Week Two

Welcome to Week Two! 

This week we examine the messages we consume and how they help to cultivate our beliefs about the world.  Enjoy the readings and reflect on the questions and exercises that follow.

Remember to share your thoughts in the comment section at the end of each article, or on our Facebook page: Kosmos Journal Quarterly Study Group.

Let’s get started!

Making Politics Sacred Again by Glenn Aparicio Parry

How do you understand the phrase ‘separation of church and state’? Can politics be devoid of spirituality? Why or why not?

Exercise | Make a list of your six most dearly-held values. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being most ‘demonstrated,’ rate the political system or current administration in your country.

Were fairness, integrity, or honesty on your list? What duties do we have as citizens when the political system fails to live up to a people’s most basic values?

From the Real to the Unreal by World Goodwill

Consider this quote:

…certain media practices can create a climate of fear and uncertainty. But we are only truly free when we are free from fear, no matter how democratic our societies appear to be. Fear can stifle the expression of love. Thus, we are all responsible for observing our society lucidly, and part of this involves cleansing our own perceptions. 

Cleansing Our Perceptions | On a sheet of paper, list your primary sources of news.

What do you notice about your list?
Do you feel you receive a range of perspectives or is your list narrow?
What emotions do you feel when you read or watch the news each day.
How much time do you spend consuming news?
Do you find yourself immersed in a single story or jumping from place to place?

Practice | 5 Minutes a Day by Thomas Hübl

We invite you to a simple, everyday practice, which has the potential to enable you to receive the world news not only intellectually, but also emotionally and physically, in other words as a whole human being.

All you need is to set aside 5 minutes and do the following:

  • Be in a quiet, comfortable place. Set your timer to 5 minutes.
  • Close your eyes and collect yourself for a few breaths
  • Look at the image or the headline which is your object of contemplation (either one from this publication or any news you have in front of you.)
  • Observe your reactions.

What is your first impression when looking at the image?

How far can you open yourself to it? Can you create a relation between the image and yourself? Does your mind react to it? Can you get in touch with your emotions? How does your body feel? Stay with whatever you encounter and observe as consciously as possible how your mind and senses interact with the image/headline.

Try not to search for an interpretation. Don’t try to position yourself intellectually to the subject. Just expose yourself to the raw impressions. Notice when you feel overwhelmed, agitated, or numb. Don’t change anything. Just observe and stay with your focus on the experience.

Learn more at Medium.com


The Galileo Project by David Lorimer

This article suggests that there are many questions that “science, in its present form, is unable to accommodate.” These include:

  • Consciousness ‘beyond the brain,’ such as telepathy, precognition, and near-death experiences
  • Altered states of consciousness, such as the ability to perceive non-physical (“spiritual”) aspects of the world and human beings
  • The possibility of inherent purpose in the universe

Exercise | Label four columns on a sheet of paper ‘skeptical,’ ‘open,’ ‘ believe,’ ‘fear’

Looking up any that are unfamiliar to you, assign the following words and phrases to one or more of the two columns that best describes your attitude toward them: ghosts (or spirits); telepathy; cloning; healing touch; mind-control; clairvoyance; genetically modified food (GMOs), God; lucky objects; climate science; animal consciousness, astrology; dark matter; plant consciousness, healing sound, tarot; pesticides; curses; energy of crystals and other minerals; acupuncture, angels; herbal remedies; fate, psychological warfare; power of positive thinking; Gaia hypothesis; Big Pharma; other dimensions of reality; life beyond Earth. Add any other words that are pertinent to you.

What did you learn about yourself?


Eldering in the Age of Consumption by Sharon Blackie and Stephen Jenkinson

In our society, it might be said that we have a lot of old people and not enough elders. Reflect on the aging people in your life. What preconceptions might you have about them? What does daily life consist of for them? How are they being invited to share their wisdom and special gifts?

What is your own attitude about aging? In your journal, complete this prompt: As I get older, I aspire to…

Do you agree with Stephen Jenkinson that there is wisdom in learning to accept limits? What are your limitations now? What limits do you expect to encounter as you age?

Are We Addicted to Fear? by Victoria Hanchin

Consider this passage:

Our higher brain state expands capacity. Though our fear-brains are always scanning for fear and threat, we learn to befriend fear, challenge its limiting beliefs, and intentionally cultivate practices to generate positive feeling-states that maintain higher brain functioning.

When we access elevated, positive feeling states of the higher brain, the WE-Brain comes online. Our capacity expands to seek the well-being of others in addition to our own. We become less fearful of others who are different. We become more open, curious, and inclusive. We want to build bridges, not walls. We become capable of complex thinking and creative problem-solving.

Our higher brain’s positive feeling-states expand our functioning. We expand into loving-kindness, compassion, collaboration, creativity, and altruistic service to the greater good

Positive feeling-states are socially contagious, too. Positive feeling-states not only repair our brains, they also re-establish trusting connection, repair our relationships, generate goodness, and signal relational safety to others. As we liberate ourselves from fear-states, cultivate positive feeling-states, expand capacity, and repair our own brains, we simultaneously repair and evolve the world around us. Everyone benefits.

What can you do on a daily basis to ‘water the seeds’ of positive feelings? Your list might include taking a walk in nature, talking to a positive friend, reading or watching  uplifting stories, exploring a creative pursuit, or volunteering. Create a list of the actions you will take and place it where you will see it in the morning. Check off at least one item each day. Record your reflections and share your stories of positivity!