The history of humanity can be understood as a battle between good and bad ideas. Bad ideas are like viruses that can infect whole populations, causing them to behave in the most horrendous ways. (Fundamentalism of any type – Christian or Moslem) The 20th century probably saw more people die needlessly from bad ideas than any other century preceding it – almost 100 million people were killed because of differences of opinion – the bloodiest century in the history of the human race.

The only cure is to replace bad ideas with good ideas and let’s start with Imagining –
• Let’s start with imagining that ALL IS ONE. – we would then have unconditional love for all beings as expressions of a common essence thus allow tolerance, generosity, cooperation, altruism – in short – we would become KIND.
• Let’s imagine a society where the taboo against stating the obvious is broken and we all acknowledge that live is a Mystery and we wouldn’t want it any other way.
• Let’s imagine that the purpose of life is about exploring the Mystery becoming a commonly held worldview.
• Let’s imagine that the strange notion currently in vogue – that the purpose of life is to accumulate wealth, being regarded as on a par with believing that the world is flat.
• Let’s imagine a time when presidents win elections by promising to create the best opportunities for the electorate to expand their awareness, plumb the depths of possibility, reach for new levels of experience, transcend their fear of death and really become ALIVE.
• Let’s imagine a partnership spirituality in which men finally recognize that war and conquests (whether global or personal) are outdated ideas and realize the innate goodness in birth, creation, generosity and compassion – woman’s essence.
• Let’s imagine learning from each other without fear, judgement or guilt.
• Let’s imagine being able to laugh at the humour of our predicament called life.
• Let’s imagine no more self-righteous spiritual autocrats who put their own opinions into god’s mouth to give them authority.
• Let’s imagine no more hierarchies of professional priests negotiating a spiritual career structure and a return instead to the natural model for spiritual organization – a group of students around an authentic master.
• Let’s imagine no more spiritual power-trippers who seek to enlarge their congregations through such ridiculous ideas as –
o Original sin – such a nasty idea to bring perfect children into the world believing they are bad when we should be telling them how naturally good they are.
o God is male – really, does he have a penis and hold a pen so that he can write a Bible. Obviously, anyone who has studied history knows that many people wrote the Bible and the Council of Nicea in 325 decided what to put in and what to keep out – and then edited both.
o That there is only one way to god – yours! Absolute rubbish
o The Day of Judgement and the resurrection of the flesh – science fiction at its worst.
o Eternal damnation – what a horrible, grotesque and really, really bad idea.
o God likes some people better than others – please now, what sort of god is that?
o Sex is evil – then you must be doing it wrong.
o Men are more spiritual than women. This idea must have been thought up be a man who never had a mother.
o God has opinions and only some people know what they are. This has to be one of the worst ideas ever because it is regularly used by the church to keep people uninformed, in place and living in fear.

Let’s imagine replacing the religious divisions above with an all-embracing eclecticism which acknowledges that the Absolute Truth can never be said, but that relative truths can be expressed in various conceptual vocabularies.

We are living in amazing times in which the wisdom of the world is available at a local bookstore or on the Internet – all you have to do is ask that first question. In a universe that is slowly evolving towards conscious unity, this moment has been a long time coming and we should embrace it wholeheartedly.

o Let’s imagine a culture that treats spirituality as a completely private matter, like sexuality and where it is totally separate from government except for the belief in the goodness of the individual as a member of the whole.
o Let’s imagine no longer seeing spirituality as something “otherworldly and esoteric” but as inherent in the natural process of ordinary human existence – birth, childhood, sex, parenting, ageing, death, joy, suffering, waking, dreaming, sleeping, etc.
o Let’s imagine a life affirming spirituality which sees self-knowledge and true enjoyment as the same thing – which embraces pleasure, delights in the senses and is committed to joy and which understands that the universal guest for the Good manifests in each one of us as the desire for good experiences that are not at the expense of others – a way to be truly happy.
o Let’s stop attempting to add a special spiritual dimension to life and recognize that life IS the spiritual process, for as Plotinus assures us:
‘This is it. This and no other. Not what it chanced to be, but simply what it must be – but without the ‘must’”.
o Let’s dare to imagine the world we really want. Why not? Its our collective dream and we can dream it any way we choose. THE CHOICE IS OURS
o Let’s imagine a world where we can love one another – not because we should but because we are parts of each other.

Let’s imagine fulfilling the great ambition which motivates evolution. LET’S IMAGINE HEAVEN ON EARTH.

Taken from “Jesus and the Lost Goddess – The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians” by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy - Chapter 12. Thank you Timothy and Peter for writing one of the most interesting and revolutionary books I have ever had the opportunity to read.

Materialism - when I left the U.S. in 1986 I could see what was beginning to happen - people were either liked or disliked according to what they "had" or didn't have. They seemed to take life at "face value" - unfortunately, things don't seem to be improving - - -

• It is becoming more and more apparent that the American culture is dangerously obsessed with materialism; and with all of that glitter and gold that they seek comes the philosophy that the world is exactly as it appears to be. Unfortunately, this same attitude is spreading like wildfire among second world countires.
• It only takes a moment to meditate on that statement to realize that this is a tremendously naive perspective - it denies imperceptible connections, anticipation of the future, out of body experiences, prophetic dreams, all kinds of possibilities that our western culture shrugs off of its anti-philosophical shoulders. This leaves room for things which are apparently more important; such as the 6-hours of television that the average American watches each and every day.
• It seems as if ignorance truly is bliss. I like to call it - Self-Inflicted Ignorance; most people are very comfortable going about their day with the assumption that things are much simpler than they truly are; that everyday waking consciousness is the essence of the human experience.
• In other words, today’s culture denies spiritual experience and encourages spiritual dogma. Although most everyone has had or will have some kind of spiritual experience, lucid dream, unexplainable intimation, or even hallucinations. These are all experiences that although the individual cannot personally deny, it seems politically correct to write them off as mundane and hum drum…like déjà vu.

On one side of the coin, materialism has brought us: fast cars, the railroad, airplanes, global economies, television, communication, space travel, fashion, etc.
• But that still is no argument for fact that we continue to refuse the exploration of our own minds. It’s similar to the old Medicine Show; "If the juggler is good, then the medicine must be even better!" Setting you up with the right and knocking you out with the left, so to speak.
• Because on the other side of the coin, materialism has delivered us directly into a world where the majority of people rush home from work to watch advertisements on television, struggle to keep up with the Jones’, willingly receive a placebo at church instead of the true sacrament, and work like a slave until they die.
• It’s no wonder that the people in this country are so miserable (150th on a universal scale); but materialism has also gifted us with mood altering drugs (like Prozac), which are conveniently advertised during those must-see television shows.

One of the things that has spawned from this materialistic mindset is boundary disillusion written about by famed Terence McKenna.
• We seem to create boundaries as if we are building up to some sort of comfort level; this seems to be necessary in order for our egos to survive in this product-pedaling world.
• It seems that the name of the game in our society is to build up boundaries and sustain them. Boundaries such as the black and the white, the gay and the straight, the rich and poor, the foreign and the familiar...this list could take up and entire book;
• although each side of every yin yang boundary exists separately, the reality of the situation is that they (we) are ALL seamlessly connected on the molecular level.

You are not separate from God, you are God. How can God be omnipresent without actually being the "what is" that everything is. God is everything…period; and that includes you and everything that you come in contact with.
• The atoms that make the air that you breathe into your lungs are the same make and model of the atoms of the lungs that are doing the breathing.
• The atoms that make up my fingers are the same make and model of the atoms that construct the keys on my computer.
• These same atoms, all molded and shaped into different things, are literally the framework of our reality.
• How can anything be separate when every single thing is connected at the molecular level? When you understand this, you will understand that you are God discovering that you are God. This can be the most beautiful experience in the world and it can change the way that you look at and treat everything.

Meditation, yoga, and controlled breathing combined with sacred plants and other shamanic techniques, break down these boundaries that have been built up
• between you and your past,
• between you and your partner,
• between you and that part of your unconscious that you don’t want to look at,
• between you and…the world.
• It is within your own power to dissolve all of the boundaries that we build up to keep our Selves from feeling our true circumstances, the boundaries that allow us to experience ourselves as our Selves.

Materialism is pointless. We have been groomed (some call it brainwashed) into the mindset of "my stuff represents me", and this is untruthful. This mindset is why so many people live beyond their means. I was appalled recently to read of the astronomical credit card debt in America recently. I thought that most people actually realized that happiness comes from wanting what you have not having what you want. As someone who has lived without a TV and cell phone for a decade as well as other modern conveniences during this last year of cruising, it is amazing to me to see what people think they need in order to be happy.

• During the course of a year, the average American will see approximately 25,000 commercials.
• 25-thousand times every year, you are told what to watch, wear, eat, sleep on, brush your teeth with, drive, what pills to ask your doctor to give you, etc. And it works...very well.
• These commercials are much more than advertisements for products; they are highly sophisticated corporate tools of promoting materialistic values and attitudes and a materialistic way of living in the world.
• These advertisers even put their ads on your clothing AND charge you extra for doing so! Which is more expensive: a regular sweatshirt, or a regular sweatshirt with the words Ralph Lauren across the chest? One is about 20 bucks, the other is about 200. That way, everyone knows that you paid way too much for a shirt, therefore, you must be rich, and smart, and attractive, and fun to be around, and even more fun to be seen with.
• Marilyn Monroe told us that diamonds are a girls best friend and Madonna confirmed that with "Material Girl". Now Madonna is selling blue jeans for the Gap on television. She is greasing the corporate machine just like Rosie O'Donnell and Penny Marshall...something tells me that those two don't shop at K-Mart for their clothes, although the television tells me that they do. Watch enough of it and you begin to believe what you see.

Americans are groomed from birth to be consumers. Just like the programs on your computer tell the computer what to do, the programs on your television are telling you what to do. Your purpose in life as a consumer (or rather, your purpose in the lives of certain others) is to feel compelled to buy things that you don’t necessarily need or even want.
• It is the media's job to convince you that you actually do want those things…or better yet, that you need those things. An advertising agency or a public relations agency would call those things "fancy needs" and their job is to make you feel as though there is no choice but to buy these things (and that theirs is the only one worth owning). Your roll as a consumer is to buy things that you don't need and maintain the status quo.

One is left with the feeling that anything above and beyond your roll as a consumer is none of your business.
• You go to work so that you can buy "stuff" and that's just about it.
• The goings on behind the scenes of your government or church is simply to be none of your concern.
• And this is reinforced by the bombardment of mindless activities that seem to make you feel "normal"; things like professional sports and must see TV that give you something to talk about and look forward to.
• If that doesn't keep you programmed; "Sweeps Week", Super Bowls, Reality television and Extreme TV will.
• Extreme TV falls under the category of pushing the boundaries of censorship. Or another example would be something (that only appears to be) taboo or dangerous, such as listening to Howard Stern or watching Jerry Springer…getting your excitement fix before you sit in your cubical all day, dosed up on caffeine, making someone else rich.

It's a shame...99% of the American population is caught in the same rut: work at a job that you hate, buy things that you don’t need, and vote the person into office that you dislike the least. This is why I say that ignorance must be bliss, because there are so many people caught in the same rut when something could easily be done. But nothing will be done about it...not when there is a new episode of Everybody Loves Raymond on tonight, or football season is about to start, or the last episode of Friends...who could miss that!
• There will always be a program; programming you to be slow, docile, and ignorant. I shouldn't even need to mention how alcohol is promoted on these programs and how that contributes to the dumbing down of our species.

I once read that two decades ago, Gene Youngblood warned us of the possibility that the mass media could lock-in a materialistic mindset and actually hold back human evolution, simply by controlling the perception of alternatives.
• Controlling the perception of alternatives; controlling the awareness that there are alternative techniques. Techniques that promote the understanding that we don’t need a priest or anyone standing behind a camera or a pulpit filling us full of guilt, dogma, creeds, wine, and crackers.
• I wouldn’t say that this is a case of the blind leading the blind, but rather the blindfolded leading the blindfolded in a society where it is taboo to remove your blindfold. Maybe this 21st century will act as a 21st birthday, maybe we as a species are reaching adulthood and these materialistic toys will soon fall to the waste-side.

We will reach the Golden Age only by removing our blindfolds and leaving this Age of Gold.


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