Blog 6. The Living Inquires Adventure (March 2016)

For most of the last two years I have been exploring, training and achieving certification as a Scott Kiloby Living Inquires Mindfulness Facilitator. This year I have  been called  in several days a week to work  with clients in person and online at the mindfulness based Kiloby Recovery Center  in Palm Springs.Untitled picture

The inquiry process takes us to a place of deep rest and connection – and from that safe place of resting awareness we look at and dissolve the seemingly solid and real and stuck-together memories, thoughts, words, pictures and associated emotional sensations that block us from our sense of peace.


The inquires deconstruct, soften and free us from:

  • Our core deficiencies. Such as: I’m unlovable, stupid, alien, ugly, separate, or different.  I can’t ever be enlightened or awake or free. [Unfindable Inquiry]
  • Our anxieties. Such as: Our fear, terror, trauma, childhood abuse, PTSD, rage, stuckness, or frozenness. Our sense of being weak, unsafe, attacked or vulnerable. Our fear of disease, pain, or death. [Anxiety Inquiry]
  • Our compulsions. Such as: Our addictions to food, drugs, sex, porn, relationships, shopping, gambling, security, cell phones, facebook, being right, being loved,  or even seeking enlightenment.  [Compulsion Inquiry]

In a typical 60-90 minute session, we will usually soften and sometimes totally dissolve a lifelong belief or painful behavior pattern. Client comments:

 “It is just miraculous how an hour of facilitation can “unstick” decades of stuck stuff.”

“The [Living Inquires]  FAR outstrips any therapy out there! So all-encompassing, and so thorough. Bravo! I appreciate it so much!”

“What REALLY amazes me is that the Living Inquiries are THE tool to use, rather than sit and meditate for years.”

“I just wanted to say a heart-felt thanks – these methods have helped me to feel genuinely loving for the first time in many years.”

“The two 1-hour private calls I had have been very helpful. I no longer feel depressed, I sleep great at night without needing to take any medication, there is a deep sense of inner-peace and connection with myself and everything/everyone.”

“What I love about sessions with facilitators is not just the relief it brings from all the crap feelings, the sense of awe and wonder, a new way to be, but also that everything is acceptable. … It is true unconditional love.”

“Working with the [Living Inquiry] facilitators has been the only thing that has led to a direct experience of awareness. Much gratitude.”

My certification process has required a long intensive training including hundreds of  inquiry sessions — half as the facilitator, half to clear out my own obstacles to freedom.  I’ve worked with spiritual seekers in Bali and Greece, therapists in Chicago and California, and alcoholics in Los Angeles and the Faeroe Islands.    There have been tears and laughter as both I and the folks I have worked with have been released from the iron grip of many old beliefs.

Most of these sessions are face to face using Skype, but this year I have been called in to work  for over fifty days with clients at the Kiloby  Center.  And in one recent session in my home office the client was freed from debilitating compulsion that he had struggled with for decades.

The work attracted me because Scott Kiloby was a recovering alcoholic who had a major spiritual awakening (you can see his books on Amazon) – but noticed that he (and many other spiritual teachers) still had some pretty whacky behaviors. He developed this technique to directly look at and continue to clean up those beliefs and behaviors.  I also love the quality and integrity of Scott and all the folks I have met in his  organization.

If you want a taste of the inquires, Google “Kiloby Inquires”.   Here is a link to a YouTube example:Scott Kiloby UI

The Unfindable Inquiry – Scott Kiloby [Living Inquiries] HD … ▶ 32:24

This will give you an idea of the magic of this powerful technique for dissolving the power of our negative stories, beliefs, fears, compulsions and patterns of behavior.

Remuneration for the inquiries is usually flexible with an introduction and a first session free – and a suggested donation for additional sessions.  Training in ongoing self-inquiry is also included.

So take a look – and see if you want to explore finding some relief.  The inquires are a gentle way to go deep in finding freedom and peace.  Call or email me if you want to know more:

____________________________________________________________ 310-516-6460  cell 310-766-2136
Living our human life as an adventure, not a trial  – –


Blog 5. Breathe (Love What Is). Evolution Video. Ken Wilber. (May 2014)


Breathecolorful-hummingbirds-21.   Just stop and breathe I tell my students and myself.  Wake up from the ego-trance whenever you remember during your day — and especially when you are agitated or doubtful:

1. Take a deep breath and relax.  Just let go of thought — and rest for a few seconds in the warm clear aware presence of your heart center.

2. If there is time, take a second breath and connect and rest deeply with the peace, power and infinite possibilities of God’s loving presence deep within.

3. If more time, take a third breath, let go of judgment, and with a warm smile BE HERE NOW – in your body, in this room with the other bodies, and in this world with all our fellow adventurers on planet earth.

In doing this we can cut through the swirling negative momentum that can blind us to clarity and love — and initiate negative habitual patterns (often learned in childhood)– from angry attack to sullen resentment to spiraling down into a deep depression.

Just one breath can wake us from our ego attack so we notice that the seeming enemy in front of us is actually the spouse or child we love — or the boss or cop we need to respect.  It can remind us or wake us to our spiritual wisdom such as:

  • to “love what is” since all suffering springs from our egoic disagreement  with what-is right now.
  • that every expression of anger (by myself and others) is really a call for love (i.e. —  our angry spouse is calling for our love and understanding).
  • that we are truly spiritual beings who have chosen to have a human adventure on planet earth.
  • that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, the real solution is for us to change (to connect to our center instead of our ego).

kids balancingSo every incident where  I get upset/uptight provides me with a “wake up call”  to practice these teachings – to stay in balance.

For the last 6 months I have been the caretaker for my wife as she has gone thru the two painful surgeries and painful neuralgia.  I am not a natural caregiver and each of her frequent needs for help has provided me with the opportunity to let go of my initial irritated judgment and habitual selfish reaction — take a centering breath and respond from my loving center.  It has been a powerful practice time for me.

Every incident or any random moment is an opportunity to:

  • Breathe in — loving (with clarity and joy) — the aware, infinite, source presence of my “true self” deep within.
  • Breathe out — loving (with clarity and joy ) “what is” — all of the arising objects,  sensations, and even thoughts of my “small self”.






Last November,the Buddhist Geeks Conference put out a request for talks — requiring a 2 minute video introduction to a proposed 20 minute TED type talk at the conference.  Three winners would be selected by votes on their website.

I thought it might be fun to see if I could put together a video on  the research I have done on our evolution of consciousness.

For many years I have researched the rather surprising thesis that over the long term (50,000, 5000, 500, or even the last 50 years) our driving expansion of technology has led to (or allowed) an expanded sense of moral values — or who we respect and care about. (We are becoming far less apt to eat, enslave, kill, or degrade each other). And this trend shows every sign of continuing — and even spreading to other species.

To watch the video go to  “Higher Tech drives Higher Morals by Carter Smith”

The video was voted number 2, and the conference really liked it,  but it did not fit well with the overall theme of the conference.  Next Year.

If you want more information on this subject, go to the Accelerating Evolution page on the right hand panel  of this web site.

It is likely that  I would not have made this video or become a meditation teacher if I had not encountered Ken Wilber in 1995.

KenWilberKEN WILBER is a mapmaker.  As a philosopher-writer, he makes maps of the development or evolution of consciousness — including philosophy, culture, morality, and spirituality.  In 1995, I really needed a map. I had been thrashing around in confusing thickets of spiritual seeking for many years.

At that time I was:  practicing twelve step shaman-visions-300x225  recovery– speaking, counseling, helping (20 years);   practicing the non-dual spirituality of Course in Miracles (10 years);   taking both healthy and dying folks on shamanic journeys to find guidance and healing from their power animal or inner teacher;   consulting to large organizations — utilizing the latest technology and management techniques;   keeping my MIT physics and math training current in physics, computers, cosmology, genetics, physics, economics, and technology;   ruminating on my past explorations of  philosophy, death and dying, 50 rebirth sessions, 20 past-life regressions, channeling, est, NLP, Human Potential, psychological therapies, fire-walking, Buddhism and more.

I was hoping that out of this swirling mishmash of thoughts, images and ideas that I could encounter the peace and clarity of a spiritual awakening.  Shamanism gave me glimpses, as did Buddhism and The Course in Miracles — but I was disturbed by their pre-modern and even pre-rational view of the modern world. There seemed to be a naive longing for the simplicity of tribal or feudal life. There was a total lack of appreciation or respect for the amazing creations of humans: cars, highways, water systems, toilets, space ships, jets, legal systems, poetry, language, mathematics, computers, democracy, modern medicine, rational thought.

So, I wondered, why this magnificent evolution, if we need to seemingly regress to find the peace of true spirituality — if we need to even disown the physical world completely?  Why bother with evolution if we needed to devolve back to find peace?  Why bother developing from embryo to baby to child to adult?  Why not stay in happy embryonic bliss?

And how do all these spiritual and psychological teachings fit together?  And why is the life of a human on planet earth so damn difficult?  And even if I achieve nirvana, how do I deal with difficult children, demanding bosses, and clogged freeways?

Ken Wilber had the maps to clear thru this confusion.  I devoured his just published 850 page tome, “Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality” (SES)  — and then five earlier books.

Wilber's AQAL ModelTrying to understand his ideas better, I made my own charts — clearly showing how the drumbeat of the evolution of consciousness is beating faster and faster:  5 billion years ago – the earth cooled and microscopic cellular life began;  500 million years ago – the Cambrian explosion of complex animal life – eyes, spines, legs, brains;  50 million years ago – a meteor wipes out the dinosaurs and allows  the complex brainy emotion driven mammals to thrive;  5 million years ago – Lucy walks upright on the Serengeti plain;  500 thousand years ago – Archaic humans — fire and spears;   50 thousand years ago – the upper paleolithic explosion culture and language a- magical thinking;  5 thousand years ago – plow agriculture, writing, civilization – pre-modern traditional or concrete-operational thinking;  500years ago – science, printing, democracy, market economy – modern or rational thinking;   50 years ago – informational global economy  – post modern multi-perspective thinking – moving toward integral and trans-rational stages.  Consciousness development, it seems, followed Moore’s Law long before the age of computers.

Ken Wilber helped put many of my swirling ideas into perspective.  For instance early spirituality, like Shamanism is Descending — bringing spirit into the physical world to (magically) guide aor change or fix things (find food, kill your rival, attract a lover).  Middle spirituality like early Christianity or Buddhism is Ascending — escaping this nasty brutish world of suffering for the pure clean world of spirit (ascetic withdrawal from sex, food, money, commerce).  Non-dual spirituality recognizes that Spirit is the Source of all physical and once one has a spiritual awakening or enlightenment, one sees all sensations as arising from and not separate or undifferentiated form Spirit-Source-God of self or Self. So all evolutionary development springs from  a flowering of Spirit

Ken also cleared up the pre/trans fallacy.  Early spirituality seems non-rational  — but it is pre-rational.  Non-dual spirituality is trans-rational — beyond, but inclusive of rational thinking.

Meditation.  I went to a Ken Wilber conference in San Francisco in 1996 and further studied his Integral approach.  In 1999, I was reading a Wilber’s diary book “One Taste”. On page 69 he says

 “I had been meditation fairly intensely for twenty years, when …[following] an intensive Dzogchen retreat … the separate-self seemed to radically, deeply thoroughly die … there was no I to be moved; there was only unwavering empty consciousness, the luminous mirror-mind, the witness that was one with everything witnessed … it has been so, more or less, ever since.”

 I was electrified upon reading this.  Wow! I thought. If I want to achieve that kind of awakening I had better stop diddling around and get into meditation now.  I’ve been avoiding serious meditation for the last twenty  years and will be over eighty in another twenty years.  But it’s not too late if I start now.  I called the local  Shambhala Meditation Center and signed up for their weekend Level 1 course that very weekend.

Its been 15 years, and now I teach meditation.

A spapshot of two crows on Mt. Everest's Teng Boche Monestary -- contemplating the mystery.

A snapshot of two crows on Mt. Everest’s Tengboche Monastery — contemplating their next adventure.

I am a long way from achieving Ken Wilber’s deep experience — but the confusion and suffering of the Carter-character-self is gradually dissolving and being replaced by clarity, peace and even joy.  And the adventure continues!

Blog 4. The French Adventure (summer 2013)

The French Adventure.    War and Peace and Spiritual Renewal in France.

0 1 war1 0 2 arch de triumph3 0 3 5mt michael3 0 4 00f0 5Franny and I are back from our French adventure.    We had a wonderful and deep meditation retreat near Limoges (with friends we know from around the world),  long drives though the rolling French countryside and rippling streams, stone bridges and towns and villages churches, the abbey/fortress island of Mt. St. Michael, the Bayeux tapestry on William the conqueror,  windsurfers at Omaha beach, the intensity of Paris and Mona Lisa’s smile, and home over Greenland.  Everywhere were symbols of our human search for happiness through the futility strife and war — and though the validity of peace and spirit.

THE HUMAN ADVENTURE.   One insightful and delightful philosophical view is that we are   essentially non-physical  spiritual beings who decided to have a physical human adventure on planet earth.  The adventure gets intense at age 4 to 10 as the power of language mesmerizes us into thinking we are physically and mentally separate from each other and spirit.  In our delusion of separation, we think we need to protect our little fearful egoic selves — to find safety and happiness in this physical world instead of remembering who we really are.  It’s a fruitless path of endless seeking, suffering, conflict and war.  True peace, happiness, joy, and clarity can only come from re-uniting with our true infinite spiritual self.  Then we really can enjoy our human adventure.

THE SHAMBHALA ADVENTURE.  Franny and I have been following the Shambhala Buddhist path of spiritual growth for over a dozen years. It is the Shambhala Warrior’s path of fearlessly (but playfully) facing and transcending the addictive hold of our separate fearful egoic self. It involves daily and weekly meditation practice at home and at one of our 200 local centers punctuated with roughly annual retreats at one of  Shambhala’s six worldwide land centers.

In 2013, our next step/retreat, called Scorpian Seal Assembly One, was only available in France – – expensive for us and physically challenging for Franny (who was close to needing a hip replacement).  But time for us is short, so we pinched our pennies, applied for scholarships, booked a flight, packed up Franny’s wheelchair, and …..

…..  In late August our French adventure started by clambering though a hole in an enormous aluminum cylinder that we trusted would fling us seven miles in the air and around the globe, over Greenland, and on to Paris.  And happily, for us and the 500 others in the double decked Airbus, it worked!                 1c greenland air1b lax-paris2

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MATILDA, PARIS TRAFFIC, AND LIMOGES.     The next day, slightly groggy after 12 hours in the air, and after a couple of hours negotiating a mile of corridors, baggage control, customs, immigration, and the Europa car rental rituals,  we were finally in our VW Taiguan (big enough for wheelchair and luggage) trying to escape the immense Charles De Gaul airport with invaluable help of Matilda, our GPS navigator.

We were on our way to the Shambhala Buddhist retreat center of Dechen Choling, in a three century old country estate outside of Limoges — three hours south of Paris — if Matilda and I could successfully guide us thru dense Paris traffic and the 25 road changes to reach our hotel in Limoges.

Paris traffi

Paris Traffic

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DCL sunset

DECHEN CHOLING.   392468_10150735654989670_393633175_nxLimoges is a pretty little city, famed for its cathedral, train station, and ceramics, but we were anxious to move on to Dechen Choling, arrange our room, and see our friends from around the world (like Ukraine, Slovakia, Germany, Holland, England, France, America, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Australia, and others). The center is a lovely old French country estate – stone buildings, green fields, and wandering streams.


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DCL entrance

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DCL main chateau













SPIRITUAL RENEWAL. The Scorpian Seal retreat itself started with a high energy lasang fire ritual led by the the Sakyong Mipahm Rinpoche (the spiritual leader of  Shambhala), and then a dozen days of meditating, teaching, chanting, hugging, eating, silence, and sleeping — and finally a celebratory banquet and dance.

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FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE. Having successfully faced and transcended our egoic fears (at least for a while) — we hugged our fellow adventurers goodby and took a few days to explore France —  the countryside, people, fortresses, wars, and cathedrals in Normandy and Paris.

For me, the trips  greatest pleasure was the journey Matilda took us on as we drove for six  hours across the French countryside from Limoges to the Normandy coast.  Sparkling streams under stone bridges,  roads curving around medieval houses and churches,  cows and pigs and peaceful old towns.  A rich feast of color and sounds and  smells.


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PEACE & WAR – MONT SAN MICHEL -THE ABBEY-FORTRESS. Then to the coast and  Mont San Michel – a fortress-abbey-church built on an island that was accessible only at low tide.  Towering stone walls, iron drop gates  and arrow slits that rained death on any attackers.  The tide goes out for miles — and incoming tidal rush has caught and drowned many unwary. There is a surreal beauty to the place that attracts filmmakers and ordinary people alike — wanting to connect to its  peace and power and mystery.

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PEACEFUL NIGHT.   We were originally going to stay in a hotel in Mt. St. Michel, but I wisely changed it upon considering my challenge of  pushing Franny’s wheelchair up a steep narrow cobblestone alley, Franny’s extreme challenge in climbing up stone stairs to our room, and the outrageous  cost for  a 2nd class room.  We stayed that night at the lovely Aberage du Terrior in the tiny town of  Servon. The Aberage is a delightful old stone chateau overlooked by the village church.  It had been completely redone inside with modern German windows and bathroom.  The owner is a gourmet chef — and his wife served us mouth watering duckal’orangeon Waterford (not Limoges!) porcelain with white table cloths and crystal glasses.

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WAR – THE INVASION BY NORMANS – THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY.   The next day, an hour’s drive north took us to the lovely city of Bayeux on the Normandy Coast.   Normans or “North-man” are descendants of the Vikings that invaded France in ancient times.  My own ancestors are descents of Vikings and the Scottish barbarians that terrified the Romans by stripping naked, painting themselves blue and running screaming at the enemy waving their swords and cudgels.  Such a rush!

Our human adventure seems to include the intense sense of aliveness we get courting danger.  I vividly remember body surfing a hurricane wave body screaming with joy and fear as I was bounced down it like a ping pong ball.   Or skiing “suicide hill” or walking on fire barefoot, — or jumping from an ……..

The 600 foot Bayeux tapestry depicts the invasion of England by the Norman duke William the Conqueror in 1066ad.  When Harold reneged on his oath to William and grabbed he English crown for himself,  William negotiated the pope’s approval, called  up an army for 5-10,000,  chopped down a forest to build a few hundred ships,  and won the war and crown of England with his skillful use of mounted knights and prayer.  Changed the course of English history.  It was all a great adventure – until you close in on the torn and broken limbs, the suffering faces, and the cries of bereft families.

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Bayeux tapestry

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William conquering (Battle of Hastings)

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Bayeux cathedral


























WAR AND PEACE ON OMAHA BEACH.  Nine hundred years later,  on the beaches a few miles from where William set sail, our human war-games climaxed with the greatest invasion in history. Over a million men in a thousand ships stormed the Normandy coast as screaming bullets shredded bodies and turned the blue waters and the white beaches red with blood.

Franny took a nap while I drove the few miles from our pleasant inn to Omaha Beach.  Images of movies recreating men jumping out of amphibian craft into a buzzing maelstrom of bullets was in major contrast to this lovely warm beach with its gentle waves, strolling beach combers, and laughing windsurfers.   I could find no evidence of  the invasion until I drove behind the modern beach houses (well, no old stone  houses  is evidence in itself),  and up a hill to a small concrete pill box — about 15 feet across.  I imagined being a German soldier in that emplacement waiting for an invading American to toss a grenade into my concrete tomb. [Unlike our last trip, where I surfed in off Nova Scotia in the North Atlantic,  I only got to wade in the Atlantic here.]

That night we had great dinner in a quaint little beach town,  where a sunset illuminated the ghostly remains of one of the “instant” invasion harbors where endless tons of equipment was brought ashore to support the invasion.

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Omaha Beach Smile

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Omaha Beach Invasion



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Omaha Beach Wind-Surfing

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Happy as a clam!

Happy as a clam!

















Versailles-garden Finally, we drove back to Paris to complete our circle of northern France — past the opulent  Versailles Palace where King Louis and Marie Antoinette were dragged from to be guillotined – – and past the Arch de Triumph where Napoleon armies and American tanks paraded in victory.



In Paris, as I dodged pedestrians and scooters — and wondered about climbing to a sixth floor walkup (no elevators in the 1800’s) — Matilda took us to the wrong Rue De Recollects – student housing,  not our hotel.  After much confusion, driving up and down, questioning in French and English and arm waving — a friendly student found the right address on her iPhone — and reprogrammed Matilda (who says the French aren’t friendly!).



Parisian peace.  The next day, Franny rested while I walked past rushing crowds to near the famed Notre Dam cathedral.  But is was the man in the church across the street that captured my imagination.  I hope that his God answered his prayers.





  That evening we had a tasty meal at a local students cafe in the famed Montmartre  surrounded by the steamy energy of modern students and the ghosts of Renoir, Degas, and Picasso.






  Our final day we braved the Louvre with all its incredible treasures — from the 4000 year old first legal Code of Hammurabi to the enigmatic smile of Mona Lisa.Mona Lisa



And finally home,  to lead twenty meditators in our living room the next day, and to schedule Franny’s hip replacement operation for  the next week.    

And so, our human adventure continues.  Went surfing  last week here in the Pacific ocean at sunset (to complete  my urge to  surf the Atlantic on Omaha Beach).   Franny is recovery grandly — and I am learning (its a stretch) to be a caretaker with a smile.   Our  son Stephen sent me a picture of  our granddaughter Kennedy as she joyfully enters her human adventure.

With Love,  Carter and Franny












Blog 3. Nova Scotia Adventure

Nova Scotia Adventure.  Whales-Abhisheka-Warriors-Love






Franny and I are just back from a wonderful adventure in Nova Scotia, Canada.  We stretched our spiritual life by braving the “Rigden Abhisheka”   to train in an advanced Shambhala Warrior spiritual practice called “The Roar of Werma”.   An inspired Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, assisted by Acharya Greenleaf, presided at the Shambhala practice center in Tatamagoosh.

Afterwards we explored the seas and forests and whales of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island — that my Scottish ancestors invaded 500 years ago — chasing out Native Americans and Frenchman alike.

I have always been tickled by the idea that my Scottish ancestors were so enraged when the Romans invaded Scotland 2000 years ago, that they purportedly stripped naked, painted themselves blue and ran screaming at the Roman legionnaires [ala “Brave Heart”].   Terrified those Romans so much that they built Hadrian’s Wall to keep us out of England.

The descendents of those crazy Scotts colonized Cape Breton (at the northwest tip of Nova Scotia but one group got tired of whaling and the cold and poor soil, built a couple of ships in 1850 and sailed to New Zealand!  Love those Scotts.








After 12 hours and flying four thousand miles east  and two thousand miles north of LA, we arrived in the lovely port city of Halifax. We breakfasted on the Halifax waterfront and then drove up to Truro on the Bay of Fundy in time for the 6:35pm tidal bore to come rushing up the river fueled by 30 foot tides. A spectacle I have waited to see for 40 years. Unfortunately, while you can surf the tidal wave sometimes,  the moon phase led to a ludicrously tiny  3 inch wave — surfed by an imaginary tiny drala.







Then we drove up to the Dorge Dengma Ling retreat center near Tatamagoush.  It brought back fond memories.  Franny and I both started our Shambhala retreat adventures there with warriors assembly.  She in 2006, me in 2001. Then annual 2-4 week retreats for dathun, Sutrayana, Vajrayana seminaries.  I took all of mine and the Rigden Abisheka by 2005, and then staffed Franny’s for a second and very different experience.  Franny has now caught up and we move forward together to the fabled Scorpion Seal.







I had an auspicious meeting with Achraya Bill McKeever who led my first dathun.  I am attracted to the view that we are spiritual beings who are “brain-washed” as children into losing our connection with the infinite and into believing the delusion that we are separate fragile finite little brain-body-egos.  In whispers from his Parkinson damaged body, he explained how I could better integrate my explorations of the direct non-dual path with Shambhala and the Mahamudra retreats led by Richard John.

At the end of the retreat, Franny and I drove up and up and up the western coast of Cape Breton Island to Gampo Abbey, where Pema Chodron is in a 1 year retreat.  It is 200 miles up the rugged near deserted sea-swept coast — and then 20 more miles up a dirt road — on the way to nowhere.  Perfect place for an abbey and retreat.







Then across the rugged island dodging moose to the northeast coast — to Cape North — where I braved the frigid water.  I surfed a couple of waves at the place where the land was claimed for England in 1497 by an Italian explorer Giovanni Cabatto (John Cabot). [Me with wet hair from surfing]







Then down the rocky eastern coast to Kalapa Valley — a deserted river valley that Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche led a bunch of amazed Shambalians to in the late-70’s.  It auspiciously came up for sale a decade later and some members bought it and donate it.  More donations helped build the Scorpion Seal retreat cabin that the Sakyong — and perhaps ourselves may use for that culminating retreat that can penetrate the illusion of time and space.  For now, just a couple of pictures by the gate.








Then more trees and lakes and ferries to return to our motel at the foot of the island.  If global warming floods out the 150 million in Bangladesh there will be plenty of room in Canada’s Atlantic provinces.  Cape Breton’s  population is half of Long Beach – and mostly concentrated in the port city of Sydney.  In 300+ miles of driving we encountered few houses.   The next morning Franny had me drive 20 miles up the coast — and then 5 miles inland up a houseless dirt road to a farm in the forest to buy some mohair yarn from a lady that raised her own mohair goats.  Lots of trees, goats, and whales – but only a few friendly people.

At breakfast at our motel the next day, whales frolicked in the seas.  And finally the northern sun set over our inlet.  An amazing world we live in.  And now on to the next adventure.   With love, Carter and Franny





BLOG 2. CHANGE! Good? Bad? Scary? MIPS, Moore’s Law, Accelerating Technology and me.

Blog 2.  Change!  Good? Bad? Scary?  MIPS,  Moore’s  Law, Accelerating Technology and Me.


    Change can be both exhilarating and unsettling.  Creative humans on planet earth are constantly striving for a better life — thus creating unsettling changes.
I was reflecting on the huge changes in computers, myself, and the world that I have experienced since I programmed my first one in 1956.
IBM hoped to sell 50 of these million dollar IBM-650’s before they saturated the market. After all, one of them could replace hundreds of “human computers”, and there were not that many of those teams.   Unimaginable then were the billions of PC’s and smart phones used around the world — each as much as a billion times faster than that early computer.


 It was cold and snowing in Boston that December of 1956 when I put on a tie and my heavy Harris tweed sport coat to apply for a job at IBM    Two years earlier I had matriculated to the venerable Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), at barely 17 — a tall pale kid — immature, shy, self-absorbed, and neurotic.  My fragile sense of self worth was almost immediately smashed by encountering some kids smarter than me.  And I had reacted with dismay and depression and a strategy of trying to get A’s without doing homework assignments. 

    The IBM-650 filled a room and cost a couple of million (in todays) dollars. But it was really really fast – a couple of hundred thousand calculations per hour (65 per second). 

Incredibly faster and more accurate than the eye-squinting slide rules we used at MIT. 


    I fell in love with it.  Me and my error free round the clock trusty 650 could replace a whole roomful of  “human computers ” with their clanking whirring electro-mechanical calculators and their awkward human interactions   In my prior summer job I spent hours computing scientific correlations that I could (and did) do on the IBM 650 in a minute. 

     [I stayed with IBM for 9 months — and then back to graduate from MIT.  But my shaky start in Physics caused me to switch to math at the University of Washington.]




Accelerating Change:  Moore’s law.  The IBM650 was the start.  But Moore’s Law indicates human creativeness will double  computer power (per dollar)  every year and a half.  This geometric increase translates to a thousand times increase in 15 years and  a million times in 30 years — or a trillion times in 60 years.

Sure enough,  by 1970, the IBM 704 I used at the University of Washington calculated at thousands of instructions per second.  But it was pathetically slow compared to today’s computers, and I failed in getting my Ph.D. in artificial Intelligence (certainly it was the computers fault and not my depressive excessive drinking).

By the mid-1980’s I had a job that included negotiating the purchase of a bank’s buying the huge IBM 3084Q that cost $20m (today’s dollars), filled  the space of a small house, used the electricity of a thousand houses – and computed at an amazing 30 million instructions per second (30 MIPS) — a million times faster than my 650, but still less that a thousandth the power of this $1000  laptop.

[Personally – my life had changed greatly for the better — recovering from my depressive alcoholism and finding love and friends and an interest in helping others.]

By now in 2012, this humble laptop I’m writing  on can compute a billion times faster than the IBM650, and cost less than a thousand dollars — giving  it one trillion (one million-million ) more computer power per dollar.   [

“Brain Power”.  In 1956, we imagined that a super computer — an Empire State Building stuffed full of computers  — might rival a human brain.  Boy were we off.    It would have generated perhaps one measly MIPS (million instructions per second).    Today’s super-computers can generate over a billion MIPS – much faster than earlier estimates of human “brain power”.  But every year we discover more complexity in the brain, and the new supercomputers still can’t compete with us humans in complex pattern recognition or being “self-aware”.

    However, many  scientists think that Moore’s law will continue — even speed up and computers will match human brains  in 10-20 years.  Certainly, by then, we will have implants that give us instant access to any information on a super-Wikipedia *– or to any person in the world – instantly – by just thinking about them.  A really changed world.
[* May 17, 2012 Nature just reported on a paralyzed woman who can  control a robotic arm with a brain implant. ]


Change for the good, the bad, and the scary.   Creative humans, wanting a better world, have made huge increases in technology and economics since the 1950’s.  Global income per person has increased six fold in sixty years — in no small part due to the trillion fold increase in computer power.  And as I argue in AcceleratingEvolution, higher tech and higher economics leads (surprisingly) to higher morality and even spirituality. 

    Let us look at then and now – the good, the bad, and the scary.

Back then – In the 1950’s.  We were just getting over the world’s most deadly war (60m died), and the US and Russia were stockpiling enough nuclear weapons to destroy all human life at the push of a button or a whim of a dictator.

    At that time white men ruled the world and a black child dare not drink from a Mississippi water fountain.  At MIT, coeds were rare (16 out of 1000) and I remember very few people of color. 

    Life was pretty good here in white America, but globally, half the world lived in the grip of extreme poverty, global life expectancy was a brief 47 years and average income was only $1800 (today’s dollars).     

    When 30 million Chinese starved in a huge famine, it only made second page news here in the US.  Neo-Malthusians were forecasting global shortages and famine.



Today — the good side of change.  Many things are much better.  Today, the cold war is ended and conflicts are usually small and local with deaths in the thousands.


   At this time,  Obama is president (unthinkable at an earlier time) and Angela Merkel (a retired east German science teacher) is head of a united Germany and (according to the current  Economist) holds the world economic future in her hands.   Women and people of color make up half the MIT students. 

   Globally, only 18% are in extreme poverty (1.5 billion freed from its grip in the last 20 years), global life expectancy has increased  21 more years to 68, and average income has quintupled to $11,000.

   Western business people now treat Chinese and other Asians with great respect since they produce most of our refrigerators and electronics and own trillions of dollars of US assets.  

   Over 300 million Chinese have risen from poverty to middle class. And population growth has slowed with increasing global incomes while we produce plenty of food and other commodities. The gloomy neo-Malthusians have been proven wrong by our creative efforts.

For me personally,  despite deaths, job losses, teenagers, bankruptcies and the usual rollercoaster ride of our human adventure, my life is very good.  I’m surrounded by friends and family and, while still dabbling in Information Technology, I mostly mentor people on living better lives through teaching meditation and positive psychology.   [Interestingly, neither technique would be available without the huge shifts in technology and economics — my meditation techniques were isolated in frozen Tibetan monasteries and modern positive psychology was walled off by the closed minds of western science.]


The down side of change.    Technology and globalization has improved the lives of billions for the better,  but there are downsides.


   The loss of jobs to technology and job relocation —  No more jobs as buggy makers or “human calculators”.  Robots replace workers everywhere  Textile jobs moved from New England to the south to China and then to Indonesia.   Steel to Asia.  Automobiles to the south and to Asia, Mexico and Europe.  

   And there are huge social disruptions.  Imagine how the Chinese peasants feel — the youngsters pulled from their traditional village to crowded dormitories in bustling cites. The patriarch whose children defy and desert him.   The seemingly wanton destruction of ecologies and tribal cultures.  Coal dust and global warming. 

The scary side of change.  Our century old government regulation and control systems are not prepared for handling housing bubbles or global movement of money at billions of transactions per second — or complex financial instruments that few understand — so it screws up sometimes as we learn how to adapt.   Americans still struggle in the wake of the financially generated recession.  Europeans hold their breath as the euro and the entire EU teeter.  Everyone fears that a slowdown will disrupt the fragile magic of the Chinese economic miracle and create a downward spiral of dissatisfaction and even rebellion against the autocratic government — and that could trigger a world-wide depression. 

Bottom line.  But, to me, all those worries are totally overpowered by 7 billion smart  phone and internet connected humans creatively working to make their world a better place at web speed. 











Grandson Logan at 3

POSITIVE ANTIDOTES TO DEPRESSIVE THINKING.     A friend of mine, who is outwardly a successful  family man has been “waylaid” by depression.  Bad enough to make life miserable.  Bad enough to contemplate suicide. I wrote him the following letter and then copied it to another friend who  is in depression and agony over a difficult relationship: 

Living in depression is like living in some kind of never ending low grade hell.  I suffered from 20 years of minor to suicidal depression because I constantly indulged in negative thinking — how terrible my parents or wife was — how screwed up I was — how unyielding the world was.  I was obsessed with the idea that if I only dug a little deeper in the shit, I would find a path to happiness.
     If there is one thing I know today, it is how much of my own and other folk’s suffering is caused by this unskillful indulgent obsessive negative thinking.  

Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology says that depression is primarily caused by indulging in negative thinking  — that the problem is “out there”somewhere with bad parents, bad circumstances, a bad body or psyche, bad luck, bad karma, a bad god.  Buddhism and AA have likewise said for years that we need to drop this delusion that the problem is “out there”

 I tried for many years to blame and fix things  “out-there” — and beat others and myself into submission– into doing it “my way”.  I sometimes had brief tantalizing successes, but eventually (since “out there ” is uncontrollable) it led to repeated failure and then suicidal alcoholism.  But even after a  very successful 12 step recovery, I would sink into negative thinking and depression.

 Today, when I notice I am indulging in negative thinking, when I feel negative emotions — anger-fear – depression, when I feel up-tight or helpless or depressed, an alarm sounds AYOOGA! AYOOGA! AYOOGA!  Emergency!  For I know from bitter experience that if I continue on this negative track I will start attracting other negative thoughts in a swirling sewer of negative thoughts and feelings — and then find other people to support my swirling sewer of negativity.
      And this will trigger my egoic habitual patterns of behavior (long time character defects) — striking out, hiding in the corner, running, hiding, yelling, sulking.  These behaviors may have worked as a child, but as an adult they damaged or destroyed my career, my children, and my relationships. An ego attack, I have learned is a greater emergency that a diarrhea attack. Stop everything and get myself to the bath– breath.

Emergency!  Take one conscious breath.   Let go off all thoughts and bring all my awareness to the feeling of the life giving breath as it comes in and as it goes out.  NOW.  �
      Take another – let go of thoughts and just feel the breath.  And one more. Just feel the breath.     Breathe space into the uptight negativity.  Breathe in life and possibility — even hope.  Take another conscious breath and start coming back into balance — start connecting with the peace and power deep within.   �
      Take another deep conscious breath and connect with those negative feelings and sensations.  Don’t indulge them and don’t run from them. Don’t hide from them. FEEL them deeply — while connecting to my breath – to my own center.  

As I come back into balance – I can remember – “Oh, this is my beloved wife, not the monster enemy from Mars.”  And from a place of balance, perhaps even of compassion or respect or love — I can take action.   �
     I find that just coming into balance myself, can change the dynamics.  I also find that by breathing space into a situation, I start to breath in new possibilities I never thought of when I felt under attack.  

Personally, I find I am doing much better with short term ego attacks – flashes of anger of fear.  But slower fuse situations — depression or procrastination — are tougher.  They are less of an emergency it seems — even though they cause just as much trouble.  What’s another five minutes, when I’ve already wasted an hour or two or ten?

     Well the rule is that when I notice any negative thinking, I need to take action. NOW. 

Breathe.  Breathe in peace.    Breathe in life.  Breathe in possibility. Breathe in better feelings. Then consider one small thing I can do that will help me stay feeling better.  Call a friend.  Meditate. Go for a run.  Pay one bill. Write one paragraph.  Cuddle my child.
      Then repeat the breathing process as indicated. Open my mind to an intuitive thought or inspiration.  And repeat this process every time I start indulging in negative thinking — building my positive thinking muscle. 

A teacher recently said (rather harshly, I thought)  that the cause of depression was laziness.  I continue to indulge in the old familiar smelly negative thoughts instead of breathing and shifting to neutral or positive new thoughts.�
      It is similar to the meditation instructions — focus on the breath, and when you notice that you have lost connection — pat the distracting thought on its little head and bring your attention back to the breath.   

 There are some books from positive psychology that can help support these ideas: 

  • Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman,
  • Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson,
  • The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Anchor.  Shawn’s YouTube/TED video is delightfully funny and his seven principles are taught in companies’ worldwide. 

These are all scientists whose recommendations are based on extensive scientific studies.  (And used in Harvard’s “Happiness 101” course.)  All use such basics as meditation and compassion.  

A strong spiritual connection will also help. I believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience –  and I can thrive as a human being if I stay connected to my Source or Basic Goodness  or God’s love.  (Many other Blogs will be on that spiritual connection.) 

And meditation — especially on the breath — helps me to connect with that Source each morning, and makes it easier to breathe and connect during the day. 

Breath meditation is simple. Take a good seat — spine stretched and upright. �
Relax and take a conscious breath.  Following the air as it goes in — and as it goes out.  �
Then take another — and another. �
If awareness is pulled from the breath by a thought — acknowledge the thought — possibly say “thinking”,  like patting a child on the head — and bring the awareness back to the breath — to taking one more conscious breath.�
Try to at least stay aware for three conscious breaths.  (Some people count to 10 to start with.)  

Do this for 3, 5, 10, or 15 minutes in the morning at a regular time.  Connect with the “Great Reality deep within” early and its easier to do it later — when the depression or ego-attack hits.   The key is to do it regularly.  Its simple but not easy at first.  So be kind to yourself.  Just notice how your (ego) mind resists this simple process.   The ego is suspicious that it is losing control and will come up with all sorts of tricks from itchiness to sleepiness.
    Its gets easier with practice.  Eventually you will be able to just use the breath as an “anchor” while your awareness spreads to your body sensations, sounds, sights, and even thoughts — all with a sense of peae and non-judgement.   

 Retraining our mind  and learning the habit of positive thinking takes determined work. Its mind training and not un-similar to weight training — but the payoff of a good moment, a good hour, a good day, a good life — sure beats the alternative. 

Each negative situation gives us the opportunity to retrain our mindsto permanantly let go of the negative habitual patterns and karma that have blocked us from playing in the Sunlight of the Spirit.  It’s our choice – moment by moment — right NOW!

 Much love as we journey on this path,  Carter.



Living life as an adventure, not as a trial — one breath at a time.

WELCOME.   This website and blog is dedicated to exploring ways and views that can help us better remember or awaken to our essential spiritual nature — and to really appreciate and enjoy our human surfchildpinkadventure on planet earth — to thrive rather than survive each precious day. The site has several parts:

My bio or story describes some of my personal adventures and explorations on planet earth — how to live life with a sense of fun and curiosity.  The best view I have found so far starts with a deep sense that I am actually an infinite spiritual being that is having a creative human experience — an extension of Source energy. In growing up I become so embedded/ fascinated/ frightened with this physical world I totally forgot my connection with my True Self;  I became convinced I was this vulnerable separate mind and body called Carter.  This website is dedicated to discovering views and practices that help us reestablish or remember our True Selves and the true joy it can bring to every moment of our lives.

Accelerating Evolution describes one of those explorations. The integral theories of Ken Wilber freed me from the idea that to connect with spirituality I had to drop my rationality – to regress to medieval or tribal times.  Instead, I discovered that our desire for a better world and life has led not only to higher technology and economics but to higher stages of morality and spirituality. The Accelerating Evolution model I developed predicts that by the last half of this century these powerful creative forces will open us to the mature rational or integral stage and even spiritual levels of consciousness — and soon racism, sexism and even violence will become as morally repugnant as the infanticide, cannibalism and slavery of our earlier stages. [But the process getting there, like most changes,  may be bumpy!]

Russia Blogs. In the fall and winter of 2010, my wife Franny and I went to Germany and Russia to help build out a new theater in St. Petersburg. I wrote a series of blogs on that adventure.

Current Blogs will deal with my ongoing explorations and adventures. The first one will be based on an email I sent to a friend who was struggling with the spiraling doom of depressive thinking — it recommends, among other things, some of the tools of positive psychology

Carter Vincent Smith