One hot summer weekend, I attended a gathering in a large city park billed as the “3rd Annual Worldwide Summoner Event.”

Summoner of what, you ask?

Well, some people hail cabs, some beckon fate, and apparently a scant handful of humans—including a Los Angeles man named Robert Bingham—summon UFOs.

I went to the event out of curiosity. . .  and because my woo-woo* boyfriend was seriously geeked about going. There were approximately 50 people there—a warm, friendly cast of characters. That’s often the case with UFO groups and other woo-woo congregants—it can feel like a long-lost family reunion to those present. Many are seeking a sense of connection and belonging in the universe, whether consciously or unconsciously. And who could blame them!? That’s what everyone wants: love and acceptance. Whether you seek it from a UFO group, the local volunteer firemen’s drinking society, the ladies auxiliary, or a Justin Bieber fan club, it’s all the same human drive.

[*Side note for the under-initiated: I use the term “woo-woo” to affectionately refer to anything that is intangible, paranormal, metaphysical, spiritual, or otherwise beyond the full grasp of the logical human mind and its 5-sense minions. Yes, I’m fully aware that the same term is often bandied about in a derogatory way, and that is precisely why I have co-opted it!]

We chatted with a number of peeps, including our immediate neighbors—a cute set of grandparents who’d brought their daughter and grandkids in tow. Grandpa was a long-time UFO enthusiast since the 1970s, and the kids were clearly humoring him on this Father’s Day outing.

A reporter was interviewing Mr. Bingham in a hyped-up fashion and pressing him for “evidence.” It occurred to me that most people, in general, are seeking “proof” to support their belief or disbelief. The typical citizen is constantly searching for outside confirmation—from news broadcasts, friends, family, “experts,” and even the random man-on-the-street—as to what s/he wants believe about any given subject.

If you ask me, the whole thing smacks of effort! I mean, you could just make it an efficient inside job. You could decide to believe something or not, and give yourself permission to change what you believe any old time. Simple.

It’s the ego-intellect, however, that complicates and exteriorizes these things. It insists: “I have to save face here! I’ve got to be right, dammit!” 

Ego is, of course, just part of our standard operating equipment as humans here in the Earth Game. It’s necessary to give us individuality so we can experience life as separate beings. The ego is not a bad guy. . . but it DOES often get out of control. And sometimes it hijacks your intellect; hence the term “ego-intellect.” 

Since that ego is part of you and will remain with you (at least until your physical body bites the dust), you can’t exactly drop it off in the night and peel out with tires squealing. What you can do is buckle it into the back seat instead of letting it drive. 

Okay, so I know you’re chompin’ at the bit to hear what happened with the UFO summoning. I suppose I was half-expecting something really cool, like the intergalactic version of a small town air show, complete with loop-de-loops and other flashy tricks. And perhaps some little green men would exit the craft, take a bow, and come shake the hands of these eager Angelenos gathered in their honor. But that is exactly what didn’t happen.

High up and far away, an occasional floaty object was barely perceptible to the naked eye. Through magnification, the things looked kind of like overgrown mylar balloons or some weird bionic candy in shiny cosmic wrappers. Definitely not your typical UFO—at least, they looked nothing like the more widely documented varieties of black triangular or cigar-shaped objects, for example. They didn’t necessarily behave like mylar balloons, but they weren’t exactly doing memorable maneuvers either. (Where’s David Letterman with the “Stupid UFO tricks” when you need him?) 

I asked the 10-yr-old girl next to me what she thought of all this UFO stuff. “I don’t know. . .” she shrugged dismissively. “It’s my grandfather’s thing.” Uh-huh. I marveled at the contrast between her apathetic youth and his effervescent faith. Had it been the opposite combination of a “true believer” kid and a cynical grandpa, things might have been less lovey-dovey between them.

It’s easy to see why the kids were unimpressed. The underwhelming display in the sky that day was about as awe-inspiring for them as an Atari video game. 

So what was really going on? Was this spacecraft. . . or stagecraft?!?

On the one hand, it’s not difficult to technologically conceive of the stagecraft idea. The fact that we live in an age of sophisticated remote-controlled flying toys, combined with the fact that Bingham only seems to “summon” this particular variety of unidentified object in his Interweb videos, and only at a considerable distance, seems to provide plenty of fodder for the mind to reach that conclusion. More tricky, though, is coming up with a motive. Is Mr. Bingham is a big practical joker? Or does he have delusions of grandeur and has devised an elaborate scheme to garner attention? After all, it is called the “Summoner” event not the “Summoning” event. Huh. 

If he actually is enacting some sort of self-aggrandizing plot and elaborate hoax, it still does not imply that there are no bona fide UFOs or extraterrestrials or “summoners.” That would be a big ol’ flaw in the logic to conclude such a thing—like saying that because little Johnny faked a stomach ache to get out of math class, there is no such thing as a stomach ache. But, see, that’s what the ego-intellect does if you already have a belief that UFOs and ETs don’t exist. It uses what it sees as “evidence” to bolster that belief.

On the other hand, perhaps the man is genuinely connected to some alternate civilization. Why should UFOs only look a certain way? Everything is possible, and everything exists in the great ALL-THAT-IS, including UFOs that look like mylar balloons, and a gazillion other mildly boring things.

So, which is it then: spacecraft or stagecraft? That’s what the ego-intellect wants you to hurry up and decide. Which box should you put this person or idea in? The ego is very uncomfortable with uncertainty; it likes to know where you stand at all times. If this guy Bingham (or me, for that matter) gets a green light from your ego-intellect, it means you can relax and trust what he does and says. But if the ego-intellect’s got a red alert on the dude (or on me), you’re likely to ignore or discount whatever he’s (or I’ve) got to offer. To the extent that your ego-intellect is in charge, you may be missing out on whatever pearls await you, embedded in even the wackiest of shells.

How often do we allow the ego-intellect to pressure us into deciding things that don’t really need to be decided?

Is it actually necessary to believe or disbelieve in this idea or that? Is it important to label a person this way or that way?

The way I see it, the only truly necessary decisions we have to make are imminent things—like deciding to turn left or right at a T-shaped intersection while driving a car. Deciding to apply for college before the application deadline; deciding to accept a job offer or marriage proposal before it gets revoked. You know, stuff with actual consequences.

fireworks labelThe ego-intellect can fool you into accepting that there is a dire consequence to your intellectual beliefs. But it ain’t so! For instance, if the ego’s afraid of you being seen as a nutter, it may coerce you into taking a firm stand against UFOs or “chemtrails” or any number of socially awkward topics.

If you allow your ego-intellect to demand “proof” and to use all that you see and hear to confirm, validate and bolster your existing beliefs, the less likely you are to change and expand. You are, in effect, building a fortress around those precious beliefs. But a fortress is fear based, and it blocks out some of the light. It also blocks the love and friendship of others who hold different beliefs.

We all do this to some extent, so there is always opportunity for you to improve. What subjects trigger defensiveness for you? What are YOUR intellectual sacred cows?

The good news is there’s another way, beyond polarization. It is possible to remain open and present, to notice and enjoy whatever is currently happening, without believing anything in particular. And it’s quite liberating!

Another example: there’s a guy named Darryl Anka who channels an entity known as Bashar. As the story goes, Bashar is the “future self” of Mr. Anka, residing on another planet some 300 years into the future; the two first made contact (in this lifetime) when Anka experienced close-up UFO sightings many years ago in downtown L.A. Does that set off your bullshit meter? Well, you can still listen to what the guy (or the alien) has to say and take away whatever’s useful—even if you don’t believe the back story one iota, even if you’re not sure whether “channeling” is real. You don’t have to decide whether the messenger is authentic or trustworthy before you can make constructive use of the message. Those are separate things, and you can simply learn to trust yourself. It’s what I like to call Adventures in Baby Bathwater. (Still trying to wrap your mind around what I’m saying here? This might help.)

independence-mindSpacecraft or stage-craft? You don’t have to decide!

There is tremendous power in embracing paradox. When you refrain from railing against things you don’t agree with—while still remaining open and receptive—you’re on the fast track of personal expansion. (Yay, you!) You CAN become the independent thinker of your dreams, even if all the people around you are doing the boring old belief-building (requiring evidence) and belief-bludgeoning (forcing their beliefs on others) routine.

It’s possible for you to be in this crazy contentious world but not of it, by staying open to new ideas and updating your beliefs as you go along. And you can do it all while upholding unconditional love and acceptance toward yourself, without withholding love from others who believe differently, and without using your own precious energy trying to coerce them into accepting YOUR beliefs. It’s win-win, I tell ya!

Try it and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll have so much more fun cruising around the Earth Gameboard with that ego-intellect strapped in the back seat. And if it pipes up again, just crank the radio and sing.

Helping you to break free of the ego-intellect,