Ask the Swami – Spring 2007
Where Swami answers your questions, and you will question his answers.
Is it possible to shift the consciousness of a whole country? Are there any examples in history? — Anna Stezia, Portland, Oregon
Well, from what I understand the shift really hit the fan in Atlantis a few millennia back. Of course, that example is a little over the top, not to mention under the bottom. A little closer to here and now, it happened in America in 1776, and being a certain kind of mystic — an optimystic — I say it can happen again. Only this time, we won’t need a revolution. It will take an evolution where we the people wake up to realize that we are the leaders we’ve been waiting for. Imagine…the unarmed forces overgrowing the current system from the grassroots up, a nonviolent evolution where only a few big shots are fired. And here’s the good news: people are already starting to wake up and wise up, and you know what that means, don’t you? The “up-wising” has begun!
My daughter came home from college with a pierced lip. Although she is legally an adult and I believe has the right to manage her own body, I find facial piercing "off-putting." She has marred her natural beauty and repulsed potential employers — first impressions count! Not to mention having that metal ring around the teeth we paid $3000 to straighten. How can I convince her to take the ring out and let her lip heal? — Carmen Leah Greedon, Montpelier, Vermont
First of all, let’s put things in perspective. What about all the crazy things YOU used to do when you were trying to drive YOUR parents up the wall? People say to me, “Swami, I don’t believe in karma. What should I do?” And my answer is, “Have kids.” You know, this reminds me of when I was a teenager, growing up in a very bad neighborhood in Oklahoma. In spite of being out there in the boonies, we were way ahead of our time. Body piercing was very popular, only we called it “stabbing.” On the other hand, I don’t think Elvis ever sang, “Won’t You Wear My Ring Around Your Lip…to Tell the World You’re Oh So Hip.” I can certainly understand your concern about your daughter making the right impression; out where I live, they call facial piercings “unemployment insurance,” guaranteed to insure your unemployment almost anywhere. So if you really care about your daughter’s well-being, and you’re willing to take extreme measures to get results, I recommend shock therapy. Go get your lower lip pierced, and get not one ring but ten! You will look like a 1950 Buick, but I tell you what. Her scream will be the last piercing thing she does.
As long time lightworkers, we have devoted our lives to selflessly helping others, yet we ourselves feel very unsupported. We’ve read every one of those prosperity books, and don’t have a nickel to show for it. In fact, if we had a nickel for every time we helped someone and didn’t accept a nickel for it — we’d have lots of nickels. Is there a prosperity secret we’re missing here? — Emma & Nate Light, Santa Cruz, California
Dear Emma and Nate,
If it makes you feel any better, a lot of folks are in your situation. I don’t know if you’ve seen the latest Greenspan Report but the average American family these days doesn’t have enough green to span the average month. As for the prosperity secrets, they can be summed up in four words: “Write a prosperity book.” That’s how those people got rich, so why not you? Actually, I’m hearing a lot from folks like you two these days, people who’ve helped themselves to heaping helpings of self-help — yet still are left helplessly hoping and hopelessly helpless. You appear to be suffering from a condition called “Selfless Helplessness,” where you are helpless to help yourself because you are too busy selflessly helping others. Now of course, helping people at your own expense is fine — until your expense account runs out. Time to stop selfishly hoarding all the selflessness for yourself, and let others selflessly help you. Put yourself in your own shoes for a change, and help yourself to a helping of what you’ve been helping others with. Just think. If you can help just one individual — yourself — that’s one less helpless individual needing help from others.
It’s amazing to me that with all of the philosophy, culture, learning and technology we humans have been immersed in, we continue to act so irrationally. I mean, look at us. What huge percentage of the world’s resources are spent on weapons of mass destruction? Will we ever start using our heads? — Howard Juneau, Braintree, Massachusetts
Well, I certainly agree with you about the problem, but I’m not sure using our heads is the solution. After all, look at how we’ve rationalized our irrationality — and rationalizing irrationality is definitely a head trip. Ever since Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am,” we’ve been putting Descartes before the horse. In our logical progression to the illogical conclusion that the best way to create safety in the world is by making the world less safe, we have forgotten that we humans are all connected at the heart. We have followed our head, and look at us. A world with its head up its ass. Yes, the sad truth is we have followed our head right up our own ass! Maybe we need to focus on our heart for a change and leave the head behind. Perhaps a ration of love is the way to get us out of our irrational head trips. Or, as Lyndon Johnson didn’t say back in 1966, “Get ‘em by the hearts, and their heads will follow.”
What is the quickest way to shift my consciousness? —S.D., San Rafael CA
Well, that all depends on whether you want to downshift or upshift. Downshifting is quick and easy. Just turn on your TV, and voila! Just by a flick of the remote, you’ve shifted from consciousness to semi-consciousness. But if you want to shift your karma into surpassing gear up there into higher consciousness, you’ll need a powerful transmission. So the first thing is, go meditate to find out what Spirit wants to transmit through you. Then, whatever that is, do it. As soon as you are doing something that brings Spirit to the world, your consciousness will automatically upshift. True, shift happens. But if we want good shift to happen, we must make the shift ourselves. When we find our own expressway for expressing our spirit, that is where the karma meets the road.
How do I get the last word in an argument with someone who is intractable, unreasonable, stubborn and generally wrong? — Daryl B. Heltapay, Bozeman, Montana
There’s always the reliable old standby, “Yes, dear,” but I have my own preferred conversation-ender: “Well, this is a universe of infinite possibilities, so you may be right.”
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