The process of spiritual growth is different for everyone. During this time we absorb so-called “rules” about spirituality that we never think to question but, according to author Betsy Chasse, perhaps should.
Author Betsy Chasse began to question these spiritual rules after she went through several crises in her life. Her book, “Tipping Sacred Cows,”examines the spiritual tenets we assume we must ascribe to and whether we actually need to buy into them in order to “be spiritual.”
I read the book and enjoyed it very much. I recommend it if you too question some of these “rules.”
A sacred cow is something we hold it up against any sort of criticism. We protect it, even if it doesn’t serve our highest good. We have beliefs about ourselves and the world that we have picked up along the way from our family, friends, teachers, the media and they become ingrained in us and we mold our lives around those beliefs, often we don’t even know they exist. To tip those sacred cows means to take them out and really examine them, see if they are true or just a belief, a story you’ve convinced yourself is true. If it’s not – tip it over, let it go, work at it until it’s gone.
2.The book is a hilarious guided tour of what you perceive to be the spiritual propaganda most of us have been fed; please tell Powered by Intuition readers what happened in your life that changed how you perceived these spiritual concepts?
Life is a series of epiphanies. It’s a constant unraveling of self.With each one we can either choose to evolve, re-examine our beliefs and change or continue living from the same place. The biggest change for me came when I realized nothing was static. An idea, a concept of a belief needed to be able to evolve as I did, as my life evolved. What might have been working for me during one part of my life, doesn’t mean it will always work or always be true or ever was true.Being spiritual isn’t about what you practice, what yoga you do, whether you’re a vegan or not. You are a spiritual being. Meaning comes from you, not what you do. For me finding my meaning came when I looked at myself and asked myself, what do I want in my life, who do I want to be and started to be that. I let go of worrying about the how’s, the yoga pants, and if I had Ganesh in the right part of my house.
3.“Like any good drug, once a moment of enlightenment happens, we begin to attempt to recreate that experience, and with every attempt it seems to get further away. Thus the eternal hunt through the maze for the cheese. The seeking becomes the endgame, and when we are seeking, we aren’t really being.” (P.35)
I loved this section Betsy and I have experienced this myself. Can you give readers an example of one of those “enlightenment experiences” that was the catalyst for chasing experience instead of being? Instead of chasing these experiences what should we do instead?
One of my most powerful experiences came when I first experienced a group of people so enthralled by a teacher. I got caught up for sure in group consciousness, suddenly feeling connected to the people around me in a way I had never experienced. I felt I belonged for the first time. That was amazing and I wanted to recreate that experience over and over again, so I attempted to manufacture it instead of just allowing it to happen, like it did the first time, organically, but just living my life fully and taking each experience as it comes rather than forcing it.
4. Why does living in “non-attachment’ from your point of view, not work for most people?
Mostly because we are a society built on attachments. Our entire realty is based on having. Not just things, but love, relationships. We are a social species, we are emotional and the more we try to be less emotional and less attached because it’s the “right” way to be, the more frustrated we become. It’s like saying no: try telling yourself you can’t have something and watch your body react. I have found the more I allow myself to be honest about my attachments the less I feel the need to be attached.
5. You book covers all the major spiritual topics such as enlightenment, the law of attraction, attachment, the Universe, masks we wear through life, feelings, living in bliss, the ego, fear and judgment, self-love and forgiveness and anger. Which of these topics do you feel is the most misunderstood and why?
For me the biggest was what does it mean to be spiritual. I always felt I was doing it wrong, or that I was somehow missing something. My definition of spiritual didn’t match up with someone else’s.I don’t feel alone in this.We all want to be happy so we’re looking for “the answer” and we keep looking for it. We’re busy and it’s hard and time-consuming work, so we look for the short cuts and we slap on the newest and greatest practice or platitude and we keep on truckin’. And it works for a while, but because most of these concepts are complex and intertwined and take a willingness to be uncomfortable and a mess, we either quit out of frustration, or we attempt to skip to the master class. I misunderstood a lot of these concepts because they sound so easy, they’ve almost been trivialized. Make a vision board and your life will be better. But we don’t want to ask the hard questions, like why do we want what’s on that vision board? Being spiritual became more about doing it right than living authentically. If I wasn’t manifesting what was on my vision board there must be something wrong with me. And much of these concepts have been taken out of context and overly simplified.
6. What central point do you wish readers to take away from reading the book?
Ultimately happiness isn’t a destination, it’s a state of mind. Spirituality doesn’t have a rule book, there isn’t a right and a wrong way, it’s just life, your life.I’ve got a million platitudes and I hate to say it, but they are all true. Life is messy, life is a journey (yep I just said that), give yourself a break, and if you can only hold on to one sacred cow, make it this one: Everything is going to be ok and you might as well laugh…cause really it is damn funny, even when it sucks.
7. How did writing the book change you? How would you like it to affect readers?
Writing Tipping was a catharsis in that I let go of all the thoughts and ideas that had been swirling about my head for a very long time. Just like in the game I describe in the book: “My life Sucks”, it was freeing to write it and say it, I had to dig deep into myself to the places I often avoided. My hope is that readers will see that in doing that, there is peace, laughter and a path towards the life they desire. And that in the end the only path you need to be following is your own.
8. What’s next or what are you working on now?
I am currently filming another “BLEEP” and am working on getting a new film going “Killing Buddha”.
What sacred cows are you holding onto? Do they inhibit your growth or assist you in it? Share with us in the comments.
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Betsy Chasse is an internationally known author, filmmaker and speaker. Sheis the Co-Creator (Writer, Director, Producer) of the film “What The Bleep Do We Know?!” and the author of 3 books including Tipping Sacred Cows (January 2014 Atria/Simon & Schuster), Metanoia – A Transformative Change of Heart and the companion book to BLEEP, Discovering The endless Possibilities for Altering Your Everyday Reality. She also enjoys blogging for Huff Post, Intent.com, Modern Mom and other sites. Chasse continues to make provocative films, with the recently completed documentary CREATIVITY and two currently in production— The follow up film to “BLEEP” and Zentropy a narrative comedy about what happens when the least spiritual person on the planet gets hired to make a movie about spirituality.
Today I’m pleased to bring you an interview with Renee Scheltema. Renee’s film and book are based on her spiritual journey to into the science behind psychic phenomena.
I’ve seen the film and read the book and I recommend both highly if you are interested in the science behind psychic phenomena. (Renee’s book is on Amazon and FREE for a limited time – so do get your copy!)
1. Renee tell us why you wrote the film and book, “Something Unknown is Doing We Don’t Know What.”
I am a child of the scientific age, where explanations abound for most things, even bizarre things. It intrigued me that I could find a way to understand these certain “psychic” experiences.
Furthermore, I was fascinated by western research into the nature of the mind and consciousness. And so I resolved to search more deeply for explanations of psychic phenomena as well.
My early personal experience between my father and my sudden powerful compulsion to speak to him from so many thousand kilometers away would later become the catalyst for my research into psychic phenomena. Here is an excerpt from the book:
When I was at university in California I would phone my parents in the Netherlands once every three months, just to catch up. This was long before cell phones and the Internet, so I would walk about five blocks to the main campus and throw a quarter in the public telephone booth for a collect call to home.
An operator would then connect me to my country of birth. I would always phone around six p.m., as I was sure that my parents would be home.I had spoken to them two days before, so I did not expect to speak to them for months. It happened one morning when I was studying, and absorbed in reading my textbooks,I suddenly I had a powerful compulsion in mind and body to call my parents.
“This is crazy!” I thought. “Why am I doing this? I’ve got other things to do. I just spoke to them two days ago.” Yet within minutes, I found myself walking out of my room and down the road, past the five blocks to the public telephone booth.
The whole way I thought, “Why am I reluctantly walking here?” The strong impulse kept spurring me. I paid my quarter. The operator connected me and surprisingly my brother answered. This was odd, as he no longer lived at home. He said my father had had a stroke earlier that day and was in the intensive care unit of a hospital, fighting for his life. I felt sure that ‘something’ had communicated to me that there was an emergency and this urged me to make direct contact with my family. Luckily, my father survived.
This early experience spurred me to delve into this project along with the deeper telepathic occurrences that then continued between my family and I later on in life….
At the time when I decided to delve into making the film, “Something Unkown” I was working as a photographer and free-lance director for a Dutch TV station.
Sometimes I would be on contract to musician clients in the region of the Western Cape outside Cape Town. Throughout the 7 years of pre-film production and completing this project I experienced my many local, international and personal challenges.
Documentary filmmaking has been my way of life and career ever since the late 1970s. The television films on which I worked transported me to countries such as: China, Russia, Nepal, Egypt, Israel, Kenya, The Sudan, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Burma and South Africa, to name a few. I tried to push boundaries with my stories having a strong sense of justice.
For example, I filmed in China in 1980, four years after Mao Tse Tung’s death.
During the Cold War, I secretly filmed in Russia and interviewed Jewish dissidents during the Olympic games in Moscow.
In 1988, I made a documentary in Burma, which was very tricky because of the military junta and the strict monitors they implied on all journalists.
During Pinochet’s regime in Chile, I secretly filmed rebel child soldiers for Dutch TV.
In the early eighties, I made a film in Nepal for a Dutch NGO about local environmental problems. All of my films were shown on Dutch Television and some were selected for film festivals.
Years later, I sat down for three months and wrote a script for a film on spirituality in general. Psychic phenomena were not yet part of the script at that stage.Yet it became the basis of my film about parapsychologists and scientists investigating psychic phenomena. During the next seven years, off and on, I worked on the script and had started shooting subjects that might fit the documentary. Meanwhile, I made five documentaries on consignment for Dutch TV. From 2006 onwards I worked full-time on the film,“Something unknown is doing we don’t know what.”
2. What is “the big five?” And why have they been categorized as such? Which of the categories most fascinated you and why?
Psycho-kinesis (mind affecting solid objects without the use of physical force).
My view? Yes, there is scientific evidence for these five psychic abilities but I found many lingering mysteries too and my unquenchable thirst for explanations set me off on a journey to discover what I could about these five mysterious abilities.
For me, of course, all the subjects fascinated me but the one that I had already experienced personally and that really intrigued me was the mind-to-mind connection or ‘Telepathy’.
For me it was so obviously present, this true subconscious energy and power of our mind and inter-personal connections, this wasn’t just coincidence.
Healing through the strength of the mind was also something I have always believed strongly in.
3. Can you explain “crisis telepathy” and who experiences it most often and the theory behind why it is so?
My first telepathic encounter, with my father’s stroke is actually called, “Crisis Telepathy”. I only discovered years later, that this was not an unusual occurrence between loved ones at times of great crisis. I learned that people who know each other well most commonly experience telepathy and this was my experience too.
While living in South Africa, I encountered more communications of this kind with my two daughters, Laura and Lisa. We began to consider these mysterious connections that we shared as “normal”. It often happened that we somehow knew when the other was in need.
4. Can you explain a bit about the “mystical experience” or what Professor Charles Tart calls a “transpersonal experience” where a person experiences “oneness” with the whole of life and the Universe?
Does having a transpersonal experience change a person? How?
A “transpersonal experience “ is definitely life changing. A few seconds of a transpersonal experience can change the direction of a person’s life, while years of ordinary experiences may have no effect at all.
Someone who had just such an experience, and whose life took on a totally new direction thereafter, was Dr Edgar Mitchell, an aeronautical engineer and a world-famous American astronaut who subsequently went on to found IONS after his own transpersonal experience.
Tart taught me that a transpersonal experience is like an epiphany; where a person experiences being part of something much bigger than just their ordinary biological and social self. So, if someone feels as though they have contacted God or been ‘at one’ with the universe or unified with nature, or something like that, and it’s a real feeling – not just an idea – that’s what we mean by a ‘transpersonal’ experience.
5. What did you learn that surprised you most while interviewing or researching for the film/book?
It was such a great journey to meet these eloquent,friendly and intelligent people in the US, who had dedicated their lives to finding scientific evidence for the paranormal.In the future para-normal will be normal as we’ve always used our sixth sense to survive in the wilderness, and their value is in the opening of our eyes to a deeper meaning of life.
6. Have there been any new developments in the research or any conclusions reached about a theory for psi since you published the book/finished the film?
I occasionally read that new discoveries have been made providing evidence for the existenceof psi. I can also see that many more people have and are delving into the science behind it since the evidence is undeniably real. Of course as world population increases and our natural resources run increasingly scarce, interconnected consciousness, spirituality and psychic abilities grow stronger in times of crisis.
(Editor’s note: This is an interesting statement as I included a chapter in The Intuition Principle about how our psychic abilities have been warning us of impending ecological disaster but, we as a society have been ignoring our intuition on this for years…)
7. What, if any, is the value of psi research to society overall?
A better understanding and knowledge of psi research allows for a more connected society, it broadens knowledge in the sense of ‘interconnecting’ human beings as a whole.
I have found that the topic of paranormal psychology is becoming more popular in itself as personal conscious awareness becomes more pronounced and as the shift in mind-set in individuals becomes a clear direction for overall change.
8. Will there be a sequel to the film/book? And, what are you working on now?
There won’t be a sequel to this exact subject per say but I am currently busy with a new documentary (and/or series). A topic also based on mind power and if you understand this film and book and have the open-minded approach to the topic then this one too links with understanding the importance of personal transcend and initiates . I can’t say too much about my next documentary yet. It needs to stay a mystery until it has been completed.
Do you have a question for Renee or a psychic or transpersonal experience of your own? Please share it with us in the comments. Which of the “big five” categories does your psychic experience fall under?
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Watch the trailer from Renee’s film:
Renée Scheltema (1951) is a Dutch documentary filmmaker and photographer. After her Drs. degree in Criminology in 1974, she went to the University of California in Berkeley ( M.A. School of Journalism ). Her main subjects were TV-Journalism and Photo-Journalism.
For 25 years Renée has worked for Dutch television as a director, producer and camera-person. Some of her documentaries were commissioned by NGO’s. Others were freelance like “Hush”, a portrait of artist Tracy Payne; “Seven Days in Burma”, “The Death Penalty”, “Portrait of a Zen couple”, “The Bus”and selected at international filmfestivals.
Her latest documentary feature on science and spirituality called “Something Unknown is doing we don’t know what” (www.SomethingUnknown.com) has been the official selection at eleven film festivals around the world, and won the Special Jury Award at the Arizona Int. Film Fest. And was the first Runner Up of the 2010 COVR Visionary Award. The book Something Unknown is now available as well.
Renée is currently working on a feature documentary about the environment. As a photographer, Renée has been working for magazines and newspapers in Holland, the US, and South Africa. She was a member of Gamma Liaison in New York (now called Getty Images). Renée lives in Cape Town, South Africa.
Become a fan of Renee’s on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube & itunes 🙂
I’m participating in another fun collaborative blogging event with Lillian-Juda Leonard Beach at her beautiful site: The Mini Beach Bird.
She has a series running called Meditation Monday.
Several bloggers have contributed their favorite meditations.
Each week new meditations will be posted for readers to try. As most of you know I’m a former meditation instructor – so this is truly something I feel strongly about. If I had my way meditation would be part of the curriculum in public school.
I’ve contributed a meditation to her weekly series titled: A Meditation on Meditating which was a guest post by Rosemarie Monaco. Click here to try it out and all the other great meditations collected there.
I’m sure you’re going to really enjoy this and love trying the many different meditations that have been submitted.
Thank you Lillian-Juda for arranging this wonderful event and for including me. I am truly honored.
This was my mantra at 7 am as I tried in vain to meditate.
Some days I’m able to get deep into the zone of a meditation where my thoughts slow and then stop for a while. These are the best meditations. I’m detached but present in the flow of Universal Mind. I feel a clarity and a sense that all is well – just the way things are. Perfectly imperfect.
I am aware of a connection to all life which gently gives way to a quiet joy. I ride the waves of this Universal flow as long as I can before thoughts get the better of me again. I take the quiet joy with me out into my day and go about my business.
Today I could not surf that wave. It was just one big thought after another knocking me off my spiritual surf board until I got tired of trying to climb back on and gave up. All I kept hearing was: I have work to do. I need to exercise. I’m running low on milk. Got to get to the ATM and deposit that check.
With each thought I squeezed my eyes tighter and said NO not now! But, they wouldn’t stop. I followed my breathing again and my thoughts slowed somewhat but not to the extent where I could make that connection to the soothing calmness I craved.
Later while journaling it hit me. I was trying too hard. You cannot force yourself to get in the flow – It just doesn’t work that way.
It reminded me of getting injections at the doctor’s office as a little girl. The idea that my little fanny was going to be pierced by a long shiny needle terrified me. And, no matter what my mother said, or the nurse about relaxing I’d tense up anyway which only made it hurt more.
It’s the same with those pesky thoughts. I was forcibly trying to resist thinking which makes no sense at all. The idea is to let them come and then go without reacting to the intrusion in your meditation. All pain comes from resistance. I knew this, so why wasn’t I doing it?
Resistance is a form of control. To resist your thoughts is the same as trying to control them. You can’t control your thoughts anymore than you can control another person or situation. All you can do is be present, observe and let them go, be it a person or situation. As soon as you start tangling with them it becomes a battle of the wills. Then the ego gets involved – and the ego hates to lose.
Resistance can crop up in any area of our lives – not just morning meditation.While journaling I started thinking of all the other areas in my life where resistance had caused problems. I was reminded of how I’d clung to an unhappy relationship because of my resistance to accept that it was over. I also thought of how long it took me to stop resisting that it was time to sell my house and move on, and how I’d resisted following my heart in my choice of career for so long. This brought me full circle to realizing that the mornings that I got the most out of my meditation it came naturally without any resistance to my thoughts. They popped in – and they popped out.
I saw so clearly that resisting anything dams up the natural flow of our lives. The energy we expend to dam up the flow sucks the joy out of any experience in our lives. What a useless practice this is. Resistance is futile because in resisting we hope to avoid pain in some area of our lives, but what actually happens is the complete opposite – we create more pain that actually seeps into every area of our lives. Pain should be a warning that something is wrong, but when we dam up the feelings and get used to the pain it becomes all too familiar. No more of creating pain for me. After this realization I’m adopting new mantra in meditation and in life: Resist nothing.
Are there any areas in your life where you’ve been resisting change? Can you see how it has it affected you? How will your life change if you stop resisting and release the waters from the dam?
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“What I try to stress, to those who are prepared to listen, is that the material is only the reflection, the shadow, the husk and not the reality. The material exits because it is animated by the spirit. When spirit withdraws, matter disintegrates. Spirit is master, matter is servant. Spirit is king, matter is commoner. This is the great lesson that millions have still to learn in your world. They give priority to matter and very little attention to spirit. ” Excerpt from the book, Light From Silver Birch. Silver Birch, a native American, was channeled through the medium Maurice Barbanell in England up until 1981 when Maurice Barbanell passed away. His channeled teachings were published in a series of 9 books.
Are you going through tumultuous changes in your life? Facing life changing decisions?
Do you feel like you might just be on the precipice of something, but you don’t know what? Are you unsure about the future and your next steps?
Many many people are going through some of the most challenging times of their lives right now. Some of have lost jobs, or lost homes and may have even lost someone close to them. There seems to be so much pain in the world with poverty, hunger, wars, terrorism and anarchists. Sometimes it feels as if our whole world is shaking like a wet dog flinging the water from his coat. Maybe all this shaking and quaking of our institutions and lifestyle is a good thing? Perhaps it will shake off the caked on mud and reveal a new more balanced way of living?
Could this huge global shake-up be meant as a wake-up call?
Is it perhaps, time for many of us to realize that we have become too attached to materialism? To become aware that we truly are spiritual beings having a human experience? Maybe the pain and crises many people are facing now are meant to bring them to their knees so that they reemerge with an awareness of their true spiritual nature?
Could it be time to go within and stop looking outside of ourselves for the answers? Maybe the crumbling of our culture of conspicuous consumption is causing so much pain because it’s signaling that it’s time to awaken to the fact that worshiping materialism has cut us off from our true source?
I certainly think so. I also think that until the vast majority of mankind believe that spirit is what makes all things possible, not matter, and that we are connected by the spiritual essence that animates each and every one of us we will never end all the hatred and violence toward one another and our earth.
Last week I sent out this tweet on Twitter: How much good undertaken by good people will it take to override all the violence and hatred in the world? Be the good!
I really believe we are at a critical juncture in our history and that we have a huge choice to make here. It’s time to awaken to the truth that we are spiritual beings, and to do good, be good and spread good which is to say we need to focus on exuding love in our world.
What do you think? Are we at a critical juncture? Do you feel a change taking place within? Do you feel a need to search for answers and take up a spiritual practice such as meditation? Let us know – share your comments with us.
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Hi, I’m Angela Artemis.
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