Lesson 1: The Real Issue

December 2016

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Today is the day! We are now moving from preparation to engagement as we sharpen our focus on Aurobindo's "Savitri" which can be found in most bookstores. (Starting now, I will refer to Sri Aurobindo as SA.) This chapter will be a little longer because I want to have a good beginning. Let's get started!

Existence precedes experience. Existence precedes experience. What this means is that before you ever knew pain or joy or suffering or orgasm or fear or victory, you existed. Before you ever experienced cold or warm or thirst or contentment or hate or love or prejudice or justice, you existed. Before you were able to see, taste, hear, touch or smell, you existed. Before you experienced anything, you existed. Before the journey of the physical body from birth to death was thrust into destiny, you existed.

From Book 1: The Book of Beginnings

“For this she (Savitri) had accepted mortal breath;
To wrestle with the Shadow she had come
And must confront the riddle of man’s birth
And life’s brief struggle in dumb Matter’s night.
Whether to bear with Ignorance and death
Or hew the ways of Immortality,
To win or lose the godlike game for man,
Was her soul’s issue thrown with Destiny’s dice.”

"A point she had reached where life must be in vain
Or, in her unborn element awake,
Her will must cancel her body's destiny.
For only the unborn spirit's limitless power
Can lift the yoke imposed by birth in Time.
Only the Self that builds this figure of self
Can raze the fixed interminable line
That joins these changing names, these numberless lives,
These new oblivious personalities
And keeps still lurking in our conscious acts
The trail of old forgotten thoughts and deeds,
Disown the legacy of our buried selves,
The burdensome heirship to our vanished forms
Accepted blindly by the body and soul.
An episode in an unremembered tale,
Its beginning lost, its motive and plot concealed,
A once living story has prepared and made
Our present fate, child of past energies.
The fixity of the cosmic sequences
Fastened with hidden inevitable links
She must disrupt, dislodge by her soul's force
Her past, a block on the immortal's road,
Make a razed ground and shape anew her fate."

It is true that for most of us it is time to  plow up some dirt and shape anew our fates. One struggle after another. Not having enough or being enough. One step forward, one step back.

But is it possible that there could be another destiny for your life and body other than struggling its way through time with the yoke of life on its shoulders only to end in the unannounced moment of death? Is your will truly powerful enough to cancel out the past and restore your "vanished" form? Which, by the way, what is your "vanished" form to which SA refers? Why are you oblivious to the fixed patterns of your life, but even more importantly, to life itself? Why do you not know the "motive and plot" of your life and what you are here for?  How do you start "anew" your fate and destiny? Why would your true Self of limitless power have created this little self whose world centers around ignorance and death? And if there were answer to these questions, would you want to know? What is the real issue?

The world is an effect. The world is not the cause. Your life (effect) is the outcome of you (cause) and no one else. You are the cause and It turns out that the real issue with life begins with the issue of existence. The question of existence lies at position of cause. It is the starting gate in your physical experience. Existence precedes experience!

From Book 1: The Book of Beginnings / page 46

"What now we see is a shadow of what must come.
The earth's uplook to a remote Unknown
Is a preface only of the epic climb
Of human soul from its flat earthly state
To the discovery of a greater self
And the far gleam of an eternal Light.
The world is a beginning and a base
Where Life and Mind erect their structured dreams;
An unborn Power must build reality
A deathbound littleness is not all we are:"

The significance of your existence has already determined your destiny: that your unlimited potential and destiny is something that already exists inside of you as being part of who you are! You were born whole and complete, lacking nothing and the significance of your existence is to become that potential. In fact, you are more than just whole and complete! YOU ARE THAT! You are the thing that you continue to seek, that what you see now in your life is but "...a shadow of what must come." You can choose among a million different classes to take but you don't get to choose the curriculum. The curriculum is set. The curriculum is your existence becoming what it is intended to become.

So, what is the Shadow with whom you must wrestle? It is the unconscious choice of pretending that you are NOT THAT in order to experience that you ARE THAT!

Let me make it easy for you. Let's say you are married. Every night you come home from work and tell your partner that you love them...but you don't do anything about it...but you tell them. You get busy, you do chores, you exercise, you watch TV, you do a million things but show them that you love them. Your partner knows that you love them. But they don't want the KNOWING...they want the DOING. And if you don't do it, they will leave you...even though they know that you love them. Existence is the same thing! It seeks the experience that it knows that it is! It knows that you ARE THAT! And when it cannot experience that Self which it knows its Self to be, it will substitute a false self, a "deathbound littleness" as its yoke to one day force the realization of who it is out in the open.

You are a flaming warrior who has come into existence to force open the doors of ignorance and unconsciousness that has kept you bound lifetime after lifetime after lifetime.You are endowed by your very existence to possess the will and power to lift the burdens of your life and experience your Self for who your know your Self to be:

“A flaming warrior from the eternal peaks
Empowered to force the door denied and closed
Smote from death’s visage its dumb absolute
And burst the bounds of consciousness and Time.”

The real issue is that of existence. The problem is that YOU ARE THAT...and you don't know that. The real issue is that God is within you. And then, so what, what if you did know it, what would you do differently?

"Whether to bear with Ignorance and death

Or hew the ways of Immortality,

To win or lose the godlike game for man,

Was her soul’s issue thrown with Destiny’s dice.”


Your experiences in your life have been the pieces of the puzzle you have chosen and drawn to yourself in order to reveal the nature of your existence! They are neither accidental nor unintentional. But you are not your experiences. They do not define you. They are the very tools of your awakening, the very path that will pave the way Home for you, to at last reveal and confirm what you have secretly known your whole life. YOU ARE THAT! You are not your experiences but you are your existence and you are THAT! Your very existence confirms it. You must "...disrupt, dislodge..." by your soul's force the past, raise the ground of your present life and shape anew your fate. You are by your very existence living proof that you are THAT. Now what do you want to do with those experiences?

If you thought you had problems before, you ain't seen nothing yet. Welcome to the land of the living.


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A Conscious Life 2017: Preparation 2

December 2016

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You have one more preparation before you begin your work in Aurobindo's "Savitri." It is almost time to get started.

The following 19 statements are about perception. Each statement comes from “A Course in Miracles.” This section is intended to give you the opportunity to look more deeply at the skill of perception and the priceless value it holds for you. In a few cases, I have added a word or two for the sake of clarity.

I want to be realistic about what you are doing. This is difficult work. It takes so much courage and perseverance to wake up everyday and face the demands of your daily life. You have such little control over what happens. But you have all the control in the world over how you look at it. If you accept this and understand this, then you understand that no one or no thing can keep you from experiencing yourself in the way you choose. No matter what happens. But that is going to require knowledge. That is going to require that you be able to see something your mind and your eyes cannot see. This is where perception comes in.

Read each of the statements and consider the  implication of what is suggests. Print a copy of them to carry with you during the week, taking the time to study and review them numerous times.


  1. 1. Your perception of anything is your choice.

  2. 2. Your perception of anything is your choice of what you want yourself to be.

  3. 3. Your perception of anything or anybody is a choice, not a fact.

  4. 4. What you see around you reflects the state of your mind.

  5. 5. As you look out at the world, so do you see inside yourself.

  6. 6. You see what you expect and expect what you invite.

  7. 7. All perception begins with the perceiver who determines what is true and what is false.

  8. 8. You see what you are looking for and you find it.

  9. 9. You see a lot of trouble with other people but not inside yourself, so you feel you have integrity.

  10. 10. You see the world you value.

  11. 11. As you hear, you answer. Its outcome is the life you are living.

  12. 12. Instead of trying to change others, change yourself.

  13. 13. Your perception of the other person does not mean a thing.

  14. 14. There must be doubt before there is conflict and all doubt is about yourself.

  15. 15. Perception is the vehicle by which ignorance is brought to knowledge.

  16. 16. Every person looks for freedom where they think it can be found and will use others as a means of finding it.

  17. 17. You see what you believe whether it is there or not.

  18. 18. Therefore, it is impossible not to believe what you see. If you see it, it’s because you believe it.

  19. 19. But it’s equally impossible for you to see what you do not believe. If you do not believe it, you

  20.  will not see it even when it is standing right in front of you. (Happiness, forgiveness, peace,              opportunity, love, etc.)



  1. 1. Perceptual Reciprocity = What you see is what you get. In your outer life (horizontal), perceptions are built on the basis of experience. You believe that you are your experiences (being betrayed, hurt, ignored, abused, rejected, confused, rich, poor, etc.)  BUT YOU ARE NOT YOUR EXPERIENCES! You had the experience but you are not the experience. But it sure looks that way and feels that way. In your inner life (vertical), perception is a choice. It is a choice in which you consciously over-ride what your sensory experience is telling you. Do that now. Choose today to see what your eyes cannot see! For example, see perfection in all things, good and bad. See yourself as being held in safety and balance. See yourself as forgiven and loved. Perceive today what your experiences have denied you in the past.


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A Conscious Life 2017: Preparation 1

December 2016

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A Conscious Life 2017 

Preparation 1 

The following 92 statements are about learning. Each statement comes from the book, “A Course in Miracles.” Preparation 1 is intended to give you the opportunity to look more deeply at the skill of learning and its importance in your life. Read each of the statements and consider the value and implication of what is suggests. Print a copy to carry with you during the week, taking the time to study and review them numerous times.


  1. 1. Learning and wanting to learn are inseparable.

  2. 2. A person learns best when they believe what they are trying to learn is of value to them.

  3. 3. There must be doubt before there is conflict. And every doubt must be about yourself.

  4. 4. There is no order of difficulty in learning.

  5. 5. The ability is the potential, the achievement is its expression and the release is the ultimate purpose.

  6. 6. Mistakes cannot really threaten truth.

  7. 7. You respond to what you perceive and you behave accordingly.

  8. 8. You cannot behave appropriately until you perceive correctly.

  9. 9. A person can wait, delay, paralyze or reduce their learning to almost nothing. But they cannot abolish it.

  10. 10. You cannot control the effects of fear yourself because you made the fear and believe in what you made.

  11. 11.All learning involves attention and study at some level.

  12. 12. Health is inner peace.

  13. 13. The means are easier to identify and understand after the goal has been firmly established.

  14. 14. The ability to learn has no value when change is no longer necessary.

  15. 15. Only the mind is capable of error.

  16. 16. It must be understood that whenever you offer learning to another, you are shortening the suffering of both of you.

  17. 17. Fear is when what you want conflicts with what you do.

  18. 18. What a person does comes from what they think.

  19. 19. All learning produces form at some level.

  20. 20. Readiness is the only prerequisite for accomplishment but readiness is only the beginning of confidence.

  21. 21. Good teachers never terrorize their students.

  22. 22. Frightened people can be vicious.

  23. 23. Perception must be straightened out before you can know anything.

  24. 24. Certainty does not require action.

  25. 25. The abilities you possess are only shadows of your real strength.

  26. 26. Knowing does not lead to doing.

  27. 27. Knowledge is stable and it is obvious that you are not.

  28. 28. There is no one who does not feel that they are imprisoned in some way.

  29. 29. All beliefs are real to the believer.

  30. 30. The result of commitment to learning is inspiration, which understood properly is the opposite of fatigue.

  31. 31. A good teacher clarifies his own ideas and strengthens them by teaching them.

  32. 32. A good teacher must believe in the ideas he teaches but must also believe in the students to whom he offers the learning.

  33. 33. Teaching and learning are your greatest strengths because they help you change your mind and help others to change theirs.

  34. 34. Every good teacher hopes to give his students so much of his own learning that one day, they will no longer need him.

  35. 35. On the other hand, the ego tries to exploit all situations into forms of praise for itself in order to overcome its self-doubt.

  36. 36. If you are not at peace with your life, then you are not fulfilling your function as you see your function to be.

  37. 37. Your ego has no allegiance to you.

  38. 38. You cannot change your mind by changing your behavior.

  39. 39. Meaningful learning is consciously undertaken.

  40. 40. You learn best when you believe what you are trying to learn is of value to you, however, not everything you may want to learn has lasting value.

  41. 41. Preoccupation with problems set up to be incapable of solution are favorite ego devices for impeding the learning process.

  42. 42. How can you teach someone the value of something he has deliberately thrown away?

  43. 43. Nothing real can be increased except by sharing.

  44. 44. Nothing increases except by being given away.

  45. 45. Sufficient quantitative learning (change) produces real qualitative shifts.

  46. 46. Learning is change.

  47. 47. Rest does not come from sleeping but from waking up.

  48. 48. You cannot understand yourself alone.

  49. 49. What you perceive in others you are strengthening in yourself.

  50. 50. Teaching is done in many ways but above all by example.

  51. 51. As you teach, so will you learn.

  52. 52. Delay does not matter in eternity but it is tragic in time.

  53. 53. There have been many teachers who did not learn what they taught.

  54. 54. The value of any teaching tool lies solely in the kind of learning it facilitates.

  55. 55. All behavior teaches the beliefs that motivate it.

  56. 56. Abilities must be developed before you can use them.

  57. 57. A great teacher teaches through approach, not avoidance.

  58. 58. To have anything, teach it.

  59. 59. Strengthening motivation for change is the first and foremost goal.

  60. 60. Nothing is difficult that is truly desired.

  61. 61. You protect what you have learned by rejecting anything that threatens it.

  62. 62. What you teach is real for you.

  63. 63. If different abilities are applied long enough to one goal, the abilities themselves become unified.

  64. 64. You must learn to change your mind about your mind.

  65. 65. When you teach, you are not giving something to someone. You are giving it to yourself.

  66. 66. What you want to be as a teacher must determine every response you make.

  67. 67. There is no limit on your learning.

  68. 68. Different orders of reality merely appear to exist.

  69. 69. There is nothing so frustrating to a learner as a class or curriculum he cannot learn.

  70. 70. Being faced with an impossible learning situation is the most depressing thing in the world.

  71. 71. A learning device is not a teacher.

  72. 72. You cannot change laws that you did not make.

  73. 73. When a colleague acts crazy, you can only teach by perceiving the “not crazy” in him.

  74. 74. Lack of knowledge of any kind is always associated with unwillingness to know.

  75. 75. Grandiosity is always a cover for despair.

  76. 76. Your suffering depends solely on your willingness to tolerate it…like everything else.

  77. 77. Truth does not vacillate…it is always true.

  78. 78. To remember is merely to restore to your mind what is already there.

  79. 79. Reality can dawn only on an unclouded mind.

  80. 80. Your choices are determined by what you value.

  81. 81. Only you can deprive yourself of anything.

  82. 82. Everyone convinces you of what you want to perceive.

  83. 83. Do not set limits on what can be accomplish through you.

  84. 84. Resign as your own teacher.

  85. 85. Learning is invisible and what has been learned can be recognized only by its results.

  86. 86. You see what you expect and expect what you invite.

  87. 87. As you look out so do you see in.

  88. 88. You can hold onto the past only through guilt.

  89. 89. Determine to be not as you were.

  90. 90. Use no relationship to hold you to the past.

  91. 91. Do not be afraid to look within.

  92. 92. Simplicity is difficult for twisted minds.











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A Conscious Life 2017: Introduction

December 2016

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Join me in A Conscious Life 2017! It is a weekly path of learning, motivation, understanding and ultimately, greater consciousness and joy. In addition to this introduction and two lessons to help prepare you for the year ahead, the approximately 57 chapters that make up this effort will be presented at the rate of one chapter per week over the course of 2017. It costs you nothing except your time and dedication to living a more fulfilling life!

So, let's get started!

Simply put, learning is change.  Without change there is no evidence of learning and meaningful learning must be organized, directed and pursued. Therefore, you are encouraged to establish a level of discipline that allows you to focus each week on your willingness to learn and grow, building each week on the previous lessons.

With the exception of the first two chapters stemming from compiled readings from “A Course in Miracles,” the remaining chapters are anchored in Sri Aurobindo’s epic poem “Savitri.”

Michael Murphy, the founder of the Esalen Institute, stated that Aurobindo “…points the way toward the kind of transformative practice we need to realize our greatest potentials. No philosopher or contemplative of modern times has done more to reveal our possibilities for extraordinary life.”

While using “Savitri” in each of the chapters is not what the average reader is accustomed to reading, it is a priceless tool to waking up and understanding the truth about your life and what you are doing here.

The use of the quotes from “Savitri” are not meant to be academic or intellectual in any way but are used to shed light on understanding yourself and the life you are living. Simply do your best to try to understand what Aurobindo is suggesting and move forward. Don’t give up! Teach yourself to persevere! Knowing the path and walking the path are two entirely different paths. Knowing does not lead to doing. Walking does. You must learn to change your mind about your mind, who you are, and what you are doing here. You have to become willing to use your life as an experiment in what is possible because until you do, you can't know what is possible!

I invite you to take part in a brave, new world, a world that goes beyond the confines of self-awareness and therapy. I invite you to consider that it is time for you to take up the path of your life’s yoga. Your life’s yoga is about consciously using your life as an evolutionary tool of becoming what you are capable of being. It is about ascending the limiting forces of your past, your fears, and your lack of knowledge. It is about ascending your mind. While therapy confirms the demons in you, this journey confirms the gods in you!

Consciousness is power. But to use it, skills and abilities have to first be developed. This is the intent of this effort and the foundation and programming of WellSpring Wellness Center /

  1. "The Spirit shall be the master of this world

  2. Lurking no more in form's obscurity

  3. And Nature shall reverse her action's rule,

  4. The outward world discloses the Truth it veils;

  5. All things shall manifest the covert God,

  6. And shall reveal the Spirit's light and destiny."

I hope you and others will choose to go along with me on this journey! Share this link with others and invite them to join in!


Haydn Hasty, Ed.S., Ph.D., President

MindSpring Consulting, Inc. (

WellSpring Wellness Center (

960 and 966 Tunnel Road

Asheville, NC 28805

Office: 828-298-2488

Cell: 828-280-2488











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In the Trenches

September 2016

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Approximately 908,000 British troops died during WWI with 2,000,000 being wounded. Nearly 1,300,000 French soldiers out of a population of twenty million French males of all ages, were killed in fighting with 4,200,000 being wounded. France and England would send wave after wave of troops charging against the entrenched German machine guns, only to have them mowed down in their thousands. In just the first hour of the Battle of the Somme, the British lost more troops than the Americans did in all of D-Day; at Verdun, the French Army was lost in a deadly meat-grinder that took thousands of lives every day. It was mass slaughter on a scale that had never been seen before.

The appalling conditions that the average soldier experienced during the First World War are almost impossible for today’s drone warfare mentality to appreciate. Mud, filth, lice, death, rats, disease and landscapes of dead lying upon dead were the grotesque realities of the frontline, making everyday life unbearable. 

Few battles encapsulate WWI better than the Battle of Passchendaele. For the sake of only a a little more than a mile, at 6:00 AM, April 16, 1917, French General Robert Nivelle sent an army of 1.2 million men into a battle roughly 80 miles northeast of Paris that would be France’s go-for-broke gamble to end World War I. At least 30,000 were killed in the first 10 days. The result was catastrophic and as a result, the soldiers mutinied. They sat down in their trenches and flatly refused to carry out any more of the futile suicidal frontal assaults being ordered by their generals.

It is also from this battle that came Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae’s famous poem, “In Flanders Fields.”

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.” 

Of course, being in the trenches in relative. Like morality, it depends on "where you are." I have known individuals who viewed simple events as life-ending catastrophes and others who used devastating events as monumental vehicles for growth and expansion. Nonetheless, it must be acknowledged that being in the trenches is being in the trenches. Relative or not, I would go further by stating that you don’t get to find out who you are or what you are made until you have been in the trenches. Big or small, real or unreal, to the individual, being in the trenches takes the individual to the limit. In the trenches is in the trenches. But it depends on "where you are."

In the Lou Reda Productions Vietnam war documentary, “Brothers in Arms,” the film depicts Charlie Company’s journey through the Mekong Delta that ended in January 1968. Charlie Company suffered 26 men killed and 105 wounded — an 82 percent casualty rate.

Near the film's end, John Young of Picayune, Mississippi, describes war in this way: “You can do something that's cruel and ugly, or something that's cruel yet uglier still. There's no good option to take. And I'd really rather not have anybody who hasn't been through something like that pass judgment on me. Don't be too sure about the decision you would have made. And don't be smug about your morality until you've had it tested.”

Being in the trenches in your life…and if you haven’t been there yet, you will…will take you to the limit of what you are capable of bearing, of what you are capable of tolerating, of what you are capable of understanding. It will take you to the edge of that place in you where the dark one, the cannibal, the shadow, dwells. It is at this point in your inner cosmos that transformation lies, transformation that is more often than not achieved through the journey of hardship.

Would you not be willing to consider that many of the soldiers who mutinied in WWI actually committed the most courageous act of their lives in the act of mutiny? Would you not be willing to consider that Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to salute the flag during the national anthem is actually one of the most patriotic acts he has ever committed? Would you be willing to name at least one situation in your life where it is time for you, too, to mutiny, to take a knee, to take a stand and say, “No more.”?

Remember, it’s relative. Your “trench” is just as difficult as Kaepernick’s trench. It’s just as scary as the soldier in WWI who mutinied. And if you are courageous enough to change your mind, move against the status quo in order to honor the inner cosmos and your heart’s desire, consider the following as you make your stand, feel the cold wind in your face, the buckling of your knees, and the isolating judgment of others:

  • 1. You are never given a problem that is greater than your ability to solve it.

  • 2. You are never alone. You are held in balance and safety each breath of your life.

  • 3. All problems are temporary. How long the problem lasts is mathematically proportional to how you are looking at it.

  • 4. In the DNA of all problems lies its opposite: growth, gain, personal power, transformation.

  • 5. The “trench” is something you have chosen as a vehicle to grow. There are no accidents. If you think it is an accident, then you don’t understand.

  • 6. Your outer world is a physical manifestation of your inner world. To change the outer, change the inner.

  • 7. How long you are in the trench is mathematically dependent upon your willingness to tolerate being there.

  • 8. Only you can deprive yourself of anything.

  • 9. The “trench” convinces you of what you want to perceive. (You’ll have to read that again to get it.)

  • 10. Your choice of how to deal with the “trench” is determined by what you value.

In a conversation with a colleague, we pondered the possibility that all human beings deal with PTSD because all human beings have been “in the trenches” before, the remnants and residue of which can affect us for a lifetime. That which is common and found everywhere simply cannot be unique and isolated. It can be understood and mastered.

Big or small, real or unreal, “in the trenches is in the trenches.”  It is “in the trenches” that you can find exactly what you need to change the outcome of your life experience, discover the nurturing depths of your inner power and create a safety in this world that lies beyond death, the limitations of the fearful mind, and the judgment of others.

What is your “trench” and when will you mutiny?





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