Friday, October 19, 2018

Gift Economy - Suelo's TEDx talk

[As of today (March 11, 2019), I finally published the edited written transcript of the TEDx talk, with slides, on my website: 

Suelo's TEDx talk & Transcript: GIFT ECONOMY: Domestic to Wild, Creation to Recreation, Immaturity to Adulthood

Yeah, I know, I'm past due for another blog entry.  Hold on to your hats for a few more days.]

Hey! My TEDx talk from 9 months ago in Grand Junction, Colorado is finally published! I seriously thought they hadn't posted it because my talk wasn't up to par (and I was actually quite ok and kind of relieved about that).

I just listened to this for the first time and realize it isn't as clearly presented and woven together as I wanted it to be. But I can forgive myself since I had been asked to do this talk only a day and a half before! And I tried to fit decades of what I'd learned into 20 minutes. Also excuse the poor sound quality and slide presentation, as they were having technical difficulties that day.

For a longer and more in-depth examination of some of the ideas in this TEDx talk, see my presentation from 2017, "The Physics and Spirituality of Gift Economy" (transcript here):


  1. Hi Suelo,
    Im 14 and I really wan't to live this lifestyle that your are. One thing im worried about is I won't have enough food to eat. My family also don't want me to live this lifestyle. Can you or one of your friends make a video about your home and your daily life(like a vlog)
    Thank you,

  2. Tenemos que unirnos todos los que pensamos así

  3. Miriam is saying

    we need to unite all thoes that think so

    we are never alone

    What advice whould you give us?

    (I agree on all of thoes points)

  4. I find that I am often stymied when people ask my advice.

    I prefer to simply present cause-and-effect and be an example.

    It's good to find the gift economy already present everywhere and cultivate it.

    For example, people everywhere give and receive without expectation of credit or feeling of debt, like what most family members do with each other.

    We like to stop and help strangers in the street, never to see them again.

    We all breathe in and breathe out from freely-shared, totally communal atmosphere, without thought we are doing good or evil.

    A gift economy is not overwhelming when we realize it is not an unattainable future utopia but is already present, and we simply cultivate what we already have.

  5. Encuentro que a menudo me bloquean cuando las personas me piden consejos.

    Prefiero simplemente presentar causa y efecto y ser un ejemplo.

    Es bueno encontrar la economía del regalo ya presente en todas partes y cultivarla.

    Por ejemplo, las personas en todas partes dan y reciben sin esperar crédito o sentimiento de deuda, como lo que hacen la mayoría de los miembros de la familia entre ellos. Nos gusta detenernos y ayudar a los extraños en la calle, nunca volver a verlos.

    Todos respiramos y respiramos desde una atmósfera totalmente compartida, totalmente comunitaria, sin pensar que estamos haciendo el bien o el mal.

    Una economía de regalos no es abrumadora cuando nos damos cuenta de que no es una utopía futura inalcanzable, sino que ya está presente, y simplemente cultivamos lo que ya tenemos.

  6. "Tenemos que unir a todos los que piensan así."
    "Nunca estamos solos."
    Este ya es un buen consejo.

  7. Hi Suelo, I’m new recently found this.. Do u think Feed forward & self actualization go hand in hand? Self actualization as described in Victor Frankl’s “Mans search for meaning.” If I understand the consceps correctly the more a person forgets about themself in some effort the more they actualize themselves which I think could be the some process of feed forward... which could be just living life without regard to the self benefit/self importance..

    Do you ever think the Abundance of fossil fuels in the ground which is here now available is also part of this system that is already paid for? Like this day in age has purpose for the human race to be using this for some reason maybe evolve into higher consciousness beings?? It’s really poisoning the planet but maybe that was the plan all along?? Why else would be have enough fuels the ground to keep doing what we are doing for another couple hundred years... Maybe it’s to teach us a lesson that profitability is hurting not helping us survive :)

    Sorry I could go on and on with questions...

    I like referencing to physics, have you heard of a book “Physics of immortality?” I Haven’t read more than a few pages but it seems interesting... I think it’s based on a physicist claiming that if god existed physics would find it. And I want to say the final outcome of the research is figuring out that the entire universe is “god.”

    I like your videos posted here very inspiring thank you


    1. Hi this is Ben again, I am replying to my own post above and if you don’t mind I would love to hear some of your wisdom.... I feel like you are a great spiritual guide and If don’t mind me asking more questions! do you believe in life after life in a heaven or hell as a human being in the same form? Is that what typical modern day religion belief is which seems fear based? Or would a heaven or hell be here now in the present moment where hell would be a state of mind and heaven a state of enlightenment...? And would this be more of a belief that we are all part of a higher consciousness where the entire universe is pure consciousness and even if the human race doesn’t make it (can’t get over - let go of money) we would just reincarnate in some other form/consciousness some where else in the universe. Basically the idea is self is as much of a mirage as the concept of money. This makes me think of Buddhism emptiness concepts which I have read about in the kadampa flavor that being born into the world of form as human is in fact rare & precious... But goes on to point we are something else.. right??

      What I don’t understand and I have even asked a Buddhist nun is in Buddhism the mind reincarnates which then to me implies that the self or ego can too.. which is confusing with the whole emptiness thing...

      I have been drawn to the spiritual path for just being in a state of suffering in an on going chapter of my current life and I find your work very inspiring

  8. Hi Ben -
    Thanks for your insights & questions.

    I like much better your using "feed" instead of "pay", though I often use "pay it forward" to appeal to the mind entrenched in the paying system). Yes, I think feeding it forward is self-actualization.

    Self-credit is ego, delusion. Feeding it forward is giving up ego (self-credit). As the Bhagavad Gita states, giving up the fruit of one's actions is the path to enlightenment, for it is giving up ego. We think ego is ourselves, but ego prevents us from realizing our Self, which is the Whole (Atman, Breath) not the individual! All credit goes to the whole, and only the deluded mind thinks anything originates from itself.

    I'm intrigued by your thoughts about fossil fuels. Yes, I feel as you do that fossil fuels are indeed fed forward to us, for our benefit. We have no little or no awareness of the creatures or processes that created petroleum, nor do we give them credit. But this is the case with everything that exists in the present! Everything around us was fed forward for the benefit of all that exists in our present! How could it not be, really? It's the law of the universe.

    But what is fed forward to us becomes destructive to us when we steal it as a possession and take credit for it, believing we are entitled to it. Precisely because we don't feed it forward, it becomes our poison! This is what has happened with fossil fuels - or with anything we believe we earned and own and sell. Yes, fossil fuels are for our benefit and are a good thing, but we have turned them into a hoarded and destructive commodity. We've done this with most everything, precisely because we have interrupted the feed-it-forward principle of nature!

    Ah, life after life, heaven & hell, and reincarnation!

    Yes, I see life after life, because I observe it every moment. It's not a belief but an observation. Every moment my old life passes away and my new life begins. Every moment I am reincarnated into a new life. This is a concept found in both Buddhist and Christian scripture, because it is not a belief but an observation anybody can make. "I die daily" means I am born again daily. "All things have passed away and all things have become new." The New Heavens and New Earth are perpetually Now. Only my mind that is deluded, that clings and owns and can't let go, thinks that "I" am the same person "I" was two seconds ago.

    Jesus' very first recorded statement is "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand". He also states "the Kingdom of heaven is within you." Not far away, not a future reward to work for, but observable by anybody right here, right now. But this first seed of all Jesus' teaching has become completely lost on "Christian" doctrine. It is the seed of every world religion.

    It is impossible for us to love each other and and respect beings (our neighbor) when we think there is a better place to go. Because love is not leading us, we look for heaven. When one cares about love first, one sees reality and no longer cares for heaven or hell, except for facing heaven and hell in front of our faces.

    The Muslim mystic Rabia Basri couldn't have said it better:

    "I want to put out the fires of Hell, and burn down the rewards of Paradise. They block the way to Allah. I do not want to worship from fear of punishment or for the promise of reward, but simply for the love of Allah."

    1. Hi Suelo, this is Ben again. Out of curiosity..

      Does life still challenge you to be completely present? As much as it would have maybe 20 years ago? I love the stuff when you mention being present and not being anxious about a next meal (or anything really) using trust/faith that it will just show up... as if it’s already provided - planned for in a feed forward system..

      Sometimes my life can feel like a concentration camp (a real real suffering self) but if I work on being completely present Vs off in “thinking land” it helps, sometimes a lot.

      I feel like if I can repeat the word mentally “presence” and “present” a 10000 times on a really good day I can almost radiate the word in a place of little mental activity. Weekends are my toughest challenge and with my young family sometimes I feel like it can make the difference of a good weekend Vs bad..

      Then life puts this to the test and lets me know I can improve. The test almost always comes thru in my intimate relationship and its really hard not to resort to a place of attack & defend. Once I’m there and I can feel emotions especially anger it can take couple days to come around to feel good again in the present moment. Sometimes I can witness my mind muttering negativity and thru presence I feel like I can dissolve it’s power into the present. It’s like life tests me to try and be a brighter light than the darkness. Maybe this is the “importance of relationships” it’s my biggest teacher. Like this life my relationship is the root of my spiritual practice. Whether it’s normal or not..

      I love how you mentioned being “continuously being born into the world” wow that’s powerful.. I’m still trying to digest that! There’s no better present moment awareness than that! It’s like it references that we are much more than being human, like it points to the truth the eternal life that is capable of being much more than a human being... like life itself as a whole that exists in all creatures.. even though the cells in my body regenerate many times something continues onward... oneness..

      If you don’t mind me asking did you ever have to train your brain for present moment awareness or did that come naturally as a part of your upbringing or anything?

  9. Hello Daniel I love these talks, I was just wondering if you could elaborate on your thoughts on the symbolism of the Menorah? Since you said it was a whole talk in itself.

    1. Thanks, Brandon. I have an essay on the mysticism of the Menorah, and how it illustrates the Eternal Present of the Genesis creation, that I need to edit publish on the internet. I can let you know. Your asking me about it motivates me to do it, thanks.

    2. That is awesome, look forward to it. Life is amazing there is so much to learn, and go deeper into. Thank YOU Daniel. :)

  10. I have a lot of respect for Suelo, because he is a living witness to the fact that we don't need money to survive. I am a Christian, and while a lot of church people I meet can say a lot of pious sounding things, most of the time they don't live what they claim. In fact, most don't even CLAIM to live anything Jesus said about money. But Suelo seems different, and that needs to be commended. Good work! --

  11. Hi Daniel!

    I first found you through this video back in 2015 : "" and I have to say I was so deeply touched that I thought about you for years. Your philosophy on the nature of life is incredible, raw, refreshing, etherial, and offers so much opportunity for self-introspection. I'm a life coach who specifically coaches on deliberate living. I would like to feature you in an interview series showcasing people who dare tp live alternative lifestyles that fall outside of societal norms. Through your story, I want to showcase that WE CAN make choices where others believe there are none to be made. That we get to decide how we live our lives in alignment with our higher inner Truth and to have the courage to question every norm and foundation our societies are built on, in order to live life with the highest integrity.

    Would you be interested in exploring the idea of having a video discussion with me regarding how you came about the idea of living a money free life?

    1. Hi Fawzia -
      excuse my long delay. Thanks for sharing this with me - it makes me smile. Yes, I'm up for a video discussion, if you're still interested.

  12. Your words, thoughts and actions are a cool oasis in a desert of unknowing.

  13. Hi Suelo
    I'm daisuke texting from Japan.
    First of all I wanted to say thank you very very much!!!!
    I have started life without money from one month ago. And it's makes me happy so much. Now I can appreciate to everything, to nature, to the people,and universe. I feel I have real relationship with people by love, kindness and whatever goodthings instead of money. Actually money makes ceparate human relationship and lonely. Now I understand this after I've started the life without money. Now I abondone money and my house. Moving everyday by my own foot with my music instrument, handpan, and meet new people and make deep relationship with love and kindness. And when I find beautiful spot in nature I play my handpan, sometimes I play for the people to meet accidentaly.
    Actually I wasn't sure I can manage living
    without money before I start, but now I'm very sure this life perfectly suiting to me and now loving my life FULLY!!!
    It's full of thanks to you and Schwermer. I'm influenced so much by you two.
    I'm not sure it's ok to write down pritvate massage to you here. If it's not good, please delate this. I just wanted to say thank you so much!!!!!!!
    Someday I want to see you and talk. Looking forward that day.


    1. Thanks for your words, Daisuke! What you are doing and saying makes me smile.

      You might already know about these people, but Sawaki Kodo (1880-1965), a "homeless" Japanese monk, and Dogen Zenji (1200-1253CE) have been big influences in my life. Kodo was a "homeless" monk not very long ago and Dogen brought Soto Zen to Japan and denounced Japan's materialism 800 years ago. They were both pretty hard-core but inspiring.

      "Heaven and Earth give themselves. Air, water, plants, animals, and humans give themselves to each other. It is in this giving-themselves-to-each-other that we actually live. Whether you appreciate it or not, it is true." --Kodo Sawaki

      "Students of the Way, do not worry about food and clothing. Just maintain the
      Buddha’s precepts and do not engage in worldly affairs. The Buddha said to use
      abandoned rags 1 for clothing and beg for food. In what age will these two things
      ever be exhausted? Do not forget the swiftness of impermanence nor be disturbed
      vainly by worldly affairs. As long as your dew like human life lasts, think exclusively
      of the Buddha-Way and do not be concerned with other things.... In this world, inherently each person receives a certain amount of food and clothing as a gift. It does not come by being sought after nor does it stop coming by not seeking after it. Just leave it to
      fate and do not worry about it. If you refrain from arousing bodhi-mind in this life,
      excusing yourself on the grounds that this is the degenerate-age, in what life will it be
      possible to attain the Way?" --Dogen Zenji

    2. Hi Suelo!!
      Thank you for your reply!!
      I didn't notice it�� sorry for late reply.

      My abondone currency life is already more than 7weeks.

      I knew them through you, and read them word...

      I can understand and feeling very sure what they say more and more I continue the life without money and abondone everything

      When I do FREELY GIVE, FREELY RECEIVE I can receive what I need for that time and that day.
      It's continues 7weeks, everyday.

      I feel I am the living evidence that it's true what they say☺

      And I feel one another thing, it's not important to use money or not anymore
      I mean if someone attached to money it's not good,
      For me, I explain my situation but sometimes people give me a money, and I don't refuse it(because if I refuse it I feel it makes them sad.) So I after receive them I use money for someone not for self.

      If I think I don't use money strongly, I feel that idea makes me bind.

      After I start this way, feeling I control myself about money

      Anyway thank you again!!
      I really appreciate your reply and what introduced to me.

      I continue my life with FREELY GIVE, FREELY RECEIVE


      Daisuke Kuraishi

  14. I really like his talk and thanks for sharing the edited transcript of this TEDx, slides included, on your website.

  15. Hi Daniel, I highly admire your commitment and perseverance to what our divine creator meant for all of us through what the universe freely provides for all of us. I want to follow this road with all my heart and feel it is the right way to go as a being on this plane of existence. Our life experience should follow the laws of the universe in service to others. We could never advance as a species if we continue on this money based path.

  16. What are your favorite books Daniel? Great content as always. peace

  17. Hello!
    I'm an ELT coursebook writer and I'd like to include a short text about you in an upcoming book. Could I send you a copy of the text so you can check you're happy with the content?

    1. Yes, that'd be good, thanks.

  18. The Spiritual Laws and Their Associated Promises

    1. Seek truth, ... And, you shall find it.
    2. Have faith in yourself, ... And you shall fear nothing.
    3. Embrace each emotion, ... for all are good, ... And you shall acquire divine understanding.
    4. Acknowledge, appreciate and deserve your capacities, ... And you shall be given more.
    5. Take money, time and distance out of all equations, ... And you shall find treasure, now, where you are.
    6. Recognize symbolism as the greatest teacher in the universe, ... And you shall continuously learn.
    7. Accept that there are no coincidences, ... And you shall never lose hope.
    8. Never take more than you need, ... And you shall always have enough.
    9. No one is too rich or too important or too busy to waste what they have been given. ...  And you shall be gloriously grateful and find joy everywhere and always.
    10. Learn that your intentions are your true self. ... And you shall begin an inward journey.
    11. Be considerate of, ... have respect for ... and thus revere all life. ... And so shall it be unto you.
    12. John Lennon almost had it right. Appreciation is All There Is. For when you are humbly appreciative you have love and respect and patience, etc. but also care for, are protective of, nourish, etc. that which you are thankful for.