My name is Lance Mungia and “I’m another version of you”. I started my blog at Waking Universe with that phrase. I stole it from the ancient Mayans actually, but it’s what I believe. Imagine how the world would change overnight if everybody realized, even for a moment, that we all wore the same shoes as much as the same fears, hopes and dreams and that all paths were the same.

But why does the fact you and I just may be somehow connected have to be such a heavy trip? Why not have some fun waking up? That’s why I created Waking Universe, to share my version of this grand and trippy Rashomon we’re all enacting. It’s sort of the lighter side of enlightenment.

At various times I’ve been a farm laborer, a telemarketer, an amusement park ride operator and a writer/director of feature films, music videos and TV. In my late 20’s and early 30’s I wondered why I was miserable. I had a nagging suspicion something was missing even though I had found some success through my film work. I was working too hard maybe, not taking care of myself, trying to make Citizen Kane by 24 but without the brass to be Orson Welles.

Expectations, much like convictions, are a bitch, especially when they’re our own.

So I put my aspirations of changing the world as a feature filmmaker temporarily on hold, went under the radar a bit to find out what I really wanted to say to myself and to the world, as an artist, but really more as a human being.

I felt like I was treading water uphill. Just another brick in the wall. I was in the process of realizing I couldn’t make great movies if I didn’t have a life to talk about first. Why did Fellini make all those films about circuses?

He grew up in one.

A great life and great art are one and the same to me these days. I needed time to figure that one out.

What’d I do then? Well, I didn’t climb Mt. Shasta, I didn’t meditate, I didn’t ride a Harley across the Yucatan. I was frankly scared by my own psychic intuition and pretty much rejected out of hand anything “woo woo”. You see, “woo woo” doesn’t play well in Holly-“woo”d, where the dark and jaded and mostly nihilist types get all the babes.

I certainly wasn’t gonna be “woo woo” then, at least not out where people could see me.

I made a small shift at the time, a conscious decision to let authentic relationships into my life and slow down my career. Then, boom. I met my true love (a babe!), laughed more often, grew a garden, a family and nippy dog, noticed sunsets and rainbows and a sense of community I always assumed I had to put on hold until after I’d “made it”.

Slowly, I was re-discovering the puzzle pieces of wonder I’d lost as a kid again, the type of authentic joy for the world I’d first found years earlier while marveling at a horizon of rose blooms, a hoe in my hand, (no, not that kind of hoe), and a desire to express the feeling of majesty I felt out there through the written word and film.

But to clarify my mindset by January 2011 I had regained some balance for sure, yet woo woo stuff like meditation and synchronicity still had not occurred to me much. I had no idea of what’d come up next.

My journey of awakening and personal expansion

My journey began with “Look within”.

Huh? Those two simple words rang in my ears upon ending my first meditation ever exactly one year ago. When I opened a random page of Meditation For Dummies on a bookstore shelf the next day and saw the same phrase, “Look Within” as a central tenant of all meditation practice, I figured, “wow, mayhap this meditation thing ain’t just for dummies.”

You see, weeks earlier, a friend, sensing I was stressed, suggested using Centerpointe Holosync, an audio meditation that uses binaural beats, (super low frequencies) to force you to use both sides of your brain and put you into a deep meditative state. I figured I’d either wind up Professor X or The Manchurian Candidate, or much worse, out valuable time and money.

My Holosync meditations quickly brought up some of my… issues. The first week.

“How much do you love me?”

That’s what my grandma said to me, then a wet nosed six year old who responded, arms wide as if to embrace the world entire, “I love you… All there is!”

Still deep into my meditation, I found myself reliving that conversation and repeating, “I love you”, again and again, feeling my heart ache as surely as the day I’d formed that memory, which I hadn’t thought of in many years.

It was like an anchor point, reminding me of something.

The next evening, I slapped on my headphones, and BOOM, I found myself beside my grandma again, now at her deathbed years later, feeling all I had then once more, the insidious helplessness that comes with watching someone you love and that has raised you succumb to Alzheimer’s. It was the guilt, the anger, the feelings of abandonment, all on a slow burn, replaying in my head like it was yesterday.

I found myself repeating over and over, “I’m sorry”.

My grandmother responded with, “I’m sorry.” and “I forgive you.”

I responded back, “And I forgive you”.

That part surprised me. My grandmother brought me up. It hadn’t occurred to me how much I resented her illness. She was supposed to be my lighthouse at least through my Oscar acceptance speech.

Repeating both phrases, “I’m sorry, I forgive you”, over and over. I was struck by a deep sense of gratitude, and found myself adding, “thank you.”

BAM. The meditation imagery shifted and a shadow figure, pitch black, featureless, was pinning me to the bed, a vision from a nightmare when I was eight. But it was the same, the kind of ghost that leaves you paralyzed, unable to form a scream. You don’t forget that stuff, especially when you’re eight.

It was so startling I almost ended the meditation. But I kept my eyes closed tight anyway.

Swallowing fear, I continued mentally, “I’m sorry”, “I forgive you” some more. The shadow figure’s face lowered closer to my own, light striking the ghoul’s facial features at last, which I quickly realized… were my own.

It was a deeply profound moment. I was overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude. It was only me. The whole time. I’d faced my shadow self and had won by… well, making friends with it. All these years, I’d been pinning myself down. It was my guilt, my ego, my success or failure to force. My, my, my.

Three days later, I picked up a second random book from a store shelf, turned to another random page, and there were those four phrases from my meditations; “I love you,”, “I’m sorry”, “I forgive you”, “I thank you”.

Say what?

My heart went to my throat. The book I’d picked up was called  Zero Limits: The Secret Hawaiian System for Wealth, Health, Peace, and More. Those four phrases were the fundamental concepts of an ancient Hawaiian healing art called Ho’oponopono as advocated by psychologist Hew Len. He apparently had single handedly cured and released an entire ward of the clinically insane without ever administering to a single patient. Instead he simply sat in his office over their files, finding what inside of himself he could identify with in them, and repeating those four phrases.

I would later be reminded, repeatedly, how the concepts of total responsibility, compassionate love, forgiveness and gratitude have forever been considered the basis to the end of karma, ascension, and you name it. It’s the tune of all spiritual paths major and minor.

Don’t ascend without it.

My Positive Life Changes

I began to take total responsibility for my reality. It truly was like a process of waking up to a new universe. Whether I could control circumstance or not, whether my fault or not, I simply began to accept, to surrender, to recognize the perfection even in the crap that annoys the hell out of me.

Some days easier than others, but it worked. I began to see my universe as a combination of my creations of will and my surrender, dancing in clock-like synchronicity. I began to look, at the people on the street corner, the guy that cut me off in traffic and at the crazy cat lady in apartment 2C, as other versions of me, working out the same issues, on various points along the same line. I began to wake up to my center as the hub of my own waking universe and have compassion for all of the moving parts of it that whizzed and whirled in and out of view.

I stopped obsessing over the news. I cancelled my cable. I finally went vegan, along with my wife thankfully, who I couldn’t have done so without. She even started a blog for her vegan recipes over at Our Daily Veg.

I became a voracious reader. After “Zero Limits”, and many others, from “The Secret”, to Lynn MacTaggart’s incredible “The Field”, to various works by Dolores Cannon, Greg Braden, Norma J. Milanovich and many more, simple truths grasped more easily as a child than an adult came back to me like old friends.

One work led to another and another, and each seemed to clarify the last for me. Whether it be Deepak Chopra, The Dalai Lama, The Bhagavad Gita, The Bible or a hundred other works, it clicked that they were all saying the same thing;

We are all one. And together, as Winston Churchill said, “we create our own universe as we go along.”

I smiled at remembered concepts that had come to me creatively and in dreams for years. Yet, I never thought anyone else was talking about it, much less respected quantum physicists, astronauts, historical masters and captains of industry and literature.

Guess I should have gotten around more.

My next steps as an Evolving Being

I just finished a screenplay that is my best work. I used to tell stories around the migrant farmworkers that I knew growing up and I’ve spent two years mining that world for a new romantic comedy. I’m also producing a documentary on how the mood and music of the 60’s translate to the Occupy Wall Street movement.

I’m also starting a companion site to WakingUniverse.com called WakingUniverseTheNovel.com, which will be more directly my dreams and meditations translated into what eventually will become at least an ebook.

Waking Universe is also being planned as a television show that will showcase cutting edge science and how it meets the immortal concepts of spirit; consciousness… with a healthy sense of humor.

I am today more creative and in better touch with my humanity because of my personal journey. It is a unique thing, this journey toward enlightenment, different for each of us. For me, it involves loving, writing, creating, discovering new ways of translating the enthusiastic insight I find from one mind to another, whether it be on the silver screen or a blog page or a smile to a strange shadow of myself across a street corner.

My Advice to Others

  • Everything that ever has or will hold you back, is fear. Anger, greed, hatred, separation, all stem from fear.

  • You beat your shadow by accepting and forgiving it. Love your enemies is not just a saying, it’s your final exam.

  • You can’t change anybody. What you see in them that needs change exists in you. Change yourself instead. Change your inner reality and the outer reality will fall in line as if by magic.

  • You serve others best, by serving yourself with love first.

  • Your journey of enlightenment, ascension, illumination, whatever you name it, is totally unique to you. There is no wrong or right path, there is only the path that is right for you alone.

  • The key to raising your vibration and the vibration of the entire planet is one and the same. Live in your heart, and develop your sense of compassion, joy and wonder. It starts by finding your joy and getting in balance.

  • Discernment! Question everything. Form your own opinions and truths. Then allow your truths to bend and break when a better truth comes along. Become your own best resource.

  • Know what you’re up against, if only so you can release it in full knowledge.

  • Realize that You are God. You are an aspect of the divine figuring that fact out and so is everybody else.

  • You are not alone. You can never be alone. Anything you’re going through, you’re not first, last or the only one.

  • As often as you can, sense your heart, literally, and develop a feeling of gratitude there, even if you think you have little or nothing to be grateful for, IMAGINE a sense of thanks. Project it out. Call on it often. It’ll come back again and again and you will be the lighthouse in the storm.

  • Use your imagination. Imagine a better world and you will make one.

  • Anything is possible. The world we will create, will be the one you choose to make.

  • It’s your universe, we just live in it.