful author, who hit the ball out of the park with his widely praised 1991 offering, The Passion of the Western Mind, is planning a follow-up over a decade later. The new work will be called “Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View.” It will take up where Passion left off, at the conclusion of our postmodern cultural moment, and it will explore the elements of what he feels is an emerging worldview that will play a major role in shaping the twenty-first century. Not much is yet known about the exact nature of Tarnas' analysis, and the book won't hit stores until November of this year, but a few readers who have seen early drafts are giving it high marks. They are saying that among other things, it will revolutionize our understanding of astrology. Astrology? Yes, believe it or not, Tarnas plans to apply his enormous analytic and descriptive talents to giving an updated, cosmologically informed view of this ancient science. So now that you've had a few years to digest the passion of Socrates, Descartes, Kant, and Nietzsche, Tarnas is ready to keep pushing the edge and resume his role as philosophical tour guide through the pathways of history. But this time the future, as well as the past, is on the itinerary . . .

Tracking the Pioneers of Human Potential

For almost four decades, Michael Murphy and George Leonard have been working hard to make sure the human potential movement that they helped initiate continues to thrive. Pulse caught up with Leonard recently to hear the latest from the integral world's most active senior citizen. Today, he is busy turning Integral Transformative Practice (ITP), a spiritual practice integrating “body, heart, mind, and soul” that he and Murphy founded, into a nonprofit foundation. Apparently, he was recently the grateful recipient of a quarter-million-dollar grant to help ITP evolve and grow. Leonard himself is a perfect example of the new foundation's ideal—blending different practices and philosophies to create a more integral, and more interesting, approach to personal development. These days he is dictating his memoirs to the University of Santa Barbara Library, playing jazz piano, and still appreciating the art of aikido at the age of eighty-one (“I specialize in throwing people,” he explains). And in his spare time, he works on the board of the Esalen Institute. Murphy is hardly slowing down either. In addition to his many duties running Esalen's pioneering Center for Theory and Research, he was recently seen discussing the spiritual joys of golf on a promotional Hollywood DVD designed to raise money for turning his thirty-year-old bestseller, Golf in the Kingdom, into a movie. “I never would have guessed how many people on golf courses have these [spiritual] experiences,” he remarks on the DVD, “and I've been taking confession from golfers for thirty-three years.” Producer Mindy Affrime and director Susan Streitfeld are looking for the funding to do big-screen justice to the much-loved story. So if you happen to know a golfer with a yen for the transcendent who can spare, oh, maybe four or five million dollars, thousands of spiritually starved movie fans are counting on you for their next dose of silver-screen entertainment . . .

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This article is from
Our Consciousness Issue