Austin Consciousness Explorers: Chuck and Karen present Our Adventure!

We were asked to present our definitions of Consciousness to the regular monthly meeting of the Austin Consciousness Explorers. We were delighted at the response that still keeps coming into this presentation. It gave us an opportunity to look back on the first thirteen years of our work together and to present what we think will be the next portion of our work, which will be based, primarily, in Austin. This presentation is in two parts:

Part One:

Part Two:

Religion Round Table, Hill Country News 2015-04-22

by Chuck Robison

Chuck RobisonDiscussion Question: What, if any, obligation does the church have to offer guidance on issues where morality & faith meet public health with potentially hazardous consequences, such as religious-based exemption from immunization, religious-based exemption from medical care for contagious diseases, the closing of clinics providing abortions resulting in the loss of healthcare to the poor in many communities?  

Tough question. Perhaps viewing this as a question of leadership makes it easier to answer. However, that demands an insight into who is leading and who is following.

Things are not what they used to be nor are they, today, what they appear to be. In the olden days, we acted like a Democracy, and prided ourselves on evidence that our views were represented in the decision making of our National, State and local governments.

In this century we have been slowly manipulated into not recognizing and not acting upon what is happening to our nation. We no longer have a Democracy. We now live in an Oligarchy where a few billionaires and a few huge corporations call all the shots. Our Supreme Court prefers to think of them as persons, you know, just folks. It is more accurate to refer to these two groups as The Owners. It is a rigged system and neither we nor our churches have much to say in what goes on.

The Owners’ puppet politicians gently nudge the majority of Churches along paths set for them to support whatever The Owners want. This gets worse; there are consequences. The Churches have lost their once powerful and independent leadership role.

Sixty years ago, the Churches, exercising their moral authority, were in the front ranks of movements to improve our lives. Preachers, Rabbis and Priests and common folks like you and me marched arm in arm to insure civil rights, to stop an insane war, to improve the lives of those in poverty and to provide education for those whose futures depended on it. Today, we hardly talk about moral authority.

Today, we have become jaded, fearful and selfish. The greed at the top has finally trickled all the way down to us. We didn’t just close abortion clinics and stop the implementation of the Affordable Care Act here in Texas; we stopped poor people from getting medical help. We didn’t improve education; we just made it impossibly expensive. We’re not even going to have a say in the likelihood that oil fracking is creating irreversible damage to our environment. In fact, our Texas State Legislature just passed a law, written by Big Oil, which prohibits any county or local Texas government from enacting laws that are intended to prohibit fracking in their jurisdictions. Today the Churches fight these and many other injustices with a deafening silence.

The Churches have lost their once powerful voice and you can see it clearly in just one simple observation. Ask your church leadership how many weddings take place in the church today compared with 1990. Weddings, once high sacred religious moments held in our sanctuaries, are now conducted at parties in vacation destinations by mail order officiants.

For me, the answer to this roundtable question is this: Until our Churches boldly use their moral authority and spiritual power to confront The Owners and stand up for the poor, the downtrodden, the politically disenfranchised and our environment, we will be forced to acknowledge that we really do not care to follow the teachings of our Lord, The Christ. And so it will be.

Notes From the Masters Class 2014-10-08

Michael Strong and New Education

Michael Strong is a pioneer in education and independent learning. He is the founder of innovative Socratic, Montessori, and Paideia schools and programs in Alaska, Florida, California, Texas, and New Mexico. Michael is co-founder and serves as Chief Executive Officer and Chief Visionary Officer of FLOW.

As Chief Visionary Officer of FLOW, Michael is responsible for articulating the FLOW vision and for applying it in various domains. Fortunately for FLOW, Michael is a prolific thinker and writer. His work is increasingly receiving significant recognition and support. Current articles by Michael are regularly posted at FreeLiberal.com and Tech Central Station, as well as on the FLOW web site.

Michael Strong co-founded FLOW with John Mackey in 2003. Radical Social Entrepreneurs, launched in 2012, is one of three “descendants” of FLOW, along with its siblings Conscious Capitalism and Peace through Commerce.

He is lead author of Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World’s Problems, co-authored with Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus, U.N. Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor Co-Chair Hernando de Soto, and others.

Michael’s work is featured in academic journals (including The Journal of Business Ethics, Economic Affairs, and Critical Review), specialty publications (including Microfinance Insights, Policy Innovations, and Carnegie Ethics) and in media reaching popular audiences (including The New York Times, Bloomberg, The Huffington Post, RealClearPolitics, and Barron’s).

He serves on the board of Conscious Capitalism, Inc., The Free Cities Institute, The Seasteading Institute, and the Advisory Boards of The Lifeboat Foundation, Trilinc Global, The Moorfield Storey Institute, and is a mentor for developing world entrepreneurs for the MIT Legatum Center for Entrepreneurship and Development.

He has long been a radical social entrepreneur, for decades focused on the “creation of conscious culture through educational innovation,” now focused on the entrepreneurial creation of legal systems. He is author of The Habit of Thought: From Socratic Seminars to Socratic Practice.

Michael spent fifteen years innovating in education, creating several high-performance private and charter schools, including one named the 36th best public school in the U.S. on the Washington Post’s Challenge Index. Michael was educated at Harvard, St. John’s College, and the University of Chicago.

“Yelling at God” Chuck’s latest Faith Column for the Hill Country News June 25, 2014

YELLING at GOD! [Read more…]

Jeff Simpson and the New Oceans

What New Oceans? Jeff Simpson has been immersed in his ocean adventures and discoveries for the past quarter century. During this time, all of the global oceans have changed and been degraded. Here, Jeff talks about what has happened in just his lifetime to the oceans, what that means personally to him and how this trend is going to affect all of us.

Jeff is an old friend and we are delighted to present him to you in this challenging interview. Jeff gives a review of his life and especially his involvement in the SCUBA business.

In bringing Jeff to our viewers, he allows us to see many of the complex talents that make up this accomplished artist, musician and adventurer. In the last two minutes of the interview, you will see a wonderful wit as he observes the human drama in today’s light.

June 17, 2014.  Jeff sent the following note:  “This just stuns me. I have been wondering ever since you asked the question of me about the size of the plastic trash gyre in the Pacific Ocean so I looked it up. I keep finding estimates that say it is “much larger than the State of Texas, almost twice the size of the State of Texas.

June 19, 2014 National Geographic ran this article:

“With Millions of Tons of Plastic in Oceans, More Scientists Studying Impact
A surprising amount of our garbage ends up in the sea. Can it ever be cleaned up?
Photo of a boat in the trash-filled waters of Manila Bay.
Fishermen set out amid floating garbage off the shore of Manila Bay in the Philippines on June 8, 2013.

Consider this: The amount of global trash is expected to rise every year for the rest of the century. With no intervention, the growing garbage heap won’t even peak by 2021.

Since most marine debris originates on land, that grim prognosis, say researchers at the University of Georgia, could spell disaster for the oceans, creating an environmental hazard often compared in scope with climate change.

“We estimate we’re going to have millions of tons of plastic going into the ocean with, so far, unknown consequences,” says Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer at the university, who is among a group of scientists pursuing a new phase of research on ocean trash and measuring its impact on the environment and marine life. The University of Georgia group works as part of the University of California at Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.

But while climate change is still mired in politics and is a target of naysayers, the trouble in the oceans is an easier issue to address because it is so visible. “The one thing this issue has going for it over climate change is that you can see the garbage,” Jambeck says.

Ocean debris grabbed the international spotlight this spring during the search for the missing Malaysian jet, when multiple satellite images of floating debris repeatedly turned out to be garbage instead of pieces of the Boeing 777. (See “Plane Search Shows World’s Oceans Are Full of Trash.”)

Secretary of State John Kerry hopes to highlight the issue again next week by making marine trash one of the main topics at a two-day oceans conference that begins Monday. Kerry hopes to frame the challenges that lie ahead, including climate change-related ocean acidification and the threat of overfishing.

But the dilemma caused by the growing tonnage of mostly plastic debris is so complex, it has created a new interdisciplinary field of study. Scientists like Jambeck are examining a litany of new issues that range from the toxicity of plastics ingested by marine animals to the politics and economics of solid waste management in developing nations.

New Questions for an Old Problem

Seafarers have known for decades that the oceans are trash dumps, the ultimate sinkholes for all global garbage. So far, 136 species of marine animals have been found entangled in debris. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the first such discovery was made in 1944, when northern fur seals turned up trapped in rubber “collars” that were the remains of Japanese food-drop bags from the Aleutian campaign in World War II.

But scientific research into marine garbage is only a decade or so old. NOAA, for example, launched its Marine Debris Program only in 2006, after Congress passed the Marine Debris Act at the urging of Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).

The defining moment of ocean debris research, says Jambeck, was when scientists discovered that ocean debris was no longer an assemblage of cloth, wood, and ceramics, but was composed almost entirely of plastic. Most of that is micro-plastic, meaning it has decayed and broken down into microscopic pieces that float in the water column. Richard Thompson, a British scientist scheduled to speak at Kerry’s conference, first highlighted the problem in 2004 in a paper titled “Lost at Sea: Where Is All the Plastic?”

“Once micro-plastics entered the picture and it was being ingested by marine life, it was a whole new ballgame,” Jambeck says. “That’s when the alarms started going off.”

Jambeck and her team’s research, to be published later this year, will provide new estimates of how much garbage is produced globally every year, how much garbage comes from developing countries lacking garbage collection systems, and how much litter is produced by developed countries. All trash has the potential to reach the oceans.

Yet despite the new burst of scientific study, solving the problem in the face of an increasing volume of ocean trash seems an almost insurmountable task.

An alliance of 48 plastic manufacturers from 25 countries—all members of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter—has pledged to help prevent marine debris and encourage recycling. Several manufacturers are now marketing products made partly from recycled ocean plastics and abandoned fishing gear.

But the consensus among many scientists, including NOAA’s, is that cleaning up the oceans can potentially cause more harm than good. Cleaning up micro-plastics could also inadvertently sweep up plankton, which provides the basis for the marine food chain and half of the photosynthesis on Earth.

Ocean trash is driven by currents into loosely formed garbage “patches” that Dianna Parker, a NOAA spokesperson, says are more accurately described as “peppery soup” filled with grain-size plastic bits. The word “patch” suggests a defined size and location, when in fact floating debris is constantly moving, shifting with seasonal weather, and changing in shape and size.

Cleaning up even one of these areas seems impossible. Not surprisingly, the largest patch is in the largest ocean—the Pacific, which covers a third of the planet. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as it is known, is often said to be twice the size of Texas. It actually extends, at times, from Japan to San Francisco, and varies in shape and density. According to NOAA, cleaning up less than one percent of the North Pacific would take 68 ships working 10 hours a day for a year.

Beach cleanups help, but are costly and ineffective. The Ocean Conservancy, the international leader in coastal cleanups, has collected some 180 million tons in three decades of work. “We have now created the world’s best database for what actually happens on our beaches,” says Andreas Merkl, the group’s CEO. “We are the largest end-of-the-pipe, ocean-specific trash entity.”

San Francisco spends $6 million a year cleaning up cigarette butts alone, according to NOAA figures in a report called the “The Honolulu Strategy: A Global Framework for Prevention and Management of Marine Debris.” The Honolulu Strategy, developed at a NOAA conference in 2011, notes that a more effective solution is to prevent debris from being swept into the oceans in the first place.

But as long as some countries lack the ability to efficiently collect garbage from its citizens, that garbage will continue to end up in the ocean.

Plastic-Making Technology Spreads

Ted Siegler, a partner at DSM Environmental Services, a waste management firm in Windsor, Vermont, has spent a career helping developing countries set up garbage collection systems.

“In many ways, this is really simple. This is putting trucks on the road and picking up the garbage and bringing it to a proper place,” he says. “But none of that is occurring in almost all of the places that I’ve been working in the last 20 years.”

The complication, Siegler says, is the speed with which plastic manufacturing technology has spread globally.

“I could walk into a guy’s garage in Jordan and he would be blowing film to create plastic bags. Or walk into an industrial shop in Vietnam and a guy would have a brand-new Chinese knockoff of a Frito-Lay packaging machine,” he says.

“There is no end in sight to how much plastic we are going to be producing and how much we are going to be using, and that’s the scary part. If it’s important now, it’s going to be much more important ten years from now.”

Laura Parker
National Geographic
PUBLISHED JUNE 13, 2014

2014-07-05: This just in from Jeff: “I read an article not long ago that was the summary of a 3 years study of sea and sea-shore birds that were found dead. The idea was to try to draw a common thread for cause of death if one existed. It did. Over 90% of the birds were found to have so much plastic in their stomachs and craws, that they cold not process out of their bodies, that they essentially starved to death because there was no room for food.

Doesn’t that make you proud?”

 

Lo Anne Mayer and Celestial Conversations

Lo Anne Mayer is a long time student of healing and spirituality. After her mother’s death, as Lo Anne describes in this interview, she wanted to deal with much unfinished business with her mother. She found a way to communicate with her mother and this book is about that and it will also lead you to similar solutions if you have a questions about a loved one who has made his or her transition.

This is an opportunity to see first hand what you have long suspected. There is not only life after death, there is relationship on both sides of the veil.

Lo Anne and her book will move you to action.

The Way We Were!

20120220-_MG_6032By Chuck Robison
September 25, 2013

What Just Happened? Three weeks ago it appeared we were being prepared for the next in the long series of our Perpetual 21st Century Wars. We were fully justified in this next war because some of our brothers and sisters had killed some others of our family. An eye for an eye! But as Gandhi said, if we follow that rule to its logical conclusion we will all be blind. Instead, we all woke up…..almost over night and changed the world!

Our representative government actually got the message. We began a new experience in using our power to change the world! Before that we had convinced ourselves we had no say in the government or any power to change it.

The churches we attend mirror some of that convincing as well. Even though Jesus uses the words sin, sinners and sinning only 22 times in the New Testament, many churches magnify sin as a way to keep us in control and caged by the fear that we will have to pay for our mistakes in hell.

We have been created by Love and Love is the core of our being. We are hard-wired to know and are fully capable of acting in a loving way in any situation. We also sometimes push the override button and pretend we have forgotten what is right. But, fear cannot exist where love is present.

God does not forget His creation, which allows us to use His power in the universe. But we resist using this power….out of fear. Marianne Williamson says: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

It falls to each of us to remember who we are and to help our brothers and sisters remember themselves along with us.

Instead of focusing on using our power to change the world for the better, we distract ourselves, standing in lines to buy new iPhones and pretending that we have not befouled our global nest by ignoring how our actions and ignorance are destroying the environment. We pretend that the highest good our brilliant minds can create are unstoppable machines of war and mass destruction. We pretend that our need for guns far out-weighs our concern for native terrorist attacks as we watch 250 mass murders (that is defined as 4 murders in one event) take place in this country in the first 250 days of this year. We live in a society that each day looks more and more like an interrogation room and the government is watching us from the other side of the mirror.

We can change this. Our turning away from destroying Syria is the first step in re-awakening to our power and God’s real help.

The wonder of this recent event forced us to see ourselves in a new light. We are not lowly sinners damned to Hell and pleading for Jesus to come save us, nor does a government hell-bent on corralling us into a free-range prison victimize us as helpless citizens.

We are being led, by our higher selves into a time when we will look again and realize we are not human beings struggling to have a spiritual life, we are divine eternal spiritual beings having a human experience, as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said.

As we make this transition, this shift in consciousness, this experience of a new paradigm we will begin to see more and more often that we are here to love the whole experience of life and each other…..and the day will surely come when we will be astounded that we ever spent any time trying to kill another human being.

As we see each other in this new way and look back on who we used to be, we will exclaim in wonder about our former selves: Who was that?

Gregg Fraley and Improving Creativity


5552471Gregg Fraley speaks with thought-provoking passion about all things creative & innovative, communicating cutting edge ideas, proven methods, insightful perspectives, & innovative take-home actions steps. He informs and inspires by delivering keynotes, seminars, and trainings with humor & idea-generating energy.

Jack’s Notebook is a business novel that has readers learning a framework for deliberate creativity. It’s a fast-paced story illustrating the CPS process (also known as the Osborn-Parnes model). CPS is used widely in innovation — but training is expensive and not widely offered — it’s been a corporate secret. Jack’s Notebook has been adopted by small companies, university professors, students, start-up founders, innovation team leaders — people who share the need to solve complex challenges — with innovative solutions. Jack’s Notebook is required reading for MBA, design, marketing, innovation, and other courses. St. John’s, Cambridge’s Judge Business School, University of California at Berkeley, and University of Seattle are among those schools that use Jack’s Notebook.

Gregg’s diverse business background includes everything from founding and managing high-flying software technology companies to working as an interactive television producer.
Now, he’s the founder of a start-up, KILN, which provides fresh approaches to the innovation process, including a unique innovation subscription service called IdeaKeg.

This video will enter the membership category on September 27, 2013

Randy Masters: Harmonic Mathematician

Randy Masters is indeed a master. He has gone to the depths of sound and harmony and brought back a profound understanding of the relationship both have to the Universe and our individual lives. And he discusses this journey with complete candor, authenticity, and a depth that you will find powerful, informative and truly enjoyable. As a special added treat, he performs live for our camera from his living room/studio in Santa Cruz, California. Randy was the host for the Tom Campbell Group Presentation on June 26, 2012. This is a very special person!

All the music in this video is used by permission of Randy Masters.