The Center for Imaginative Action. Take the next step.

Imaginative action is focused in the present and works with the untapped imaginative forces within all of us. At The Center for Imaginative Action we guide clients toward a fresh future of their own choosing.

The needs of our clients vary from people who are looking to invent or reinvent themselves, to those that desire a more meaningful life, to clients who choose toƄ retreat to Florence, Italy, a center of genius and the imagination, and away from the work-a-day world for transformation and renewal.

We dull our lives by the way we conceive them. We have stopped imagining them with any sort of romance, any fictional flair. -James Hillman in The Soul's Code.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


          Today the Florence that Alecia and I love arrived. No rain, no cold, abundant sunshine and the temperature at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. We took our dear friends Frank and Tami to the Academia to see “The David.” A small venue, much less crowded than Uffizi, and inspiring. The David is of course breath taking. Alecia and I asked (again) how could someone chisel out of marble the emotion of anxiety. From one side David seems centered and almost confident. From his other side he looked like he was going into battle mismatched with a Goliath. Genius is a work we hear often, yet with this piece, you see true genius. A block of marble 17 feet square has been sculpted into this elegant man. Please don’t forget that Michelangelo finished this work at the age of thirty!
          The other highlight of the day was a synchronistic experience. While in the museum, I came upon a painting of the Annunciation. The piece itself was probably twelve feet by eight feet. At the top was God the Father. His Light was shining through the dove, a symbol of the Holy Spirit. On the beam went into the Virgin Maria. Gabriel was there as conductor.
          This image of Light took me back to my research and Carl Unger’s Principles of Spiritual Science. In that masterwork he wrote about Light in a new way that seemed to be congruent with this painting. We left the museum, had a nice light lunch, and then split up. I walked back to Il Terrazzino to take full advantage of the flood of afternoon sun.
          I could not find my Kindle to read, and in the process of looking for it I knocked a magazine I had stowed away for the trip, off of our table. When I picked it up I noticed that it was a Summer 2001 edition of the magazine Parabola devoted to the topic of Light. At this moment it dawned on me that perhaps this is what I was meant to read!
          I set up my reading space on the terrace, an old comfortable chair, sunglasses, a Sapphire and tonic, with San Lorenzo in the background. Upon opening the magazine to the Table of Contents, I saw that there was an interview with the eminent Anthroposophist George Kuhlewind. Needless to say I read it.
          I love Firenze, the sun, the ongoing march of artistic genius, and Carl Jung for introducing the idea of an “Acausal connecting principle” to me.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Secular Deities

The Psychology of Individuation has nothing to do with politics at all because it deals with the ultimate values. Yet it has shattering political implications. We must demand psychological illumination otherwise; we get people and nations sparring with their own shadows. (Like Nazi Germany in WWII.) Jung often said to me, ‘The human being who starts by withdrawing his own shadow from his neighbor, is doing work of immense immediate political and social importance.—Sir Laurens Van der Post

            From a Jungian perspective most of us give our attention away almost continuously to secular deities. In the world today the two predominate secular deities are economics and politics. We hear our daily sermons from the “expert” economists and politicians who say they have answers. Although we are constantly reassured that these deities serve us well we only have to look back to 2008 to see how vulnerable the world economy is. The political scene is also in dire straights. As I write this President Obama is preparing for a meeting with Israel’s’ Prime Minister Netanyahu on how to deal with Iran’s nuclear weapons threat. As for our political commentators there seems to be no limit to the absurdity. Rush Limbaugh’s comments this past week are the latest case in point.

The Internet provides all of us with outrageous access to all parts of the world. I suggest it may be a road around the programming of fear that is the primary message of those who preach the gospel of the secular deities.   These political and economic institutions have served most of us well. Yet, that they are crumbling is obvious. So what is one to do?

Let’s go back to Van der Post’s plea for “illumination.” Each of us can take charge of their own powers of attention and direct them to the deeper, sacred aspects of the world. This begins by taking back the rejected aspects of ourselves that Jung termed “the shadow.” This is something we can all start doing right now regardless of our situation. Even short periods of contemplation yield potent forces of change. Although this process takes considerable moral fortitude the fruits of the quest, the development of soul and spiritual capacities, may provide us a way out of the current wasteland. The great scholar and mythologist Joseph Campbell gave the most compelling definition of the wasteland to us. “The wasteland is a world where people live not out of their own initiative but by doing what they think they are supposed to do.” In the wasteland everyone is leading a false, inauthentic life. The task of soul-spiritual development is to revivify the wasteland.

Consuming a steady stream of words and images from the priests of the secular deities is, to borrow a phrase from the Brother’s Grimm, like eating stale bread baked from ashes. Hasn’t this habit of consuming the dusty sermons run its course? Jung was very pessimistic at the end of his life and seemed to be captured by a dark apocalyptic vision of the future of humankind. This quote seems to capture part of the essence of his message. “Not nature, but the “genius of mankind” has knotted the hangman’s noose with which it can execute itself at any moment.” None of us can know if this is yet another example of Jung’s precognitive capacity. Yet, his call is for us to all begin this process of individuation immediately. As Van der Post emphasized, the work has “shattering political implications.”
To all of you out there the time for the cultivation of soul spiritual capacities is now. Please share your ideas on appropriate actions.

Frontline: Inside Japan's Nuclear Meltdown

Frontline has a long tradition of stunning story telling. Please watch this documentary as it presents a reality that few have wanted to acknowledge, even one year later.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Marvin In Santa Monica

          I lived in Santa Monica, California for about four years. During that time I attempted to live under the radar of the problems LA is known for. I lived very close to my work so I did not have to drive. I lived very close to the ocean so I did not have to worry about the heat or smog. One of the challenges of Santa Monica however is the number of homeless people who live there.

          It took me about two weeks of doing the Santa Monica stroll to realize that I had to do something for someone. In that I was a Waldorf teacher at the time, giving away money to everyone in need was not a possibility. At that point I decided to find one person to help and to help them on a regular basis.

          That one person turned out to be Marvin. He was a black ex-Marine and he sat for hours at a time at the bus stop at 3rd and Wilshire. We spoke at bit at first and more over time, and each payday I would find him and give him twenty dollars.

          From what I could tell he was not a drug addict. He was always in the same kind of mood. His inner state reminded me of a walk on the beach at sunrise when the marine layer dominates and it is damp and too cold. I would imagine that Marvin had been through remarkable things while a serving as a Marine, yet he never spoke about it. The part of me that loves psychology judged him to be suffering from PTSD. Whatever had happened to him as a Marine, now he was content just sitting and watching life go by.

          The last time I saw Marvin he was with another man who seemed to be attempting to help him get back to work. Marvin seemed awkward and a bit clumsy as his “sponsor” barked out the drills for re entering the real world. I really don’t know if my donations helped him or hurt him. The only thing I know for sure is that today, four years later, I still miss him and think about his well-being.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Center for Imaginative Action

           As you may know I am writing a book for public consumption based on the research I did for my Ph.D. dissertation, What is the Future of Ego. What follows are excerpts from my upcoming book. These bits of Chapter 5 offer more clarity to those wanting to understand my new work.

“I have founded out of this research The Center for Imaginative Action. The mission of The Center is, through adult education, to contribute to the expansion of self-awareness in the world through inner fitness. My research into Freud, Jung and Steiner, has yielded a synthesis of how their ideas work together, and can serve modern living.

The take away on Freud are the methods of establishing a strong ego in the world and what I call outer fitness. This is an essential task in the Western spiritual tradition. In the past, this stage of ego development was primary to the first half of life. Today in our liminal white-water world however, this ability to recreate yourself in the world is valuable for a person at any age. The development of outer fitness has lifelong value.

As we have learned Carl Jung had an awareness of other modes of experience and knowledge early on in his life. His personal dreams and visions that were the foundation of his life work. Jung, unlike Freud, could be certain of the reality of precognitive events as he experienced them. What Freud instantly judged as “sheer bosh” Jung knew was actually quite real.  Our challenge is to understand the methods that Jung developed to process these volatile unconscious elements. This method I call “Redbooking” and once understood and implemented it, becomes a powerful tool of inner fitness and leads to a more meaningful lifestyle.

         The third aspect of our work at The Center involves the awakening of new understanding through contemplation. The clients interested in this work typically have an inner fitness ritual and are seeking to fine-tune it. Others have become aware of the benefits of inner fitness and want to set up a plan to integrate soul-spiritual rituals into their lives.

         The work of Rudolf Steiner becomes the focus here and clients learn some of the basic techniques and explore the big ideas associated with his spiritual psychology. In the same way as Leonardo Da Vinci demonstrated an understanding of the laws of aerodynamics 500 years prior to the first flight by the Wright brothers, Steiner has given us, through his prescience, a conception of the future of ego. This aspect of The Center’s work involves studying the great chain of being and becoming aware of new ways of thinking about the world. Out of these insights the prize of self-awareness is understood and becomes an ever-present goal.
Clients learn to enter “the exceptional state” of self-awareness and begin to create and focus on inner images. These images are very different from the dreams, visions, imaginations that have been the source of the work in the strengthening and deepening stages. They are not given to us by our dreams rather; we construct these images in our clear waking state of consciousness.
         The images are constructed through imaginative action and are held inwardly for a short period of time. When the practice is concluded, one returns to daily life. In the same way as one cannot rush a marathon training, this inner training takes discipline. Yet there soon emerges a new level of awareness with the benefits radiating into all aspects of life.
Most of us are living out of the empty self yet this path is untenable. The symptoms of decline in our culture based on material knowledge alone are everywhere. It is essential that we learn to gain access to the other fields of knowledge that exist all around us. These fields, are virtually untapped, and offer us a way of knowing that has a vastly different quality to it. These are realms of knowledge that are teeming with wisdom and insight and potential. These are realms of knowledge that are inaccessible to all forms of “intellect without intelligence”.
            The evolutionary step for the individual and the species is to uncover this spiritual spring of knowledge that is choked up in most people. This process of opening up this spring of knowledge is demonstrated in Carl Jung’s Red Book, and is the key to understanding Rudolf Steiner.  The methods and practice and discipline required to open the spiritual spring are all elements of what I call inner fitness. Jung taught us how to process images and participate in imaginative action that links us to something more meaningful and serving wholeness. Steiner emphasized the essential nature of contemplation and meditation to inner fitness. He pointed out that with our newly won scientific crystal clear skills of observation and thinking we can rekindle a relationship to the soul spiritual dimensions by developing an Imaginative Knowledge.”

Monday, January 30, 2012

Conversations on Calhoun, January 28, 2012.

The Center for Imaginative Action held its’ first one-day retreat on Saturday. Can you imagine my immense gratitude to all those people that cooperated to make this event a success? We all met in a room that overlooked Lake Calhoun. Our food was catered by the chef extraordinaire Carrie Watson, and by Lucia’s Restaurant. The quality of the food was exceptional. How Lucia’s consistently turns out high quality cuisine on a daily basis I will never know.

Our purpose was to explore the relevance of Freud, Jung and Steiner to our daily lives. We drew a map of the philosophic territory with compass and ruler and learned about The Great Chain of Being. Before the day was over, we had created our own personal Red Book using Dr. Jung’s masterpiece as our template. Everyone had begun to imagine what he or she really wanted in his or her lives, and we wrote about it, meditated on it, painted about it, and learned a method of making it happen. It was an extraordinary day. 

If this is of interest to you, give us a call to plan a retreat in your area. The next retreat in Minneapolis is scheduled for Saturday, March 24.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Sharper Mind, Middle Age and Beyond

It seems that more and more scientists are realizing the benefits of continuous learning and “inner fitness”. This is a piece written by Times reporter Patricia Cohen who is the author of “In Our Prime:  The Invention of Middle Age.”