The third of Seven Transforming Practices

is Actualization.

“What we can be, we must be.”
(Abe Maslow)

“The fully functioning person is self-directed.”
(Carl Rogers)

Both these revolutionary psychologists
identified actualization with Creativity.

Actualization can be applied as a method for
facilitating the unfoldment of human potential.

Helping other people become
what they are meant to be.

Safety, Belonging and Esteem,
are very basic human needs –
prerequisites for actualization.

If we can provide our people with
Safety – security & stability,
Belonging – affectionate relationships,
Esteem – recognition for accomplishments,
then they will tend to become creative.

Punishment and coercion impair creativity.
Encouragement and support enhance creativity.

This has implications for the human fields of
Government, Religion, Education, Business.

If we wish our citizens, our members, our employees
to be dedicated, committed, functional and fulfilled,
then we need to learn to design systems
that actualize the creativity of human beings.

Imagine if parents, teachers, healers, leaders
were trained to create these systems.

That is the reason Actualization
is a core skill for change agents.

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The second of Seven Transforming Practices

is Dialogue.

Socrates taught that our soul dwells between
the divine realm of principles
and the natural realm of consequences.

Dialogue is an aperture
between those realms.

Humanity has been gathering
across countless millennia
in circles around fires
to talk with each other.

The practice begins with
sitting quietly and
peacefully together,
speaking honestly and
listening respectfully -

Letting the voices be heard,
letting the vision be seen.


The ageless act of
sitting and sharing
opens a vortex
for groups to learn
what they need to know.

This is why indigenous councils
and anonymous meetings
are so spiritually powerful -

Human consciousness unfolds itself
through the processes of discourse.

The reason Dialogue is a a core skill
in the basic training for agents of change


If we can communicate with discipline,
then we can facilitate coherence.

Posted in Brock Travis, Dialogue, Spiritual Counseling, Transforming Practices, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment



The first of Seven Transforming Practices

is mindfulness.

The Buddha says, in the Dhammapada,
“Heedfulness is the path to the deathless.”

The Bible says, in Deuteronomy,
“Watchfulness… at the gates of the heart…”

Mindfulness is simply present moment
awareness, consciousness, attention.

Mindfulness could also
be termed Heartfulness.

The practice begins with the breath -

Breathing in. Breathing out.

Letting things be what they are.
Letting things go as they will.

Focusing upon the senses of the body.
Feeling the feelings of the heart.
Watching the thoughts of the mind.

Witnessing the presence
of our own being,
just as it is
here and now.

Thus deepening our kindness
and brightening our wisdom.

The practice extends beyond meditation –
entering fully into the everyday world.

Being present with ourselves.
Being present with others.

Attending to whatever presents itself.
Responding to the demands of the moment.

Listening. Observing.

Moment by moment by moment.
Being there to meet the need.

The reason mindfulness is a core skill
in the basic training for agents of change


If we become more fully present
with the depths of our own being,
then we become a greater presence
in the world we choose to serve.

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Seven Transforming Practices



It just struck me, as if I were being asked,
“What if any one of these blogs
was your only chance to share
a gift with the world?”

Well… then each of these pieces of writing
should not so much promote as provide
spiritual counseling for solving problems.

What seems to me to be the most important
offering at this point in my journey
is to present the set of ideas and skills
I have learned for awakening consciousness.

So the next series of postings
(hopefully one a week)
will be focused upon
the basic transforming practices
for spiritual professionalism
in the new era:

1. Mindfulness
2. Dialogue
3. Actualization
4. Holism
5. Ecology
6. Restructuring
7. Reinforcement

These are core skills for agents of change.

The photos were taken with a phone
on a walk one rainy day last spring
in Matilija Canyon.


Posted in Ojai, Spiritual Counseling, Spiritual Counselor, Spirituality, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nature & Spirit


One of the great things about my counseling work
is that I get to share the wild beauty of this locale.


I meet with clients at
Ventura Pier,
Harbor Estuary,
Botanical Gardens,
Lake Casitas,
Pine Mountain,
Rose Valley,
Matilija Creek,
Chumash Trail,
Lake Shrine,
Sacred Space,
the Mount…

Vta Eagle

I love not only the nature of the place,
but also the spirit of the time.


There are legends that the New Era starts here,
amongst valleys sacred for 10,000 years.


Profound wisdom and healing power
are hidden between mountains and ocean.


 Each of the World’s Faiths has a center in this region,
and every kind of human being now lives in this area.


Wondrous things are happening.
It is a blessing to be a part of it.

Vta Swan

I need to say a deeply loving thanks to
The Ventura Center for Spiritual Living
for letting me use office space as needed.

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Wisdom of Kindness

Vta Pond


“Kindness is the basic wisdom.”
(Fortune Cookie, circa 2000.)

A deep study of the World’s Great Faiths
will reveal a hidden secret.
There exists an ageless wisdom teaching,
a single core idea, arising
through every period and culture
of humanity upon this planet -

We are not merely our personality –
composed of body, feelings, thoughts.
We are a spiritual consciousness.
We are essentially divine beings.

There comes a point on the Path
where the light touches our mind –
we realize that we are beings,
and must not be treated as things.

There comes a point on the path
when the love touches our hearts –
we realize that others are beings,
and must not be treated as things.

If I am a being, then all these others are too,
and I must treat them as if they were the Self,
because that is what they truly are.

This is the Diamond Rule.

If I search deeply into myself,
and then search deeply into
family, friends, strangers, enemies,
I do not find separated entities,
I find One Soul of love and light.

All beings are of one kind.

This is the basic wisdom of our species.
And it is the reason for kindness.

We are living through the moment
this ancient hidden secret might
finally become common knowledge.

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Practice of Presence


I have made a lifelong study
of the world’s wealth of disciplines
for awakening consciousness,
trying to find the common basis
of the various approaches to
meditation and contemplation.

I have finally come to believe that
the basic human practice is presence.

In my own life I have learned that
fear, grief and pain tend to ease
as I bring my focus home
to the depths of my own being.

If I mind my heart,
then I am at peace.

In my work with clients
I notice that humans become
more serene and tranquil,
less worried and angry,
as we become skillful at
breathing our breath,
feeling our feelings,
thinking our thoughts.

It seems like things go better as
we become conscious of ourselves.

This is a basic human practice –
being present with ourselves.

The mystery of this practice is that
being present with our own being,
brings us into a greater presence
of loving kindness and loving wisdom.

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Broken & Perfect


Among the spiritual communities
in which I have the honor of serving
are two that might seem to be
based upon opposing worldviews.

The metaphysical communities of New Thought
espouse the concept that all of us are perfect.

The anonymous fellowships of Twelve Steps
espouse the concept that we can be broken.

I used to make my living treating PTSD,
and have become familiar with
the enduring impacts
of trauma upon human beings –
some of us tend to go sad and scared,
some of us tend to go tough and mean.

I have become convinced that
trauma is a global condition,
that it can be carried across
incarnations and generations
that it touches every life in this world.

So I have no trouble believing
the Anonymous paradigm
about human brokenness.

I now make my living consulting
with people about their emerging spirituality,
and I am blessed to witness everyday miracles
of learning, healing, growth and change.

I have also become utterly convinced
that every single human being
possesses astonishing capacities for
transformation, liberation,
redemption and awakening.

So I have no trouble believing
the Metaphysical paradigm
about human perfection.

“I am perfect, whole and complete…”
(Louise Hay)

“We admitted we were powerless…”
(Bill Wilson)

What if they are both right?

This is how the study of
Wisdom comes in handy –
there is an obscure teaching
that arose in the Himalayas
in the 4th and 5th Century
(Arya Asanga’s Uttaratantra).

This Wisdom Teaching suggests that
spiritual consciousness has a twofold aspect -

A perfection aspect
because we are creatures
whose essence is infinite awareness,
an unfolding aspect
because we are by nature
eternally developing and evolving.

It is the perfection aspect which gives us
our miraculous potentialities,
because the human spirit is grounded in,
and therefore one with, the Divine Spirit.

It is the unfoldment aspect which gives us
our persistent appearance of brokenness,
because our trajectory has, forever,
both a leading edge and a trailing edge.

The poignant grandeur of our species
lies hid in the differential between
our perfection and our brokenness –
we are simultaneously angel and animal.

This is our struggle and our glory.

For me the implication is
that we will do very well
to embrace and enjoy both
our perfection and our unfoldment.

I need to express appreciation
for two friends –
Speaker Rick Wilson
Reverend Bonnie Rose
who are serving
by bringing through
great treasures of
kindness and wisdom.

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Spiritual Friendship

HealerAbout three years ago I was driving home from
an evening meeting during a thunderstorm, and
I was surrounded by beautiful lightning strikes.
This stunning display gave me a glimpse of vision.
I sensed for a moment the many points of light
that we are, in the community of spirituality, and
I felt deeply the great need for us to build links for a network of loving friendship.

Lately every week I go to various spiritual events in the area near my Ojai home:
metaphysical centers, anonymous fellowships, esoteric communities, as well as
churches, temples, and service agencies.  I am seeing and hearing the signs of
a greater Wisdom Family drawn from this wealth of diverse groups –

Different people talking about the joy of a life given over
to loving service, helping others and sharing kindness. 

What does it matter if one of us studies the Dharma of the Buddha,
and the other one of us studies the Gospel of the Christ?

One day our grandchildren will ask us what we did during the global crisis,
and we will take no pride in petty disputes between points of view.

What does it matter if there are difficulties between our differing personalities?

One day we will all be attending each other’s memorial services.
In that moment we will be mourning only the barriers that kept us apart.


We are meant for spiritual friendships that
connect us together for the good of the whole.
We are called to help heal this wounded world
and to take part in building a City of Peace.
We are being gathered together from our
sects and tribes for an urgent common reason -

We need a planetary recovery – an awakening and redemption that unites us.
At this point the deepest basis for human relations is spiritual friendship.

Posted in Ojai Peace | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Emergency Meditation


I have taught many exotic techniques of meditation,
but if I am in real trouble, then I use this one -

Bring your mind
to your heart
find your breath.

I call it Emergency Meditation because
you can do it in the middle of an accident,
you can do it in the middle of an argument,
and you can do it just as you put your hand
onto the doorknob of the really hard room.

Bring your mind
to your heart
find your breath.

By this I mean focus into the center of your chest,
and let yourself breathe a little bit deeper.

It’s a bit like coming home.

As you deepen your breath,
the body tends to ease,
the heart gets a little calmer,
and the mind gets a little clearer.

Bring your mind
to your heart,
find your breath
feel your feelings.

Don’t fight your feelings, just feel them, as they are.
There is no need to go to war with your own heart.

If you have judgements about your feelings,
then embrace your own heart with loving kindness.

Just for one moment be at peace
with your own heart, as it is.

Bring your mind
to your heart,
find your breath
watch your thoughts.

Don’t fight your thoughts, just watch them, as they are.
There is no need to go to war with your own mind.

If you have judgements about your thinking,
then observe your own mind with loving wisdom.

Just for one moment be at peace
with your own mind, as it is.

Bring your mind
to your heart
find your breath.

Deepen your breathing.
Feel your feelings.
Watch your thoughts.

Whatever arises,
moment by moment,
as you breathe in, let it be,
as you breathe out, let it go.

Whatever is happening, no matter what –
As you breathe in, let it be, just as it is.

As you breathe out, let it go, just as it will.

As you breathe in, let it be.
As you breathe out, let it go.

If you can bring your mind and heart to peace,
heart calm, mind clear, even if only for a moment,
then your thinking, feeling, and actions
can become that much wiser and kinder.

With practice,
you can do this,
whatever is happening,
no matter what.

I do it wherever I am making a choice,
whenever I am getting upset,
and as I enter into a difficult situation.


By this simple way,
we can bring the peace.

Posted in Meditation, Mindfulness, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments