Potential: "Something that can develop or become actual."
  There are two common misconceptions regarding the inexhaustible subject of human potential. First-that the bulk of what human beings are or can be has already been more or less developed or become actual. And second-that the really impressive actualizations of whatever potential we humans may have are accomplished by only the relative few, while the remainder of the race must condemn ourselves to wallowing in mediocrity. What can be farther from the truth?
  To dispel these illusions is the intention of this article. It is written for the adventurous and the youthful, and it is designed to entice. To entice the human spirit to break loose from its fetters of self-limitation. To entice the true self to awaken from its slumber and rise to the surface and take control. To encourage the voice of the rebel within the heart to speak more loudly, till the entire being understands the infinitude of experiences available to the human organism.
  To understand the width and breadth of true human potential we need only understand who we really are. Yet the task of knowing our true self, as simple as it may sound, is a challenge of such a magnitude that few ever succeed at it. The demands of the twenty-first century, however, dictate that a much greater effort be made to discover our true nature and to be all that we really can be.
  So what are we then, this body-mind-spirit we call the human being? The body we pretty well have figured out. The mind, while it is much more vague, is nonetheless something we seem fairly comfortable with. We accept it and use it with a reasonable degree of confidence. The spirit however, baffles us unconditionally Most of us deal with it in one of two ways. Either we refuse to believe in it, by our deeds if not by our words, or we attempt to define it and describe it so thoroughly as to render ourselves totally ignorant of the subject. Both approaches are equally debilitating, for they deprive us of the use of our most powerful personal resources: those that derive directly from the spirit.
  There is an alternative approach to the entire matter. One that few human beings actually engage in, yet one that is available to us all. It involves believing passionately in this amorphous something we call the spirit or soul, while at the same time refusing stubbornly to indulge in the luxury of believing that we will ever explain it to our satisfaction. It is the only acceptable approach for anyone seriously interested in the subject of human potential. For it involves not only a philosophy, but also an entire strategy for ordering one's life in a manner favorable to discovering and developing that potential.
  This alternate philosophy, this optional lifestyle, is the real subject of this article. It is a philosophy of life that rejects categorically the two previously mentioned assumptions about human potential: that the human race in general has discovered most of it's true potential, and that we don't all have the same unlimited potential. It is a lifestyle that is designed to support the seeker in their search for that potential.
  So what is this mysterious thing we call the spirit then, this aspect of ourselves that we've been told we can never really explain? What is the point of talking about it if it cannot be accurately defined?
  Well-since we are creatures of words, it seems that if we are ever going to discover our true nature and begin to live up to our true potential, we must at least have a few words to say about our spirit. Keep in mind that these words cannot be intended to give that spirit an explicit definition. Such a vain effort would be self-defeating. We must refrain at all costs from petty attempts to mollify our reason and rationality by reducing the subject of infinity itself to something that can be precisely analyzed and then discussed in no uncertain terms.
  But wait. We are discussing the human spirit. What does that have to do with infinity? God is infinite. We humans are finite beings, are we not?
  To respond to these questions, let us ask another one. Where is God? Where is Allah, this Great Spirit that most of us profess a belief in? And the answer, as taught by any credible spiritual tradition, is: everywhere. Obviously, then, this inexpressible Spirit must be inside each and every one of us. And for that matter, inside of everything in the universe. If only we could fully grasp the implications of this awesome state of affairs!
  If the Spirit, this invisible essence of the universe, which we might call God, or the Great Mysterious One, or the Absolute, or Allah, or any of a multitude of names, depending on our cultural or philosophical leanings, is truly inside of us, then so must be it's unspeakable power, it's infinite potential. Does this not make sense? Imagine! The illimitable talent of the Spirit is actually at our fingertips!
  But if this is the case, why, we must ask, is the world so filled with imperfection and misery. Why are we all not appropriate expressions of this perfect Spirit? And the answer is, of course: We don't know. We may postulate an explanation, and many have done so. But we are wasting our time. The only prudent manner of facing this gigantic paradox is to accept it, and then move on.
  The next step for any serious student of human potential is, naturally, to engage in a focused effort to take full advantage of this propitious condition. Different individuals may have different reasons for attempting to discover and develop the potential hiding within themselves. We all may have our own ideas as to what this infinite power may allow us to be or to do. Perhaps we have some notion of what a perfect human being might be and we would like to strive to be a perfect human being. Unfortunately, most of us reject completely the possibility of becoming a perfect human being. Those who don't, have a rather mundane conception of human perfection. Which is understandable, since that conception probably originated in the finite human mind. And the human mind is simply incapable of conceiving what our potential really is.
  What a dilemma! Even if we wish to develop our potential, we really have no idea what it is we are developing! Fortunately, there is a way out of our plight. And that is simply to let the Spirit itself, not our intellect, reveal to us what our true potential is.
  But now the real predicament begins. For in order to establish a viable connection with the Spirit, we must somehow calm our rambling mind. We must, somehow or another, subdue the incessant chain of thoughts, the capricious internal dialogue that we have come to accept as so normal and natural. Such a formidable task can prove to be the challenge of a lifetime.
  There are numerous organizations, both formal and informal, whose task it is to assist individuals in their attempt to reconnect with the Spirit within and discover their true potential. We say re-connect because at least some of these organizations teach that, at birth, all humans have a strong connection with the Spirit. But through our contacts with older people we develop the habit of constantly thinking about something. Our internal chatter becomes increasingly more complex and habitual. This eventually results in a sort of psychic numbness, a mental state in which we are more or less oblivious to the presence of the infinite Spirit inside of us. Having lost our awareness of that Spirit, we are quite incapable of discovering our true potential. We have become, more or less, babbling idiots, who have no conception of who we really are. We operate as a mind and body, having effectively severed ourselves from our divine aspect, which is our true self. It is no exaggeration to say that the human race is basically retarded, almost completely out of contact with reality, and that ninety percent of what we do and believe is nonsense. These are hard words to accept, and will be met with incredulity and contempt by most who read them. But they are facts of life that must be understood before any of us can embark on the path of self-discovery and aspire to the goal of activating our real potential.
  To drive this point home, let us examine the current psychological and emotional state of the human race in general. It has been deteriorating for years. Constantly increasing levels of anxiety, depression, anger, fear, and other negative emotions seem to be our lot. What a sad state of affairs, indeed! Is this progress? Certainly not! Is this the way to heaven? Unequivocally no! One does not get to heaven by living in a hell on earth. It should be quite obvious to us by now that there is something horrendously wrong with the way we live. Why is life less intrinsically rewarding all the time? Why are we progressively less happy? The answer is: because of the lifestyles we pursue and the false philosophies that engender them.
  Perhaps the most compelling reason most of us may have at this time for investigating the subject of human potential is to uncover methods of being in a good mood naturally. Such methods do exist and can be easily learned. They are infinitely preferable to becoming dependent on alcohol or amphetamines.
  A comprehensive dissertation on the many ways of bringing out our potential is far beyond the scope of this article. The reader is heartily encouraged to pursue an inquiry into the practices and teachings of the above mentioned organizations. This does not require becoming an initiate of some secret society or joining a monastery or finding a guru who lives in a cave in the mountains. This may have been the case at one time. However, the sheer number of aspirants to the wisdom of such traditions has required that their knowledge be made available to the general public, and in recent decades a veritable flood of literature has been propagated by both organizations and individuals.
  One does not need access to modern electronic media or to a large bookstore to find informative literary material. Assuredly, some of the most useful information this author has found on the subject of human potential was discovered by perusing the shelves in the non-fiction department of a small town public library. One good book, fortuitously discovered, can impel the seeker on a most enjoyable journey of self-discovery and enlightenment, and can eventually lead to adventures beyond one's wildest imagination.
  Some of these organizations are associated with major religions. Those with a Christian background may find that the various writings on Rosicrucianism or Theosophy suit their taste. For those interested in the Muslim faith there is the wisdom of the Sufi. For one interested in Oriental traditions, there is abundant literature on yoga philosophy, and the works of Yogi Ramacharaka are very excellent sources of information. These are but a few of the options available, as the world has many spiritual traditions, most of which have their methods of connecting with the Spirit in order to promote well being and enlightenment.
  Native peoples around the world have their own spiritual traditions, and their medicine men and women, or shamans, are as well versed on the subject of human potential as anyone. Their practices may seem rather outlandish to the average inhabitant of modern society. Nonetheless, their ways are as legitimate as those of any tradition. Written material abounds on their philosophies and methods. Much of it is not only informative, but highly entertaining as well.
  The works of Carlos Castaneda are perhaps unparalleled in discussing the full magnitude of our real potential. His mentors seemed to have understood as well as, if not more than anyone, the full implications of our connection to infinity. For anyone truly interested in discovering what human beings really are and what we are actually capable of achieving, his books may be required reading.
  There is such a torrent of literature available today that it is wise to have some clues or guidelines to protect us from misinformed writers and fallacious teachings. One cannot simply believe anything one reads. Hopefully, the following pointers will be helpful in that regard.
  Submission of the entire self to our divine aspect is essential. Any teaching that declares that we have a right to do what we want is not to be trusted.
  Recognition that the Spirit within us is one and the same as the Spirit within all people and things is also imperative. Authentic teachers of the truth all know this.
  Knowledgeable teachers will remind us that we all have the same limitless potential.
  While we may receive a great deal of reliable information from our teachers, it is the Spirit within us that is our real teacher. We must ultimately depend on our own inner voice for accurate information.
  While the ability to promote our emotional and physical well being is definitely part of our potentiality, it is a relatively small part. The true aficionado of human potential will tell us that it also includes the capability of perceiving the non-physical aspects of reality. This is the feature of human potential that is most often overlooked by the average individual, as well as the part that is most difficult to believe. After all, modern society does not train us to believe that we all have an innate ability to perceive any supernatural entities or energies that may exist in the universe. Castaneda's writings are highly recommended for those who are daring enough to pursue a knowledge of this aspect of human potential.
  Which brings up the subject of the rather cryptic title of this article: 'Thunder Beings Are Coming Back.' Thunder beings, according to some native American traditions, are spiritual entities associated with storms and thunder and lightning. They, of course, have not really departed. What has departed is our inherent ability to be aware of such mystical inhabitants of this mysterious universe. It is our fervent hope that the time has come for all human beings to regain this lost awareness, this natural perceptual power, and once again be the kind of beings that God expects us to be.
  We cannot close without mentioning one more important natural ability that all of us possess. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we all learn to use it. This is the ability to affect our fellow human beings with prayer-like methods. We say prayer-like because we are not talking about speaking to God and asking Him to grant favors, or something of that nature. We are referring to methods of channeling the Spirit, of directing the Spirit to another person or group of persons. Contrary to what we may believe, it is not just certain gifted individuals who have a special power to act as channels or conduits for the Spirit and thereby aid in healing or otherwise positively affecting others. We are all imbued with this power. It is a power that can bring positive change to the world, at a time when the world sorely needs to change.
  To employ that power is very simple. For those who do not already have their own technique, an effective method is outlined in The Final Battle. It is easy to perform and can be done whenever one has the time and wherever one happens to be. It goes without saying that this kind of prayer is infinitely more efficacious in dealing with crisis situations than are bombs and guns.
  When the pope says that evil cannot be conquered by war, that it can only be overcome by prayer, he knows what he is talking about. When the Sufi tells us that the infinite power of Allah is inside of us and can be utilized to affect our fellows, he is speaking from personal experience. When the medicine woman goes to the mountain to find a peaceful place to sit in quiet meditation on behalf of someone else, she does so because she knows it gets results.
  It is often said that the president of the United States is the most powerful person in the world. This is veritable nonsense. It is an incontrovertible fact of life that the old woman who prays for the president is more powerful than the president, for she understands the source of true power. But why must prayer be left up to the old women? Have the rest of us not got the courage to join our efforts with theirs, instead of engaging in activities that so often only make their essential work all the more difficult? Have we not got at least a few minutes a day to lend a helping hand?
  We live in a time when more and more of us are ready to go kill in the name of good. Killing in the name of good is always an evil thing to do, whether it is done by a renegade organization or by a nation state. If left unchecked, this diabolical behavior can only result in the demise of the human race. It is that simple. And that dangerous! It goes without saying that those who advocate this insidious practice, whether they be self-appointed demagogues or popularly elected public officials, are not the true leaders of humankind. There only leadership is ultimately in the direction of collective suicide.
  There is an alternative. And that is to bring to bear the full brunt of our staggering human potential against the forces of evil. Rest assured: The future belongs to those who know how to pray!