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Addictions, the last defence

Wonder why Congressman Weiner went weird? He might show skin but he is not comfortable in his own. Addicts never are.

BY MARY COOK, M.A., R.A.S. — Read any night about the most privileged people on the planet. Nic Cage is arrested for spousal abuse and public inebriation. Days later Cage’s son attacks his personal trainer. Meanwhile, Charlie Sheen is acting out again.

When our primary needs or desires in childhood are insufficiently gratified, we experience a deep and lasting sense of fear, incompleteness and inferiority.

Because it is difficult to contain fully conscious awareness of these feelings, defense mechanisms arise to dull, block or defensively glorify them.

We might adopt narcissistic or avoidant behaviors, or dangerous thrill-seeking practices, in order to distract ourselves from original fears.

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Soul’s Code Exclusive: the first novel based on Eckhart Tolle

Soul’s Code Exclusive: the first novel based on Eckhart Tolle

Advance excerpt: author Jonathan Lowe recreates the launch of Eckhart Tolle’s career as a global spiritual superstar. His first audience was in a public park.

Soul’s Code — A well-dressed TV reporter is seated on a park bench next to a man who looks homeless. Guardians of nearby children eye the pair with suspicion. Ball players grin mockingly at them through a fence. But by now the reporter, Valerie, is more intrigued by the man than wary of him.

That’s one of the poignant scenes from The Miraculous Plot of Leiter & Lott, author Jonathan Lowe’s fictional tribute to Eckhart Tolle, inspired by the bestseller The Power of Now. The novel begins with a man’s near-suicide – much like Tolle’s real-life experience that led to his international acclaim as a spiritual author, teacher and speaker.

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The sins of fathers: Pablo Escobar speaks from the grave, through his son

The sins of fathers: Pablo Escobar speaks from the grave, through his son

Can you inherit hate? The karmic question is tested in an HBO documentary about the most notorious public enemy alongside Bin Laden and Hitler

BY PAUL KAIHLA – A DEA agent once told me a story he heard about Pablo Escobar, the late founder and CEO of the Medellin drug cartel. Escobar saw an attractive woman in a Colombian hotel. He ordered his henchmen to do two things: kill the woman’s husband, and bring her to his room, where he raped her.

The tale may be apocryphal, and it appears in no public accounts. But what is in the public record thanks to multiple investigations and sig-int intercepts is that Mr. Escobar ordered: the assassination of 3 Colombian presidential candidates, as well as 100’s of cabinet ministers, judges, prosecutors and cops; the bombing of an Avianca jet that killed 110 passengers . . . it’s a long list of atrocities.

In other words, if you’re going to document a case study on the origins and transference of hate, violence and sin, Pablo Escobar is a cardinal candidate.

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spiral dynamics

Are there two tiers of consciousness?

What is Spiral Dynamics? When to apply your own knowledge to everyday life

BY MICK QUINN AND DEBORA PRIETO (Read the first part of this two-part series— The easiest way to understand the essential nature of Spiral Dynamics (SD) is to picture a ladder that twists into a never-ending spiral, the top end of which is constantly evolving.

The first six levels of consciousness comprise the “First Tier,” the top from which a revolutionary shift in consciousness occurs that allows for the emergence of the Second Tier. The vMemes (v – for values) that comprise these first two tiers are given a color, making the discussion of SD much easier.

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Zen and the art of running

Zen and the art of running

How marathon training taught a yoga drop-out to meditate

BY ALISON DUNN — “Clear your mind,” the yoga teacher advised. “Let go of all your petty frustrations, all your worries, all your cares and let your mind become a blank slate. Only then will you take your consciousness to a higher level.”

Fat chance. There was no way I could achieve enlightenment in Savasana.  My mind was too busy racing through my endless to-do list, my worries and my troubles. I kept focusing on everything that was wrong in my life and couldn’t seem to let go. By making me lie still and focus on my negative thoughts, yoga simply wasn’t the answer.

Instead, I ran a marathon.

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Decoding America’s favorite psychopath, Showtime’s Dexter

The sub-text of the award-winning cable TV series has a lot to say about a society that bred Enron, Dick Cheney and Real Housewives

MICHELLE MORRA-CARLISLE: “Sociopaths can’t feel psychic pain but they can feel physical pain,” says narrator Dexter as on-screen Dexter plucks a hair – with gusto – from the head of a likely serial rapist and killer. It’s for a routine DNA test but the viewer, along with Dexter, feels pleasure when the bad guy says, “Ow!”

The bad guy somehow is not Dexter Morgan, hence the mastery of this Showcase series now in its fifth season. A man with an irrepressible urge to kill, Dexter (played by Michael C. Hall) is not an antagonist for the hero to catch. He is the hero.

From Enron and Wall Street graft to the White House — both occupants on the inside like Dick Cheney and crashers from the outside like the reality-show Salahis — psychopathic behavior in the world around us seems to be at a collective high. Dexter serves as a sympathetic benchmark for the mental miasma in our midst.

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The Non-Accidental Universe

The Non-Accidental Universe

Our own intentions don’t trump those of the universe. Even BP received signs from above before the Gulf oil spill

DAVID RICKEY: Long before the big spill, something or someone — let’s say God or the universe — tried to warn BP Oil and its contractors that a massive blowout was imminent. Eleven workers and thousands of birds, mammals and reptiles would still be alive today had the company paid attention to the warning signs rather than exert its own will.

The more I read, and more importantly the more I experience, I am convinced there is a purpose behind this whole amazing universe. Or, to bring it down to a bit more manageable level, behind life on this planet. My own life is full of synchronicities,

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Ego halo

W got me thinking: The ego parodoxically drives both evolution — and war

“Not to do a Mel Gibson but most wars are among peoples influenced by the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). What they have in common is a belief in a personal soul that survives death.”

BY DAVID RICKEY — George Bush’s November media blitz to promote his new autobiography, Decision Points, got me thinking about the distinction between the mindless ego and the mindful one, which W lacks. His new book is as myopic and self-servingly spun as his presidency: Even after public testimony before the 9/11 Commission and Congress proving that the CIA had warned the president of an al Qaeda offensive inside the U.S. a month before the World Trade Center attack, Bush deludedly declares that he had no clues that it was coming.

But while Bush’s personality is an exhibit on public display of the ego at its worst — for its self-deception, narcissism and so many other reasons — the ego at its most elemental is a necessary virtue.

To the ears of many Soul’s Code readers and practitioners defending the ego is the spiritual equivalent of saying, “greed is good.” In mystical traditions, the ego is officially verbotten — an entity that needs to be nuked in the name of knowing and liberation.

But I could not be writing this, and you could not be reading it, without an ego.

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The purpose of pain

Living through physical and emotional pain is a gift to the collective consciousness — and ultimately, the cosmos.

BY DAVID RICKEY — Being Human, at the present time, inevitably involves experiencing pain, both physical and emotional. As much as we may try through sex, drugs, relationships or meditation, there is no escaping this “given” of life.

Other manifestations of life also experience pain and the opposite of peace, from quails to quasars. But what makes pain uniquely painful for we humans, though, is the capacity of the mind for self-reflection, and the attempt to avoid with the reflexive thought-form: “This shouldn’t be happening to me.”

Take a step back from that concept, and let me explore why there is a universal imperative for the pain we feel.

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Mad Men’s Don Draper and depression in America

In 2010 America, we all live in a world that is 90 % mad: The most fascinating show on TV’s sly commentary on our current mental health

BY PAUL KAIHLA —  On October 1, 2010, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a survey of the most recent data on depression — and the results were, well, depressing. One in ten Americans suffered from that mental illness as the economy careened into the current recession.

But what surprised many researchers, especially at pioneering psych departments like that at Stanford University, is that the statistic was not higher. According to Stanford neuro-psych Viveka Ramel, about half of us in North America will suffer from a clinical disorder of some kind during our lifetime — and for a fifth of us, that diagnosis will be depression.

A brilliant reflection of our current economic and spiritual health, and how those macro forces course through our personal psycho-dynamics, is on display this fall on the AMC cable channel series, Mad Men. The show’s writers — some of the same people who brought you the hit HBO show, The Sopranos — frame their mise-en-scene in the emerging New York megapolitan of the 1960′s, riven by characters who are careerists on Madison Avenue.

Casting this story in the past gives us just enough comfort-zone to look at ourselves in our present-tense, and make no mistake: Mad Men is a commentary on *our* anxious, over-politicized and publicized times.

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