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From Romantic Whimsy … Toward Opportunity

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The single most important challenge for every Shambhala Master is to enable his students to develop a type of intelligence and mindfulness that is never taught in school, nor is it ever measured by IQ tests.

The Shambhala Master

Love On Sale


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As Shambhala students adventure beyond the known into new ways of living, loving, and relating, they must educate themselves about the social, emotional, and biological obstacles they will encounter along the way. It is crucial that Shambhala students become highly knowledgeable about prince/princessing. With this in mind, I begin by teaching my students about with the age-old history of “White Knights” and “Shining Halos.”

The image of the "White Knight" represents the romantic picture of what all young boys are supposed to grow up to be: strong, resourceful, capable providers, protecting the women and children they love. The image of the "Shining Halo" represents the picture of what all young girls are supposed to grow up to be: patient, warm, loving care-givers, nurturing the men and children they love. "White Knights" and "Shining Halos" are a perfect match. They are each one half of a clearly more important whole. They come together to make a bonded unit that will last, as the myth has it, a lifetime. They complete each other. They give meaning and direction to each other’s lives.

Has this always been the case? Have these romantic ideals always existed? And, if not, where did we get these ideas?

Men and women have not always come together for the purpose of completing each other. Nor was the original purpose of coupling to give direction to lives that were otherwise adrift. Our romantic ideals are a relatively recent invention, and to understand their origin we must go back in time.


When humankind lived in caves or traveled the plains it was seldom understood how or why women got pregnant, but the group celebrated each new birth. Pregnancy and birth were cause for celebration because the bigger the group, the better its chances for survival. The bigger the group, the less vulnerable it was to attack by wild animals and other hostile clans.

But this celebrated "propensity" of womankind to bring forth new life also created problems. Women, during the latter stages of pregnancy, are not swift runners. Being immobile reduces their ability to hunt for food and, at the same time, protect themselves and their children. It quickly became apparent that if the group was to survive it must provide for and protect its pregnant women or they would die, as would their young children.

Because men do not become pregnant, it made good sense for the group to pair off each woman with a man. In this way, when the woman reached her seventh, eighth, and ninth months of pregnancy, her male partner could provide the food and protection she was less capable of providing for herself and her children.

This male/female bonding system enhanced the group's chances for survival so well that, as new children were born, some groups saw to it that each child was partnered with a newborn of the opposite sex as soon as possible. The group, also for the sake of its own survival, began to better prepare its male children in provider and protector skills, so that, when the time came, each male child would be ready, willing, and able to look after his female partner in her later months of pregnancy, and to protect her children.

Because male providership frequently entailed extended absences from the hearth for hunting, it became important for the group to prepare its young females to care for children, tend the hearth, and gather food. In the absence of her mate, a woman, pregnant or not, had to be the sole caretaker for infants and toddlers who were especially vulnerable to predators. This early, gender-specific training added greatly to the group's survival potential. Soon, in addition to celebrating pregnancy and birth because it enlarged the group's size, pregnancy and birth also became celebrated events because they added another hunter/warrior or another food gatherer/child bearer/caretaker to the group.


The skills associated with the gender of each infant were now viewed as valuable for ensuring the group's survival. A boy-child soon became capable of supplying the clan with meat and protection from wild animals and other hostile clans. A girl-child soon became knowledgeable in collecting and preparing edibles that grew wild, and she would be able to look after the group's most valued assets, its future providers/warriors and its future food gatherers, child bearers, and caretakers.

Eventually, after generations and generations, the skills of providing and protecting became synonymous with the male gender, while the skills of care taking, hearth tending, and food gathering became synonymous with the female gender. As gender became synonymous with certain skills, male children become synonymous with future "White Knights" and female children became synonymous with future "Shining Halos." With the creation of these gender-specific identities, the group no longer had to methodically pair up persons of the opposite sex as infants if it did not care to do so. Male/female bonding happened automatically, naturally.

With the group now regarding each child as either a “White Knight” or a “Shining Halo,” female children automatically gravitated toward domestic skills which kept them close to home and looking for “White Knights” who could adventure out into the wilds to provide food and protection for her and her children. At the same time, male children naturally gravitated toward the more aggressive, physically demanding skills and looked forward to taking on the responsibility of providing for a female, their children, and the clan’s protection. And, just to ensure the automatics of it all, each clan created songs and stories and passed them down from one generation to another in tribute to the rightness of boys becoming “White Knights” and wonderment of girls becoming “Shining Halos.”


Each society has been passing down these prescriptive songs and stories to their children and grandchildren for centuries, even though times have changed. Even though countless women have been providing for themselves and their children throughout the ages, and even though countless men have been providing for their own domestic comforts, each society continues to ensure the automaticness of “White Knights” and “Shining Halos” bonding together. Prescriptive songs and stories celebrate the rightness of male/female bonding, whether or not these gender specific roles and partnerships add to the quality of our lives or to the quality of our children’s lives. Each society continues to pass down from one generation to another the illusion that life will be better, safer, happier, and more productive if girls become “Shining Halos” and boys become “White Knights,” pair off, and center their lives around each other.

For example, the lyrics below, made popular by Dean Martin, are typical of thousands of age old musical prescriptions for “happiness�that continually bombard us and unconsciously direct our emotions, perceptions, thinking, and behavior.

You're nobody 'til somebody loves you,
You're nobody 'til somebody cares;
You may be king,
You may possess the world and its gold,
But gold won't bring you happiness
When you're growing old …
You're nobody 'til somebody loves you,
So find yourself somebody to love.

Lyrics by Russ Morgan, Larry Stock and James Cavanaugh

The messages here are powerfully life-directing. They generate only one narrow, limited way of conceptualizing, thinking about, and perceiving human relationships: the Noah’s Ark perspective … “On this ship Earth I have to be paired up with someone of the opposite sex.” Shambhala Masters know this message is not only limiting, but it is damaging! To what extent will my students ignore their own Inner Promptings to avoid being not partnered on the Ark? How often will they abandon their Selves to secure a relationship with someone who mistreats and/or undermines them? How long will they stay in an unhealthy and even a life-threatening relationship because they are terrified of growing old alone? To how much physical and emotional pain will they subject themselves and their children? How much Self-violation will they endure because divorce is expensive and socially frowned upon? These are just some of the dangers of the Noah’s Ark perspective.

Shambhala Masters know that believing the songs and stories that tell us we cannot exist, much less find happiness, without pairing up with someone of the opposite sex fosters Self-abandonment. Countless men and women have spent their lives investing in these age-old myths and empty promises — only to find themselves angry, embittered, dried up, old, and, in the end, alone.

Ancient wisdom teaches us that being loved by another and/or loving someone is no guarantee of “happiness.” Shambhala students have the capacity to love many people, and we recognize that many people will have the capacity to love us. The issue is, which of these people can further our relationship with our Selves, and which of these people will further our Self-loyalty? Bonding to someone who cannot nurture your Self-loyalty will result in your self anger, frustration, resentment, and emptiness, but not happiness.

A more contemporary song celebrating the romantic pictures of the “White Knight” and the “Shining Halo” is All I Ask of You, written by Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe and popularized in The Phantom of the Opera. The lyrical dialogue typifies the yearnings of modern-day, well-socialized princes and princesses.

“The Prince”
No more talk of darkness,
Forget these wide-eyed fears;
I'm here, nothing can harm you.
My words will warm and calm you.
Let me be your freedom,
Let daylight dry your tears;
I'm here, with you, beside you,
To guard you and to guide you.

“The Princess”
All I ask is every waking moment,
Turn my head with talk of summertime.
Say you need me with you now and always;
Promise me that all you say is true,
That's all I ask of you.“The Prince”
Let me be your shelter,
Let me be your light;
You're safe, no one will find you,
Your fears are far behind you.

“The Princess”
All I want is freedom,
A world with no more night;
And you, always beside me,
To hold me and to hide me.

“Prince” and “Princess” Together
Then say you'll share with me
One love, one lifetime;
Let me lead you from your solitude.
Say you need me with you,
Here beside you, anywhere you go,
Let me go too,
That's all I ask of you.

“One love, one lifetime:” It is a romantically charming and emotionally seductive thought, however impractical, impossible, personally limiting, and counterproductive it might be. “One love, one lifetime” is such an appealing sentiment that it is easy to fall in love with it no matter how many times it fails us. If we fall deeply enough in love with these romantic ideals, no number of failed relationships will dampen our enthusiasm and the manufactured rush we experience as we look for our next “prince” or “princess.”

Why are these romantic ideals so addictive?


Shambhala Masters tell us at least two reasons why people are still addictively compelled towards male/female bonding, whether or not this relationship model serves them: (1) our social legacy (the emotional and mental concepts we continue to acquire from society), and (2) our genetic dowry (the biological remnants we inherit).


Shambhala Masters teach us that it is important for us to understand how our social legacy unconsciously controls our behavior because it defines and limits who we are and what we can be to ourselves and others. It is important for us to understand how we can be reduced to mindless robots responding to ancient programs so that we can instead become Self-directing, if we choose to be. To become Self-directing, Shambhala students must become Conscious of the concepts, expectations, and ideals that go hand in hand with the romantic pictures of “White Knights” and “Shining Halos.” Shambhala students must recognize how these gender specific identities and romantic pictures control and limit their:

Social Activity
Life Styles
Environmental Design
Skill Development
Purchasing Patterns
Recreation/Leisure Activities
Religious Beliefs
Medical Practices
Political Patterns

The myths and belief systems we grow up with strongly influence our thinking patterns and every perception we have. We grow up perceiving everything around us out of the structure of meaning that is imposed on us and that we are immersed in. We have no other option. We make sense of everything we see and sense through the language and the concepts that already exist.

Consequently, we are limited in our ability to perceive and describe anything that is not congruent with the current patterns of belief. This is because the language and social concepts we grow up with only acknowledge the phenomena that support the status quo. A contemporary example of the power of language are pronouns. The masculine pronouns (“he” and “him”), up until very recent times, were used whether the speaker or writer was referring to a male or a female, unless what was being said or written was unflattering to women, then female pronouns (“she” and “her”) were used. This meant that nearly everything I heard or read about powerful people was associated with men. When females were mentioned, even in a positive sense, diminutive endings were added to the words describing them. For example, men were stewards, women were stewardesses. There were ushers and usherettes, actors and actresses, waiters and waitresses. Men were called men and women were called girls. These styles of language perpetuated social concepts that were already firmly in place. These styles also became highly formative in my perceptions of myself, other people, and the world.

The “powers that be” knowingly, and sometimes unknowingly, inhibit the formation of concepts that do not support the status quo. This form of thought control is accomplished through the language that is handed down from one generation to another. Thought control is further achieved by reducing the indescribable (that which we have no language for) to fantasy, fluff, mysticism, or the wanderings of an unstable mind. Consequently, the language and concepts we inherit keep Life's possibilities from becoming real choices in our own lives.


The language we acquire can limit or expand our possibilities. Language defines what it means to be human. Words are powerful tools. Through them we learn that men have wives, women have husbands, couples have children, and everyone, who is anyone of worth, has friends. Through words we learn important, life-directing concepts — people are possessions and everyone should have some.

The use of the words “have” and “has” when applied to people teaches us possessiveness. They teach us that people are objects, commodities to be acquired and used. Through words we learn people are objects, and, if we are lucky, we will be acquired (meaning desired), possessed, and used by others. These words and concepts trigger our emotions and unconsciously direct our behavior.

A powerful example of the ability of words to trigger emotion is the use of the word “love.” There are thousands of official and unofficial meanings for the word “love.” It is perhaps the most overused, misunderstood, manipulative, distorted, emotionally leveraging word in the English language. It excuses and confuses everything from child abuse to spousal usury. It leverages for everything from a one night stand to war. It plays a pivotal role in everything from the conception of an unwanted child to the management of the life of that child from birth to the grave.

“If you loved me you would … ”
“Now that we are lovers we should … ”
“I am only doing this because I love you.”
“How dare you, you said you loved me!”

The behavior condoned and promoted in the name of “love” is equaled only by the behavior we justify in the name of religion, patriotism, family, health, youth, money, and beauty.

Through words we are also sold pictures of what beauty is, and what it is not. These pictures change from decade to decade. Voluptuous Marilyn Monroes are soon replaced with anemic Twiggies and Kate Moss then back to voluptuous Dolly Partons. Yet, we are not encouraged to maintain any sense of the transience of these pictures. These mass marketed, commercial pictures of beauty play a powerful role in directing the way we spend our money, time, energy, and lives. They also seduce us into an addictive cycle of prince/princessing.

Currently, a major component of these commercialized pictures of beauty is youthfulness. This is a direct result of our youth-worshipping culture. Why are we trained to worship youthfulness? Because wisdom comes with age and the wise are no so easily blinded and commercially controlled. The wise are not impressed by flashy, expensive, commercially profitable trends. Consequently, if the maturing adult population can be convinced that youthfulness is preferable to wisdom, elders will abandon their germinating wisdom in favor of youthful, commercial trends. Then those in power will not only be able to easily herd and control the nation’s youth politically and commercially, but the powers to be also nullify the wisdom of our ancestors by discrediting the aging process.

This discrediting of the aging process is easily accomplished, because as maturing adults abandon their germinating wisdom in favor of youthful, commercial trends, their lives become intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually bankrupt. They become impotent to effect themselves or others. They are easy for us to disregard and discard. We throw away our aged; we worship the young.

The bankruptcy young people see in adult life causes them to refer to their fathers as “My old man,” or to their mothers as the “old bag.” Our youth-worshipping pictures of beauty not only discount elders, but also discredit the value of experience, maturity, practical knowledge, and wisdom. Youth-worshipping pictures of beauty sell a concept of life that disregards the wisdom that allows wisdom to make all the difference in the well-being of our families, communities, nations, and the world.

When we are taught to idolize youth, we yearn for it. We are willing to pay outrageous prices financially, physically, and emotionally to create the illusion of it. We are never told that all this effort to capture the illusion of youth actually creates the premature aging, personal emptiness, physical illness, and the emotional bankruptcy we are so desperately trying to avoid.


Shambhala students learn how to scrutinize the words and concepts they socially acquire. They evaluate the affect words have on their emotions and the ways words control their behavior. Then, Shambhala students learn to create new words. Or they learn how to attach new, Self-furthering meanings to words and concepts which were previously limiting and Self-diminishing.

For example, Shambhala students scrutinize and redefine the word beauty, which has come to automatically include the word youth, especially when applied to women. When scrutinizing and redefining the word beauty, Shambhala students require themselves to rigorously think back and recognize that childhood and youth, in reality, is the most frustrating, frightening, and powerless time in most peoples' lives. Yet, contemporary cultures encourage women to try to recapture a romanticized time of youth by displaying the external trappings of the young so they can feel beautiful and desired. Men are trained to chemically respond to the illusion of a youthful appearance in women. Shambhala students see the absurdity of trying to recapture illusions of what as children they could not wait to outgrow. Instead of trying to be something they are not, Shambhala Masters dare our students to adventure into the depths of who they are.

Shambhala students celebrate the freedom, experience, savvy, seasoning, mastery, understanding, breadth, depth, and wisdom that comes only with the wonders of maturity. As they free themselves from the commercial illusions of beauty, Shambhala students recognize that the essence of beauty is all around us, but it is seldom seen. Shambhala students eventually discover that the essence of beauty is not age-specific. And, they become acutely aware of the costly effects of trying to fit into the commercialized picture of beauty. They learn to keenly differentiate between the essence of timeless, classic beauty and commercial beauty, as illustrated in this list.


Warm, alive, inspiriting
Individually unique
Effortless, easy comfort
Internally generated
Penetrating, enduring impact
Awe Inspiring
Quietly self-contained
Deep, to the Core



Hard, cold, mask-like
Stereotypical, standardized, generic
Vacant, superficial
Youth oriented and trendy
Calculated effort
Externally applied
Temporarily eye catching
Visually glitzy
Needy for positive feedback
Paper thin, skin deep

The single most important challenge for every Shambhala Master is to enable his students to develop a type of intelligence and mindfulness that is never taught in school, nor is it ever measured by IQ tests. The challenge is to develop ways of seeing, listening, hearing, and knowing that are never mass marketed. These mental processes, although they will be new to Shambhala students, are rooted in antiquity. They have been utilized by Shambhala Masters for thousands of years.


Consciousness” (with a bold capital “C”) is not what most people think it is. It is not the sophisticated mental activity taking place in the frontal lobe or in the right and left hemispheres of the brain. The frontal lobe, located directly behind the forehead, is used for foresight, planning, and personality. The right and left hemispheres, located just above the ears, are used for language, number skills, and spatial, music, and art awareness. Thinking done in these three zones is culturally celebrated because it drives behavior that typically serves the status quo.

The mental activity in these three zones may separate humans from “lower” forms of animals, but it is culturally controlled thought. The mental activity in these three zones is the socially programmed computer that drives well-trained humanrobots. This is where we plan wars, plot prince/princessing strategies, create get-rich schemes, design social reform programs, build high-rises and space stations, plan a child’s future, store our roles and scripts, and figure out how to get what we have been taught to want. IQ tests measure the mental activity in these three zones, and we then design “gifted” programs for students who score high and remedial programs for those who score low. But this mental activity is not Consciousness. Consciousness (with a bold capital “C”) separates human beings from human robots.

Consciousness and Conscious thinking is located much deeper and further back near the brain stem. This is the more primitive, ancient part of the brain, and so, most researchers do not credit it with higher levels of thinking. The primitive brain is made up of, among other things, the limbic and the reticular systems. The limbic system, located deep within the back of the brain, wraps around the top of the primitive brain stem. Within this system lies memory, motivation, pleasure, pain, and our ability to balance extremes of emotion. It is the seat of body wisdom.

When our thinking is focused from this primitive part of the brain, some might think it would limit us to our basic animal instincts. But this is not necessarily the case. When our thinking is focused from this primitive part of the brain, mental processing can become powerfully objective. The world, other people, life experiences, and even our own feelings can be viewed from an emotionally detached perspective. This third eye can also access the frontal lobe and the right and left hemispheres like a sophisticated computer analyst. In doing so, the computer is no longer in charge. Instead, our mental computer is just one of dozens of sources of information which are actively utilized by the third eye to formulate countless behavioral, mental, and emotional options.

The third eye scans all of this information and weighs it against body wisdom, past memories, ancient heritage, and Nature’s Intent. The third eye assesses the benefits and liabilities of each option. Then, and only then, are Conscious choices able to be made. Shambhala students who have developed this ancient, more primitive, third eye part of the brain think, perceive, listen, hear, see, utilize information, understand, speak, and behave differently from people who simply operate out of their frontal lobes and their right and left hemispheres. Shambhala students have the ability to make Conscious choices that further Self Intimacy and their connection with Life.

Consciousness, then, is the degree of access we have to our primitive, spiritually based origins. Consciousness is reflected by how much time we spend thinking out of our primitive brain as opposed to how much time we spend automatically responding to our frontal lobes and our right and left brain.

Conventional consciousness is a conglomeration of what we traditionally refer to as thinking, problem solving, planning, rationalizing, daydreaming, fantasizing, and reasoning. As important as these mental processes are they are not Consciousness. All these processes are person, family, and culture specific. That is, we learn these mental processes through our social training. They are colored by each and every life experience we have tasted, even the experiences we have long ago forgotten. These mental processes are drenched in acquired meaning. Even though people from all walks of life and from all different backgrounds and countries know how to think, we all do it differently. Consequently, we all come to different and frequently opposing awareness and conclusions, depending on the country we grow up in, the language we speak, our family values, our religious ties, and our own highly individualistic personal experiences.

Third eye Shambhala Consciousness, on the other hand, transcends person-specific mental processing. It cuts through our acquired mind sets, our culture-specific programming, our individual and collective fears. It allows Shambhala students from entirely diverse backgrounds and personal histories to merge hearts and minds. The third eye is universally shared. Therefore, those using it find shared perspectives that transcend their culture-specific perspectives and their highly individualistic personal experiences. These individuals free themselves from diversionary boundaries.

Third eye Shambhala Consciousness is not easily acquired, specifically because it is not about learning. Third eye Shambhala Consciousness is the process of unlearning. It is the purposeful, pro-active, liberating process of bracketing (temporarily setting aside) what we think we know. It is the recognition of our own biases, emotional baggage, and personal history. Third eye Consciousness is the realization of how interferent our socially acquired mental processes are to clarity and shared understandings. It is the recognition that what we think we know separates us from each other. It is knowing that through unlearning we reclaim our child-like energy for exploring the similarities and differences in people and celebrating both. Through Shambhala Consciousness we recover our birthright to dance with ourselves, others, and Life.

*The word “Called,” is spelled with a bold capital “C.” The Shambhala Master uses bold capitals when referring to the primal, Core, spiritual essence of a word, as opposed to the conventional understanding of the word. Please consult the Master’s Glossary for the definition of this and other unfamiliar terms.

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