The following is taken from an interview of James Redfield, by Kathryn M. Peters:
– In your travels around the world lecturing what is the recurring theme of the feedback you receive from fans of The Celestine Prophecy? In other words, what in particular about this book touched their lives most significantly?
– Celestine pointed out that our first real experiential opening to this new spirituality was the sense of perceiving the spiritual operation of synchronicity in lives. Many, many people reported they were having this perception of mysterious coincidences that brought them information at just the right time. This augmented the fact that they were indeed on a special spiritual path that was leading them toward a contribution they could make which was their destiny.
– In The Celestine Prophecy, you outlined nine spiritual insights. Did these insights reveal themselves to you over time in your personal day to day life, had you read about them, or did you intuit them from a higher source?
– Certainly there are prophecies out there bespeaking these things. Yet, personally I had been on my own search for truth for years as I observed how our human culture was changing. And my goal with the whole series of books was to experientially look at this spiritual renaissance. When I wrote of insights, I was pointing to glimpses of understanding I felt the entire culture was already discerning.
– In your writings you acknowledge that it is easier to recognize the insights than it is to live them out. So, I felt compelled to ask which one of the insights is most difficult for you personally to follow consistently?
– Probably the fifth insight that indicates we can stay connected within to a source of power, energy, higher knowledge and intuition which the mystics always talk about. I have to work at that, I have to always return to the well by visiting a sacred site which creates that opening. Once experienced, it feels like I can maintain that spiritual state my whole life, and then I get back to the city, back to the routine, and I find like everyone else that I lose that connection.
– What disconnects us?
– A myriad of things, Kathryn. First of all, we have to interact with people in the culture who remain very skeptical. Often that skepticism causes us to doubt whether or not all of this is real. We can easily lose it that way, through self-doubt. Also, we can get distracted and go back to our normal way of operating in the world through our old control dramas we just repeat over and over again. So, that is the struggle, to stay in a state of higher perspective connected to our awareness of the power source within as we go about our mundane activities.
– What’s the most effective way you have found to stay connected?
– I’m a sacred site person. I’m an outdoors walker/hiker/meditator. I also do some Tai Chi and other movement exercises as a discipline in the mornings. For me, that is a definite way of staying connected to the higher, more divine part of myself. Primarily, I am in search of places which uplift me merely by being in their proximity. For example, Sedona, Arizona is a very important part of how I stay charged up.
– I do certainly understand that. I recently visited Sedona for the very first time, and I honestly did not want to leave. The energy and the lightness of being I experienced there was truly indescribable. And my next question is: Can you describe to me the most profound personal or spiritual shift you underwent as a result of writing The Celestine Prophecy?
– Just getting all my experiences and perceptions down on paper in an organized fashion totally changed me in how well I could stay in touch with that higher consciousness and awareness. You know, I often tell people not to forget that I was the first one who got to read the book! And it was such a cathartic experience for me writing it.
– I’m sure it remains a cathartic experience for anyone who reads it, James, for your writings are filled with such tremendous wisdom to inspire. Yet, it interests me greatly to know whose writings inspired you either while growing up or presently?
– Oh, so many people. Early on, when I was in graduate school in the psychology curriculum, I read Eric Berne’s, The Games People Play. That was a book that spelled it all out. Not from a psychological perspective, but he elaborated on all the control dramas people experience. Of course, he did not write about it in terms of spiritual energy the way I did, yet he laid out how we play games in order to control each other. Ernest Becker is a depth-psychologist who wrote, The Structure of Evil. His work really influenced me because he had a tremendous grasp of the role of the unconscious. He helped me understand that people who commit evil are actually succumbing to a dependency, or an addiction, or what he would call a “fetish” in their behavior. For example, a serial killer kills not because he is innately evil, or is motivated by evil forces beyond himself. He kills because, in reality, that is the only means by which he can experience a reduction in anxiety…
– Whoa, that’s a pretty extreme means of reduction.
– You’re right, Kathryn, that’s very extreme. If we take a look at anybody who blows up like the rampage workplace shootings, the only way to understand what’s going on there is to see that all of the ways they tried to make sense of life, and find comfort in life, have collapsed. As a result, this explosion of anger is a means of attempting to create more peace and power within themselves. It is the most extreme way possible of regaining energy. It’s like an extreme intimidator explosion.
– Is there absolutely no sense of conscience in play?
– It all gets pushed aside. A psychological reduction of conscience takes place which happens in any fetish or obsession. It’s human evil that is produced by fear and the need to overcome the fear through some sort of deranged action.
– James, in light of the multitude of books, tapes, radio and television shows, as well as lecture series available to the masses, in your assessment, how is it possible so many people are still not only unconscious, but actually fight to remain resistant even to the prospect of higher awareness in their lives?
– People resist higher awareness because they have made a great investment in continuing to live the way they have always lived, because that’s their way of surviving and remaining anxiety-free. This is a real psychological issue that has to be looked at in terms of depth-psychology, because we simply cannot account for human behavior by looking at it from rational terms. Everyone’s lifestyle and view of the world is exactly the product of what they have created throughout childhood into adulthood as a way of pushing away anxiety to feel they have a certain amount of energy in the world. You and I know the real energy comes from within but those doors are still not open in most people. So, they are fighting to obtain an energy that validates the fact they count in the world and establishes within them a sense of knowing what they’re doing. Therefore, their investment in life as they know it cannot afford to be collapsed. They will not hear anyone telling them they are wrong. Instead, we can approach them gently by suggesting they look at the ways in which we have cultivated even more peace along with a greater sense of inspiration in life. At that point, they have the option of coming to this information of their own accord in order to replace what they have always done with something better.
– Do you find using your life as an example for others has become easier or harder since you have reached this level of fame?
– You mean my life in general?
– Yes, now that people look to you wondering if you’re walking the talk and living up to the insights?
– I always think we’re all still struggling to stay in this higher awareness. I have to work on it day-by-day just like everyone else. So obviously I don’t stay on the pedestal for very long. But I’ve got to tell you I’ve never had more fun in my life.
– What’s the most fun for you now?
– Just being able to talk to people openly about these concepts and to have even the press being willing to talk about them. To have people who were so skeptical as little as five years ago today want to know all about it. The scales have truly shifted. Whereas those of us who advance the spiritual awareness used to be on the defensive, now it’s the skeptics who are on the defensive.
– Okay, I want to talk about the new book, James. In The Secret of Shambhala, the eleventh insight is the power of prayer. Do you have any personal instances where this power came into focus in your life?
– Sure! In the first ten insights I’ve written about sending energy to other people, making sure we are uplifting them in the process. Because we all intuit that, we have the power to convey something to another person across space. When the eleventh insight emerged and began to crystalize was when we started to experience these senseless outbursts of violence in our schools and workplaces. Once the media started to really focus on this we saw national calls to prayer where communities were coming together in prayer vigils. Interestingly enough, at the very same time we saw an inflow of new scientific research on prayer and intentionality which Dr. Larry Dossey has popularized. So, when you say, Kathryn, that The Secret of Shambhala is about the power of prayer, that is true. Yet it is also true that it’s about reinventing or reconceptionalizing what prayer is and the way we do it. It’s about actually taking it seriously enough to put it into practice in our daily lives.
– Most of us grew up just absentmindedly repeating prayers we’d committed to memory such as the rosary or the Lord’s Prayer without giving any real thought to the impact or the resultant flow of energy produced.
– Exactly true, we traditionally saw prayer as a kind of passive asking and now we are realizing it is so much more than that.
– James, do you believe that prayer belongs in the schools?
– I believe it belongs everywhere as long as it is an individually conceived prayer. The reason the constitution disallowed prayer in school is because they were very sensitive to despotic creation of state religion in which someone would be writing the prayers out for us. We have to be very careful as we reintroduce prayer into schools and that what we’re saying to people is pray in your own way. We’ve got to let prayer be embraced organically from individuals. And that is why in The Secret of Shambhala I try to present it as new information that has just arrived that each of us has to digest and assimilate for ourselves.
– If you could take all eleven insights and encapsulate them into one basic thought or law to live by, what would it be?
– It would be this: we all have a connection with our higher self, our divine self within. And if we knock on the door until it opens, not taking no for an answer, our lives will be transformed as we step up into a higher awareness. We will become more intuitive, knowing what to do and how to do it. We will become cognizant of what our main goal was in coming to this Earth to make things better. At that point our lives will be characterized by amazing, truly miraculous coincidences that bring us the opportunities to tell the truth we are here to tell. If we really can adopt a new ethic of treating other people by uplifting them through prayer, while not engaging in energy competition with them, then the magic flow will stablize our lives. We can then use a creative power to achieve and maintain that consciousness most of the time. Prayer power is real. By putting it into action, we will be able to stay more constantly in higher awareness than ever before. If we can do that, the world will quickly change.
– Another important theme in your writings, James, is what you call “staying alert.” How would you advise us to achieve that state of alertness?
– We are presently awakening from a four hundred year old world view that has taught us that the chance happenings that occur in our lives are not important. Therefore, it is imperative that we promote within ourselves a special attention toward every event that occurs. Pay attention to when the telephone rings and who it is. Let’s get into the habit of questioning why are they calling now? Or why did I pass that particular person in the hallway and not someone else? Why was I placed next to that person on the airplane? Or why is my attention drawn to this specific item on the nightly news? These synchronistic occurrences go on and on. We pull toward us people and information we need to take advantage of and we have to take these opportunities more seriously.
– James, it occurs to me that the main challenge to doing this is the fact we have become a society addicted to instant gratification. If the reason for a particular happening is not made apparent immediately, we tend to simply dismiss the happening as non-consequential. It is as if we have reached new heights of pomposity in our attitude toward the spiritual meaningfulness behind mundane experiences, as if we can pick and choose precisely which events are significant. When sometimes it may be days, weeks or even years before an event may reveal the power and magnitude of its meaning in our lives.
– That is such an important point. We have to not jump to conclusions. There are two things we need to remain mindful of when we are looking at synchronicity. Number one, don’t jump to conclusions. Simply learn to explore these happenings, and explore them for a while. And then, above all, do not make a negative interpretation of the event under any circumstances. Tragedies happen, I mean all kinds of awful things can happen to us, but if you want to kill your synchronicity right in its path just make a negative interpretation and that destroys it all! Conversely, through our prayer and our faith in expectation, we can accelerate the synchronicity in our lives. I do believe, Kathryn, that some of this comes from grace no matter how skeptical or closed off we are, some things are just going to happen. But in terms of the rich flow we are talking about, you can slow it way down just by making a negative interpretation. This is especially true of those with very idealistic projects such as starting a spiritual church or a metaphysical paper. If they should hit a roadblock and think to themselves that maybe they’re not really supposed to be doing this, they then abandon the project. In reality, the roadblock appeared only as a message that perhaps more flexibility is needed, or maybe the people you’re dealing with need to be changed. By staying positively receptive to the roadblocks in life, there will always be a window or opening to show the direction in which things can shift and evolve into something even greater.
– Let’s examine that a little more in depth. There are those who believe that an opportunity cannot pass us by for we have a specific destiny. In another school of thought it is espoused that opportunity can indeed pass by never to return. What I hear you saying is that as long as we remain open, alert, and sensitive to their shiftings, these opportunities cannot pass us by.
– Yes, I don’t believe we can ever entirely miss an opportunity. Kathryn, you may have noticed that one of the themes in the book is that we are always given the opportunity to stay healthy, to avoid accidents, and to continue on our path here and, if we do miss those, we can wind up sick, and maybe someone even dies, but only because our information is still incomplete, or our ability to live this path is still incomplete. It is possible that we can miss an intuition that may have saved somebody’s life. Now, that’s tough, and I hate it, but that’s the way the world is, I believe. So, there is a certain urgency to our staying alert. I miss the signs myself sometimes but we must aspire to full alertness. Human evolution is about getting better and better.
– In that same vein of getting better and better, James, you state in your new book that the measure of beauty we are capable of seeing all around us is proportionately indicative of the measure of divine energy we are allowing to flow through us. I interpret that as the more people open to their divinity the more beautiful this world becomes.
– That’s right…it’s all Heaven right here. It’s just that we don’t have quite enough energy as a culture to live in that reality.
– You point out in the book that one of the things that suppresses our energy and therefore our ability to see heaven on earth are the foods we consume in the average American diet. You really emphasize the need for us to eat living foods, and yet that is difficult many times for even the most devout of the spiritual community.
– Sure, even gurus in India die all the time from gout and gallbladder problems due to the diet they eat. It is a very real problem. Humans, out of boredom over the centuries, have created these things that taste incredibly good yet have no nutritional value. Yet we have to be very careful of the level of energy we put into ourselves. If the level of energy is really low in terms of ingestion we actually reduce the state of our overall energy level. We are energy beings, and matter has coalesced around our soul. This matter is vibrating at a certain level. So, if our lifestyle is such that we are constantly pulling our energy down, through the food we eat and the thoughts we have, then what we produce is the disincorporation of the matter which constitutes all of our organs. Therefore, if we eat foods that have an acid ash, they will in turn encourage microbes to attack our bodies and disincorporate us. In this way, we are quite honestly committing slow suicide. The idea that in the West we don’t live any longer than 60 or 70 years is just absurd. Totally absurd! At around the age 45 to 50 the foods we eat start to show up in our bodies as aches and pains and loss of energy. All of this just means we are disincorporating. I didn’t want to overplay that in the book, but I do feel it is a profound insight.
– I thought the insight was simply fabulous! Where did you get this information?
– Okay, let me tell you where I got it. This is the alkaline/acid balance nutritional theory. And anyone interested in knowing more about this fascinating theory can find it on the Internet at http://www.innerlightint.com. This is Dr. Robert Young’s web site, and there are tapes available there to explain this entire theory of whether we are raising our energy and light level or are we decomposing.
– Without a doubt I agree we must begin to reevaluate our dietary practices as a part of our spiritual evolvement as we begin our journey into this new millennium. What other great changes do you foresee coming for humanity with the coming of the year 2000?
– First of all, I believe we are going to see more and more people taking the spiritual life more seriously, because we realize already that the spiritual life is not something that is no fun, just something we do to be good and get to heaven. What we realize now is that there is a whole array of rich experience that comes our way when we decide to look at life spiritually. In fact, it is actually the most fun experience we can have on this planet. I think this knowledge and understanding will definitely continue to expand around the world. I also believe we will see the further acceptance of prayer power with the increase of prayer vigils as more and more take prayer seriously. Then we will see each profession and occupational group begin to evolve into it’s true role of service. So that, for example, you will see attorneys in the business of resolving conflict rather than creating it to make more money. You’ll see the medical profession totally transformed into a vehicle for mind/body practices with the intent of prevention instead of one of making money from people’s illnesses. In that way, all professions from education to engineering will shift into making this world a more spiritual place. This will happen gradually, but it will happen.