George Catlin :: Edge Life Expo Guest speaker
"The Way into the Heart of Humanity: The Return of the Teachers"
Room 101BC | 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, November 11, 2006
This event is Free of Charge
George Catlin, Ph.D., was a member of the Findhorn Community in Scotland and a founding director of the School of Spiritual Science in Shutesbury, Mass. He has taught and lectured on the Ageless Wisdom Teachings for more than 25 years. He studied extensively at the University of Massachusetts where he earned his Ph.D. in Psychology followed by an academic career as a Professor at Carthage College and Amherst. He has taught in liberal arts colleges for the last 12 years.
Author of The Way to Happiness, Dr. Catlin has devoted his professional and personal life to understanding the whole person, with an emphasis on psychological health. The heart of his work is the result of research while investigating not only what could go wrong psychologically, but also by concentrating on what could go right. He travels constantly, helping to prepare the groundwork for the emergence of Maitreya – The World Teacher and the Masters of Wisdom.
At Edge Life Expo 2006, Dr. Catlin will remind us that we are at a moment of decision. We have arrived at a great crisis in human affairs. Will we continue to compete and thus sow the seeds of our own inevitable destruction? Or will humanity embrace the principle of sharing, and thus insure justice and peace in our future? The choice is ours.
He spoke with Edge Life from his home in Southern California with his wife and family.
It says on your website that "The single most important event happening on the planet today is the gradual emergence of the Masters of Wisdom into the modern world." Who are these "Masters" and why are they emerging in our world in this era?
George Catlin: The masters of wisdom are those elder brothers of humanity who have gone ahead of us on the spiritual path. We’re all alive, from my perspective, for a single reason, and that is to learn to love. We come into incarnation over and over again for this single purpose, and each life time making gradual progress in this direction. Some have gone ahead of us in this. Historically we know them as Jesus, the Buddha, Confucius and many others, but there are a whole group of such fully realized souls who have stayed with the planet, who are behind the scenes and have been so for millennia, actually, who are now ready to emerge into open roles. They are really us. They are people just like us who have completely realized the divine potential that lives in every one of us.
What makes today’s age so important that they would begin to emerge now?
GC: Today we’re at a critical juncture in human evolution. Humanity has evolved. We’re a very different species from who we were 2,000, or 4,000 years ago. The primary characteristic of humanity that has changed in this time is our ability to think. In one sense, this is a great step forward for us in that it makes us able to objectively analyze problems and come to solutions to those problems that really work. Not just work for us personally, but work for everybody. Because once we’re a thinking species, we’re able to understand other people’s perspectives, and recognize that those perspectives also matter.
The problem with our development, though, is that we also come to a state of knowledge of how to literally blow the world up. Now we’re smart enough, if you want to call it that, to destroy all life on earth. We have the technological means, using it knowingly or not. So we’re at this very special moment where we can go forward into peace, justice and a civilization within which the highest of humanity expresses itself. Or we could literally self-destruct. That’s part of why these teachers are coming forward now. To call out the best in humanity, in that the best of humanity is very good indeed.
Are some of these Masters present today?
GC: Yes. There are a whole group of them. Fourteen already in the world, very quietly operating. Contacting individuals and groups throughout the planet, and I can assure you that when they make these contacts, they don’t walk up to someone and say, "Hello, I’m a master of the wisdom and I can tell you what to do with your life." Absolutely not, they have no interest whatsoever in claiming any special spiritual status and I believe they never will do so. None of the great teachers ever do. They have no interest whatsoever in looking for followers. They have no need for followers.
Indeed, one of them has said very pointedly, "If you follow me, you will lose me." In that, I think he’s showing us the great and central truth, that we aren’t alive to follow someone else. The only thing the great teachers can do for any of us is help us see ourselves and help us see our world more clearly – through the lens of our own awareness. Then we have the opportunity through free will to make choices about how to transform ourselves and how to transform our world. That’s exactly what the teachers are here to do, to help us see ourselves and help us see our world very clearly, so we can decide what kind of future we want.
Of the 14 masters, can you name a few?
GC: I cannot. I knew the names from the Ancient Wisdom Teachings. This is something we should go into, a little of the background.
In 1875, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky began something called The Theosophical Society. Blavatsky was an amazing woman. In her early childhood, she had night time dreams, and then waking visions, of a very distinct man who seemed to be a kind of guide, or teacher, for her. After a very tumultuous childhood, she found her way to Montenegro from the Ukraine, where she was born. Then one day in Hyde Park, she actually met the man who she had experienced inwardly all these years. She didn’t even know he existed as a real, external, physical person, but he actually did. He was one of these Masters of the Wisdoms.
He outlined for her a very demanding life’s work, which she was free to either take up or reject. The first step in that life’s work would be to get herself into Tibet, where he and his associates lived. At that time, Tibet was a closed kingdom. No Europeans were allowed in, so she would have to smuggle herself into Tibet.
Blavatsky was a very advanced soul, one almost fully enlightened – a tremendously powerful woman, and one full of courage. She accepted this challenge, and she did in fact try to get into Tibet three times. On two of those occasions, she succeeded, and on one of those two occasions, she stayed to study with this teacher and his associates for three years. When she came out of Tibet, in 1875, she began The Theosophical Society, whose purpose was really to disseminate their teachings. This was a tremendous challenge.
Remember, at the end of the 19th century, the industrial revolution was just getting going. The scientific paradigm was getting a real hold on the mind of humanity. A very materialistic view of the world was taking shape, and Blavatsky came forward and said that there is, in fact, a great spiritual science – a whole group of individuals who know that science and stand behind human evolution, who are the embodiment of all that we will one day become, a great class of the evolutional consciousness on the planet.
That was a hard message to sell at the time. It’s still a hard message to sell, because we live in a very materialistic time. But increasingly now, the seeds that Blavatsky sowed back in the 19th century are sprouting. Increasingly now, there is an understanding of spiritual life, outside of traditional religious doctrine. More and more people are realizing that there are essential truths to life that can be realized by individual human beings, and that’s what we’re here to do.
Blavatsky started this whole ball rolling in that direction. Her work was followed by another great woman, Alice Bailey, who was British. She also had an early childhood encounter with one of these teachers, who actually came into her house when she was in her mid-teens. It was explained to her that there was a great work ahead for her, but she could only do that work if she stopped being such an egocentric and spoiled little girl. Can you imagine that? You’re 16 years old and a stranger tells you, "You’ve got tremendous potential but you’re just in your adolescent daze and you need to wake up and start taking the world more seriously than you are."
She said it wasn’t until 30 years later that she realized who this person actually was. So that’s how they operate. They intervene in lives, never claiming any special status but just offering opportunities, and that’s really how they’ll continue to work, I’m sure.
Bailey did make the necessary changes. She worked very closely with one of these teachers, from 1919 to 1949, and wrote a whole series of books, which were actually his books, his ideas, that she presented to the world. Those books give us a very complete understanding of who these teachers are, how they see the world and how they saw the world at the time of World War II, which was a great battle that they were very deeply concerned about. Most importantly, they made their decision in 1945 to externalize, which means to come forward into open roles in the world sometime around the end of the 20th century. The earliest date they gave was 1975. The latest date in the book is 2025. So there’s a 50-year window within which they said they would come forward, and they’ve done exactly that.
Why is this topic meaningful to you?
GC: It’s meaningful to me, because I believe that today humanity lacks two crucial things, both of which they will provide. One of which is a remembrance of what we’re really doing here. Throughout the world today, there’s a notion that what we’re actually alive to do is increase our own standard of living. There’s belief that we’ll find a kind of meaning and some salvation in life if we just all get richer. My perspective is this is a complete illusion and we’ll never find real peace and real happiness in that direction. Indeed, we’re sure to only find ongoing warfare if we keep proceeding in that direction, because it’s inevitable that we’ll keep competing for ever more scarce resources on the planet, always to fuel our own individual or nationalistic aspirations for more material wealth. Down that road, I see infinite gloom for humanity.
But there is, in fact, a real purpose, a real meaning to life, what I said at the outset, which is to realize who we really are. To learn to love. To become the spiritual beings that we actually are. As the Masters of Wisdom externalize, as they come forward, they will be able to both embody and remind us of that path, of where real meaning and real fulfillment is to be found in life.
The second thing they’ll be able to do is provide the kind of leadership that is so desperately needed in the world today. The leaders that we have today are unfortunately oriented toward our own materialistic and nationalistic self-interests. It is possible to have the kind of leadership that calls to a much higher aspect of humanity, leadership that actually calls to the spirit of love within all people. That kind of leadership we have seen precious little of in our history. Not so long ago, just 60 years ago, Mahatma Gandhi symbolized an aspect of it. Think of what Gandhi achieved, through the purity of his leadership. He was able to rally the Indian people to get the British to leave India, the most lucrative colony in the British Empire, without resorting to violence. That’s the kind of leadership that the teachers will provide. We’ve seen also aspects of it in the great work that Martin Luther King did in our country, and the work that Nelson Mandela did in South Africa. That’s the kind of leadership they’ll provide, and that’s the kind of leadership that we desperately need in the world today.
Is there anyone out there now that you see as being this kind of leader in humanity, perhaps pointing us in the right direction?
GC: I think there are some who are pointing us generally in the right direction now. The Dalai Lama would be among that group, but he is disempowered. He’s not even allowed in his own country at present, so he’s not in a particularly powerful role, although his power is a kind of moral power and it is speaking to millions and millions of people throughout the world.
Nelson Mandela, as I said, did the same kind of thing for South Africa. Mandela’s gift in South Africa, we have to remember, is way beyond just the ending of apartheid. We must remember that Mandela was in jail for 23 years and labeled a terrorist. He wasn’t a terrorist. He was a man who wanted majority rule for his own country. Through his work, and the work of President DeClerq, they managed to achieve an end to apartheid. But then an even more important thing happened for the world community. Instead of having trials and recrimination for all those who have perpetuated the system of apartheid, they instituted this concept of truth and reconciliation. They established hearings to find out what really happened, not for the purpose of punishment but for the purpose of understanding what happened and to build a bridge to reconciliation. That principle is a tremendously high and important principle, which needs to be applied throughout the world. We need to know the truth, but not the truth so we can punish people, but the truth so we can reconcile our differences. Our differences are many in the world today, but reconciliation and not conflict is the only response to those differences.
It seems like our own political system here in the States could heed that lesson, with the partisan bickering that seems to be prevalent.
GC: I so completely agree with you on that. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if instead of just trying to one-up the other side, our so-called leaders really worked together for the common good of all Americans. I don’t think they’re doing that. They are more interested in their own political future and in a very materialistic view of progress in the United States. That progress for our country comes at great expense to the peace in the rest of the world. It’s perfectly clear now that the United States needs access to abundant oil to maintain our standard of living, and the rest of the world is paying a very high price for our actions for that oil.
If you were going to come and hear your own talk, what question would you have for the speaker?
GC: I would want to know how I, as a member of the audience, can best respond to the opportunity that these teachers bring. I would want to know what door are they going to open, and how can I and others who find a response in our hearts to their message really go through that door.
How would you answer this question?
GC: I would answer that question by saying the single most important thing is to be in touch with one’s own heart. That’s a very difficult thing to do in our day and age. Our entire culture encourages us to be very head-centered, to be very egocentric and to be very materialistic in our orientation to life. But there is this deeper place within us that we refer to as the heart. It’s not the physical heart, not the muscle that pumps blood, but this place we refer to in spiritual tradition as the seat of the soul. We need to be in touch with that spot, because from that spot we can find right behavior, we can find right attitude and we can find right action both for our own life and for our community.
I assure you that these teachers will articulate truths that live in the hearts of all humanity. But it only depended upon the degree to which we’re able to experience our own heart that we will have any basis on which to respond to what they’re saying. So the single most important preparation for their approach and the single most important act one can do in response to their approach is the inner work that you need to do to be in touch with your own heart.
The second, crucial step is to actually act upon the truths that live within you. So many of us sense things to be true but don’t actually get up off the couch and make them happen in our lives. Part of this comes from the Christian tradition, this idea that we pray in the closet. That’s a fine thing to do. It’s fine to go into a secret spot to conduct the deepest aspect of one’s spiritual life, but we need to remember to come back out of the closet and then to live in the world as if our lives were in fact based on these central, spiritual realizations. The world desperately needs people to live their truths, and that’s what we all need to be doing.
What do you see as being your life’s purpose? Your personal purpose here?
GC: My work right now is to help people remember about the spiritual path, and I do that through my talks throughout the country by reminding them of the very simple aspects that there are to the path.
I think the path has gotten surrounded with lots of convoluted mumbo jumbo we need to cut through. We need to remember exactly what we’re here to do and exactly what the steps forward on the path are. My work is to try and help people remember that path and to walk it with real intent and real clarity. Part of my work also is to remind people about the fact of these masters of wisdom, to refer people to teachings where they can find much more about the background of their approach and to hold before them the promise of this tremendous opportunity that is ahead for humanity.
Who or what was your greatest inspiration that led you to your path and your purpose?
GC: Great question. It’s very hard to answer, actually, because no one individual stands out most distinctly in my life. I’ve been fortunate to have many good and important experiences, one of which was in my early twenties I spent four years at the Findhorn Community in Scotland. As many people may know, that’s a community where hundreds of people from all around the world are trying to bring into actual manifestation the spiritual principles that live in the heart of all life. There I had very good access to and spent lots of time with both Peter and Aileen Catty, who were wonderful examples of people who were manifesting the spiritual life in very practical ways in the world. They were very helpful to me.
Then I had a wonderful association with a man named Benjamin Creme, who lives in London, and who has worked very closely with this idea of the emergence of the world teacher now for more than 30 years. I’ve also had a very fulfilling relationship literally with hundreds of people throughout the planet, who each in their own way know that these teachers are real, know that these teachers are coming forward and are doing what they can in their own way to make these truths known to the rest of the world.
What do you see is the most rewarding aspect of the work you do?
GC: The most rewarding aspect is that light I see in people’s eyes after I’ve had the chance to spend an afternoon or evening with them. It speaks to me of increased hope for the future and increased clarity on both the personal path towards spiritual realization and the social and political, which is for all of us to transform our planet into a place of real peace, of real sharing, and of real justice.
What’s the most extreme thing you have ever done in your life?
GC: (Laughing) The most extreme thing? Interesting question. Probably the most extreme thing from any rational perspective is that since the age of 18, I’ve really dedicated myself to the spiritual path. Everything I’ve done in my life has been oriented around my quest for that inner truth and my efforts to bring that into outward manifestation in the world. All my reading has been around this theme, and all of my education, and my teaching as a psychology professor, has been around this theme – and all the lecturing that I’m doing now is around this theme. So it’s a pretty single, pointed kind of focus in my life, which from most people’s perspective is pretty extreme. At the age of 50, I left a tenured position as a psychology professor to completely dedicate myself to the work that I’m doing now. From a lot of people’s perspective, that was a pretty extreme step to take as well.
What turns you on spiritually, or even creatively?
GC: Good meditations, and if left to my own devices, I would probably spend most of my life in meditation now. I love the inner world. It is rich and fulfilling, and multifaceted in a way that is so deeply meaningful to me, but yet I feel this real need to open my eyes and get up off the chair and try to interact with the world. To try and help the world in whatever ways I can.
What is your favorite song?
GC: My favorite song? Jeeez, I’m so far behind on current things, but I love one that my daughter played to me. I don’t even know the name of it or the woman who sings it, but the chorus is, "I will not be afraid of women" ["As Cool as I Am" by Dar Williams]. It’s a great reminder to me, for all of us, to not be afraid of our own kind. For me, that’s a very important idea, and I won’t be afraid of my brothers and sisters on the planet. I won’t be afraid of anybody. I’ll just try to love and try to connect with everyone else.
Are you currently working on any new projects?
GC: Yes, I am. I’ve written one book called The Way to Happiness, with another one hopefully at the publisher right now called The Long Journey Home. So I’ve been working on that for the past several months. Hopefully it’s going to be getting towards publication soon.
What signs do you see in our world today that makes you hopeful for our future?
GC: I heard an interesting statistic just last night that in 1998, I believe it was, there were something like 130,000 non-profit organizations operating throughout the world trying to make this a better place. In 2005, there were 1.3 million of them. That says there are lots and lots of people getting themselves organized, getting themselves focused on issues they care about, and trying to make a change for the good.
If you would recommend a few things that people could do in their lives which would help them perhaps become fully realized, or even begin the process of such realization, what would be some simple things be?
GC: Number one, turn off your television sets, at least one night a week, but ideally five or six nights a week. Television has become the opiate of the people. We spend a tremendous amount of time on it. While we’re doing it, we think it’s harmless, but it’s not harmless. While we’re doing it, we not only lose our own time, energy and initiative, we also internalize that approach to life that basically says, "entertain me." Or which basically says "I’m here to sit on this couch and be entertained." But that’s not what we’re here to do. We’re here to move forward spiritually. We’re here to move into deeper relationships to one another, and deeper relationships with all life. So we need to turn off the television set. And when it’s off, almost anything you do will be better than watching another hour.
But probably the single, best thing to do is just for 10 minutes a day to sit perfectly still and just watch the breath coming in and out, in and out. Of course, this is the foundation of all approaches to meditation, and as one does that, one gives a chance to this deeper aspect of consciousness, which I refer to as the heart or the soul, to begin to penetrate through into one brain awareness. It is only as we give that deeper level a chance to come through to our consciousness that we have the opportunity to begin to reorient our lives around the agenda of the soul. And I assure you, the agenda of the soul is real. It lives in the core of every one of us, and it’s very different from the agenda of the personality.
Why did you choose to be a part of the Edge Life Expo?
GC: The Edge Life Expo gives me a great chance to be able to reach hundreds of more people, and to remind them of things that I believe we all know in the core of our being, but which are kind of lost in the hustle and bustle of the world today. That’s what I think is the highest purpose of things like the Edge Life Expo, to reconnect people with their deepest self as represented in all the different presenters, and as represented in all the different booths.
If you could narrow it down to one thing you would hope someone who heard your talk would grasp, or glean, from what you have to say, what would it be?
GC: I’d hope they’d come away absolutely reconfirmed in their inner beliefs that there is a spiritual path, that there is meaning to life, and that there are those who have gone ahead of us on the path who live to serve humanity. And that we will see them soon.
For more information on Dr. George Catlin or Maitreya, visit www.TheTeachings.org or www.share-international.org