week of February 22, 2018
What's Your Relationship with Intuition?The quirky and elegant Conduit magazine did a ten-page interview with me in its recent issue. Here's a brief excerpt:
CONDUIT: Can you talk about your relationship with intuition?
ROB BREZSNY: One reliable source of intuition is formulating good questions and having an intention behind the questions: "What is it that I need to learn today?", "What is it that I need to learn today?", "What is it that I need to learn to live my life better?", "What is it that I need next to write my book?"
My sense is that intuition often reveals what you need to do next, although not necessarily the big picture. And if we're content with not pressuring intuition to always give us a mountaintop perspective, but rather just to answer for us, "What happens next? What do I need to do next?", I think that's a better relationship with intuition.
Four more things I'll mention about intuition: Working with dreams is fraught with the possibility of descending into chaos, but with practice and the development of skills, it can become a crucial source of intuition. I really value my ability to do one of the primary Jungian practices, which is shadow work -- dealing with those aspects of me that are unripe and dumb. Dreams have been crucial in helping me unlock the magic of dealing with my shadow and transforming my shadow.
Another good practice for intuition is to ask the question, "What does my death say?" On one's deathbed, what does one want to look back at and say, "That was important. That was important. That was important. No, that wasn't so important." So one's death can be a tonic informant that helps intuition really focus and come into maximum usefulness.
The other thing is that intuition is aided immeasurably by moving, by walking. I don't know if that's true for everybody. Walks and nature are important for me being able to tune into intuition that turns out to be useful and enduring. So often I'll take a notebook with me, or a recorder with me, to capture those intuitions that come to me while I'm walking.
There's one other thing. The practice of intuition takes place best when you have gone as far as you can with your intellect. In other words, I can't skip the stage of the process of research, of thinking hard, of using my logic, of being reasonable. That's crucial for generating intuition that's accurate and useful.
And once I've done the research, once I've tried to think my way to being as objective as possible -- and that involves using the scientific method -- then I hand it over to intuition and say, "Well, what more can you tell me, given that I've come this far with all this analysis? What can you add to it?"
Here's more of the interview that Conduit magazine did with me.
CONDUIT: Can you say what you mean by "Free Will Astrology"? It sounds like an oxymoron.
ROB BREZSNY: My approach to astrology is quite different from a lot of mainstream astrologers. I'm not alone in that. There are a few colleagues who share what I might call an allergy to how traditional astrology is practiced. I already had that allergy when I was young, when I first began writing the column many years ago.
Back then, I didn't like astrology columns, and I didn't like a lot of the ways astrology was practiced. Then as now, astrology in the hands of many practitioners tends to make people afraid of the future, fills them with ideas about there being some sort of fixed destiny that they're being pulled toward and that they're helpless to resist. That kind of thinking was and still is repulsive to me.
I didn't like astrology columns, because they were watered-down versions of the complex art of astrology, which was practiced, after all, by seminal psychologist Carl Jung.
So when I first got the opportunity to write an astrology column -- I was dirt poor and didn't have a job -- I decided if somebody's going to do it, it might as well be me, someone who's trained in poetry, loves language, and respects the free will of the people who might be my audience.
The bedrock of my practice has always been the idea that the planets may impel, but they don't compel. A study of the configurations of planets shows us the archetypal forces that are coalescing, dissolving, and becoming active in our lives. That can instruct us on how to use our free will to best activate the best versions of those archetypal forces as they coalesce and dissolve.
So for me, "free will astrology" conveys the notion that we have far more power than we might imagine over the way that we express the bigger forces that are at work in our lives.
My aspiration is not to condemn my readers to a particular fate that they can't avoid, but rather to show them the options that are available: the higher level, the mid-level, and the low-level ways in which they might express the archetypal forces, and to nudge them in the direction of finding where the highest-level expression of those forces might be.
Go here for more of my description on how I got started writing my column "Free Will Astrology."
Go here for more of my views on the difference between fearful fantasies and accurate intuitions.
MUTUAL AID SOCIETY
If you would like to support my ongoing work, please visit my Virtual Tip Jar at Paypal.
You can also contribute to my well-being by buying the Expanded Audio Horoscopes I create every week. These forecasts are different in tone and content from the written horoscopes I provide here. They're my four- to five-minute-long ruminations about the current chapter of your life story. They're available here.
Here's a testimony from one of my readers: "Dear Rob - I appreciate that you have never sold out to advertisers. I've been reading you since 1996. I don't know how you manage to make a living from doing Free Will Astrology! - Grateful Reader"
If you don't use Paypal, and would like to contribute to my cause, you can mail a check to me at 454 Las Gallinas Avenue, #255, San Rafael, CA 94903.
Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia is available at Amazon and Powells.
Below are excerpts.
You don't have to be anything you donít want to be.
You don't have to live up to anyoneís expectations.
There's no need to strive for a kind of perfection that's not very interesting to you.
You don't have to believe in ideas that make you sad or tormented, and you don't have to feel emotions that others try to manipulate you into feeling.
Alert, relaxed listening is the radical act at the heart of our pronoiac practice.
Curiosity is our primal state of awareness.
Wise innocence is a trick we aspire to master.
Open-hearted skepticism is the light in our eyes.
MANY DESIRES VERSUS A FEW DESIRES
I don't agree with Jenny Holzer, who wrote "If you have many desires, your life will be interesting." I find that as I have developed fewer but stronger desires, my life has become more interesting. What do you think?
There is no God. God is dead. God is a drug for people who aren't very smart. God is an illusion sold to dupes by money-hungry religions. God is a right-wing conspiracy. God is an infantile fantasy favored by superstitious cowards who can't face life's existential meaninglessness.
JUST KIDDING! The truth is, anyone who says he knows what God is or isn't, doesn't really know.
Now read Adolfo Quezada's prayer, then confess what you don't know about God. "God of the Wild, you are different from what I expected. I cannot predict you. You are too free to be captured for the sake of my understanding. I can't find you in the sentimentalism of religion. You are everywhere I least expect to find you. You are not the force that saves me from the pain of living; you are the force that brings me life even in the midst of pain."
Tell jokes to clowns.
Cook gourmet meals for chefs.
Show babies how to crawl.
Sing to the birds.
Play a joke on your fear.
Honor your anger.
Capitalize on your guilt.
Kill your own death.
DAILY TEXT MESSAGE HOROSCOPES
Some people don't know that I write daily horoscopes, available as text messages sent to your phone. They're shorter than the weekly 'scopes, but on the other hand they're more frequent -- every day of the week.
My weekly horoscopes are free, but the dailies cost about 67 cents a day if you sign up for a subscription. If you think you might enjoy getting regular bursts of inspiration from me to illuminate your adventures, check them out.
Go here. Register or log in. On the new page, click on "Subscribe / Renew" under "Daily Text Message Horoscopes" in the right-hand column.
CAN YOUR RELATIONSHIP HEAL THE WORLD?
Andrew Harvey says: The crisis we are facing is a crisis in which the sacred powers of love in the human soul are being diverted by distraction, by greed, by ignorance, by the pursuit of power, so that they never irrigate the world and transform it.
There are seven requirements necessary for a vision of evolutionary love to emerge into the world.
1. Both beings need to be plunged individually into a deep and passionate devotion of the Beloved, by whatever name they know the Beloved, because without both beings centering their life in God, the relationship will never be able to escape the private circle.
2. Both beings must develop a mastery of solitude.
3. There is an equality of power, and that equality is born out of a profound experience of the sacredness and dignity of the other personís soul.
4. If you are going to have a beloved-beloved relationship, you have to center your whole being and work and evolution in God. You must also bring the sacred practice of prayer and meditation into the very core of your life, so that the whole relationship can be enfolded in a mutually shared sacred enterprise.
5. Both lovers completely abandon any Hollywood sentimentality about what relationships actually are. Each person is the safe-guarder of the otherís shadowónot the judge of the otherís shadow, not the denier of the otherís shadow, but someone who recognizes where the other has been wounded, and safeguards and protects them with unconditional compassion without allowing themselves to be mauled or manipulated by the other.
6. If you are going to enter into the evolutionary process, you have to accept that it never ends, never stops unfolding.
7. You must make the commitment for your relationship not to be just a cultivation of an oasis of private pleasure. You must engage consciously in this relationship to serve the planet, to recognize that it is a relationship not only grounded in God, not only infused by sacred practice, but it is from the very beginning dedicated to making both people more powerful, more reflective, more passionately engaged with the only serious truth of our time: The world is dying, and we need a major revolution of the heart to empower everyone to do the work of reconstruction and re-creation that is desperately needed.
Read the entre essay.
An Excerpt From Evolutionary Love Relationships: Passion, Authenticity, and Activism
ELATIONSHIP LOVE SPELLS FOR BEAUTY AND TRUTH LAB ALLIES
The Beauty and Truth Lab's rapturists have formulated a batch of personal ads for you to borrow. If you're a Crafty Optimist or Mystical Activist or Ceremonial Teaser who aspires to put the elation back in relationship, check them out here.
THE ORGASMIC ROOTS OF PRONOIA
"The Orgasmic Roots of Pronoia" is one of the few NC-17-rated pieces in my book. Read it here.
NSFW! PROCEED WITH CAUTION! This material has graphic references to love, lust, tenderness, bliss, and rapture.
CLUES TO YOUR LOVED ONES' MYSTERIES
"Everyone carries with them at least one piece to someone else's puzzle." So wrote Lawrence Kushner in his book, Honey from the Rock.
In other words, you have in your possession certain clues to your loved ones' destinies -- secrets they haven't discovered themselves.
Wouldn't you love to hand over those clues -- to make a gift of the puzzle pieces that are most needed by the people you care about?
Search your depths for insights you've never communicated. Tell truths you haven't found a way to express before now. More than you know, you have the power to mobilize your companions' dreams.
YOU CAN'T OWN LOVE
You understand that you can never own love, right? No matter how much someone adores you today, no matter how much you adore someone, you can't force that unique state of grace to keep its shape forever. It will inevitably evolve or mutate, perhaps into a different version of tender caring, but maybe not.
From there it will continue to change, into either yet another version of interesting affection, or who knows what else?
Are you making any progress in getting the hang of this tricky wisdom?
ACT LIKE YOU'RE IN LOVE
I invite you to act like a person who's in love. Even if you're not currently in the throes of passion for a special someone, pretend you are. Everywhere you go, exude that charismatic blend of shell-shocked contentment and blissful turmoil that comes over you when you're infatuated. Let everyone you meet soak up the delicious wisdom you exude. Dispense free blessings and extra slack like a rich saint high on natural endorphins.
THE ANGEL OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Imagine that the merger of you and your best ally has created a third thing that hovers near you, protecting and guiding the two of you. Call this third thing an angel. Or call it the soul of your connection or the inspirational force of your relationship. Or call it the special work the two of you can accomplish together. And let this magical presence be the third point of your love triangle.
LOVE NEEDS IMAGINATION
"For a relationship to stay alive, love alone is not enough. Without imagination, love stales into sentiment, duty, boredom. Relationships fail not because we have stopped loving but because we first stopped imagining."
- James Hillman
Gertrude Stein defined love as "the skillful audacity required to share an inner life." It suggests that expressing the truth about who you are is not something that amateurs do very well. Practice and ingenuity are required.
It also implies that courage is an essential element of successful intimacy. You've got to be adventurous if you want to weave your life together with another's.
YOU ARE MY INSPIRATION AND FOLLY
"You are my inspiration and my folly. You are my light across the sea, my million nameless joys, and my day's wage. You are my divinity, my madness, my selfishness, my transfiguration and purification. You are my rapscallionly fellow vagabond, my tempter and star. I want you."
- George Bernard Shaw
Whenever I write about romance and togetherness, I attract a storm of complaints from readers who are solitary. "How dare you imply that everyone has or should have a partner!?" is a typical protest. "I'm quite content being alone!" is another.
Let it be known that I do not believe your happiness depends on having a spouse or lover. What I do suspect, though, is that your soul needs some sacred relationship in order to thrive, whether it's with a good friend, a beloved animal, a beautiful patch of earth, the Divine Wow, or anything that's not you.
Whenever I invite you to seek deeper, wilder communion, feel free to interpret it as a call to explore any kind of intimacy that draws you closer to the secret heart of the world.
© 1995-2013 -- Rob Brezsny. All rights reserved