A bridge between science and spirituality:
The Midas Tree, Dr. Lesley Phillips’ upcoming book
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read the manuscript of your book that will be published soon. It was quite a sensation to go through the stages of a meditation class through a child’s perspective.
Oh great, glad you enjoyed it.
How did you wrap this magical story around it?
It came to me through a vision. I did not plan that I wanted to write a children’s book, I did not plan that I wanted to teach meditation in a novel way. But what I did plan was that I wanted to write and communicate spiritual information to a larger group of people. So I meditated on clearing my blocks to writing. I spent an evening in deep meditation just focusing on clearing my blocks to being a writer and tuning in to what it was that I was meant to bring in.
That night I couldn’t sleep because spiritual information was just pouring into me. Visions of the book and all its characters were just sort of exploding in my field, so basically, I was writing down everything that was coming to me all night. By the time the morning came I had a complete framework and plan for what would be in the book. Thus, in a way it was a spiritual download: it already existed in spirit, and I just had to clear my communication channels to bring it through.
Because I did not plan the book, once it was written I had to look and say ‘Well, what do I have here, and who would like to read this?’. It is a fairy story but it is teaching deep spiritual truths, it is teaching the ancient spiritual mysteries. Of course, it is in the genre that kids are attracted to, that kind of Alice in Wonderland ‘down the rabbit hole’ style of thing. But I also feel it is the kind of material that cuts across ages like the Narnia books and the Harry Potter books: they cross the boundaries of age. So I feel and I hope that this book is one of those.
You are a teacher of meditation. What experiences of your teaching did you include into the book?
All of the meditation techniques that are taught in the book are the ones that I teach in my classes, and they are basically the ancient spiritual mysteries: the tools and techniques that you can use to help tune into spiritual truth, and will help you connect with your spiritual abilities as well. Practically, I guess, there are examples of what Joshua, my hero goes through that I may have encountered with students in my classes. So let us take a simple example when he is learning how meditate, he feels a pain in his knee, and the pain gets worse before it gets better. This is common with people when they first start to meditate. These meditation techniques, the ancient spiritual mysteries, bring you, the spiritual being more into your waking consciousness, more into physical reality, and more into your body. Because a lot of people spend most of their time outside of their bodies, they are not really aware of how their body is feeling on a physical level, so when they start to come more into the body then they start to notice ’Oh, my goodness, I’ve stored this pain here, I’ve got this emotion going on there!’,and it is a shock to them.
Is it a question of consciousness, so that the more conscious we become of our body, the more aware we are of what is going on inside?
Yes. It is a question of consciousness, but also, my belief is that we are spirit. We are not our physical bodies. We exist outside of time and space, we are eternal spiritual beings, and so it is possible for us to focus our attention anywhere we want: the past, the future, or just something else we were thinking about. That is how most people live their lives: they are not present. The physical body only exists in the here and now. It cannot be in the past, it cannot be in the future, it cannot think ’I am in Hawaii’, etc. But as spirit we can, and most people spend their time in that state of being in other places and not being with their bodies. So these meditation techniques bring you together with your physical body. And the reason you want to do that is that you have created this physical body for a reason. So if you are not present in it, it is just like leaving a car driving down the driveway without a driver.
Going back to the ancient spiritual mysteries you mentioned, would you tell me one that is closest to your heart, and can be found in the book?
The first meditation technique that I teach anybody is an ancient spiritual mystery called ’grounding’. What this technique involves is creating a flow of energy from the base of your spine, from an energy centre called your first chakra. We create a flow of energy from there that goes all the way to the centre of the Earth. What that does is what we have just been talking about: you, the spiritual being, have an extremely high vibration, and your physical body – because it is in the physical world – has a much lower vibration. To bring that high vibration – that is, you – into close connection with your physical body requires kind of like an electrical grounding: so your grounding cord helps to bring those two vibrations together, it helps bring you into the present moment.
If anyone in their whole lives learns this one meditation technique, and they learn how to ground, that is extremely powerful. They can completely change their reality. Because not only does it bring you here so that you can be consciously in charge of your life, but also it gives you a technique for releasing energy: letting go of your pain, letting go of whatever you store in your body – like things from the past, old self-limiting beliefs, things that other people told you that they think are true, but they are not true for you. You can completely renovate your whole system with this one meditation technique. Also, you can use it to clear limits to create your life as you want to create it. So, it is a very simple technique, but it is an extremely powerful one at the same time.
Do you think it might be useful for teachers to learn how to teach children to meditate? Could the grounding exercise increase children’s attention span and help them focus more efficiently?
Yes, it definitely could. I am very interested in taking my techniques into schools. My plan is to focus on independent and private schools like the Montessori and Waldorf schools to start. There is a program called MindUP that I believe has been approved for use in the public school system that teaches techniques to help kids be more present and aware of their surroundings. It is based on psychology and scientific research. They do not use the term meditation to describe it and I think that is because some people might then associate it with a specific religion or religious practice.
How could children benefit from using the techniques described in the book?
They can benefit in the same way that adults can. There are many different ways. If you start with just a simple thing like stress: in our modern life there are a lot of children that are under a tremendous amount of stress: to perform in school, to perform academically, to be the best at everything they do.
I know when I was growing up we used to go to school and we used to get homework as well, but we did get time to play, but these days a lot of kids have a lot of extracurricular activities, so there is a lot of pressure on them. I think, meditation can help them in many ways: in one way to release that stress, for example just by doing that simple grounding technique, and also, to let go of other people’s expectations of them.
These techniques are very useful in interactions with other people. For example, I teach social workers, office workers and health care workers to use these meditation techniques when they are interacting with clients and colleagues. Children can use them to help them manage their interactions with people. For instance, you are feeling angry, and out of control of your anger, then you can learn to centre and ground and release that and change that. Or let us say a child is faced with an angry adult or classmate who is shouting at them, by learning to ground, and centre, then they can set the energy level of the interaction, and quite often what will happen is that they will be able to respond more consciously and more presently, and not interact on the same level. What other people tend to do is that they will naturally match that energy, so both people start to be grounded and centred, and calm down. These are really practical and valuable tools that people can use in life.
Then, you get to more advanced techniques – for there are more advances ones taught in the book, there are techniques that teach you how to manifest what you want: the pink balloon technique when you visualize what it is that you want to create in your life, and then you release that into the universe in a pink helium balloon so that it can come back to you. This is something kids can have fun with, putting their wishes and desires out there and learning that they really are the powerful creators of their own lives.
What about children who are explicitly spiritually gifted? Do you aim to help them accept their talents?
Absolutely. The ones that we call gifted children usually are the lucky ones in that their parents usually do acknowledge it. But it is my belief that every single human being on this planet has spiritual abilities, for that is who we are: we are spirit. In most of us as children these abilities are open, and we may talk about them, we may see as spirit, we may see colours and lights around people, we may even see an uncle or an aunt that passed on and talk to them. Then, once we communicate it to the parents then they deny that that is a reality, and so the child learns to switch off that part of their abilities and focus on the things that parents validate, which may rather be what they do at school. So yes, I would love it if this book could help.
I would also love it if it could help those sensitive people who do have those abilities, and actually prevent them from going through what I went through, because I was one of those kids. I learnt that I was rewarded for my intellect, so as an adult I had to retrain myself to access my spiritual abilities. I just think, ’Would it not be fantastic if you never had to go through that, if you never had to deprogram yourself, if all of that was already accepted and validated, and you would live your life from the get-go empowered?’
I read in an interview that you kept a log of your dreams. Can any of these be found in the book?
No – she laughs –. I kept a log of my dreams and that was really the interface in that transition time from being somebody trained with a PhD, as a scientist, and all that academic training and then moving back towards this more balanced state where I still have that, but where I also have my more intuitive faculties and my creative expression in my book and art, and so on. The dream work was really something that helped me create a bridge to creating that balance. Because when I was asleep my intellect was not engaged. And this is also something that most people do: we are all intuitive, and immediately when this intuition flows into people, they discount it and they go back to their intellectual minds. So in things like art and dreaming your intellect is disengaged, therefore, you can gain a direct line and connection to spirit.
But to answer this question, there is something in the book that relates to dreams in that Joshua, the hero has astral experiences where he is travelling outside of his body, and he also learns spiritual information in that state, which he is then able to bring into his physical body and to his waking consciousness, and that is what we do when we dream and we astral-travel. Because physical reality is finite, there is a finite amount of time and space for us to do things in. But we have another body called our ’astral-body’ that is also connected with the earth plane, that is not limited by time and space in the same way as the physical body. So what we do when we sleep at night is that we go and try all sorts of combinations and permutations of what we may want to manifest in physical reality. We can also use that space and environment to learn, to evolve, and to grow spiritually as well, and this is what Joshua does in the book: he has guides that he is able to meet on the astral plane, and he has spiritual lessons that he is able to learn there. So I guess, the answer actually might be yes: not the content of my dreams but the process of what we are doing when we dream is definitely in the book.
You are a scientist as well having a PhD on biology.
Yes, my PhD is in environmental microbiology. I used to work as a scientist trying to discover new medicines from bacteria that live in the natural environment.
From the book it seems that you find it really important to teach children about nature. What aspects did you weave into the story from this area of your life?
The book has many layers woven together. One of the layers is nature, and it is also biology. The adventure takes place inside a tree and I have used an analogy between the tree and how the tree functions biologically with the spiritual techniques that I teach. For instance, when we learn about grounding in the book, we also learn about the roots of the tree, and how they anchor the tree in the earth. When we learn the spiritual mystery of running earth energy through our energy channels, we also learn about the process of the tree bringing in water and nutrients from the soil. When we learn about meditating with cosmic energy, we learn about photosynthesis. In this way I marry together the science and spiritual information in an interesting way, which I hope will make it more accessible to people and easier for their intellectual minds to understand.
So the book teaches biology as well as teaching spiritual information. These two areas of society are pretty polarized: if you are a scientist or an intellectual, then you are not supposed to be and you are not interested in the spiritual side of things. If you are one of the spiritual or creative people then you are not intellectual. We have this separation that we have made between people. So I am hoping to make people see that they are both aspects of who we are, and we can combine them within ourselves, and we can combine them in the world. We do not have to be this one group of intellectuals harshly judging this other group of intuitive people. Also, we do not want to have this group of intuitive people who roll their eyes and judge the intellectuals. We want the two working together.
These groups represent two extremes in a way. Would you like to be a bridge between the two groups?
Yes, the bridge between, and also to help people create that bridge within themselves, starting with children.
This is a beautiful mission. What was the transition like to you? How did people in your environment – I mean mostly those who had known your scientific side better – accept your intuitiveness, your spiritual side?
That is a good question. I was very worried for years that I would not be accepted, and because of that when I went to work – which was in the pharmaceutical industry most recently as a business development director, I did not tell people that in my spare time I was a psychic, that I was an energy healer, and I taught meditation. I was living a double life for many years.
I remember one business lunch I was at, and somebody asked me what I did in my spare time, so I sort of ventured ’Oh, I teach meditation’. She immediately said something like ’Oh, is that like sit-in? So she didn’t understand at all and it was awkward.’ I also remember being in conversations where other scientists were making fun of the healing arts.
So people have these preconceived ideas about what meditation is, let alone having spiritual abilities. So I was really worried that if I told my work colleagues then I would be ridiculed. So I lived that double life for a long time not being happy because when I went to work I could not completely be myself. It actually got to the point when I could not do it anymore: I could not be in a world pretending to be something that I am not.
More especially being a sensitive psychic I tune into things and I also see things, so I came to feel that that industry sector, that environment I was in was not in alignment with my beliefs, or with how I wanted to contribute to the world, so I left there.
Now I can completely be honest about who I am and what I do, and although I still do some work in science, I am more comfortable in my own skin, and I don’t cover up any aspect of myself to anybody anymore, and so far it is accepted.
Recently I had some radio interviews because of my book that made me realize that my scientific background enables me to speak eloquently to people who are in that realm about spirituality in a way that they can receive the information and accept it, and not be so judgemental. My Ph.D. gives me credibility.
The world is changing and I find more and more people who open up and accept spiritual information more easily.
Going back to the title of the book, The Midas Tree, what does the tree symbolize?
The tree symbolizes many things like nature, the physical body, and also planet Earth. Before the hero Joshua enters the tree, he lives in the garden of colour and light, and this is about him being spirit in an unborn state. Then, when he is in transition from the spirit realm to physical reality he crawls inside the tree through a small magical door. Once inside it is dark, and he is in a fetal position and this is like being in the womb. Then, he is screaming and breathing in the dank air inside the tree, that is an analogy for him being born into a physical body, and into the physical world.
Also, there is so much symbolism around trees: the tree of life, for instance. Many ancient belief systems from the Jewish Kabbalah and ancient Norse and Celtic legends to the Native American belief system all have spiritual truths told through the symbol of a tree.
Is there a connection with the Greek legend of King Midas?
In the book, when Joshua is born inside the tree, he discovers that he must stay there until he turns himself to gold, and until he turns the tree to gold. This is an analogy for enlightenment, the human journey of spiritual unfoldment, and our return back to God. He has to fill his body with light to turn it to gold. In case of King Midas, everything he touched he turned to gold, so that is the connection. Joshua’s objective inside the tree is to turn everything to gold: himself and the tree. It teaches us that as we change our inner world, we also change our outer world, and the changes we made inside ourselves have a reverberation or reflection in the physical world around us. The myth of King Midas also teaches us about the human ego and what is truly important. The Midas Tree is also a journey of battling the ego and letting go of false concepts of reality.
There is a father figure in the story called Morfar. Is he a symbol of God?
Yes. The name just means ’mother’ and ’father’. The Danish word for mother is ’mor’ and ‘far” for father. Morfar is the omnipotent guiding force that exists in the garden of colour and light and also in the tree that Joshua seeks guidance from. It is an analogy for God, absolutely. God is another word that a lot of people have a lot of associations with because of religious judgements and programming. In truth everybody has their own unique concept with God, and everybody can have their own unique direct connection with their God. All religions have a preconstructed idea of what God is, and want to dictate to you what your belief of God should be. What I am trying to do is to give people the techniques that they can use so that they can enter that spiritual realm, and make a direct connection within themselves. The book is aiming to teach that we are powerful co-creators with God, and we are not a victim of circumstances: we create our own reality, we are immensely powerful, although, that does not mean that we are in some kind of competition with God.
There are some really lovely – and also mystical – creatures in the book called ‘devas’. Can you tell me about them?
They came to me in that vision. Each of their names has an association with the job they do. The word ’devon’ in Welsh means poet, and Devon is the poet laureate of the tree. Deverall is the one watering the roots, his name means stream. Devandra in Hindi is sky god, and he is the one that looks after the leaves in the canopy of the tree. Also, the word ’deva’ in Hinduism indicates spiritual being, god, or goddess.
If you were to choose the main edifying aspects of your book, which ones would you emphasize?
The main message of the book is that you are spirit, you are not your body. You are a creator being, and you are completely capable of taking conscious charge of your life, and creating your reality. You are also capable of tuning into and using your own spiritual abilities. They are your birthright, as you are a spark of the divine consciousness. Meditation is a way that can help you tune into the those abilities and develop them.
Thank you very much.
You are welcome.
Update on Dr. Lesley Phillips’ book, The Midas Tree
Looking for ideas for a great Christmas gift? The Midas Tree by Dr Lesley Phillips is now available on Amazon as a paperback or e-book. This fairy tale-like spiritual adventure story makes a great stocking stuffer and is a fun read for YA lovers; as well as for parents and grandparents to share with their tween age kids. I previously featured an interview with the author Dr Lesley – check it out here: http://wp.me/p2CVmC-a2