In our blog, you’ll find information about metaphysics and spirituality from Lazaris and Jach, excerpts from Lazaris recordings and interviews, and travelogues from Jach’s adventures around the world.
A Grouping of Questions with Jach's Replies from the Online Conferences
The Tiers of Emotion
Q: Jach, would you care to comment on working with the Tiers of Emotion?
Tiers of Emotion ... During the evening workshop Lazaris talked about charting the new course for the future and for the world. Cutting to the core of it, he pointed out that the key to charting the new course was in visioning. It all begins with vision; it all begins with visioning. I find that so incredible and so amazingly powerful. It all begins with vision. Vision is the light or the Light. It is a state of mind or a state of being that is exceptional in its utter and sublime beauty.
Vision is the light, and function follows the light. Function, our function, follows the light, and thus it follows the vision ... OUR vision. Ha! Function follows vision/light. And form follows function. If we want to change something, vision it. Lazaris said it so much better. [s]
The first step of visioning involves being ourselves. Oh, so obviously and deceptively simple, but it begins with being ourselves ... having the courage to be ourselves. I think of the Knights of the Round. Even though Honesty was the first knight to come forth according to the legend, it was the Courageous Knight who was first seated at the Round to the left of Arthur. It all begins with the courage to be ourselves. Okay, in that, when we want to vision something ... anything, we need to stand the ground of our emotion; we need to stand the ground of our feeling. In this Lazaris laid out a three-tiered grid of 21 emotions starting at the highest resonance: love. Love with its voices of individuality, joy, authority, and freedom is the highest resonance of any and all emotions. The first tier were emotions that are expansive in nature, and he laid them out in descending order: love, happiness, passion/compassion, hope/trust, thrill (enthusiasm, eagerness, excitement), optimism, and well-being.
There is a second tier of emotions that are transitional. Their resonance is lower, and they can either be expansive or constricting. They begin with boredom/impatience, and they end with anger, fury and resentment, with pity in that all-important fourth position.
And then there is a final tier ... constricting emotions from fear to despair. Despair and hopelessness have the lowest resonance of any emotion. And they can be intense. Lazaris' point: Be courageous enough, be brave enough, to accept who you are and to accept where you are ... What feeling is linked to that which we want to vision? Then the plan is to lift the resonance ... to lift our resonance ... by stepping up and up and up. The secret is to move up one or two steps at a time. Do NOT try to move a whole bunch of steps. As Lazaris pointed out so poignantly, people can spend lifetimes trying to jump from fear, hurt, jealousy/envy all the way up to love. And they never make it. But if we will move from our lower rung emotions toward love, taking one or two steps at a time, it doesn't have to take more than an hour and a half. [s]
I found the tiers and the concept of jumping small steps (truly giant's steps, but often the steps of a true giant are small) to be invaluable and very exciting. So much began to make so much more sense to me as I looked at the tiers. I laughed when Lazaris talked about how being in despair and hopelessness is the lowest resonance and to get out we should lift one step (loneliness, worthlessness, hollowness). Though not pleasant, it's better to feel lonely or hollow than it is to feel despair and emptiness. Or we could lift from despair to revenge, violence, and hate (feeling violent, not being violent). And it's a whole lot better to be feeling that you want revenge than it is to feel hopeless. We don't stop at that one or two steps up, but it sets in motion a momentum that can lift to love.
Oh, it is really exciting to explore the potentials. What I noticed is that Lazaris has this uncanny knack for explaining things in ways that make them sound so obvious and that make the ideas seem so beautifully obvious. The complete idea of visioning, that we are already living our dreams and that we are already loving our lives, was so foreign to me. I hadn't the foggiest idea. But after the evening, it seems so clear and so obvious. It seems as if I have always known how to do that. [s]
And this first step of being myself with these Tiers of Emotions ... well, it all seems so important, doesn't it?
It wasn’t out of pity; it was out of admiration. It’s another long weekend in Colombia — un puente fin de semana — “a bridge weekend.”
Friday we drove to Periera, a city in “el Eje Cafetero,” the coffer growing area. It’s not a pretty city but it’s popular as a party town with a reputation. (What happens in Pereira …). With a population of about a million people, and many more tourists, it sits at edge of the middle range of the Andes Mountains. It shares the region with Armenia, Santa Rosa, Manizales, and Medellin. We are staying two blocks from the historical center, Plaza Bolivar. Friday evening, a gentle breeze rolling in from the mountains, a clear night, a night quietly bustling with locals, we walked the plaza and the adjoining streets.
Dinner around 10:30. A hotdog — perro caliente — purchased from a street vendor. Hotdog smothered in creamy slaw, melted cheese, slivered potato chips, and any number of sauces of our choosing. Big, messy, delicious. We sat on high plastic stools on the sidewalk. Eating. Watching the passebys. Lovely night. Pereira.
Saturday, we walked the same route, but oh my, it was so different. The side streets swollen with vendors and alive with throngs of Colombia tourists, a few street musicians, and here and there sad beggars and homeless people. All the stores were overflowing with shoppers. While popping in and out of stores, we managed to located two interesting restaurants and a night club that would have live music for the evening. Found a few shirts. Pereira is know for certain nefarious things, but it is also know for manufacturing clothes.
After lunch, along one of the less busy side streets, among the old men talking of politics, of the state of the world, of the state of their family, or of the past that has slipped way as that sat in the shade of buildings and of the occasional tree lining the walkway, I notice a young family: mother, father, young son. The father picked up a long needle between the toes of his left foot. With his right foot he steadied a tray of tiny colorful beads. Carefully, he guided the needle through the tiny holes and gathered up a short line of rainbow colors. Lifting his left foot high to let gravity do its work, he then moved his foot with needle still between his toes, and transferred the line of color to a tiny loom. With his right big toe, he held the loom steady and then used that same toe to move the bead in place. Tight. It was slow work. He was patient. He did all this meticulous work with his feet and toes because he had no arms.
I bought the piece in the photo. It wasn’t out of pity; it was out of admiration. The human spirit. I marvel at it. I cherish it. It deserves to be cherished. Its persistence gives me hope.When I remember the beauty and the power of the human spirit that can, at times, be undaunted by the rigors of life or in the face of manipulations by those who would attempt to take power away or those who demand to be in control, I embrace my spirit and find a renewed sense of determination. I can’t string beads with my toes, but I can be the magician that I am.
Pouring rain on a tin roof. It’s been sixty-two years, but I remember the sound and the sensation. We were visiting my grandmother in Schoolcraft, Michigan.
The house had been the family home for several generations. A historical site and a clandestine stop on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War.
The basement with its steep stone steps was eery and frightening to me that summer. The house had a living room with plenty of mahogany wood rocking
chairs with cane wicker seats and back, and a parlor with a shining ebony grand piano and ferns on plant stands that cascaded to the hardwood floor.
We were only allowed in the parlor accompanied by our grandmother. The running water in the kitchen came from a hand pump and drained onto the Hydrangeas
just beyond the kitchen window. There was a wood burning stove in the kitchen. But a refrigerator not an Ice Box. [s] I loved that old house. I would
sit and rock in the living room and imagined the stories that were lost in the cracks of the walls and floors. In time house with its architectural
uniqueness became protected and it continued to stand intact long after my grandmother died.
My grandmother, a proud woman, had once applied to the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) but was rejected. Her family had fought for the British. Even so, she was American through and through. She made lemon meringue pies for the 4th of July celebrations. No tears in her meringue.
That late June night, I was 6, my brother was 9. We shared a double bed that was so high off the floor that we had three steps to climb. A chamber pot under the bed. The room was small on the second floor. There was what appeared to be an old traveling truck on the far wall, maybe 18 inches beyond the foot of the bed. It appeared to be a truck but there was no bottom to it. With the lid open we could see the dining room below. With the lid open heat rose to the second floor. Otherwise no heat. Outside the window, the pantry below had a old tin roof.
I loved the high bed. I loved the chill of the night. That night, it began to rain and the drops played their slow percussion on the tin outside and below. The sound of a snare drum with its marching cadence. Then faster and faster and the rain poured down and the percussion roared and goosebumps rose on my arms and neck and I was in heaven.
This last Sunday night while we were in the country, I woke at 3:20 a.m. to that pounding percussion. The rain poured down on the tin roof of our country cottage. I laid there listening. Remembering. Getting lost in the memories and in the feelings and in the innocence and in the wonder . . . and I laid there being my child again. It all came back,that night. It pounded back pouring the memories into me. I welcomed my child, and we just laid there together for what seemed forever. I’ve missed him. I realize I need him now. He has something that I need now. So I welcomed him to my new world. I don’t want to leave him behind as I had once done. This time, he doesn’t want to be left behind either. It must have been 4:00 maybe later when I — when we — slipped off to sleep again. I woke at 7:00. Smiling.
Monday morning, July 20. Colombian Independence Day. Clear. Bright. Eye squinting bright. Balmy but fresh. Refreshing. Country blue sky. No clouds. The greens sizzled. Independence. Freedom is a grand thing. Freedom from is liberating and exciting. Freedom to is finally thrilling.
We had a memorable four days in the country.
It was hard to leave Bali. Many people wrote those words. Everyone felt it. It was hard. Lazaris spoke of Bali as a land “of the between of worlds.” It’s a little island that sits in the middle, in the between, of the Archipelago of Indonesia. Bali is a little world unto itself that sits between our world that is and a new world that is now destined to be. Though not literally true, metaphorically and emotionally — spiritually — it’s true. I felt it. Bali has the beauty akin to Hawaii and to many tropical islands and locations, but yet it is very different from any other place. It certainly is very different from Jakarta or Java or any of the other Indonesian Islands.
There is an animism to the land. Up at 6:15 each morning, I would wander out the terrace just to sit and welcome the day. The sun had just risen or was about to, and the trees seemed to greet me. I felt them watching me, and I watched them. I spoke to them each morning. They listened. The trees along with the incredible morning blue sky or sometimes grey sky and I made some important life decisions together. That happens in Bali.
The beauty of the land was undeniable, and like Colombia, there was ugliness as well. Lots of litter. Lots of plastic. But the ugliness was only a brief distraction, a strangely grounding or anchoring influence that surrendered each time to the imposing presence and utter grace of the beauty. The power of beauty: Beauty creates beauty; beauty is eternal. I get that now in ways that I never did before. Beauty makes us beautiful. Yes it does. Lazaris says that beauty is a demanding lover, but she offers us all that she demands of us. Yes, I get that now as well.
Steps. 200 to 250 (I didn’t count) down and down and down to a water temple — a purification temple. 300 steps at the Mother Temple and another 70+ to the Dark Temple (named that because it was built of black lava stone) that stands behind the Mother Temple. The Thousand Steps to the Big Buddha on Lantau Island (Hong Kong) — actually 247 steps (I did count [s]). Each temple: steps. Each family compound: steps. Each doorway: Steps. According to the legends, Demons and Evil Spirits cannot climb steps. I believe that. Now. At the purification temple, the 200+ steps down was easy. In the small changing room I slipped out of my clothes and into my sarong. Into the water and under the cascading waterfall, amazing. I could have stayed there all day. Laying flat against the rock with tons of water washing over my, washing away the impure and my demons, I felt so alive, so new, so ready. Dressed again and walking up those steps, it occurred to me: My demons would have looked at those steps and said, “Hell no. I’m not walking up all those steps. I’m no fool!” My demons didn’t walk up with me.
So many steps. I climbed up them. Down them. And in more meaningful ways, I took some really important, really powerful, steps in Bali. Little steps producing little changing steps. And out of it all: Big changes. So many of us walked those steps. I suspect we all took steps — more than we realize — and that we all are becoming new in our individual, unique, and personal ways. Steps of change to leave “who we are not” behind. That’s Bali.
My dragonfly and praying mantis. During our time in Bali, Lazaris asked us to collect special moments that we want to infuse with the mystery of remembering — moments that hold hints and perhaps clues to who we are becoming. We were at a beautiful pristine temple lost in the countryside. Breathtaking. It was a Vishnu Temple: water, mutable, flexible, healing, balancing, protecting, maintaining. I was standing at the edge of one of the many pools of sacred or holy water, and I looked down. There, between my feet, a beet-red dragonfly. She sat there; she didn’t move. Dragonflies are a special symbol to me. A precious moment. Later that day at the temple with the Banyan Tree and the rock that protects the Earth (can’t remember the names, it’s a Brahman Temple), as Enrique and I were walking close to the Banyan Tree looking for portals, a praying mantis dropped from the tree on to Enrique’s shoulder and then hopped to the ground at our feet. Huge. Beautiful. He sat there without moving. Enrique lowered to the ground and captured the light of that being in a photograph. The Praying Mantis is a powerful symbol connected to my Lemurian Dreamer. Another exquisite moment.
Together the two moments entwined to become one defining moment. That’s Bali.
The people. Tender. Vulnerable. Refreshingly innocent yet wise at an earlier age. So many of us wrote about the people. All true. In my experience, I saw in them more of what I want to see in me, more of what I want to experience and want to know in myself. Remembering? Yes, remembering, but it’s not about remembering the past, it’s about remembering the way life can be — the future.
Lazaris asked, “What do you want to leave in Bali?” He also asked, “What do you want to take with you from Bali?” Bali can absorb what we leave behind (our “litter,” our “plastic”), and it is exalted and gracious enough to give us what we want to take. Enrique and I left Bali on Saturday, May 30. I left some things behind. It felt good to shed them. I haven’t fully decided what I want to take with me. I am still deciding. Perhaps I am taking Bali with me. It will be alive in me as I remember — as I piece together the precious and unforgettable moments to create a marvelous mosaic. There is something timeless about it all. Eternal.
Hong Kong. It was almost 11:00 pm when we arrived at the hotel overlooking Victoria Harbor. Shangri-La Kowloon. Now we have one more night before we leave for LAX and then to Santa Barbara. We had arranged several tours: a City Tour Monday morning, a New Territory Tour Wednesday morning and a Night Markets Tour in the evening. Thursday we went to Lantau Island and up the “1000 Steps” to the Big Buddha. (247 steps. It was sunny, hot, humid, and beautiful, 247 steps was enough.)
Tuesday was a special day to explore Hong Kong with dear friends: to see Hong Kong through their eyes as they have lived here for several decades. The Hong Kong Park/Gardens, the Tea House, the Tram, dinner at the Helena May Club, and mostly the conversation with friends, it was a uniquely special day. Memorable moments everywhere.
I find Hong Kong to be a beautiful city. The architecture is renowned, but it’s the intangible beauty that I find most intriguing. I couldn’t live here. Too many people; too little space. As I’ve often said of New York City and also of Bogotá, I love the energy but only for a short time. So it is with Hong Kong. There is a vitality here that feels very right.
Beyond the obvious of Hong Kong, it feels to me like we are making a transition from the between world of Bali and from the other worldly adventure of our time there as we slip back into our personal realities. It feels like a transition that offers us the opportunity to bring with us all that we want to, or all that we can, bring back from Bali in an elegant fashion. Whether that’s true or not, I am going to create the reality that it is.
I have changed. My life has changed. Now I am about a new adventure of discovering what that all means.
Jach's Travels (in PANAMA)
His fingers moved with precision across the keypad. Four digits and the thick battered metal door popped. Opening only a few inches, he pushed the door wide. A small room, an anti-room actually. Scared concrete floor, walls, and ceiling. Decades old dust covered the beams. But a shiny elevator and a well dressed young man with a broad smile welcomed us.
“Welcome to Caliope.” The shiny door opened and we stepped in as he pushed the button. The 3 lit up. Moments later the rear door opened, and we stepped out into a chrome and glass world of a high tech restaurant. Live music. Elegantly dressed people, young and old. Bursts of laughter. “Let it Be” being sung in the distance. The name is pronounced (Collie-o-pee) — in English: Calliope, often called the first daughter of Mnemosyne, the mother of the Muse and the goddess of memory. Calliope as it said upon the menu: “The most powerful and distinguished of the nine muses from greek mythology who presides over eloquence and epic poetry” . . . the Muse with the heroic voice, the one voice. Beautiful.
What a delightful welcome to Panama City. Enrique and I, along with two friends, took advantage of a Colombian long weekend for a quick trip to Panama. We arrived Thursday evening, checked into our hotel in the old town — Casco Viejo — and went walking. Many buildings stand like ghosts of the past. Broken. Run down. Crumpled litter of the present discarded among the rotten wood and shattered bricks. All that remain are the facades covering deteriorating stone walls and hiding an overgrowth of weeds reaching through the litter for a bit of sun. Recently a project of renovation is underway and many of these ghosts are being restored and/or remodeled, and the old town is reemerging building by building. Slow. Arduous. Happening.
Friday we hired a guide, Clemente, and for seven hours we explored the city, learned of its past, and of its future. We visited the Canal and learned of its past and of its future expansion as well. Tired, we ended Friday early.
Saturday: We walked. Street by street we wandered about Casco Viejo stepping in and out of local shops and restaurants. Around 3:00, the heat and humidity having taken its toll on us, we stopped for Mojitos at an open air cafe by the sea. Sea breezes. Mojitos. Conversations in Spanish. Yes. I understood the story that Hemingway, while living in Key West, wrote only 350 words a day and then went to sit and talk at the cafe. Oh, and to drink, of course.
At 6:00 we wandered back to the hotel to rest and to get ready to explore a Panama night. Dinner from 9:00 to midnight, two clubs until 3:00, and back to the hotel. We had to ring and be met by the night clerk to gain entry. Even so, there was still music drifting across the plaza from a club in the far corner. Casco Viejo, and I image much of the city, is alive all night long.
Sunday: Lazy day and a return trip to Colombia.
Just a quick trip, and I was not overall impressed with Panama City. The old town holds some fascination, but it’s very small. The modern city is a phenomenon in growth and expansion, and the skyline is impressive. But in too many ways, for me, it’s just another big city. Perhaps two days are not enough time to get a feel for a city or at least not enough to get a feel for this city. However, this trip was an important one for me. We are no longer visiting Colombia as we have done over the past several years. Now we are living in Colombia, and we are taking short vacation trips like “normal people” do.
I am finding other evidences of normalcy: I am handling the wash and this last week, I set up the iron board and spent my early morning ironing shirts — 22 of them. (Doing the laundry and ironing are my therapy. I love doing each.) I grabbed the keys and ran some errands: pet store, grocery, bank. It all felt wonderful because it was normal. For me, it’s important to have a foundation of normal from which to leap into the mystery of being. I continue to find my ground. Now I am beginning to leap.
Jach's Travels (in IRELAND) Sept 20, 2015
“That strange object you see there in the sky is the sun. Get a picture now. You may not see it again.”
I left Colombia Monday afternoon (September 7) and with the overnight flight and a very long layover in Madrid, I arrived in Dublin Tuesday evening. Enrique and his mother flew in from Paris the next day as did my sister. My brother and his wife arrived early Thursday morning.
Thursday: By 10:00 a.m. we were on the top deck of the green line hop on hop off bus when the sun peeked through the otherwise gray sky. It was our first venture of our ten day tour of Southern Ireland. Dublin, Kilkenny, Waterford, Killarney, Ennis, and a whole lot of pubs in between: Foley's, the Hairy Lemon, the Winding Stair (57 steps in all), Brody's, Murphy's, Monk's Pub …. You get the idea.
Friday: It was our free day in Dublin, time to explore on our own. By 9:15 we were heading in our separate ways with plans to meet for lunch to share our mornings. Enrique and I headed to the National Library of Ireland to see a permanent exhibit of W. B. Yeats. It was amazing. Yeats, not only a brilliant poet, was a magician, a mapmaker, and a visionary. For example he had a powerful influence on the movement for Irish independence and upon the formulation of the newly independent country thereafter. He studied the magics of that time and lived a magician’s spirituality. Amazing. We meandered our way through the exhibit of photographs, documents, video recordings, and all the while there were recorded readings of his most renowned poems. “Easter 1916” (his struggle with the revolution that began on that day) was particularly stirring and chilling. Our morning tempered the rest of the day. Lunch at the Hairy Lemon, walking the city in the afternoon, dinner at the Winding Stair. Nightcap back at our hotel. A full day. A rich and mellow day.
Saturday to Thursday: Six days and nights and six of us in a 12-seater van. Dan was our driver/guide. We inched our way through the countryside avoiding the highways whenever we could. The Powerscourt Estate in Enniskerry, a magnificent garden, the Kerry Ring, the Dingle Ring, the Cliffs of Moher, and the Burren. Rolling hills, stone bordered pastures, lifting mountains, and countless shades of green that defied description. There may be 50 shades of gray, but there are even more shades of green. Breathtaking landscapes around each of the countless bends in the roads, roads that are more like trails. And the sun!! With a bit of weather magic we only had one rain-day and that was our stay in the van day.. Otherwise each gray morning turned bright and sunny, and the other mornings were vibrant with clear blue delight. Dan was amazed.
“It was a shocking summer,” he had said, “it rained every day. Shocking summer.” The entire week before it had rained and the forecast for our trip had also been rain. Did I say Ireland was green? With the rain, of course it is.
The beauty: So often there were no words. We would round a bend and the beauty was breathtaking. Literally. All I could do was take a deep breath so that the beauty didn't take it away. Hour after hour, I loved it. So often we would be talking about some silly detail and then we’d all fall silent as the beauty captured us and held us in its embrace. The beauty is unique. I can’t find the words other than to call it Irish Beauty. Unique, yes, but bountiful.
I think my favorite place was the Cliffs of Moher. We left Killarney at 9:00 as the night drizzle subsided and as the fog was lowering. Dan, the driver, hurried us into the van. No time to waste. We had to get to the cliffs before the fog blanketed everything. As he pulled into the parking lot he told us not to waste time in the Visiter's Center. We were to go immediately to the top and get our pictures. Then once the fog swallowed everything up we could check out the Center. We followed Dan's instructions.
The cliffs, capped in rich pasture green still glistening from morning dew, lift from the Atlantic. 700 feet of naked rock. Majestic. Fierce. Standing for thousands of years against the sea that crashes against them mercilessly. The cliffs run for more than 5 miles. Rock and sea. Raw. Powerful. Yet there is a harmony. Their clash and crash is an eternal dance, and on that morning as the sun came out and the gray sky turned dazzling blue, we got to witness that dance. We got to stand still in the harmony. Silent. Us and the wind howling. Silent. Howling. Awesome.
Why do people always want to walk or climb to the top? We had done as Dan instructed. We followed the incline and we climbed the steps going higher and higher turning to view the cliffs at different heights. At the peak there was a stone tower. 13th Century. Our goal: reach the top and then climb that tower. We and all the other tourist seemed to be on a mission. Yes, see the Cliffs of Moher (pronounced “more”), and then climb that tower. Why?
Accomplishment? Completion? Not missing anything? Opportunity? I don't know. I got to the top but I didn't climb the spiral steps, but I had had the urge. Maybe putting the question stopped me. But I think it was the cliffs instead. I stood at the base of the tower and just look at the cliffs. That was enough. It was a special moment. A memorable one that I have planted in Cosmic Memory. In time I will retrieve it and unfold the gift that that moment holds for me.
Ireland was beautiful and magical. Being with my family was also beautiful, magical, and just lots of old fashioned fun. The Cliffs of Moher held the seed of Ireland for me. The other thing that stood out was the people. The sense of humor, the delight with life, the level of laughter, and the unselfish kindness shone through in so many ways. We asked a shop keeper for directions to a restaurant and he came out from behind the counter and out into the street with us and gave us detailed instructions. The sassy waitress in the pub was full of joy as she told us about her husband and kids and about how she had come to Ireland from Poland and has never looked back. Her Polish-Irish accent full of laughter and light.
The luck of the Irish. When we learned of their history and their struggle, I wondered where the “luck” was. But once I met the people, I found it. The luck is in their hearts and it shimmers in their souls.
We are home now in Colombia. Enrique’s mother went back to France before heading to Santa Barbara. My sister’s in Kansas, and brother and his wife are in Michigan. We each returned to our worlds, but Ireland will live on in our memories. For me, Ireland will be remembered in magical, beautiful and bountiful ways.
It begins with corrugated cardboard and blue tarp. A bit tattered. Maybe torn. The cardboard may be soggy or blood stained found behind a butcher shop. A lean-to shelter is built on a slope of a vacant or abandoned hillside just beyond the limits of the city.
Scraps of wood discarded at construction sites or buried in the debris of a collapsed building are added to support the deteriorating cardboard. Tarp is replaced with more tarp. Tin is added to create a better roof. A few bricks. More wood. In time walls take shape with a door opening and spaces called windows. No glass. More bricks, and the walls become more clearly defined and stronger than the cardboard and wood had been. Tarp is replaced with fabric remnants that become door and window coverings.
The walls grow taller. The tin is lifted and replaced with wood planks and then the tin is positioned higher to become the roof of a new forming second floor. Plastic squares remnants, blue, green, amber, fill the previously bare windows openings. Stairs of concrete blocks or of rusty spiral staircases found at a bankrupt building sites offer access to the upper levels. Ill fitting wood doors or slabs of warping plywood, cover the door openings. Painting these entry ways garish bold primary colors, the structures because unique. Individual.
A house. No plumbing. No running water. No electricity. No, not a house. A home.
Beside it, another home is morphed out of the cardboards and blue tarps. Two stories become three or maybe four. One home and another appears. Like a melanoma, the earth’s surface is covered by this uncontrolled growth. Expanding in every direction. No order. Chaos. Survival. The homeless build their homes.
Someone wires into the city utility pole and there is electricity. Free. Light jumps from one structure to the next and to another. The hillside shines dimly in the night. In time, bright.
No building codes, the structures pile on top of each other as they creep up the hillside. Steep narrow almost impassable walkways become the “streets.” A new city of squatters is born.
Not sure, but if the people can continue to squat for five years, the property becomes their own. The stench of raw sewerage and rotting food and stale air are almost unbearable. Yet, amid the chaos and the growing dangerous squalor, the human spirit survives. Eventually more and sometimes better building supplies are added. Windows get glass. Doors fit and get locks. Porches form.
And people sweep. They sweep those new porches. They sweep the dirt floors. Their homes may seem a shambles but they are clean. Always clean. The slums become crude barrios, rough plumbing and more sophisticated electricity become part of the neighborhood. Narrow paths are widened becoming “open roads” (rut riddled dirt roads) and in time paved streets (sort of). The squatters now own their land. A municipality acknowledges its existence and its presence. A neighborhood … small shops and store fronts emerge. A few park benches create a community gathering place. A community forms and thrives. The human spirit thrives and shines brighter even in the raw stretches for survival.
I love Colombia. In the air of lawlessness, it survives. It thrives.
Christmas season officially begins December 7 with the Festival of Lights (Festival de Las Velitas) on the Eve of the Celebration of the Immaculate Conception, but the season of the Novenas begins December 16. I am not altogether sure of what a Novena is. What I experience is that Colombian families and friends get together in the early evening to celebrate Christmas with the Telling of the Tale — the telling the Christian Story of the birth of Jesus. It is told in spoken verse and in song. Everyone knows all the chants and knows which ones to speak and which ones to sing. The storytelling ritual lasts perhaps 15 or 20 minutes.
Before the ritual a party begins with the chatter becoming more fluid and rapid, and louder. After the Novena, the party continues with appetizers, beer, wine, soft drinks, and conversational chaos. That is to say, the party continues to be oh so very Colombian. Between December 16 and Christmas, there are countless Novenas. December is really Christmas month in Colombia. While it’s a shopping month in the States, it’s a celebratory month here.
This morning I attended my first Novena of this year. It was different. It touched my heart and pleased my soul in unexpected ways. My soul was more than happy; it was enchanted. “Me encanta la Novena.”
We grabbed a taxi at 7:45 a.m. and raced across the city to the south. We met up with three of Enrique’s cousins, and a few of his cousins’ grown kids, at the headquarters of The Jera Foundation, a charitable family foundation funded primarily by the family of those cousins. The name, Jera, was chosen as it is the name of a Rune. Jera is the Rune of harvest and of reward for right actions. It’s the Rune of peace on the land and in the heart.
We boarded a small bus and we were off to the country. We moved easily along “La Quinta” (Fifth Street) a major traffic artery, heading further south. Right turn along a side street, traffic was lighter but foot traffic increased. We moved haltingly through the congestion. The streets narrowed and lifted switchbacking up the mountainside. Narrower in poorer and poorer neighborhoods, and then the paved road became an open road (gravel, dirt, ruts, potholes). We crawled along bouncing our way higher and farther from our world.
We were going to a Novena at a school that is sponsored and funded by the Jera Foundation. It’s a rural school, or better said, a rural pre-school. It is for children 3 to 5. These children are taught the normal things that kids are taught in pre-schools through the world, and they are also taught the rudimentary educational and social skills. The kids had to learn numbers, colors, shapes, for example. They were also taught some human skills: how to go to the bathroom on their own, how to wash their hands and why to do that, how to bathe, how to properly dress themselves. They are taught how to be self-sufficient.
The children’s lack of knowing is not due to parental lack of caring. It’s due to the excessive and extensive property of hundreds of displaced peasants. The ravages of war are not just dead bodies though there have been plenty of those in the past. The ravages of war include forcing people, who lived and thrived on the land, even in states of poverty, they thrived on the land, to move into towns and cities where the land — the dirt — has been replaced by concrete, and the harvesting is of garbage looking for recyclables rather than of fruits and vegetables. It’s due to mothers who have to try to find some sort of work in order to try to earn the kind of money we tend to leave on our dressers and to forget about. It’s due a woeful lack of education among the forgotten impoverished ones. The Jera Foundation is working to change that in this rural poverty ravaged community. They work with 3 to 5 year old children and their parents. These kids with their parents are the “new harvest” of Colombia’s future. They are the “new harvest” of kids reaching to climb out of poverty into Colombia’s newly forming middle class.
At age 5 the kids go to the Primary School. For the first year there, they are “in transition.” They spend the school year learning to integrate into society — the normal world. The Jera Foundation continues to monitor those kids for that year of transition. If the kids succeed, they enter First Grade.
The beauty of this program is that the Jera Foundation provides the lion’s share of the funding, but the community — those mothers and fathers — also provide funds. For example, the school is near the bottom of an endless and incredibly steep hill. The community wanted to created paved tracks to make passage easier. They asked the Jera Foundation to help. Jera provided most the money but block by block the people raised money — yard sales, bake sales, baby sitting — to pay a small portion of the cost of “their block.” The community also provided the labor.This year, the school has a security guard. Next year it won’t. The community knows that if anything is stolen, they will be stealing from themselves. The community will keep the school safe.
The 3 to 5 year old children, many of them riding the hips of their young mothers or resting their heads on the shoulders of their equally young fathers, came to watch the Novena. The Angels came in singing and dancing, a pregnant Mary with her Joseph on to the stage. The drums beat, hands clapped, the words were read, the songs were sung. The story was told as it had been told for centuries. Christmas has begun.
Another cousin arrived with four team members of the Cali Football (soccer) Team — celebrities — and with gifts for some among the crowd (a soccer ball, team hats. etc.). Then the families all made their way to their children’s respective classrooms to receive a Christmas gift along with a small box lunch and a juice drink. And the band — a youth orchestra of teenaged kids from impoverished families — played on … oboes, bassoons, violins, and all the traditional instruments of a “real orchestra.” This group is funded by different local family’s foundation.
I received such a beautiful gift this morning. To be there in that moment, to experience that moment, was amazing to me. What an incredible way to begin my Christmas season. With all the terror in the world and with all the legitimate and opportunistic stirrings of fear and warnings about our safety, to remember the beauty of gracious generosity and of open hearted innocence wrapped in the utter amazement at the wonder of life itself was an incredible gift.
Watching those little bitty kids with their huge eyes as they watched the Novena and especially as they received their gift comes rushing back as I type this now. That moment lives on. It fills my heart and all but overwhelms my soul all over again. Will I remember this morning? It would be hard to forget it.
As people dispersed, we trudged up the hill. Slow. Deliberate steps. Slower. At the top we waited for our bus to take us back to our world. A memorable morning, a memorable Christmas season … a beautiful gift worth remembering as this Year of Remembering reaches for its end.
A fun and touching ADDENDUM: The community mothers realized that they needed more help. It was so valuable to reach kids at pre-school levels, but it was also critically important to reach and to help even younger kids and to help their mothers. The Jera Foundation also recognized this need. They are expanding the school’s reach. They are beginning a program for the “pre pre-schoolers” — a program for even younger children from infancy until they are 3 years old. This program will also included helping the mothers.
What especially touches our hearts about this new program is that the mother’s recognized the need and the mothers reached out to ask for help. Not for a handout but for help in creating opportunities for their children that they never had. Many of them are illiterate having had no education at all. No one helped them learn their numbers or their colors. No one taught them shapes. It’s hard for me to even image that, but it’s the life they lived and are living. They had no opportunities, no chances, no education. But they know enough and they love enough to want more for their babies.
Another ADDENDUM: I wrote a short piece called, “Squatters” about the development of squatters’ land. This whole community where the school is … it all began with squatters and as swatters’ land. It was built with the mortar of the human spirit to survive and to thrive. It is continues to be built with the human spirit and with soul’s love. I am blown away and humbled.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
A Grouping of Questions with Jach's Replies from the Online Conferences
Q. What are the differences between Union and Oneness? Seems like Oneness is more connected with divinity.
JACH: Certainly they are connected, and often the terms can be interchangeable in our language, but there are differences, I think.
First, union has to do with conscious creation ... creating alliances for mutual benefit. It has to do with creating a concordance or a connecting, or linking, of the heart and also of the soul (I think). It has to do with bonding as well as with binding together. In all this, union implies separateness. In the alliances of union there is still you and me ... there is also an us, but there is still you and me. In the alliances there are still parts that are gathered, collected, and combined.
In oneness, there aren't parts. [s]
In the binding and bonding of union, there are separate components or agents -- separate voices -- that are brought together to function as one. But they are not one. Union is the stuff of complexity.
Oneness, on the other hand, does not have separate parts. Oneness is not about alliance, and it does not require binding or bonding. In fact, I think binding and bonding are not only superfluous to oneness, I don't think they are possible. In oneness, there is no separateness or individuality.
In a way, union is the stuff of complexity; oneness is the higher octave that emerges from that complexity. Union comes first and with complexity, in the womb of complexity, union gives birth to oneness. Union precedes and oneness follows.
And yeah, I think Oneness has more to do with divinity. Out of creating divine union ... a divine mystery to be sure ... can come Oneness. It is interesting that 1999 was the Year of Oneness, and then 2004 was the Year of Union. It is almost as if we needed a taste of Oneness to motivate us to pursue Union. And then I think of what Lazaris said of 2004: Ours was to seek union to meet our needs and desires like everyone else within the consensus would, but for us, this year was about seeking union with self as we pursued triumph. I think the triumph involved ultimately becomes the triumph of Oneness.
So for me, therein lies the difference.
Q. It feels like the "Activating the Magics" workshop effected change on so many levels ... one thing I have noticed is that my sense of "beingness" has changed; it is more profound and it does feel as if there is a sense of Oneness involved ... maybe it has brought a deeper sense of peace, though that is not quite what I am meaning to say. I find it hard to articulate the changes, but I wondered whether you would want to talk about some of the ways that activating the magics can change us and has changed you?
So many of the workshops this year  have had a certain profundity about them that is hard to describe. There has been a deepening and a quickening. And you know, I think it does have to do with Oneness. It's the year of Oneness, I know, but as I think about your question, it seems as though that energy -- the energy of Oneness -- is mixed into the texture as well as the content of so much of the work of this year.
"Activating the Magics" was such an experience. What happened for me is this ... I opened up to a fuller range of possibility. When I listened to Lazaris lay out the steps of finding our particular gateway to transcendent states and then discovering how to move through that gateway into a state of ... of what? of being? of mind? Yes, I think that a transcendent state is a state of being and a state of mind. [g] But what was so powerful in it all was that we could consciously go there. It did not have to be a peak experience that happened spontaneously or by something divine. It could be our choice. We could go to our gate, enter our gate, and be taken into a transcendent state. In that state, we could work our magic. We could allow a healing and we could allow it to happen in a transcendent way. We could do so much and we could be fully conscious and fully in charge.
Realizing that has deepened my sense of responsibility. It has altered the depth of my commitment. It has changed the way I look at my reality. I have so much more gratitude now. I have a heightened sense of appreciation now. And out of it, how can I justify playing the role of martyr, for example? How can I hold on to errant emotions for the fun of blame or the hopes of vindication? I mean, those things become so meaningless and such a waste of time. I don't mean to sound glib about it, but it does come down to that. So my martyr comes up, sure. But I send it away as quickly. I don't spend hours sending it away. It goes quickly. [g]
And then I think about metamorphosis. When I listened to the tape from Saturday morning where Lazaris talks about the potentials of metamorphosis and how our lives are geared and calibrated to allow metamorphosis, I got really excited. Again, the level of responsibility really increases and it feels so right to me.
These are some of the things that activating the magics has done for me. Oh yeah, my magic and its effectiveness has taken a giant's step forward. [vbg] There is a new punch to my magic now. I think it's a confidence and a courage. A confidence in the magician that I am and a courage to work the magic with a knowing and with a demand. [g]
The Oneness comes into it for me with the particular faces of Oneness ... Uniqueness and Harmony. For those not familiar, Lazaris says there are seven faces of Oneness ... seven ways to enter the grace of Oneness:
Of these seven, there is a link between the first and seventh, second and sixth, third and fifth, while the fourth stands alone.
So the face of Oneness that works best for me ... is the easiest or the most valuable face ... is uniqueness. When I can come to peace with my uniqueness, I begin to move closer to Oneness. But that is not enough. My sense of uniqueness needs to be tempered with harmony. So that is the face of Oneness that can most elegantly bring me into the grace of Oneness.
Someone else may have the face of harmony. And they need to temper their sense of harmony with uniqueness. Though in linear language, it is just switching the words around, in the non-linear of experience it is so much more than that. For example, uniqueness tempered with harmony has a very different meaning than a harmony tempered or altered by uniqueness. The same applies to whatever your face of Oneness is. There is a coloring or a shifting that is necessary. Unity needs to be tempered with accord (connect to the heart) while accord needs to be shifted by unity. Excellence needs the harness of individuality while individuality needs the guidance of excellence. Difference? Ha! Now that's ... you guessed it ... different. [vbg]
So to the point: Activating the magics has brought me closer to my uniqueness. It has opened me more to my sense of harmony. And as I bring them together in the state of transcendence and with the potential of metamorphosis ... a profound change in the essence that changes the substance of a thing ... I experience Oneness. And as Lazaris says, it can be magical, transcendent, and exhilarating.
Q. What is it about the energy of trust that makes it such an important part of the journey of Oneness?
JACH: Well, I think there is something about the energy of trust that makes it profoundly important in many aspects of our lives. The other day, I was thinking about the role of trust in my life, and I realized that it plays so heavily in the arena of developing my valued self. It plays a critical role in that work for each of us. To truly value ourselves, we need to be self-aware (know we have impact) and self-worthy (know that we are spiritual). We need self-esteem (earned love) and self-love (given love to be received). As well there is self-confidence (knowing we can cope), self-respect (looking again at our emotions), and finally self-realization (knowing we can consciously direct our impact).
In all this, trust -- self-trust -- is pivotal. I think that self-trust is the keystone that holds all the other components together. It is core to esteem and to self-confidence, and it is core to love (earned and received).
And without trust, what value would there be in looking deeper into our emotions? I mean, what value could there be if we didn't or couldn't trust what we saw?
Now to the idea of Oneness …
Lazaris talked in early February about the various parts of what makes up Oneness. One of those parts was Unity. Another is Uniqueness. And within unity there are concepts of sameness or equality, while within uniqueness there are issues of entitlement and empowerment. Another issue involved with Oneness is individuality, and along with that come concerns about expression or suppression. In the maze of ideas that comprise Oneness, if we cannot or do not trust ourselves, how can we find our way? I don't think we can.[g]
Finally, to find the mystery and the diversity that is Oneness and to make our way through the paradox and dichotomy that is Oneness, we need the alliance of ourselves. When we come to face the majesty and the magnificence of what Oneness -- our Oneness -- is all about, I think we need a very intimate relationship and alliance with ourselves. Self-trust offers that.
Q. Would you share any thoughts you might have about the role our crystals may play in our work with Oneness?
JACH: Oh, yes. I am sure that the role is a mighty one. [vbg]
I have so many thoughts about crystals, ... I have plunged deeper and deeper into my work with them. I sit with certain crystals for hours, and the joy only expands. Well, I don't sit for hours on end, but I will work with one crystal for hours over several days. [g] But the fascination and the depth of intrigue is only growing. The crystals are shifting and changing and becoming more awake than ever. More and more of them seem to be finding their way to Lazaris and to Lazaris workshops.
A little digression ... One new crystal dealer who is European and who spends a great deal of time in Brazil contacted us. He did not know us at all, but had heard of us through a friend, etc. We had purchased one crystal from him a while back. Well, he contacted us as he was "lead to do so." Something was "drawing him to us and he did not understand how or why." But he was following his instinct. He came from Brazil directly to Orlando to show us his crystals. Though we were a new client, he wanted us to see them first. We have had many similar stories. It's as though the crystals are insisting upon coming to be with Lazaris and to be at his workshops. The energy is amazing.
Well, back to your question ... I think crystals understand Oneness in a certain way. They, as consciousness, have a concept of time and space that is very different than ours. They can communicate across space-time in an instant. Also, I think there is an element of "one consciousness" in all crystals simultaneously. In that I mean, I think all crystals know what all other crystals know in an instant. There is an integrity here that is crystalline. That quality of Oneness ... each crystal being capable of knowing what every other crystal knows in the moment ... is a component of Oneness that is most intriguing and most frightening to us humans.
Now, when I say that each crystal has that level of integrity and that each knows what all others know, I do not mean that keeping one crystal is adequate. Not at all. Each crystal, as well as a sophisticated integrity, also has destiny. I am coming to understand that more and more ... They have destiny. They also have the concept of exalted giving within their consciousness. All of this ties together to mean that crystals can offer us a great deal of guidance when it comes to Oneness. They have not achieved it. But they can offer a great deal of guidance.
And when we work together, crystals and we can find more of that elusive mystery that is oneness. Similarly, when we learn to work together with the Other and Mystical Other, we will come closer to understanding and experiencing that Oneness.
It Seems to Me ...
"The key to getting there, to shifting the paradigm so the world destined to be new, can be new: Chaos, Paradox, Complexity, and Enchantment." -Lazaris
Here's what I have been thinking about in the midst of the current almost overwhelming points of chaos, crises, atrocities of violence, and human tragedies: Polarization, now too common in the politics in the United States, seems to have spread to become a global issue.
Polarization: Republican-Democrat; Sunni-Shiite; Palestinian-Israeli; Syrian-Rebel; Iranian-Insurgent; Russian-Ukrainian ... are there more? Probably. I have been looking at this for awhile trying to understand what's going on. What's happening with all this polarization and why is it happening now?
Along with this, I notice that Lazaris has been talking a great deal about the between — the energy of the between, the power of the between, entering the "between" of worlds. Years ago he touched on the Liminal, which is the between of things, but of late his message has been much more present and it's about the between, in the workshop in the Lake District (Gathering Treasures from the "Between" of the Worlds), in the Tuscany workshop which also focused upon the between, and the latest message from Lazaris describes a meditation to slip into the between of worlds to work our magic.
Rather than only looking at the opposing positions, I have begun looking between the various polarizations. This is what has come to me: It seems to me that the world is shouting at us, and our Higher Selves and Souls are shouting. I don't know if God/Goddess/All That Is ever really shouts, but if Goddess does, Goddess is shouting at us, too. There seems to be a persistent message. I hear it almost like the beating of drums: Work with the between; go into the between; work in the between.
Oh, another call to the between: The two hurricanes approaching Hawaii ... two hurricanes and there is Hawaii between. Beating drums. A rhythmic percussion. The message feels very clear to me: The power is in the between. Our power to work our magic, our power to change reality in accordance and compliance with our will, lies in the between. For me, a true OMG moment!
Lazaris has talked of the emerging new world, a world now destined to be. As he has talked of it, he has also talked of the role of chaos, essential to change, and of the emergence of a new paradigm. He's pointed out that a new world and a shifting paradigm move and work together from creation to manifestation.
I understand that we are in the midst of a world becoming new. We are also in the midst of a paradigm becoming new, aren't we? I don't think of that too often, but it's there.
For me, here's the kicker. During a One-Day Workshop in 2012, Lazaris said of all this: "The key to getting there, to shifting the paradigm so the world destined to be new, can be new: Chaos, Paradox, Complexity, and Enchantment."
What's going on in the world? What is happening in so many places and what's the why of it all? It seems to me that we are in the midst of the chaos and paradox phase. The polarization magnifies the opposites and the contradictions. The polarization freezes us when we are attached to or lost in only one side of the contradiction or when we focus on only one or the other position of the polarity. I have come to realize that I cannot settle for the either/or of paradox and contradiction. I need to find the between - the Between!
I am focusing my magic on "the people in the between" of these various polarized expressions of paradox. I am focusing on the middle class in the United States, and the people living in the Ukraine, in the Gaza Strip, and the people in Syria and Iraq. I am focusing on the people being ripped apart by competing ideologies and their ideologues. It is there that I work my magic.
What else did Lazaris say?
"The Power of Paradox is to allow the opposites to complement each other rather than contradict each other."
This is difficult for me, and I don't have the answers that satisfy me yet, but that's not stopping me. How do the polarized Republicans and Democrats complement each other? I am not sure, but it seems to me they share passion, a vision of empowerment, a vision of freedom. The forms are in opposition, but what of the function?
How do the Sunni and Shiite complement each other? I don't know enough to be precise, but it seems to me each is seeking dignity and freedom.
And of the others? It seems to me that each of these polarized groups, each of these contradictory and paradoxical positions have something universal in common: each is seeking to change reality in accordance and compliance with their will.
What's in the between of each of these paradoxes and contradictions? Magic!
Lazaris also said:
"Complexity is the integration of autonomous parts. Complexity is separate and indivisible ... Chaos is a complexity, a complexity is a paradox. There is power in Paradox. There is power in Complexity."
There is power in complexity. And with complexity we can lift to a higher octave. We can lift and our world can lift to a higher octave. The world, to become new, lifts to a higher octave.
I continue to ponder and savor. I continue to think and feel. While I do that, I am working my magic in the between of worlds — in the between of my personal world and in the between of the chaos, paradox, and complexity in the world. I am looking for the complementary elements of the chaoses, paradoxes, and complexities that seem almost overwhelming at this point. I am looking for the enchantment.
For example, I go into meditation and I face the contradiction. I face the proponents of each side of a polarized position. Without judgement I face them and work to understand each position. I work to comprehend, interpret, discern, and assess each side. I then work with inference and with appreciating and valuing each side. I work to hold, not the either/or, but the both. And then I move my consciousness in between — into the between of the paradox that the polarization represented. In the between, I draw in the energy that is common to both sides. I draw in the desire to change reality in accordance ... I draw in the magic that each side is seeking. I let go of the form and focus on the function: magic. I draw in their determination, resolve, passion, and whatever else is common to each. I then turn to the people who are caught in the between, and I draw upon their desires. With all that energy, there is a unique resonance. In that resonance I work my magic. I do my techniques to dream and vision it in accordance and in compliance with my will, my imagination, and in accordance and compliance with my love. Then I flow the energy — the energy with a new resonance, a resonance touched and changed by my magic — I flow that energy into the people, into the people caught in the between.
This is what I have been thinking about and doing of late. I want to share it with you.
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