Omega: Was there a turning point or defining moment in your life that “lifted the veil” for you?
John: There have been a lot of turning points, but probably the key one happened when I was in the Amazon and I got very, very ill. I was dying and lost a lot of weight in a very short period of time, then a shaman healed me in one night in a shamanic shapeshifting ceremony.
The short version is that during the ceremony deep in the Amazon rain forest, I saw that I had been brought up with this idea of good hygiene and eating simple basic food. And that night I saw it wasn’t the food or the drink that was killing me, it was my mindset. I was dreaming myself to be sick. The next morning I was totally healthy.
As payment for healing me, the shaman required that I become his apprentice. This was back in the late 1960s, and I spent a long time in that shamanic training and it totally changed my life. It was a major turning point. I came to understand that mindset is such an important thing for us individually and as cultures.
All of this is really about transformation. It’s about realizing the power that we have to transform things. That’s what shamanic teachings are all about.
Omega: Many people feel overwhelmed or helpless because of the depth and complexity of the challenges we face today. How do you deal with your own feelings of overwhelm and what do you recommend to others?
John: What I’ve learned from indigenous people is “the world is as you dream it.” We can change our personal dreams individually, and we can change our communal dreams.
We’ve had this dream of material success with huge buildings, lots of cars, and heavy industry. In a way it was a successful dream for quite a long time. It created tremendous breakthroughs in science and technology, art, music, medicine—but we now see that it’s gone too far and that it’s now taking us on a route to self-destruction, so we need to re-dream it. And that’s a fairly easy thing to do.
We need to transform our economy from what I call a “death” economy, based on militarization and destroying the earth, into a “life” economy, which is based on helping people grow food more efficiently and creating new technologies that don’t destroy the earth. There’s a tremendous economy waiting to happen, we just have to vision it.
Yes, we’re going through some major challenges right now, but human beings have been through many challenges throughout our history. The solution always is to re-dream the situation or the system. We really can’t fix the system. We can’t tweak the “death” economy, we have to get rid of it and replace it with a “life” economy.
Omega: If someone wants to make a difference in the world, where do they begin?
John: The most important thing is for each person to look to his or her passion and skills and follow them. That’s how we succeed.
Each individual can take many different paths, the important thing is that we all have it as our goal to create an environmentally sustainable, socially just world that’s fulfilling for everyone. We want to create a living economy for all creatures—not just human beings, but for plants and animals, too. We can take many different routes—writing, running a business, or being a dentist or a carpenter—but let’s all keep our dream of creating a world that future generations can be thankful to inherit.
Omega: Graham Hancock and others talk about the “war on consciousness.” You talk about the “consciousness revolution.” Can you describe what you see happening in “the war” and “the revolution?”
John: I don’t like the concept of war—the war on drugs, the war on poverty. We’ve got to get out of the war economy, the death economy. It’s not a war; it’s a revolution. And revolutions don’t have to be violent at all.
This is a true revolution where we are moving toward a higher state of consciousness in relating to the plants and animals and understanding our relationship to the earth. We are living on a very fragile space station unlike the one our astronauts built. This one doesn’t have any shuttles. We can’t get off; we have to take care of it. I think people are really getting it and having a major awakening.
This is something that’s been popularized by indigenous cultures around the world for a long time. The well-known Mayan prophesy of 2012, which, despite what Hollywood wanted everyone to believe, acknowledges a time of great hope and change of consciousness.
And we also have the ancient Amazon prophecy that the Eagle people of the world (scientific industrialized people) can join forces with the Condor people (the intuitive people that follow their heart's intentions). The coming together of these two different paths brings heart and mind together, science and art together, masculine and feminine together in a way that will allow us all to achieve a much higher consciousness, where we understand our interconnectivity with everything.
I think we are now coming to a new phase of truly understanding and appreciating that. It’s going to require that we take action, but the awakening is happening. And that’s a consciousness revolution. It’s not a war; it’s an awakening.
© 2015 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies