The 10 Spiritual Realms According To An Ancient Japanese Buddhist Priest

One night in the early days of my six-month tenure managing a holistic healing retreat center in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico, our community gathered as we always do for the evening activity. This evening’s activity focused on a discussion of the ten spiritual realms. The person sharing his knowledge on the subject was a short Italian traveller and devout Buddhist named Lorenzo.

His claim to fame at the retreat center was being voted most likely to be found chanting the mantra  “Namu My?h? Renge Ky?,” which means “Devotion to the Mystic Law of the Lotus Sutra” or “Glory to the Sutra of the Lotus of the Supreme Law.” In his words: “Namu My?h? Renge Ky? is a vow, an expression of determination, to embrace and manifest our Buddha nature. It is a pledge to oneself to never yield to difficulties and to win over one’s suffering. At the same time, it is a vow to help others reveal this law in their own lives and achieve happiness.”

This is the central mantra chanted within all forms of Nichiren Buddhism and Tendai Buddhism. The practice of prolonged chanting is referred to as sh?dai, while the purpose of chanting daimoku is to reduce sufferings by eradicating negative karma along with reducing karmic punishments both from previous and present lifetimes, with the goal to attain perfect and complete awakening. Sometimes he would be found chanting this mantra for hours at a time. This was his “thing” and we loved him for it!

In the very beginning of his talk he looked at each of us wide-eyed and asked the group: “Has anyone here ever been in hell?” I looked around the room and after a few seconds of waiting, slowly raised my hand. Without hesitation, he looked me directly in the eyes and said “Good! Now you can help others get out.” There are few things that people have said to me throughout my life that I know will stay with me forever; this was one of them. So began our intro to the ten spiritual realms.

The 10 Spiritual Realms as described by Nichiren Daishonin are listed below. Broken into two parts, the first six (Hell, Hunger, Animality, Anger, Humanity, and Heaven) are derived from the Indian concept of the six realms of rebirth. Above these lie the four holy states (Learning, Realization, Bodhisattva, and Buddhahood).

Ten Spiritual Realms:

1. Hell or Jigokud?: A state of suffering and despair in which we perceive we have no freedom of action. It is characterized by the impulse to destroy ourselves and everything around us. It is also commonly referred to being in a state of mind completely absent of hope and being unable to construct our future in our minds.

2. Hunger, Hungry Ghosts, or Pretas: The state of being controlled by insatiable desire for money, power, status etc. While desires are inherent in any of the Ten Worlds, in this state we are at the mercy of our cravings and cannot control them.

3. Animality, Beasts, or Chikush?d?: In this state, we are ruled by instinct with neither reason nor moral sense nor the ability to make long-range judgments. We operate by the law of the jungle and will not hesitate to take advantage of those weaker than ourselves and fawn on those who are stronger.

4. Anger, Titans, Asuras, or Shurad?: Here, awareness of ego emerges, but it is a selfish, greedy, distorted ego, determined to best others at all costs and seeing everything as a potential threat to itself. In this state we value only ourselves and tend to hold others in contempt.

5. Humanity or Jind? (also known as Tranquility): This is a flat, passive state of life, from which we can easily shift into the lower four worlds. While we may generally behave in a humane fashion in this state, we are highly vulnerable to strong external influences.

6. Heaven: This is a state of intense joy stemming, for example, from the fulfillment of some desire, a sense of physical well being, or inner contentment. Though intense, the joy experienced in this state is short-lived and also vulnerable to external influences.

7. Learning, ?r?vaka, or Sh?mon: In this state, we seek the truth through studying the teachings or experience of others.

8. Realization, Pratyekabuddha, or Engaku: In this state we seek the truth not through others’ teachings, but through our own direct perception of the world.

9. Bodhisattva or Bosatsu: Those who aspire to achieve enlightenment and at the same time are equally determined to enable all other beings to do the same. Conscious of the bonds that link us to all others, in this state we realize that any happiness we alone enjoy is incomplete, and we devote ourselves to alleviating others’ suffering. Those in this state find their greatest satisfaction in altruistic behaviour.

10. Buddhahood: A dynamic state that is difficult to describe. We can partially describe it as a state of perfect freedom, in which we are enlightened to the ultimate truth of life. It is characterized by infinite compassion and boundless wisdom. In this state, we can resolve harmoniously what appear from the standpoint of the nine worlds to be insoluble contradictions.

A Buddhist sutra describes the attributes of the Buddha’s life as a true self, perfect freedom from karmic bonds throughout eternity, a life purified of illusion, and absolute happiness.

10 Worlds Description Source: http://www.sgi.org/resources/introductory-materials/ten-worlds.html

Be Your Own Guru

Personally, I feel that understanding the difference between each of these realms and integrating the lessons learned by visiting them all can inspire rapid personal growth. As someone who has set out on a seemingly unending quest for personal and spiritual development years ago, I have learned quite a few things in my travels. One of the greatest lessons was how to truly listen to others, but ensure that their thoughts don’t become my own unless they align with my personal truth.

In my experience, individuals who lack control over their own emotions and actions tend to feel the need to push their own ideas, agendas, and influences onto others. When it comes to giving advice, I appreciate Tony Robbins’ approach on this subject. As he would say, “I am not your guru,” but if talking with me can help you realize what steps you need to take in order to better your own life without harming others, then great! I’m not you. I have no idea what you’re going through, but if I can assist in removing mental blockages to get you to where you need to become your own guru, then that’s a beautiful thing.

Learning Through Suffering

It is essential to take some time and look at the positive aspect of suffering. The creative forces inside each and every one of us seem to be activated when we are experiencing difficult times. Have you ever wondered why you prefer the earlier work of your favourite musicians? Did you ever think maybe it has to do with the fact that they were “hungry artists,” channeling their own pain and utilizing it as a source of creativity while desperately trying to make their mark on the music scene? Once I realized this a while back, I always make sure to look for the lesson to learn and wonder how I can use that seemingly negative energy to create something beautiful in times of despair.

We will constantly revisit these realms, sometimes many of them throughout the course of a single day or even only a few hours. Just because we’ve previously attained the higher spiritual worlds doesn’t mean we won’t revisit the other lower ones later on in life. By developing a deeper understanding of these states of mind, we are better equipped to conquer them.

What Makes Someone “Spiritual”?

So let’s say that you meditate and do yoga daily, you pray for the wellbeing of others, you don’t eat meat, you go to farmers markets, buy locally sourced produce, wear conscious-made sustainable clothing, have a vast collection of Lumerian Quartz Crystals for your shrine, have full moon ceremonies with your soul tribe, and attend Burning Man every year. Does that make you spiritual? Not exactly, at least not in my opinion. These are, however, things that many people do as part of their spiritual path. However, for me, spirituality is defined simply as being someone whose highest priority is to love themself and others. That’s it. If you do all the aforementioned things, but you’re still an asshole to other people, sorry, but you’re doing it wrong.

The basic principles of spirituality are at the core of every religion and often referred to as the “Golden Rule.” It has been taught for millennia and is most well known in the phrase “Do unto others as you would have them undo to you.” Nothing has changed from this Golden Rule other than the verbiage, as you can see in the diagram below.

At the end of the day, I view truly spiritual people as those who have been through hell themselves and want nothing more than to help others get out because they know what it’s like. These are beings that help others with humility and don’t allow a self-serving ego to subsist within their being. Killing the ego is not a phrase I like to use. The ego is part of our personality and who we are as human beings; however, we must keep it in check to ensure that it exists to serve us so that we may serve others. Now that’s being spiritual as fuck!

Check out my travel blog to follow my journey and other adventures from some of the most inspiring people I’ve met along the way! www.FollowingFreebird.com

What Your Tree Zodiac Sign Says About You – According To Celtic Druid Astrology

The system of Celtic tree astrology greatly differs from the North American zodiac signs we typically write about. This type of astrology was created by Druids, members of the high-ranking professional class in ancient Celtic cultures. It is said that Celtic tree astrology was designed using the natural connection that Druids had to Earth cycles and the sacred knowledge they believed was held by trees.

In Druid culture, trees were thought to contain spirits and vast amounts of knowledge and wisdom. In Celtic astrology, trees as a whole symbolize life, death, and renewal. The Druids gave different types of trees meanings according to their qualities, which they noticed matched different children’s qualities according to their birth dates.

Within the Celtic astrology, the calendar year is broken down into 13 parts (or months). Each month is then associated with a different tree. Whether you believe in this ancient knowledge or not, here are the 13 tree signs as described by Celtic astrology!

Birch: “The Achiever”

December 24 – January 20

Since this is a time of immense darkness with little sunlight, the Druids felt that the Birch babies were always stretching themselves thin in search of the light. If you are a Birch baby, you are said to be highly driven, motivational, and ambitious. Birch signs are said to be tough, resilient, natural rulers and leaders, charming, and crowd-pleasers.

Rowan: “The Thinker”

January 21 – February 17

According to the Druids, Rowans are known for their philosophical, visionary minds and their creativity, originality, aloofness, and inner passion and motivation. Many see Rowan babies as having a cool exterior because they keep these passions to themselves and often seem aloof in conversation. Their presence can transform energy in situations, as their quieter ways can be highly influential due to their uniqueness. They may dislike restriction and conformity, as they are “out-of-the-box” thinkers.

Ash: “The Enchanter”

February 18 – March 17

Just as the title sounds, Celtic tree astrology says that the Ash are free-thinkers, enchanting, imaginative, intuitive, artistic, and “see the world in colour.” They can be somewhat moody, but are very inspired by nature and enjoy art, writing, science, and spirituality. Some may see the Ash as being reclusive and introverted, but in reality, they just love the world they’ve created for themselves! Great at balancing their artistic and intellectual sides, they are both idealistic and realistic.

Alder: “The Trailblazer”

March 18 – April 14

To the Druids, Alders could easily find their true paths and weren’t afraid to follow them. They blaze ahead with a passion, often gaining followers and supporters. They are charming and easy to talk to, the kind of people who can seemingly get along with anyone. Alders are often very confident, focused, self-assured, and non-superficial. Alders don’t like to waste time either, as they’re brave, competitive, and make great parents and entrepreneurs.

Willow: “The Observer”

April 15 – May 12

According to Celtic astrology, Willows are very connected to the moon, and are highly creative, intuitive, intelligent, realistic, and patient. To the Druids, Willows could be very psychic and had a good understanding of cycles and seasons. They love gaining more knowledge and have great memories. Their greatest enemy is themselves, as their fears can hold them back. Apparently they place high value in family and can make great teachers.

Hawthorn: “The Illusionist” 

May 13 – June 9

According to Celtic astrology, Hawthorns are typically very different on the inside than what the general public assumes them to be like, completely embodying the phrase “Never judge a book by the cover.” They are passionate, creative, curious, great listeners, insightful, funny, and great at seeing “the big picture,” but you may not truly know who they are. They are great at performing, especially in front of crowds, given their “illusionist” persona.

Oak: “The Stabilizer”

June 10 – July 7

Oak signs are said to be strong, protective, nurturing, generous, helpful, confident, and optimistic that “everything will work out.” Oaks love learning about history and ancestry, as they have a great respect for it, which is why they also tend to make great teachers. Oak signs apparently love structure and enjoy feeling in control, especially when it comes to their own lives. They love having large families and enjoy being involved in their communities.

Holly: “The Ruler”

July 8 – August 4

To the Druids, Holly signs were noble, natural leaders and people of power, and welcomed a good challenge. Holly signs can tackle any obstacles and complete any tasks, as they’re dedicated to achieving their goals. They’re competitive, ambitious, confident, but also generous, kind, and affectionate. Things come to them fairly easily and as a result, they can be very interested in academia and seem naturally gifted. They can be perfectionists and have no problem taking a supporting role as opposed to a leadership one.

Hazel: “The Knower” 

August 5 – September 1

Within Celtic astrology, Hazels are typically intelligent, organized, efficient, academic, and, as they have excellent memories, very skilled at reciting and recalling information. They like to be well informed and can often appear to be “know-it-alls.” They can be detail-oriented, which can even be somewhat obsessive/compulsive. They enjoy anything to do with numbers, science, and analytics, and support rules. They are great planners and organizers!

Vine: “The Equalizer”

September 2 – September 29

Given the changing of seasons, the Druids believed that Vines’ personalities were just as fluid and changeable as the seasons. They can be unpredictable and contradictory to themselves as well as indecisive. However, this comes with its benefits, since they can easily see both sides of a story and don’t like to pick sides, making them very empathetic. Prone to mood swings, they can also be charming, elegant, and, despite their fluidity, often have distinctive tastes and prefer refinement. If you’re a Vine, you may prefer “finer things” like food, wine, music, and art.

Ivy: “The Survivor” 

September 30 – October 27 

Ivy signs are typically compassionate, loyal, giving, helpers, spiritual, soft-spoken, and charismatic. They are able to hold their own in social settings. The Druids believed that since they are born at a time of the “waning sun,” life can seem more difficult to them at times, which many Ivy signs may deem unfair to them. However, this sign is often very graceful in overcoming obstacles as they have a steady stream of energy.

Reed: “The Inquisitor” 

October 28 – November 24

Celtic astrology says that Reeds are great at keeping secrets and they also love to uncover them, as they are truth seekers. Reeds will always dig down to the heart of the matter and love a good story, so they’re easily drawn to gossip, scandals, legends, and conspiracies. However, this makes Reeds excellent journalists, detectives, etc. Reeds are people lovers because they represent mysteries for them to uncover. Reeds can be a bit manipulative, but are typically harmless in their actions. They have a strong sense of truth and honour and can be jealous.

Elder: “The Seeker” 

November 25 – December 23

Elders tend to be free spirits and thrill-seekers. Since Elders are born at a time where the light is “fast fleeting,” Druids believed that Elders take that same approach to life, often living “in the fast lane.” Elders may seem like they’re extroverted, but in reality they can be withdrawn, thoughtful, and philosophical. Elders can be very helpful, honest and, outspoken, with the tendency to assume they’re always right due to their intellectual nature.

Let us know if your Celtic tree sign resonates with you in the comment section! I am a Scorpio, and so I actually drew many similarities between my North American zodiac sign and my Celtic tree sign, which is a Reed.

Sources:

http://www.whats-your-sign.com/celtic-tree-astrology.html

http://www.astrologyoftheancients.com/celtic-astrology/

Why Psychedelic ‘Drugs’ Are Not A Shortcut To ‘Enlightenment’

This may be controversial in some perceptions, but authentic truth is so important to me that I had to share this for deeper reflection. It’s especially important in a time where psychedelic substances like mushrooms, ayahuasca, peyote and so forth are becoming quite popular. I believe we are losing sight of what they actually do and what their true purpose is to some extent.

There is no such thing as a shortcut to enlightenment. We might think that because we gain insight during an experience, that the journey is done. The reason why this is not the case is because it’s what you do with that insight that makes all the difference. You will see this sentiment further explained by Graham Hancock below.

My main calling in life is to help expand consciousness and possibility. This is what I have been doing  since founding CE 9 years ago and what I see myself doing until my heart makes it clear a new path is turning up. Given that, I am all for anything that helps expand consciousness. I’m not for nor against any of these substances we call psychedelics. I am “If you are drawn to it authentically in your heart, do it.”

Side note: I recorded a podcast with my friend Mark DeNicola you can listen to here on this subject.

I feel it’s important to spend time getting in tune with your heart and finding out what direction it is guiding you. Unfortunately, I feel we are spending more time trying things all over the place from the space of the mind because we are afraid to quiet our minds.

With various consciousness expanding methods available to us, you may get a glimpse of what it is like beyond the mind, but if we do not practice being in the heart, we are not going to change from the experience and challenges we have with any of these substances, or any other methods for that matter.

For the record, I’ve not done psychedelics. I’ve not been drawn to them in my heart and so I have not done them. I’ve chosen a path to expand my consciousness through meditation, breath work and practice, and that has worked well for me. Thus, I have not needed to do psychedelics. What I mean by this will be clear as we go on. (If you check out at this point, you will miss the important sentiment I find many people are not conscious of which makes up the wisdom of this article.)

Finally, I’m writing this because I feel the full story is often not shared. Many people claim all the crazy experiences and benefits they had, but rarely talk about the fact nothing changed the first 3  or 5 times they did it. Also because all too often we hear ‘the coolest stories of all time without asking the big question:’

“I was out of my body and seeing all these colors and beings and I saw the trees breathing etc etc.”

This sounds cool, you expanded beyond daily reality which is great. I have also seen these things. But I know that just as one can see these things through meditation, what does that do to help create a lasting change in your life and evolve beyond the struggles you experience on a daily basis?

I’ve always been quiet about talking about the ‘fascinating’ things or beings I see etc. The reason is I find it distracts people immensely from why they want to do something and it makes them focus on the trip itself. One can have, and I have had, a full out of body experience through 20 minutes of breath work, but is that why one would do breath work? Is that going to help us clear out the emotional challenges we face?

That’s for each one of us to reflect on and decide within ourselves.

Ultimately, what is the reason we do them? To have a trip? To work through our emotional blockages?

An Overuse Crisis?

I’ve not heard this from just myself, but from the spirit of the plants themselves and from many others who have come across the same conclusions. We are in a period where overuse of these substances is extreme. Anytime we want clarity we turn to them. Anytime we think someone should shift their consciousness we tell them to do it. We use them 1, 3, 7 or even 10 times per year. In many cases, we are acting with these plants EXACTLY the way we do in the pharmaceutical world. We’re looking for that quick fix. And we have tossed self-mastery and daily care and practice aside.

We keep saying, “but nature is here to help us!” But to that I ask us to reflect: we already know we have challenges, right? So we know we have to be active in making changes in our everyday life, right? So we need to then develop a practice and self-mastery to make that happen daily, right? So why are we viewing what nature provided as a means to justify our lack of commitment to practice and instead want a quick fix? Herbs are here on this planet to help heal our bodies if we get sick. But they aren’t here so we can use them every time we get sick due to the fact we still want to smoke, drink alcohol, eat processed foods, etc. all day long. Nature is here to support us, not awaken us.

Psychedelics were used back in a time when the level of consciousness of the planet was not as high, which helped give insight to shamans so they could share it with their communities. It was meant for use in extreme cases where heavy trauma or addictions existed and people could not use other ways to work through their emotional challenges. Here in present time, we use them in a western fashion as THE GO TO for moving through all of our challenges. I’m here to remind you that you have so much power and ability as a being that in most cases, you don’t need any of these things to evolve. I’m not suggesting don’t do it, I’m simply saying truly ask your heart what you want, and don’t get caught up in the grand allure and peer pressure.

I made it a point to prove to myself that it was possible to quickly and easily create noticeable shifts within people and give them a practice to continue with. I developed a 5 day challenge using concepts I’ve learned and developed over 8 years of practice. I’ve put 180,000 people through these 5 days and most people have reported very powerful emotional shifts and life changes in these 5 days alone. This is great news. But did they last? That is something that is never up to the method or the plant, but up to the person, and this is my point. While I have heard a number of amazing stories of lasting changes from this challenge, I have no idea how many lasted for a long time. What I do know is the challenge was designed around self mastery and practice, giving us the tools to carry forth long after it was complete from within ourselves.

Misconceptions

One misconception we have to begin to explore is that taking these substances don’t suddenly reveal to us all the secrets of the universe. They do precisely what other altered states do – they provide insight into what the space of awareness is beyond your mind. In some cases, they also tap you into the astral field, which isn’t the source of grand truth even though we sometimes see it that way.

Like masters, yogis and meditators of our past, we know we can achieve deep states of consciousness and tap into truth quite easily while sober, it just takes some time to do so. How much? Depends on what you are doing, but one can achieve a silent mind in just 20 minutes of breathing.

Regardless, it doesn’t matter whether you are a master meditator, veteran psychedelic user, a yogi master or whatever other method we may use sober or not, none of it matters if we are not actively doing what it takes to change our lives on a daily basis based on what we see during our experiences.

People have sometimes assumed that when I share what I share about self-mastery I am stating that only psychedelic users bypass the work they need to do, but this isn’t true at all. I do know some people who have chosen the psychedelic path and have made incredible changes within their first session, and I have known people who have chosen breath work paths who’ve done the same in the first session. I’ve also known people from both categories who have a great trip/experience but deal with the same challenges for many years to come because there is a lack of integration and self empowerment.

An Incredible Story

Many of my friends have experienced psychedelics, and I have had the pleasure to hear so many people’s stories in the 10 years that I have been in the consciousness exploration space. I have noticed a ton of common trends and specifically have seen that there is an unbalanced perspective being spread quite a bit that I feel requires some grounding.

I decided to jump on a podcast with my friend Mark DeNicola who shares a very insightful story about his journey using mushrooms and ayahuasca.

He shares his take aways from his experiences and what mama ayahuasca told him about ayahuasca use in the modern world. He also shares how you can explore if the journey is right for you.

Grounding The Subject

Since about 8 years ago I have been fascinated with observing the research coming out about psilocybin and watching others as they use psychedelics for spiritual development. I can tell you, it absolutely can be an effective path. But I have found this to be few and far between and I feel I know why. It truly comes down to the fact that no method in this world suddenly gets rid of all of your challenges. It takes time and a practice to authentically make it go. The trouble is, many are not wiling to do that work.

As Mark mentioned in the podcast, he would ask people thinking about it “If you knew that the ceremony would not get rid of all your challenges you have now that you want gone, and that you would have to do work after to truly clear them, would you still want to do it?”

This of course is not a deterrent, but an authentic question around what the purpose of these substances are.

I wanted to bring up some common challenges I have noticed that just don’t seem to be talked about enough as many don’t share the full story of their journeys. I believe this misleads people. Again, these aren’t negative things, they are calls for us to take responsibility for our evolution within and truly ask “Is what we are doing to help change our lives truly working?”

  • I’ve noticed some great changes in some, but in most cases I have not observed a lasting effect in users, simply because there is no self work after. (I can say the same about spiritual retreats in general)
  • It appears common to feel incredible 1 to 3 weeks after, but go back to the same struggles. Again, because you don’t suddenly get rid of everything during any method, I believe this is due to a lack of practice and action.
  • It’s common for people to state “I puked out all my demons and challenges, and now they are gone.” But that’s not what seems to be the case as in many cases the same challenges and patterns continue on for that person long after the ceremony. More on this on the podcast!
  • Many people I have seen use Ayahuasca 15 – 30 times, seem to ‘get worse’ the more they do it. This of course doesn’t happen to all. Again, I feel this comes down to lack of self work and thinking the plant will do all the work.
  • I don’t mean this in a negative way, but a ‘cult like’ mentality seems to form and many users aggressively try and convince everyone in the world this is the only path to enlightenment and that it will change the world if we all do it.

Check out the podcast here for the full story, some amazing insight and how to explore whether or not your path could include a journey like this.

I share once more because so many people ask me this question, there is no right or wrong here. We don’t need to feel that if we do them or don’t do them we are somehow wrong or missing out. You’re not on a more purposeful path one way or another. If you want to find out if any experience is right for you, look in your heart, develop that relationship.

My goal is to help others be TRULY empowered. I wrote this because I’m not seeing enough of that happen within others as we give the power to things outside ourselves. This is a reminder.

“I Was Aware of Everything” – The Man Who Woke Up After 12 Years In A Vegetative State

My mind was trapped inside a useless body, my arms and legs weren’t mine to control, and my voice was mute. I couldn’t make a sign or a sound to let anyone know I’d become aware again. I was invisible – the ghost boy.” -Martin Pistorious

Martin Pistorious had a normal childhood growing up in South Africa in the late 70’s. His parents, Joan and Rodney Pistorius, explained how Martin insisted that he would one day be an “electric man,” infatuated by any type of electronic equipment he could get his hands on.

But everything would change for the worse when Martin was 12. Coming home from school one day, he told his parents that he was feeling sick. This wasn’t any normal flu, however, as Joan and Rodney watched their son begin to sleep for endless hours of the day, almost like a baby. Even worse, he couldn’t eat, refusing anything they put in front of him.

Martin was tested for everything in the book, including Parkinson’s, TB, mineral deficiency, and more, yet everything came back negative.

As the months went on, Martin’s parents watched as their son slowly began to shut down — first his ability to move, then his ability to make eye contact, and finally his speech.

“He progressively got worse, probably in the second year of his illness. He was sleeping whenever we didn’t wake him up. He was permanently lying down in the fetal position,” said Rodney in an interview with NPR.

Finally, a test came back positive. It was cryptococcal meningitis, something the doctors said meant there was no hope for Martin.

They were told that he was a vegetable, with no more intelligence. They were advised to take Martin home, to provide him with love until his death.

Trapped inside of his own body for a decade and thought to be severely brain-damaged, Martin Pistorius was actually fully aware the entire time. His story is one marked by abuse, neglect, love and despair. An expert on what people do when they think no one is looking, Martin has become well versed on human nature and self-determination.

A Boy Who Wouldn’t Let Go

But something in Martin held on for much longer than his prognosis had estimated.

Martin just kept going, just kept going,” said Joan.

The years continued to pass as Rodney and Joan cared for their helpless son. They dressed him, fed him, bathed him, and dropped him off at the special care facility he was enrolled at on a daily basis.

My alarm was set for every two hours so that I could wake up to turn him, so that he wouldn’t get bed sores,” said Joan.

This exhausting cycle continued for another 10 years, literally taking everything from Joan and Rodney. Joan told NPR that she eventually came to a point where she said to Martin, “I hope you die.

I know that’s a horrible thing to say. I just wanted some sort of reliefin my mind he’d already died.”

A Nurse Who Believed In The Soul Inside Martin

By the time Martin was in his mid-20’s, something slowly began to shift. Martin was now able to squeeze someone’s hand, a remarkable advancement considering his history. Furthermore, he was getting better at holding himself upright in his wheelchair.

However, the doctors insisted that Martin still had the mind of a 3-year old. But one nurse, named Verna, was convinced that there was something there.

She eventually convinced Joan and Rodney to get another evaluation done elsewhere. Martin was given a test where he had to identify different objects by pointing at them with his eyes. Surprisingly to many, he passed; not with flying colors, but he passed nevertheless.

I then gave up my job,” said Joan.

This 1987 photo is the last one to show the family before Martin fell ill. He is at the right. Courtesy of Martin Pistorius

Joan dedicated the next year to  teaching Martin how to use a special joystick for the computer, four hours every morning, until he finally got it.

Once he did, everything would change. Martin was now able to select words using his stick.

‘I am cold. I am hungry. I want toast.‘ These were his first bits of communication. Soon after, other things began to return to him.

He started moving his eyes and moving his head and almost nodding, asking for coffee by stirring his hands around and things like that.”

A Horrifying Realization – Martin’s Perspective

For 8 of the 12 years he was diagnosed, Martin was invisible. From the outside, he s1920x1080_martin-199x-4_custom-772c052f23f1615f33cc52799f0c2bc2f2cbb1f3-s800-c85was unresponsive, a vegetable. But deep inside, Martin said he was aware of everything.

I was there, not from the very beginning, but about two years into my vegetative state, I began to wake up.”

Martin described the initial process,

“I suppose a good way to describe it is like an out-of-focus image. At first you have no idea what it is, but slowly it comes into focus until you can see it in crystal clarity.”

Somewhere along this process, Martin soon realized his immobility.

I stared at my arm, willing it to move. Every bit of me condensed into that moment.”

Martin recalled a moment when his father was helping him undress, and how badly Martin was trying to communicate, but nothing in his body would obey.

Everyone was so used to me not being there that they didn’t notice when I began to be present againThe stark reality hit me that I was going to spend the rest of my life like that – totally alone.”

Martin revealed how he spent countless hours wallowing in self-defeat: “You will never get out. You are pathetic, powerless, totally alone.”

Was this really how he was to spend the rest of his days alive?

An Unlikely Inspiration Changes Martin’s Thoughts

Martin had fully let go of hope, but as he explains, occasionally there were unlikely sparks of inspiration.

‘You can always count on having a fun day when you spend it with the people you love,‘ said Barney, the fictitious children’s show icon. Martin was constantly forced to watch Barney, a show he now admits he thoroughly despised. He used the show, along with the movement of the Sun, to figure out the time of day.

This was his first semblance of control. Simply knowing where he was in the day gave him the sense of being able to climb through it. He realized his thoughts could help him.

I’d have conversations with myself and other people in my head.”

Reengaging with his thoughts transformed his world, and slowly, life began to have purpose.

This also sometimes meant pain for Martin, such as when he heard his mother say to him, “I hope you die.”

But as time passed, he gradually learned to understand his mother’s desperation. He realized that it came from profound love for him.

She could see only a cruel parody of the once-healthy child she had loved so much,” Martin said.

Amazingly, this made him feel even closer to his mother.

It wasn’t long after this when Martin’s nurse, Verna, saw the soul trapped inside Martin, and insisted on getting him more help. This, as previously explained, was the beginning of an inspiring new chapter for Martin.

College Graduate, Bushiness Man & Husband – Martin Today

By leaning into those dark thoughts, Martin gained a self-understanding and humour about the human condition that allowed him to attain so much more than he had ever imagined for himself.

Progressing through various levels of improvement, he eventually scored himself a job filing papers at a local office, then moved onto fixing computers, creating a web design business, and earning a computer science degree. He even met a beautiful and loving wife named Joanna, whom he met through his sister.

“I turned around, and it was just this guy with this big smile. And it’s such a warm personality…Yeah, okay, well he’s in a wheelchair, and he doesn’t speak. But I love this guy. He’s amazing. It just so quickly turned into love,” said Joanna.

Though his success may seen simplified by this article, we cannot forget the amount of dedication and hard work it was for both Martin and his loved ones to get him to where he is today.

Martin’s story is indeed one filled with many mixed emotions – sadness, empathy, fear, agony, inspiration – yet it stands as an incredible testament to human willpower.

For more on Martin’s story, be sure to check out his incredible personal account of his journey in his book,  Ghost Boy.

Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 16: The Choreographer)

The following is a chapter from my book ‘Parables For The New Conversation.’ One chapter will be published every Sunday for 36 weeks here on Collective Evolution. (I would recommend you start with Chapter 1 if you haven’t already read it.) I hope my words are a source of enjoyment and inspiration for you, the reader. If perchance you would like to purchase a signed paperback copy of the book, you can do so on my production company website Pandora’s Box Office.

From the back cover: “Imagine a conversation that centers around possibility—the possibility that we can be more accepting of our own judgments, that we can find unity through our diversity, that we can shed the light of our love on the things we fear most. Imagine a conversation where our greatest polarities are coming together, a meeting place of East and West, of spirituality and materialism, of religion and science, where the stage is being set for a collective leap in consciousness more magnificent than any we have known in our history.

Now imagine that this conversation honors your uniqueness and frees you to speak from your heart, helping you to navigate your way more deliberately along your distinct path. Imagine that this conversation puts you squarely into the seat of creator—of your fortunes, your relationships, your life—thereby putting the fulfillment of your deepest personal desires well within your grasp.

‘Parables for the New Conversation’ is a spellbinding odyssey through metaphor and prose, personal sagas and historic events, where together author and reader explore the proposal that at its most profound level, life is about learning to consciously manifest the experiences we desire–and thus having fun. The conversation touches on many diverse themes but always circles back to who we are and how our purposes are intertwined, for it is only when we see that our personal desires are perfectly aligned with the destiny of humanity as a whole that we will give ourselves full permission to enjoy the most exquisite experiences life has to offer.”

16. The Choreographer

With only a few weeks of rehearsals remaining before the premiere of the annual musical, the artistic director entered the village playhouse very excited. He went to the stage where all the dancers were in the process of stretching and warming up.

“I have a new idea,” he said, “an idea so advanced that it will revolutionize the way you dance with your partners.”

“You’re going to make the floor move while we stand still?” asked one, provoking snickers around the stage.

“Pay attention, I’m serious,” snapped the director. “Now tell me, what is the main theme of this show?”

One of the dancers answered, “It’s about a girl who starts off as a slave and eventually becomes a member of—”

Equality,” interrupted the director, “the main theme of this show is equality between people. Now I’ve been thinking about this and suddenly it struck me that when you dance with your partner there is inequality, because one person is leading and the other is following. So starting today, when you practice your dances for this show I want to see both partners leading.”

“At the same time?” asked one of the dancers.

“Yes, of course,” said the director.

The dancers looked at each other in confusion. They had never heard of such a thing. Meanwhile the choreographer, who was taking in the scene from the second row, started laughing.

“What’s so funny?” asked the director.

“Your idea is ridiculous. Absurdly ridiculous,” she replied.

The director was stunned. He was not used to being challenged, especially by his choreographer, who he got along very well with. “What are you saying?”

“I’m saying it will never work.”

“It might, if you try it.”

“We’re not going to try it,” the choreographer said.

“Well, I think you owe it to me to at least try it.”

“It’s not going to happen,” the choreographer replied sarcastically.

“Need I remind you that I am the director, and you have to follow what I say?”

“Well, this time I want you to follow me.”

The director was getting red-faced with frustration. He moved to the front of the stage to address the choreographer. “Why are you doing this?”

“What—you don’t want me to keep arguing with you?” asked the choreographer slyly.

“Of course not!”

“Because we’re not getting anywhere?”

“Exactly.”

“Then why would you ever want to see two people try to lead the same dance?”

While I have suggested that the time has come for us all to be leaders, this does not mean that we should all be leading simultaneously. That would be like a conversation where people were all talking at the same time, which is not a conversation at all. Taking on roles like leader and follower is an essential aspect of the human drama. Life would not be capable of producing excitement, wonder and profound learning if we were all self-identical creatures doing exactly the same things. If life flows from dualities, through pairs of opposites like leader and follower, then it is important for each of us to play our roles when required.

Mind you, nobody has to be told to assume roles—it comes quite naturally to us. Our Ego Self is designed to separate and distinguish us from one another. The perception of many of our differences is immediate, and we are already in the habit of grounding our interactions in these differences. What we may need to be reminded of sometimes is that this is only half of the story. The other half comes to us from the perspective of the Dao Self where we can see past the distinctions that separate us. When we come from this higher place we see that these roles will best help us move forward in our lives when we don’t take them so seriously.

When we live solely from the Ego Self our roles can easily fall into stereotypes and become the source of value judgment and comparison. We start believing that one side of the duality is better than the other, more capable, or more right. We may think that the teacher must always be wiser than the student, and so the student should simply be quiet and listen; that the servant is weaker than the master, and therefore must obey; that without the leader the follower is clueless, bereft of inspiration or direction.

As followers we are likely to harbor resentment towards leaders when this kind of stereotype is at play. We will feel that our ability to be an important part of any process is limited, and we will have few opportunities to express ourselves as individuals or feel that we are making a contribution. Even if we disagree with our leader’s approach, we will be forced to play a game that only rewards us if we try to elevate the leader’s already inflated status (see: brown-nosing).

But when we become leaders we’re not necessarily better off. The stereotypical leadership role puts us under tremendous pressure, both from ourselves and the outside environment. We are supposed to know everything, and we are not allowed to show doubt. We are expected to be responsible for things beyond our control. Worst of all, we are not allowed to make mistakes. When we do, we hide them: our shame makes us try to cover them up, lest anyone find out that we are not up for what is expected of us.

What a relief it is when we are able to step back into the realm of the Dao Self. From here the roles we have taken on lose their rigidity. Suddenly teachers are learning from students, masters can be the ones who serve, and leaders encourage followers to become leaders themselves. When leaders and followers rise above stereotype, their interactions move into the flow of life. Followers are able to make a greater contribution and take on more responsibility. Leaders are able to relax and allow themselves to be human, to show and voice their doubts, and admit their mistakes to themselves and others. When leaders are not afraid to show their ignorance and vulnerability it is inspiring, and actually serves as an invitation for their followers to enter into the process in a more meaningful capacity.

As humanity evolves, the status gap between leaders and followers is closing. Leadership is moving away from command-and-obey and towards a collaboration in which the insights, opinions, values and beliefs of both sides of the dichotomy are honored. Where there is a sense of equality between teacher and student, boss and subordinate, speaker and listener, there we find the new conversation.

When I look back on my academic life, I realize that the new conversation was not often a feature of the classroom. In fact the higher up I went, the more that professors seemed set in their ways, even condescending at times. I remember the lifeless discussions in class, where students—including me—favored intellectual questions that would make them look smart. Professors would then answer with similar pretense. On the odd occasion that someone would ask a question from the heart or simply state that they didn’t understand, eyes would roll and sighs of intolerance could be heard. There may have been some lively debates, but these were far from a collaborative effort to understand each other and discover new perspectives. Students and teachers alike were afraid to really open their own personal ideologies to honest scrutiny, and so most of the energy was used to defend and protect these ideologies.

When it was time to look into PhD programs, the curricula I saw left me cold: more intellectualizing about other people’s ideas, and more rehashing the past in a way that did not impact how I lived my life. I had an uneasy feeling growing inside me that continuing my formal education would be like purchasing a one-way ticket to the proverbial Ivory tower. So I walked away, despite being told that I had no teaching prospects at all if I didn’t pursue a PhD. It felt like I had gotten tired of learning. But I realize now that I was just looking for other ways to learn.

Over the past twenty years, I have enjoyed a host of non-academic programs, seminars, and transformational workshops, some of which had a big influence on me. Instead of just talking about different perspectives, some of these programs actually created the conditions that enabled me to shift my perspective—with all the discomfort that this entailed. It sometimes felt like the rug was being pulled out from under my feet, because the whole way I looked at the world, where I was coming from, was challenged.

What I found was that it was always worth the discomfort. Whenever I was able to shift my perspective, I saw myself and the world in a more powerful way. I became happier, more confident. My vision was expanded, and I was able to let go of ideas and attitudes that were no longer serving me. All this would not have been possible if the new perspective was presented in a dogmatic way—if, in other words, it was presented as absolute and irrefutable. It needed to be offered as a possibility. Significant transformation would not have occurred if someone was simply telling me what to do, think, or believe. I had to be given a real choice, and from a place of choice I was allowed to step into what I could handle and own the changes that were happening to me.

More and more I saw facilitators opening their workshops with the stipulation that the material is presented as one way of looking at the subject, and participants should question anything that doesn’t resonate with them and only take to heart that which serves them. This idea was reinforced when a facilitator acknowledged that they have as much to learn from the experience as everyone else. Rather than following a rigid set of procedures, the more skilled facilitators focused on building an atmosphere of trust and openness in which people felt safe and confident enough to share their unique perspectives, insights, and experiences. This gave rise to authentic conversation, which energized those who participated.

Over time I gained a growing interest in how these workshops were presented and facilitated, and paid close attention to whether the facilitators themselves were attempting to deliver the material as possibilities or as statements of fact. I got into the habit of putting myself in the seat of the facilitator, wondering how I would handle the questions and situations that came up, and thinking about how I might present the material differently. I have come to appreciate that it is exceedingly difficult—just from the standpoint of language, let alone personal bias—to present material in such a way that it is only one possible perspective rather than a statement of fact. But this is really the only way to go if we are going to move forward.

When I actually began to fulfill a long-time dream of facilitating transformational workshops myself, I was eager to bring forward this new conversation. I was very fortunate to work with someone who already had experience exploring this in her own facilitation. My good friend Carole really helped me over some of the initial rough patches when I wanted to be right or fretted when I didn’t have all the answers. I saw that it was more important to make people feel comfortable than to look smart. I saw that the skill of listening and learning to be with all the participants was at least as important as the material that was to be covered. In fact, we even enlisted the help of the participants to determine some of the content and context of the material that would be delivered.

It was hard for me to grasp that I didn’t have to convince everyone to agree with all the information and insights that I had prepared. I had to accept that some people couldn’t or didn’t want to get it. If some chose to tune out, to be obstinate or to complain, I needed to learn to flow with it, to be with what is, to keep things open. Sometimes I made the mistake of vigorously trying to defend my point of view. However I learned that being wrong and making mistakes was not only all right, it could often be turned into something beneficial for the group if it was handled with humility and humor. Carole sometimes made fun of my habits and tendencies during the session itself and this helped everyone including me to relax. Our co-facilitation itself became a dance, which was especially powerful since we thought and expressed ourselves in very different ways.

While I saw that leading people into the new conversation still required some direction and boundaries, it seemed to work best when these boundaries were almost invisible, when the space that we created was a circle of trust and communication in which everyone was learning and benefiting from each others’ experience and perspective. I learned that leadership in the new conversation was about modeling—walking the talk. If I showed an openness to learning then it helped to create an environment of trust and exploration. When I cleared away personal issues before facilitating I was able to be more present with the participants. Facilitating the new conversation has opened an ongoing examination of who I am being in my life, and particularly in my conversations.

This is a possibility the new conversation offers all of us. As we become more conscious and self-directed, I believe we will strive to move our discourses away from unyielding structure and towards the creation of an open space in which we all can reflect, discover, and create. The more each one of us tastes from the cup of the new conversation, the more I believe we will be looking to bring it into all of our human interactions.

‘Google Brain’ Implants Will Allow Access To All Information Instantaneously

As the lines between the use of technology and doing anything manually become increasingly blurred, the general public and policy makers don’t have time to consider the potential implications of too much technology, or more alarmingly, the merging of humans with AI. It’s like all of those great sci-fi movies are coming to life, right before our eyes. Some, especially those who are developing AI, are more optimistic, like Nikolas Kairinos, founder and CEO of Fountech.ai, who believes that this technology could improve our lives and completely change how we learn.

Who Needs School If Our Brains Are Computers Anyways?

During an interview with the Daily Star, Kairinos explained that he has been working on a game-changing AI to “personalize education” claiming “anyone can learn almost anything using AI.”

He believes that within the next 20 years our brainpower will be boosted with AI implants so you “won’t have to memorize anything.” Apparently, according to Kairinos, people won’t even have to bother typing any questions, as the moment the question comes to mind it will be answered via an AI implant. He believes this will result in the end of what he calls “parrot fashion” learning at schools.

While the current educational system could definitely use some work, should we be eliminating the process of learning altogether just because a chip can do it for us?

According to Fountech’s website: “For someone who doesn’t have an in-depth understanding of technology, AI may seem like an alien concept.”

“Yet, the basic crux of the term is simple – namely the ability of a computer or machine to think, learn and imitate intelligent human behavior.”

“When it comes to AI in learning, we are only just scratching the surface… we shouldn’t think that tailored learning through AI is something that we won’t see for decades.”

Instant Artificial Learning, Should We Be Wary?

You know that famous movie that captivated the world, The Matrix? Well, just in case you’re not familiar with it, here is the synopsis:

Morpheus awakens Neo to the real world, a ravaged wasteland where most of humanity have been captured by a race of machines that live off of the humans’ body heat and electrochemical energy and who imprison their minds within an artificial reality known as the Matrix.

Many of today’s popular researchers have claimed that The Matrix is actually more like a documentary than a movie as there is so much symbolism and so many metaphors embedded within the film that pertain to our current reality as we know it.

So, when we look at AI and how it is able to self-learn, shouldn’t we all at least be wary of it? There should be regulations on such technology before it’s too late… If it isn’t already. Sure, we can’t just assume that AI is innately evil or has bad intentions or plans to takeover humanity, but if it does surpasses natural human intelligence, how can we know what it will be capable of or what it could potentially try to do?

Even Tesla founder Elon Musk expressed his concerns over the rapid advancement of AI technology in a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

To Those Who Want The Latest & Greatest

I am aware that many people will brush off these concerns and say, you are ridiculous this will never happen, or have you been watching too many sci-fi movies? Or this is just the natural advancement of the human race, get with the times. Many consumers are always after the latest and greatest gadget, people marvel at the incredibly rapid development of new technology. And, yes! It absolutely has and will continue to benefit our lives in many ways. But what happens when it advances us?

I was working for a tech company a few years ago and was having a conversation with one of the founders who was telling me about the concept of this very thing–an implantable chip that will give instant access to all of the information in the world.

I said, “I will never get that.”

He replied, “So, what will you do when we are all sitting here having a super intelligent, advanced conversation and you have nothing to add?”

And this, my friends, is how they will get you!

Implementation of tech into our lives has evolved extremely rapidly–just look at our reliance on computers, then the Internet, and now smartphones. Next up is wearable tech including smart watches and fitbits, and then it will be implants. The merging of (wo)man with AI. These things happen so swiftly and are marketed to be huge advancements to us. We should at the very least be asking these important questions.

Much Love

Prime Minister Of Iceland Calls For Prioritizing “Well-Being” Of Citizens Over GDP

Prime Minister of Iceland Katrin Jakobsdottir is now urging governments to prioritize sustainability and family time over obsessing about economic growth — as most developed nations seem to do.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeion and New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have teamed up with Iceland’s PM to promote an agenda focused on “well-being.” Jakobsdottir has called for “an alternative future based on well-being and inclusive growth.”

She feels that new social indicators are needed outside of the traditional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data.

It’s About Time

You’d think that the overall well-being of a nation, extreme regard to protecting the environment, and working towards global sustainability would be the top priorities for all nations of the Earth. However, for the most part, it is all about the economy: how can we support the economy, how can we grow the economy, how can we protect the economy? I love the following Cree Indian proverb, it fits nicely here:

“When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.”

It’s about time someone started standing up for the people and the planet, and this stance is sure to turn some heads.

 Prioritizing Mental Health

Back In August, Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland made a plea during a TED Talk for modern economies to consider mental health, childcare, parental leave and green energy.

  

“Iceland uses more antidepressants than neighboring countries,” she said. “We need to strengthen prevention [of depression], through sports and the arts.”

This is an amazing initiative put forth by leaders of these nations to do whatever it takes to support the citizens who are struggling with mental health disorders, particularly depression. They are able to see that the most important thing is not economic growth, because what difference does that make if so many people are unhappy?

She said the “well-being” initiative promoted by herself, Ms. Sturgeon and Ms. Ardern should not be seen as a gender-based backlash against populism.

“It’s very important to have all genders at the table – it affects the way you think, and then different decisions are made,” she told BBC.

Female Force?

It is interesting that the three members of this initiative are all women, and of course that fact alone will certainly turn some heads. However, this doesn’t take away from the legitimacy of their purposed agenda.

Perhaps the more nurturing side of women is what is bringing this all to the table, or just the knowledge that what we have been doing for so long is simply not working anymore. It’s time to prioritize what’s really important for each nation — the well-being of the citizens. Perhaps, if people are happier and feel more supported, they will be able to contribute more to their society, which in turn could very well increase GDP. Might as well give it a shot as we’ve got nothing left to lose at this point!

Now, let’s see if other nations’ leaders (Trump, Trudeau, ahem..) will follow suit and prioritize what’s really important.

Much Love

‘Julian Assange Could Die in Prison Without Urgent Medical Care’ – More Than 60 Doctors Warn

‘National Security’ has become an umbrella term to keep information ‘classified’ not truly for national security purposes, but rather to conceal information that threatens elitist agenda’s, be it corporate, political, or financial. Usually, they’re all intertwined. President Eisenhower warned us about the “military industrial complex” and the dangers it poses, after him John F. Kennedy warned us that “there is a very grave danger than an announced need for an increased need for security, will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of censorship and concealment.” Today, secrecy is out of hand, and it’s the backbone of un-just, immoral, and inhumane actions taken by not only the American empire and the Deep State, but by powerful global elitists as well.

This is exactly why Julian Assange is where he is now, because he was publishing secrets that had no justification for concealment, secrets that show how war, terrorism, and other actions by powerful people were undertaken for other reasons, and not those (reasons) that are commonly given in the form of mainstream media. One example would be the funding and arming and in some cases, creation of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda by agencies like the CIA in order to help destabilize countries in the Middle East so the United Stats could justify an intervention, supposedly to bring ‘democracy’ and ‘restore peace’ to those countries. This type of thing is well known, which is why current democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard introduced the ‘Stop Arming Terrorist Act,’  a proposed act that would stop the U.S. government from using taxpayer dollars to directly or indirectly support groups who are allied with and supporting terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda in their war to overthrow the Syrian government.

Julian Assange exposed nothing but lies and deception, and it’s truly a crime that he is not a free man, but this is the type of world we live in. A world where activists and journalists like Assange are silenced, a world where alternative independent media out lets like Collective Evolution are extremely censored and demonetized.

We are living in an ‘Orwellian’ type of time, where there is a ‘ministry of truth’ that claims to be ‘fact checking’ information when really, these organizations seem to simply be ridiculing credible information that is full of evidence and legitimate sources, simply for the purposes of, again, threatening powerful people.

Assange is a hero in this field, and those who make big leaps with regards to exposing such corruption are often vilified. Retired USAF lieutenant colonel Karen Kwiatkowski writes in an article posted at Lew Rockwell’s website that Julian Assange is receiving the same treatment as suspected terrorists while in captivity at “Her Majesty’s Prison Service” at Belmarsh, stating that he’s probably being tortured with psychotropic drugs.

The FBI, Pentagon, and CIA are “interviewing” Assange. Kwiatkowski writes:

Interviewing is the wrong word.  I’d like to say doctoring him, because it would be more accurate, except that word implies some care for a positive outcome.  Chemical Gina has her hands in this one, and we are being told that Assange is being “treated” with 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, known as BZ. 

Not long ago, John Shipton, Julian Assange’s father, gave an interview to the Strategic Culture Foundation sharing the latest on Julian Assange and how he’s being treated, claiming that “they are murdering my son.” You can read that interview interview here.

Assange is a man who clearly knows a lot, and has information that probably goes well beyond what’s already been divulged by Wikileaks. The treatment of him and everything he is going through is horrific and heart-breaking, but not surprising. It’s truly jaw dropping and un-fathomable how such treatment and even such an arrest can in anyway be justified within the minds of anybody. And it goes to show how powerful people are capable of doing anything they want, no matter how immoral and illegal.

An article recently published in The Independent  written by Henry Vaughan states:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could die in prison without urgent medical care, according to an open letter signed by more than 60 doctors. The medics, from the UK, Australia, Europe and Sri Lanka express “serious concerns” about 48-year-old Assange’s fitness to stand trial in the letter addressed to Priti Patel, the home secretary.He is being held in Belmarsh prison, in south-east London, ahead of a hearing in February to fight extradition to the US, where he faces 18 charges, including conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer. Assange is accused of working with former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak hundreds of thousands of classified documents.The doctors are calling for Assange to be transferred to a university teaching hospital, where he can be assessed and treated by an expert medical team.

The letter, which has also been copied to shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, says: “From a medical point of view, on the evidence currently available, we have serious concerns about Mr Assange’s fitness to stand trial in February 2020. Most importantly, it is our opinion that Mr Assange requires urgent expert medical assessment of both his physical and psychological state of health. Any medical treatment indicated should be administered in a properly equipped and expertly staffed university teaching hospital (tertiary care). Were such urgent assessment and treatment not to take place, we have real concerns, on the evidence currently available, that Mr Assange could die in prison. The medical situation is thereby urgent. There is no time to lose.”

Doctors are warning if action isn’t taken that Julian Assange may actually die.

Below is a tweet from Australian journalist and BAFTA award-winning documentary filmmaker John Pilger, who made comments last month that shed some light on how Assange is being treated.

The Takeaway

What you read here is no surprise, for a long time Julian Assange was allowed no visitors, and now, it’s quite clear why. Those who have had access to visits have made it quite clear that he is in very poor health. It’s unbelievable how the powers that be can simply do as they please, illegally, with no consequence, and their power lies within the human population and in those who have been subjected to perception manipulation, believing that Julian Assange should actually be locked up and done away with.

A great quote by Edward Bernays, who was known as the father of public relations, comes to mind here:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. (source)

The ability for this powerful group to manipulate our minds is clearly fading, and Julian Assange has been a big part of that, but we still have a lot of work to do.