Douglas Gillies: How can we inspire hope?
There is more of it than we’re acknowledging
and I think we should acknowledge it because words are important.
If you look at the bestseller list, if you look at many social indicators—people
speaking hope, products which speak hope, messages of hope—they
are extremely popular throughout America. We’re living
in a time where we must take a step forward knowing that the movement
begins in the heart and the mind. There’s something very positive
about forming relationships and sharing information, hope, and inspiration with people of
so that the
road doesn’t seem so lonely. Feeling that you’re the only
one walking a road can lead to despair—why am I doing this
anyway? Nobody else is doing this—and that’s just not
the truth. The truth is that millions of people are thinking this
way, millions of people are doing the work in their own individual
lives in an effort to transform the center of gravity from an external
orientation back to an internal soul depth of experience.
Do you see that on the streets or just among the fortunate few friends
that you find along the way?
I walk the streets filled with those people. Somebody came to the
gate of a town and said to the gatekeeper, “What is this town
filled with?” The gatekeeper said, “Well, what is the
town like that you just came from?” The traveler said, “Oh,
I just came from a horrible town. People were murderers, people were
violent, people were terrible to each other.” And the gatekeeper
says, “Well that’s what this town is full of too.”
They continued down the road and somebody else came up to the gatekeeper
and said, “Can you tell me what that town is like?” He
said, “Well what’s the town like that you came from?”
He said, “Oh the town I come from is full of wonderful people.
Everyone was so kind to each other and so forgiving and so merciful
and helped each other and served each other.” And the gatekeeper
said, “That’s just like this town.”
So, I think you find what you look for and you have to take responsibility
for that. There are so many insidious ways to be tempted into saying,
“the world just doesn’t get it”. The world you inhabit
gets whatever you get.
So we’re creating reality, we’re literally creating the
world that we live in.
Newtonian physics is over. You don’t act on the world to change
the world. You realize the world is a projection of your inner self.
If you change, the world changes.
How does that work for you personally? Is it a smooth road or do you
have your ups and downs?
I find being a mother harder than I though it was going to be. That
is a tremendous revelation for me personally and it changes my sense
of what we most need to understand. Much more time, more care, more
attention and more effort needs to be spent on care for the children.
That will save the world at large.
And you walk your talk. You really do spend time with your child.
I try to walk my talk. I am trying my best. I’ll talk as much
about the days that I stumbled and fell as the days when I succeeded.
It dishonors the past to pretend that it’s easy for yourself
or others. There are two kinds of teaching. Well there are probably
about fifty million kinds of teaching - but two main categories that
interest me. One is the perfect master, which certainly has its place
and the great religious entities are like that. But there’s
another kind of teaching. The Course in Miracles talks about how the
teacher is half a step ahead. Not where we’re perfect, but there’s
one area of life where we might have been at it a little bit longer,
thought about it a little more deeply and so we have something to
offer to a person who is just half a step behind us and will soon
catch up as we all move faster.
How do you pick yourself up?
God picks you up. You don’t pick yourself up. You’re the
one who knocked you down or even if somebody else knocked you down,
your willingness to believe that what they said had value, was your
conspiring with them, with their effort to knock you down - I’ve
never been able to get myself up and I’ve noticed that every
time I ask God to pick me up - he does.
What’s your discipline and how do you keep writing?
Those were two very distinctly separate questions to me. My discipline
is meditation and prayer. I try to discipline myself to practice what
we all preach.
In terms of my writing, some professional writers write everyday no
matter what and perhaps that’s the way it should be done, but
it’s not the way I do it. If I’m not pregnant with words
and I’m not in labor with them, I don’t even try to bring
them forth because they won’t be any good anyway. Once I’m
ready to deliver, it’s like being pregnant. I’ve got to
find a typewriter or a piece of paper. The only words that have ever
had any possible value to others seem to have been those words that
just had to come out.
This morning people were telling each other their story. Did you find
out anything that you didn’t know?
Oh yes. Marion Woodman was in my group. She is a kind of idol of mine.
So in her speaking, as in her writing, every word was like an Ahah!
for me. And Robert Muller said I don’t think we’re a generation
of seekers anymore. We’re a generation of pilgrims. By that
I mean that if we had a group like this twenty years ago we’d
all be seeking the path. We’ve all been through higher conciseness
101-A now, so we all know what the path is. We’re not seeking
the path. We are pilgrims, which means we’re dealing with our
daily resistances to walking the path. I don’t think that we
come to weekends like this to learn things we didn’t already
know. We come to access more deeply the things which we all already
know. So when ask if I learned anything, I would say I had things
I already knew more deeply illumined.
How do you access your learning? What’s the dominant way that
you pick up information?
I think I pick up information every way that I can possibly receive
it and I try to be alert to the understanding that God has many mansions.
I might pick it from a taxi driver. I might pick it up by something
my yoga teacher says. I might pick it up by the stretch itself. I
might pick it up by watching myself succeed. I might pick it up by
watching myself fail. Is there any moment that doesn’t have
something to teach us? Once you know that there’s something
to learn in every moment, the issue is not where the information is
coming from, the issue is how alert are you? How big is your listening?
The issue is not is the universe not show you everything, the issue
is are there scales in front of your eyes, the issue is, is the cotton
out of your ears. So once you know that every moment and every person
and every situation has something to teach you, you’re a student
all day. You know it’s the depth of your observation that is
the issue—not how much the world has to show you.
Douglas Gillies: So many people have trouble listening because their own mind is filling
them with thoughts.
That’s why we meditate, that’s why we pray. That to me
is the primary conversation for this moment because hysterical thinkers
won’t bring peace to the world. You know you can be a Ph.D.,
you can have two PhD’s in Sanskrit and Comparative Religion,
but if you yourself haven’t achieved some modicum of a quiet
mind, you’re not a transformer because you’re not transformed.
Does it matter to you where you are?
Physically? Geographically? I’m very clear that there is a revolution
which is occurring with ourselves, therefore a revolution which is
occurring everywhere on the Earth and I see it whether I’m in
Cairo or Santa Barbara. I believe that the spirit of God enters into
the details and if we ask for guidance we will be led to the places
where we can learn most fully because we can be most joyful. If I’m
in a place that’s lonely, I think God has one or two things
to say. Extend your hand in service so that you might meet people
or go somewhere else - or both.
Speaking of service, how has Jean Houston influenced your life?
Jean Houston influences my life profoundly. Like Marion Woodman, I
hang on to every word she writes. Every word she says, I tend to hang
on. When I endorsed one of her books once, I wrote that her mind is
a national treasure. I feel like I’m a student and she’s
wise enough and big enough to know that there are those who are her
students. I’m lucky to know her.
She writes that she considers herself to be a healer. Do you see yourself
the same way?
First of all, in the tradition from which I speak, the healer doesn’t
refer to him or herself as a healer; the teacher doesn’t refer
him or herself as a teacher. In the moment when you would refer to
yourself as that, you’ve exited the realm itself. But in the
context of your question, yes. I’m new in the room and nothing
compared to how I’ll be when I’ve been doing it as many
years as the Jeans and the Marions.
Who are you in the Grail story?
First you have to unmask yourself and I’m deeply involved in
trying to unmask myself. Abundance—I receive abundance in some
areas and in others I am working on my ability to receive it. Manifesting
your skills—I am deeply involved in the effort and teaching
others, very deeply involved, and I’m a good intermediate student
at this stuff.
At this conference we are asking the question, “What is the
Grail of a new story?” What do you see as the elements of the
Jean said last night, “We have all been trained to be white
males in 1926.” I thought that was a great line because that
means all of us, men and women, we’ve been trained to be something
we’re not or at best trained to be a portion of who we are.
So the story to me has to do with the unmasking, taking off the masks
of the 1926 white male and the pain that can accompany the process,
feeling naked and alone because being authentic does make you feel
naked and alone in a masked society. I believe this is a critical
moment and I believe that it’s an awesome window of opportunity.
I believe the planet is being flooded with the wisdom and insight
of the ages. This is not just a mystery school that happens once a
decade on a remote island - it’s happening in people’s
So the story to me is the incarnation of true democracy, a power that
comes to the individual not because it is handed to us politically,
but by allowing it to rise up from deep within us through the grace
of God. To cast out and cast beyond. It’s like something rises
up and says society has told me I’m this big, but that which
rises up within me says no. So I push and I push and I will not be
this small, I will be this big. When I try to be this big and you
trivialize me for making the effort and the status quo invalidates
me for making the effort and marginalizes the effort itself, I will
not be tricked by that and I will find other people who are making
the same efforts so that when they get invalidated I’ll support
them and when I get invalidated they’ll support me and we will
feel all these hands reaching across and realize we’re the majority.
I believe hope is in the majority of human hearts. I believe beneficence
is the majority of human hearts. I believe the impulse to grow past
the constrictions and the boundaries of the desperate past is in the
majority of human hearts. But we need to speak the word so that other
people around us will say Ahhh. A hero is someone who stands in the
community and speaks their hopes and speaks their passion. That’s
almost an act of heroism today because higher consciousness is so
trivialized. It’s really interesting to see the insidious game
by which you will now shut-up because when you say these things we
will laugh at you. And you keep trying to say them and it so easy
to appear foolish because we don’t quite have the language yet,
so it’s so easy to trip up, but that’s the story. It’s
that impulse rising and the consciousness.
I’ve been at this work since the early 80’s so I’ve
seen a shift. The listening is getting more sophisticated and the
speaking is getting more sophisticated and something is maturing within
us. It began as this baby saying “I think there’s something
else here, could I please say it?” That is becoming is becoming
more sophisticated. We’re not asking for permission to speak
anymore. The ears have been opened.
So one of the elements of the new story is speaking the truth.
In stereo. You’re saying it over here and you come to know through
conferences like this that I’m seeking my truth but it’s
not just that I’m seeking my truth, it’s that somebody
else I know is speaking it while I’m speaking in Seattle, somebody
else is speaking in Delaware, somebody else is speaking it in Bali,
somebody else is speaking it Crete, somebody else is speaking in the
pyramids. It’s stereophonic. If I speak my note, I don’t
have to speak every note. If I speak my note somebody else is speaking
the third and in the overtones there’s harmony. It’s the
heavenly choir. Once you’ve heard that you can play your part
with joy and with faith and without fear.
When I interviewed Houston Smith, he posed an interesting question.
“What is the dominant issue of our time?” How would you
answer that question?
I think we must create a new politics. We must create a soul-filled
politic. In the last couple of decades, after the Sixties, so many
of our hopes were smashed that people interested in higher modes of
service said no to politics. You’d have to be crazy to even
try. Look what happened to people in the 60’s.
At the end of the 19th century, Theodore Roosevelt said the great
minds in America must go back into politics. I think that that’s
what will be next, subtle body politics. However, it won’t be
the old politics because new wine needs new bottles. We know there’s
no real social revolution until we apply ourselves. If you look at
the etymology of the word politics, it doesn’t mean of the government,
it means of the citizen. So if we are truly interested in empowerment
and the possible human we recognize that that force field, what is
in that sense the political, is very important and it’s very
important in America particularly because some very constricted thought
forms have entered into that realm and I don’t think that people
interested in higher consciousness can in good conscience remain silent
One more visit to the new story. Let’s say that we find the
way to free ourselves - what will that look like?
I don’t think question for me it is so much what will it look
like as what will it feel like. Pure love and joy and peace. I always
say that you’ve been to heaven on Earth either in your mother’s
arms or someone elses. I think that’s why we’re so haunted
by the memory. It could look like anything. The point is not what
it look like, you can have two people embracing each other, but inside
there’s not true communion. You can see a picture of two people
when you’re looking across a room and you wouldn’t think
that they’re touching - but they’re touching. So the real
issue is what does it look like with another set of eyes? And it would
look like two souls embracing.
The real new story is the new Jerusalem.
Heaven on Earth. It’s where we’ve all merged again into
the oneness which is the ocean of the one self we share and how that
feels is what it feels like anytime we feel that the walls that separate
us from others have melted and we’ve become one with someone.
We will enter two by two, to re-pair the world, just as the animals
entered Noah’s Ark, two by two. I forgive you, I join with you.
We find oneness between us, that’s one link in the circle of
atonement. Ultimately everybody will be in love with everybody and
then I think history as we know it can end. But there’s a lot
of work to be done.
Have you had glimpses of that?
Oh yes, I’ve had my glimpses. Everybody I know has had glimpses.
What we want to do is make it the rule rather than the exception.
Right now we have moments of love and we think, “What
would it be like to have years of love, decades of love, thousands
of years of love?”
I think we should do that, don’t you?
Oh, I think we definitely should. Theoretically, it’s already
accomplished. We’re just remembering.