The acid test: family of origin

I just got back from spending ten daysRode family in Puerto Vallarta with my mother and father at a resort in Puerto Vallarta.  I was invited by my father in August.  He has been inviting me for years, but since resorts and family aren’t my idea of fun, I’d always said no.  This time I said yes.  I was committed to expanding my receiving and this seemed like a perfect opportunity.  His time-share sleeps four and the plan was for other members of my family like my brother, nephew or niece to come.

While it might have been nice to spend time with my niece, I was mainly interested in opportunities that might open up as a result of being at a resort.  As it turned out, the other family members could not get time off from work and in the end my mother got invited.  My parents have been divorced for forty years and, while not close, they do share family holiday get-togethers.  It was not too surprising she was invited, but if I had known I would not have agreed to go.

As you all know from my book, Deconditioning Ground, I have done extensive work on my relationship with my mother and feel a sense of completion around my issues with her.  Still, she is not someone I would choose to spend ten days with.  I entertained the possibility of choosing not to go.  In the end I opted to go through with it.  This could be an acid test to demonstrate if I really had complete resolution around the issues I had with her.  I have heard many people come to “resolution” in parental relationships only to find another level surface months or years later.  I had cycled through many layers myself.  I wasn’t looking forward to being triggered, but accepted the possibility.

As it turned out the trip was fairly uneventful in terms of parental stuff.  For the most part it was easy to be in equanimity around my parents.  And when I reacted to what they were doing or saying I was able to catch myself before acting or speaking or at least before getting sucked into their reality too deep. Many times I watched them misunderstand or misinterpret things around the resort and choose to not get involved as they worked it out.

My solace?

I kept asking, “What is really possible here?”  and reminding myself that their situation, lifestyle, state of health and etc. was their choice.  I choose not to care-take.  I was pleased with my ability to maintain a peaceful state of mind.

Instead, I was triggered by the general resort environment.  Since “not-liking” something represents a judgment and a block to receiving I became aware that I am limiting possibilities in my life.  I watched my mind formulate opinions about the body types I was seeing, the way the employees treated me, and the overall organization of the resort.  I became exhausted as my subconscious mind went into overdrive trying to figure things out: Why did people choose to be obese, and why did people choose to completely expose themselves at a pool, and why was I unwilling to expose myself at all, and why was shuttle system so completely inefficient, and why did every employee have to greet and salute me every time I walked by, and why did I not like that, etc.

It is not surprising that I chose this trip, since I am working on moving beyond judgment and increasing my capacity to receive.  Since 80% of my mind was busy with judging and trying to figure things out, I decided to give it something else to do.  I used these:

  • How does it get better than this?
  • How can I use this to my advantage?
  • What else is possible?®
  • What is this?  Can I change this?


My mind calmed down and gave up the futile activity of trying to make sense of it all.

What is it going to take to get rid of all this judgment?  Trying to get rid of judgment does not work.  Trying to act as if I am not judgmental does not work.  Trying to pretend or ignore my prejudices does not work.  Perhaps what will work is being aware of all the judgment arising and simply observing it without agreeing with it or disagreeing with it.

Can I acknowledge my opinion, judgement or point of view without being judgmental about having a judgment?  What is beyond judgment?  What can I choose today that will create my future without judgment?


What else is possible? is a registered trademark of Access Consciousness.

Access Consciousness

At the end of last year, Padmasambhava, channelled by a friend, suggested that having my Bars run would clear out some junk at the rear of my brain and enhance my ability to maintain focus as I meditate. (The Bars are a hands-on body process developed by Access Consciousness.) At the time, I thought shamata was a critical component of my spiritual development and welcomed any opportunity to improve my focus. Since the prices were reasonable, and scheduled to go up into 2015, I decided to sign up for two Bars classes. In addition, I decided to take their foundation and level one course. It was quite a commitment but I got an intuitive hit that it would contribute to a brighter future for me.

I have been wanting to write about Access Consciousness for a while. However, the task of describing Access Consciousness in a meaningful way has seemed daunting.

I could talk about the history of Access Consciousnes and how it was developed from a question. The answer to Gary Douglas’s question, “How can I create a right livelihood and contribute to the world,” was the Bars. But Access Consciousness has grown far beyond that first body process. And despite witnessing miracles as a result of running that process, I am more impressed with other aspects of the system.

Access consciousness is a set of tools and body processes that are designed to remove limitations to complete awareness. While there are many modalities that are designed to remove limitations and further us, Access Consciousness is unique in that the founder challenges people to let go of all constructs. In most spiritual systems there is an unspoken undertone that there is a right or good way to go about things. Or the focus is on getting rid of the bad or wrong in favor of utopian ideals. Access is the first system I’ve encountered that not only is dedicated to moving beyond judgment, but has effective tools for doing so.

For instance, consider a lot of religious sects (Christian, Buddhist, etc) that emphasize cultivating compassion, loving-kindness, and generosity. It seems that these systems have adopted a “being kind and generous is good” attitude. So if you are not generous, then you are by default “bad”. Yet, Buddhism, in particular, also teaches that ultimate reality is beyond duality or the constructs of good and bad. Enlightened beings abide beyond the constructs of good and bad. This is what I mean by undertone of judgment. The goal is to live free of constructs, but the teachings frequently include judgments and the idea of a “correct way”.

Access is refreshing in that, despite what individual facilitators may do and say, the core material, books and course manuals, are all about challenging limiting beliefs, both “good” and “bad”. Sure there are some stories in the materials, like the Golden Planet and Humans vs Humanoids, but Gary advises against taking the Golden Planet seriously and everyone is encouraged to use their own innate knowing to determine if something is just Gary’s interesting point of view or something that contributes to the expansion of consciousness. In addition, the coursework is continually evolving. The material matches the capacity of the students in Access at the time it was generated.  For instance, the coure classes have hundreds of pages of archived “reference” material that were once taught, but have been replaced with more pertinent material.

Despite my thrill with Access, I have been hesitant to endorse it without qualification. The most valuable part of the system is the general philosophy. Here are some of my favorite components condensed for brevity (which may reduce their meaning somewhat):

  • Everything is a choice. If you don’t like your life, choose something different.
  • It is more expansive to choose something different than to try to change or fix something.
  • Answers, decisions, conclusions, and judgments all limit possibilities.
  • Having judgments limits our ability to recieve.
  • Choosing and asking a question leads to greater awareness and greater possibilities.
  • In order to keep all possibilities open, view everything as an interesting point of view instead of an answer, conclusion or “right” or “wrong”.
  • The universe and everything in it is available to contribute to us. All we need to do is ask.
  • Our ability to contribute to the earth and “universe” is greater than many of us realize.

In practical terms it seems like making a choice would then naturally lead to action. This is not the case. If I choose to travel, I do not have to start figuring out my budget. I simply make the choice. Then I ask a question like: “What stands in the way of travel happening?” I can also question every excuse I give for not being able to travel. I do not try to “change” anything. I simple affirm my choice, ask questions and be aware of the possibilities that will spontaneously arise.

This is such a different approach to figuring out what to do. In my old system, I would figure out ways to not get sick. Or if I got sick I would try to figure out what I did wrong or what I could have done differently.  In this system, I simply choose to not get sick. The choice increases my awareness of how to accomplish that. It also recruites the universe to work for me.  If I get sick, I simply ask, “how did I create this?” and let my subconsious work on it.  The purpose of asking the question is not to get an answer, but to increase awareness and possibilities.

What I love most about Access are the questions that Gary asks. I am experienced with asking questions to clear limiting beliefs from my ThetaHealing practice. Gary takes the questioning to a level that pentrates the structures I have erected within me. His questions go right to the subconscious and start tearing things down. One from the book I am reading right now, Beyond the Utopian Ideal:

What are you refusing to lose, that if you would lose it, would give you all of you?

If you would like a taste of Access, I would recommend this book as a starter.

If you decide to try out an Access Consciousness class, be forewarned that there are personalities in Access, just as in any spiritual system. Even though the target is to be completely aware and non-judgmental, I have found facilitators often have strong opinions and can be rigid in their view especially of words. Take what you like and leave the rest.

I have read quite a few Access Consciousness books. They seem to usually be transcripts of teleseminars with minimal editing. Below are some links to books. My favorite book so far is Beyond the Utopian Ideal. I am partial to Gary Douglas’s writings. I know several people that loved Being You, Changing the World by Dain Heer, but I could not even finish it. Different strokes for different folks.

Look at the links below and ask: “What will my life be like in five years if I read this?” Or, “If I choose this will it contribute to me?”  The kindle editions are usually $9.99, but they go on sale for a buck occasionally.  If you would like to borrow a copy, just let me know…