August, 2013

Do you think it is possible for a Muslim to write an objective scholarly exploration of the life of Christ and its meaning to humanity? Do you think it is possible for a Christian to write an objective scholarly exploration of the life of Muhammad and its meaning to humanity?

God is the source of all help to people in the world, but most people are asking God for the wrong kind of help—and even then they often do not turn to God except when it is too late.

Most people are asking God to change things. They are asking for a change in the situations, circumstances, and events of their lives—not understanding that they are asking God to undo the very conditions that they, themselves, have co-created.

They are asking God for peace on Earth, and goodwill between all people—while they, themselves, continue to co-create the opposite.

They are asking God for health, safety, and security—while they, themselves, continue to co-create the opposite.

They are asking God for everyone to have an equal opportunity for full self-expression, for abundance, and for personal happiness—while they, themselves, continue to co-create the opposite.

It is true. All the while that we humans send up our prayers to God, we deny that we, ourselves, are continuing to co-create the opposite of that for which we say we yearn. And there is one thing we can be certain of in our relationship with God: God will always give us Free Will, allowing us to create in our collective experience whatever it is we choose to create — even when it violates the spirit of everything we say we wish to create.

The chief problem facing humanity today is our absolute refusal to accept responsibility for the experiences that we, ourselves, are collaboratively creating.

What God deeply desires us to do is to allow God to empower us. Yet when we turn to God for the wrong kind of help at the wrong time, it disempowers us, because it affirms our thought that that we are the victims of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

FOCUS: The Nature of God and Life/an exploration of critical importance in our time

As well, it furthers our thought that we are powerless to alter the circumstance we have created, and that God is now the only one who can help us — if there even is a “God.”

As long as most people think of themselves as being at the effect of the events or circumstances in their lives, they are bound to repeat them, because they are not aware of how or why those events have occurred.

This is a declaration, in 40 words, of the precise reason that life is the way it is on the Planet Earth today.

People are not at the effect of the global events and circumstances in their lives, they are collectively at cause in the matter.

Every event and circumstance on Earth is jointly produced, placed into the collective reality as a collaborative creation of The Collective Itself.

And the tragedy is that The Collective does not know this—or, worse yet, does know this, and merely acts as if it does not.

Much of this has to do with our understanding of the nature of God itself. Is there even a being called “God”? What is the true nature of The Divine — and what does it want, need, require? What does it actually do in our lives? How does Divinity interact with Humanity? What is the nature of this relationship? Does it even exist?

These questions and more will be explored here in this multi-part series titled FOCUS: The Nature of God and Life/an exploration of critical importance in our time, headlining The Global Conversation online newspaper in the weeks ahead.  I hope you will join in the discussion by posting in the Comment Section below — and invite your family, friends, and acquaintances to do the same. Now is the moment for a worldwide conversation on a matter of global impact and universal significance.

In the months ahead I will bring this discussion right into your home via telephone and video links. Look for that from CWGConnect. In the meantime, join us here for the online print-media element of this exploration.



(This week’s Addiction & Recovery column is hosting a guest article written and contributed by Audrey Holst.)

I’m slowly healing an addiction.

I never thought it would happen to me.  I always thought addicts were people with issues with booze or drugs.  I denied I had a problem for a long time.  But it’s time I come clean.

I was addicted to my cell phone.

It was the first thing I looked at in the morning.  My cell is also my alarm so as soon as it went off I already had my phone in hand.  It was easy to thumb through the e-mails that came in overnight.  Browse through my Facebook newsfeed.  Before I’d even gotten out of bed I’d gotten my first hit.  At any point in the day my e-mail made its distinctive ‘ding’ noise I would be reaching to read and answer it.   Any action on my Facebook newsfeed or timeline called for contact, it didn’t matter where or when it happened.  I checked it compulsively.  Even if I wasn’t sure if there was an alert, I’d check my phone.  Before I went to bed at night I’d check and re-check my e-mail.  I’d check my newsfeed.  I’d browse a few pages.  I’d be plugged in until the very last moment before my eyes closed.

I left my phone at home one day and you would have thought I had lost a limb.

This may seem silly to some people since it’s such a regular part of our society.  It’s an acceptable addiction because the majority of us indulge in it.  But explain that to a boyfriend that I used to make feel completely de-valued during dates interrupted by “urgent” work e-mails.  Explain those moments spent awake at night because I checked my e-mail right before bed only to find an irritating message that could have been dealt with in the morning.  Explain hours of valuable time lost because I went down the rabbit hole that is going through people’s pages on Facebook.

Explain this to couples at dinner tables (and I’ve seen them) never looking up at each other, glued to their phone screens.  Explain this to a sidewalk full of pedestrians walking into each other with their faces obsessively scanning their cells.  Explain this to drivers all over the country weaving across highway lanes at high speeds watching the progress of their phone messages more than the progress of the road.

Just because so many of us do it, doesn’t mean it’s any less destructive to the quality of our lives.  Nomophobia is an actual term first created by British researchers in 2008 to describe people who experienced anxiety when they had no access to mobile technology.  Stress levels soared when people were unable to tap into their phones.

Some personal side-effects of my addiction?  Unnecessary stress and obsessive uncontrollable thoughts at all hours of the day.  My relationship ended due to lack of intimacy.  Could I say my cell-phone broke us up?  Perhaps not, but it was certainly a huge indicator of my bigger problem.

What was the addiction really asking for?  I started to dig deeper into this while doing the inner work during my Life Coach training.  I value living an aware and conscious life and I am dedicated to being present.  Being at the beck and call of a small little electronic device was against my major beliefs.  What was I really searching for every time I reached for my phone?


Every time I picked up my phone I was trying to satisfy the desire for connection, but without the risk that often comes along with it.  In the case of my “urgent” work e-mail interrupted dates, I was avoiding face-to-face intimacy.  It’s so easy to hide behind technology while sharing vulnerable details of your life but to do it face-to-face with a real person makes the experience so much more intense, and any perceived judgement for sharing yourself, so much more harsh.  Every time I answered a work e-mail I felt needed and important.  And who doesn’t want to feel needed and important?  I wanted to be seen and heard and cherished but rather than meet those needs through my personal relationships, I buried myself in the technological ones.

There is a theory that addiction to cell phone use acts like a “gateway drug” to fuel the search for other substances that keep uncomfortable sensations at bay.  In the past, I drank to deal with certain feelings.  I also made a recent discovery that I use food to squash emotions I don’t want to deal with.

I’ve gotten to the point that I’m tired of dealing with my own B.S. and avoiding of things that challenge me emotionally.  Time to cut through it and get real.

Now what?

It’s an ongoing process, but the long story short of it, I’ve been tapping into my yoga practice to help guide me.  Just like we encourage the body to be uncomfortable in yoga postures as a vehicle for change, there is nothing different about the mind or emotions being uncomfortable in everyday life situations.  I have to be willing to lean into that discomfort.  I’ve done work around my relationship issues with fellow coaches.  I’ve discovered that being connected to nature is another necessary element to ground me and bring me back to a stable place to move from.  I’ve cleaned up my diet and have a much healthier relationship to food.  I’ve been working outside my comfort zone sober and with technology out of reach.

I still catch myself having ghost thoughts and compulsions of past habits but the pull is significantly less.  My dedication to being aware and conscious is powerful.  I feel more at peace.  More in control of my life.  I feel like a more authentic version of myself.

Our addictions are actually misguided attempts at self-care.  We engage in them to fill a really important need.  However, addictions don’t address the root problem.  They are like putting a flimsy band-aid over a severed artery.  When it doesn’t stop the hemorrhaging we add more and more band-aids.  Until we are willing to get that artery stitched up, which usually requires asking for help and is often a much harder, and more challenging process than just piling on band-aids, we will continue to bleed out.  I send love to all of us that are on this path.

Can you relate to this journey?  What did it, or what will it, take for you to heal?

Audrey Holst is an Inner Wisdom advocate that partners with women that feel unsatisfied by the status quo to reclaim their energy and fill their lives with pleasure, creation, and love.  She facilitates transformation through the healing process of coaching and her years of experience as a Bikram certified yoga instructor.  Audrey teaches at, and manages, Yoga for You, A Bikram Yoga Studio in Dedham, MA.  To learn more, visit her website at or connect with her at

As the entire world has observed, religion took a fascinating and wonderful turn this week with the declaration made by Pope Francis. As His Holiness stated, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”, a new turn has been taken to create a more accepting, more open religious world. And since that utterance on July 29th, celebrations all over the world have taken place to commemorate this wonderful event.

With such a change of heart from the Pope himself, the question for us remains: who are we to judge anyone’s highest intentions?  

While a person’s highest intentions may include their homosexuality, it ALSO includes their own faith. As love comes in many different forms, beliefs do as well. In the essence of both love and belief, some forms just work at a higher level for others. In accordance to an individual’s own experience, knowledge, and understanding, their intentions are manifested by who they are and what they choose to believe.

The core of the problem with all major religions, sciences, governments, and economic systems is the central belief that there can only be ONE right way. And, more importantly, everyone who does not follow that single way is living the WRONG way. Throughout the course of religion, (and even spirituality, in some aspects) different sects have displayed some very unflattering views to other beliefs. But there one thing we forget too often…

Each faith, in accordance to its highest understanding, attempts to create a meaning to life and a connection to God (or the Universal Being).

Spiritually, we may not morally agree with the teachings of Islam, the rituals of Hinduism, or the sacraments of Catholicism. As many visitors of The Global Conversation have become aware of their own spiritual path, it becomes very easy to for us to shun organized religion completely. But is we are to truly move in the direction of Oneness and Beingness, we must understand that theirs is not the wrong way, but rather just another way. Just as we have empathized acceptance for homosexuality, we also apply this to religion. As our world grows more and more open to the diversity of lifestyles, we need to open and expand our minds more and more as well. For when we accept, we appreciate, and when we appreciate, we learn far more about ourselves than we would have before.  

A great example of religious belief and acceptance would be from none other than Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s sensational and inspiring musical, The Book of Mormon (hey, no judgments here!). The musical follows the journey of two Mormons, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, on their two year mission in Uganda. As the original Mormon text does not connect with the Ugandan people, Elder Cunningham decides to twist the scriptures so that it relates with the all-too-real plights of Uganda.

While it hardly resembled Latter Day Sainthood in the end, this new faith that these two Elders created brings more happiness, hope, and love of life to the people than they have ever felt before. Though the Elders were highly judged and criticized, they lived out their highest intentions (with comedic effects) to fully and honestly help the people. Though the musical itself is highly controversial, it truly speaks for own ability to judge less, and accept more.

 Ma ha nei bu Eebowai! Or, Thank you God!

So whether you’re a Latter Day Saint or His Holiness himself, we could use some more acceptance on our paradise planet. The Pope and The Book of Mormon had the same message – for more love and less judgment on the religious level. The less we look at people’s beliefs from the “right vs. wrong” perspective, the more opportunity we have to understand Who They Really Are. And that is when the REAL change occurs.

When we see the highest intentions in both ourselves and in others, we can ALIGN those intentions into a greater or deeper purpose. This fact seems elusive to many, but becomes very evident once these intentions are explored further and further. In respect of our differences, we CAN share our intentions instead of shun them for their differences.  As the root of all belief, religious or spiritual, is to create a personal connection to something bigger than ourselves, we CAN do it together. Tomorrow IS a Latter Day, and there is nothing stopping us from creating a better world today than our judgments of intentions as lower than what they truly are.

As Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” So, who are we to judge?

(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at

What reason is there to object to the U.S. Government’s monitoring of all internet traffic in the U.S.?  Other than “the principle of the thing,” is there anything that anyone should need to keep private? If so, why?