Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened — as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding — she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.
On being Audacious
Originally posted by White Rhino this is an inspiring story by Joe Laur from SoL, the Society for Organizational Learning, friend and systems thinker was recently at 7th Generation with the SoL Sustainability Consortium. SoL’s soul purpose is to build the capacity in organizations and society to achieve economic, ecological and social sustainability so that all life can thrive for all time. In the 2-day session the group of SoL companies discussed Climate Change and what companies need to do to make a difference. Here is one of Joe’s many stories. This one is about how to think about being as big as the challenge…
An amazing question?
There is something that continues to amaze me every time I see a big spiritual festival announced in which the superstars and celebrities of the mystic heavens, the gurus and the pundits, the successful therapists and masters of living a beautiful life take the stage. If I understand most of the teachings that they are espousing then the wholsesome, holistic, spiritual and sustainable future of life on our planet is high on their agenda. “We need to come together, need to experience the oneness” and so on, so we can help the woes that we all and the world suffers now will fade out. And we all agree on this, don’t we? working every day at finding and creating ways that will help build a sustainable future for this and the coming generations.
So what really amazes me is that not once I hear or read about one of these stars, masters and teachers, be they male or female, or even several of them trying to get each other around the table to devise or let emerge some initiative or program that would be truly irresistible, since all these people have a lot of followers, supporters and fans… and what would happen if they would all support each other, creating a mutual, co-operative “what shall we call it?”.
Please, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not complaining at all. I’m just really amazed, as I do take – at least I have for a long time – these teachings serious. Maybe you have an answer to this question. How come “the enlightened ones” don’t get it together?
If I were a bomb
ready to explode,
if I have become
dangerous to your life,
then you must take care of me.
You think you can get away from me,
I am here, right in your midst.
(You cannot remove me from your life.)
And I may explode
at any time.
I need your care.
I need your time.
I need you to defuse me.
You are responsible for me,
because you have made the vow (and I heard it)
to love and to care.
I know that to take care of me
you need much patience,
I realize that in you there is also a bomb to be defused.
So why don’t we help each other?
I need you to listen to me.
No one has listened to me.
No one understands my suffering,
including the ones who say they love me.
The pain inside me
is suffocating me.
It is the TNT
that makes up the bomb.
There is no one else
who will listen to me.
That is why I need you.
But you seem to be getting away from me.
You want to run for safety,
the kind of safety
that does not exist.
I have not created my own bomb.
It is you.
It is society.
It is family.
It is school.
It is tradition.
So please don’t blame it on me.
Come and help;
if not, I will explode.
This is not a threat.
It is only a plea for your help.
I will also be of help
when it is your turn.
– Thich Nath Hahn
We are the next Buddha
Helen wrote in her blog “Why the next Buddha will be a collective.” I hope to show with this article where I am coming from in this regard so that in the time to come we can have beautiful dialogues, trialogues or any other -logues to help this meme propagate.
I guess, for me it all started in earnest when in the summer of 2005 one of my trainees asked, “What about we?” I guess, he asked that because I was using my own path and experience as a template for the spiritual journey, as most spiritual teachers do. Because that’s what I felt myself to be at that time, a spiritual teacher. And, being steeped in a guru culture, my role was centered around having a ‘working relationship’ with the divine, by whatever name you want to call it, and my teaching and methods were congruent with that. (I won’t go into the aspect of the “teaching beyond words and scripture” that also is very much a part of this; some of how I looked at these matters you find here.)
The question really struck me, and so I started to read a lot of Martin Buber, and what he had to say about the possible quality of true relationship moved me deeply.
Wer in der Beziehung steht, nimmt an einer Wirklichkeit teil, das heiÃŸt: an einem Sein, das nicht bloÃŸ an ihm und nicht bloÃŸ auÃŸer ihm ist. Alle Wirklichkeit ist ein Wirken, an dem ich teilnehme, ohne es mir eignen zu kÃ¶nnen. Wo keine Teilnahme ist, ist keine Wirklichkeit. Wo Selbstzueignung ist, ist keine Wirklichkeit. Die Teilnahme ist umso vollkommener, je unmittelbarer die BerÃ¼hrung des Du ist.
Das Ich ist wirklich durch seine Teilnahme an der Wirklichkeit. Es wird umso wirklicher, je vollkommener die Teilnahme ist.
Being in relationship one participates in reality, that means, one participates in a being that is not only one’s inner being nor is it the being outside of one. All reality is a becoming-real in which I participate without my being able to take possession of it. Without participation there is no reality. Where there is a taking into possession to oneself there is no reality. The more perfect the participation the more immediate is the touching of the thou.
The I is real through its participation with and in reality. And it becomes more real the more perfect the participation is.
(My translation of Martin Buber: Das Dialogische Prinzip – Ich und Du – Seite 65-66)
Over time starting to understand what Martin Buber is indicating I left behind my formal conviction that was very much founded on experiences interpreted through Eastern philosophy and spirituality. “Thou art That” (Vedanta)… “I and the world are one” (Upanishads)… “I am is all there is” (Advaita). And I was moved to explore in all manners possible to me, what is between us.
During the winter seminar of the same year I went for a walk in a wooded valley nearby. The afternoon sun was coloring the snow golden white, the gurgling streamlet hid underneath a thin layer of ice and a deep blue sky spanned over the wonderful silence, when all of a sudden I saw a flock of finches, sparrows, stock doves and a rusty brown bird with a many-colored tail that is very common here. Different birds in one flock settling in a couple of trees and starting a game, it seemed, flying from branch to branch and tree to tree: a fink jumped-flew onto a branch on which a dove was sitting who then flew to a branch on which one of the brown birds was sitting and so on. And it seemed to have a rhythm: the birds in a game I used to play as a child called “BÃ¤umchen wechsle dich” – a delightful jumping and a flying all over.
I had never seen anything like it or heard of it before, yet this experience befitted my development of the period very well. It isn’t important what species of bird I am with – what matters is engaging with what is between us, “Can we find a common game?” I wrote in my diary. Because then we can play with all species of birds in the trees of life. You show yourself as the sparrow or the dove you are, as the crane or the eagle or any other bird you find yourself to be, and you are taking the other birds just the way they are… and then something new, unknown, a never before seen or experienced game begins. Whatever song you sing let’s hear it, and listen to our melody, because without both the game, our joyous, delightful, mutual game cannot happen.
That spring and summer I was in trouble because I started to see that I couldn’t go on with my old way of teaching in which I was the one that “has it”, and the people coming to me didn’t – or where not conscious of it. Not, that I didn’t feel connected anymore to the deep sources of life and being, not that there were no more Satori’s or deep mystical states – quite the contrary many of my days were spent in a very juicy sense of lightness, as if bubbles of champagne were coursing through my veins. But it was what I and others made out of this that was the trouble. It was the ‘vertical spirituality’ in the patriarchal mode that I became wary of. It reminded me very much of feudalism, a social structure that I didn’t want to be part of anymore.
And as my opposition was growing (the article linked above was written in that period; you can see how very critical it is) so was my insight into what I came to call the emerging archetype of the “between us”. There is the huge P2P movement, Wikipedia, open source programming, sharing economy, distributed research, Web 2.0 & 3.0, etc.; the Internet has opened a huge gate towards the culture of collaboration in the production of knowledge and understanding but also of products and services.
I also came in touch with spiritual teachings and philosophies that are deep and and encompassing, thorough and practical and sophisticated as well, which apparently are not in need of the ‘vertical stance’ (John Heron‘s participatory spirituality, Jorge Ferrer‘s revisioning of transpersonal psychology, Alan Rayner’s inclusionality, Samuel Bonder‘s wakening down in mutuality… to name but a few).
I also saw that many of the methods I was using already for quite some time – dynamic presencing for instance – could be regarded very much as an expression of the spirit between us, the “We” (whenever I am alluding to the emerging archetype of the “between us”, which is also “the spirit between us” I will from now on be using We with capital W). And as I realized this the methods changed to incorporate this understanding. I started to realize that my real art is creating an atmosphere and situations in which the We can appear and start to move and even incorporate each and every one of us. The beauty of course is that this understanding meshes with another insight that came out of facilitating “Enlightenement guaranteed ;-)” events, a method that has become famous through Genpo Roshi who calls it “Big Mind”. Suffice it to say here that this method uses voices or sub-personalities as the main gate to understand how the human mind works. So there is not only the We between the many persons outside of us but inside of us as well. These ideas evolved into an understanding that I will sketch in more detail below.
Then in autumn and winter 2006 I went through a deep existential crisis which touched all aspects of my life, heart and mind – to put it in the metaphor I met the senex, Saturn, and it took quite some time before I could discover the We and allow it to unfold between us. But as spring dawned and with it my old friend Jupiter it was as if I started to hear a symphony – many different melodies coming together. And if I put it in language, this is how it sounds…
At this moment of our history we are on a critical path starting to leave an old view behind. If I am to sketch the perspectives of this view in a few broad strokes I would say it is basically one of centralism. It reminds me of what I think went on at the time when Kepler revolutionized the astronomical place of earth and sun. Before him most people, even the most intelligent ones, believed the earth was the center of the cosmos. But now he showed that the sun was at the center. It took a few hundred years for us then to realize that this is really not so, this cosmos does not have a center (more about this metaphor it in this article). So instead of our sun being at center we are now faced with innumerable stars and their relationships – constellations and configurations. So as beautiful as the sun might be around which I turn, and as enlightening the sun might be around which you turn, we are discovering that if we do not find the We (the movement and nourishment in our relationships and what happens or doesn’t happen in it) between us this universe starts falling apart into discrete stars and galaxies which are separated by huge stretches of empty space.
So it is very beautiful and makes deep sense that obviously this space is not empty at all; it is flowing over with the We that embraces all. And as I said, the We is making itself felt, understood, intuited all over this globe and is manifesting in many different ways – as people wanting to cooperate, to collaborate, to be in community and communion, seeing that the time of heroes (central suns) is definitely over, the time for the saviors and lone leaders that could set things right again. The world and its problems have become so complex that we can only hope to find adequate answers in “circles”of very different people where we can meet eye to eye and heart to heart – in a sort of collective leadership maybe. And this is underfoot already on a worldwide scale. The place here would not suffice to mention all the initiatives that are going on all over the world. Yet, this is one aspect of We manifesting.
Another aspect is the sense of spiritual or soul families or clans finding each other again across countries and continents. It is as if we have chosen ages ago to come together in this critical time on the planet to be midwives to what is wanting to emerge. What ever may be the case we do recognize each other and there is an immediate connection beyond words, even beyond understanding; all we do is accept it.
A third aspect manifests through what has been called the Circle Being, manifesting as a higher order of being together with an incredible coherence that draws in the individuals participating. This certainly is We, being highly coherent. (Helen has written about it here, and I have also reported a very strong experience here). The “between us” can also come into being in what has been called “a silver moment” or in German Sternstunde, “stellar hour”. In the Bible it has been alluded to – and much misinterpreted as only applying to the divine person of Jesus – as, “Where two or three are gathered in My Name there am I am in their midst.” (Matth. 18:20)
A fourth aspect is the insight that our very consciousness itself can best be regarded as plural and not singular as a traditional mysticism has it. In the individual this shows itself as sub-personalities or the many voices that speak in us – for instance the ego, the inner child, the judge, the saboteur, the seeker, the achiever, the non-seeking mind, the inner master, the higher self etc.. So looking at our individual consciousness or psyche as a “we” rather than as an “I” would pave the way for a “circle being” to manifest inside the mind of the individual. This to me at this moment is one of the most interesting aspect of the emerging archetype.
It seems obvious that the “inner We” does not dissolve individuality, I or ego; it rather enhances its possibilities and functionality, because as the so far dominant ego realizes its embeddedness it can let go much easier of its compulsory need to control, and become part of the conductorless orchestra of the “inner We” tuning in to the “larger We” dawning on all of mankind and even, so I think, all beings and what we now still call derogatively ‘dead matter’.
This allows us to regard the emerging We as a scalable, fractal phenomenon on many and maybe even all levels. Contemplating all of this I come to the understanding that I am called – as are many others – to support and nourish these dynamic constellations of individuals and voices to configure themselves so that the transformation that is necessary for the health of the planet and its inhabitants is facilitated optimally.
Towards an Integral & Pluralistic Spirituality
An archetype is emerging – the archetype of a participatory, integral and pluralistic spiritual culture.
People all over the world — caring about the life on and of this planet, and experiencing themselves as embedded in continually expanding networks and environments — are seeking genuine, open and constructive dialogue and mutual support in their work towards a better world and spiritual wholeness: one planet on which all beings are at home.
Until very recently in our history values and practices have been mostly generated in vertical structures, and this is especially true regarding life-guiding or value-generating structures of learning, practice and daily life, the structures of spirituality and religion. Whereas in many ways the Internet has provided ways and means to transcend and surmount ‘verticality’ and promotes a co-creative, participatory and pluralistic approach to all kinds of matters and processes (P2P, Wikipedia, open source programming, sharing economy, conscious capitalism, distributed research, Web 2.0 & 3.0 etc.) this approach seems to be missing very much in spirituality and religion.
Also the spirituality that is now on the increase in business, psychology, politics, and numerous other fields of human endeavor is almost entirely ‘vertical’ in teaching and structure, being founded mostly on what is often called perennial philosophy. This philosophy acertains that the material world is the shadow of a higher reality, that spirituality and religion (re)establish the link between the human soul and this higher and ultimate reality, and that the Ultimate Reality, whatever name it is given, is the Absolute (principle/space) from which all existence originates and to which all will return.
Even the post-60ies, or ‘modern’ spirituality – after freeing itself from ego- and intrinsically ethnocentric views, from materialism and scientific reductionism – is still enthralled by the perennial philosophy and happily believes itself to aspire to, be informed or blessed by, and basically move around a singular Transcendent Sun common to all faiths, creeds, mysticisms and spiritual paths and practices.
This spirituality seems to resonate with the situation in astronomy when we believed that our sun was the center of the universe.
We have had to learn, though, that obviously this universe does not have a center at all or, to put it differently and just as true, the universal center is everywhere. And yet, when it comes to our spirituality we are very reluctant to take serious what we have learnt from studying the heavens astronomically. We object to the image that there are numerous Transcendent Suns around which meaning, understanding, love, devotion and divine, true and valid mystic experience revolves. And even then, surrendering one’s defenses against this understanding, one still would love to salvage some of perennial philosophy’s tenets by believing these Suns to turn around a common Center. And indeed, it seems that some Suns do; for instance the Suns of most Christian, Islamic and Jewish faiths turn around the Monotheistic Galactic Center. Yet, other Suns do not turn that way, they participate in and form other constellations in different Galaxies of our local cluster.
The present day spiritual explorer, teacher and finder is having to face a huge challenge – to come to grips with the undeniable non-centeredness of the cosmos, the plurality of suns and galaxies, the undoing of all ‘cosmic justifications’ for vertical structure and certainties. This might be as scary for us as it wasn’t when it was possible anymore to reasonably doubt Kepler’s, Copernicus’ and Newton’s discoveries. The beautiful certainties of old are evaporating, and with it what gave purpose and meaning to life. All of a sudden we find ourselves in an endlessly open universe that doesn’t turn around us or around what we hold sacred anymore. The One Transcendent Sun setting and a multitude of Stars lighting up the mysterious darkness we now find ourselves in.
This is the challenge: seeing that there are no pre-given and objective constellations in the skies anywhere, and wholeheartedly facing and embracing this freedom; moving from a bi-directional, vertical understanding of the Highest and Lowest towards an omnidirectional, participatory, co-created, radically pluralistic reality.
It dawns on us, a cosmos with innumerable Suns around which a multitude of constellations of experience, understanding, faith and meaning are configured and brought forth, all participating in the dynamic matrix of the mystery we call reality
Formerly embedded in what I’ve been calling “vertical spirituality” it was a personal existential/spiritual crisis which made me realize what I’ve tried to sketch above. Since then I have come in touch with numerous people all over the world moving in this general direction. This in turn has convinced me that, indeed, what is emerging at this time and age is more than a personal revelation. It is an archetype emerging, the archetype of a pluralistic, polycentric, participatory spirituality which is surfacing in many ways, reckognized and not yet reckognized, and being explored with numerous methods which mostly are still very much experimental.
Now, after the the crisis has led me into these truly awesome and beautiful whereabouts, exploring the consequences of such a sea-change in understanding, living, feeling and teaching, I have started assembling material for a book that I hope to write – a portrait of the emerging archetype and how it translates into action, teaching and community all over the world.
Hopefully the book-project in due time will also become a web-plattform for people wishing to communicate what is emerging here, and finally an Academy that will provide an institution where teachers can learn, where students can connect, where all of us can study and learn from each other what richness this emergence offers to us and all of mankind.
At this moment I am seeking financial support of ca. 30.000 € for this project.
The Flow of the Present – A Contemplation
space is like air… is like water…
… and matter very much like dynamic, standing waves.
[audio:http://www.mushin.de/audio/Flow_of_the_present(blog.mushin.de).MP3](7:52 Min – 2,7 MB) Download.
We do not see air – we see the wind moving grass and branches and leaves, and we feel the wind on our skin. What is present everywhere being so important to our life that we cannot do without it for more than a minute or two – we don’t see it. Air is so invisible that we act as if it were nothing – empty space.
And we see something different: things, objects and beings, humans – limited, separate, singular forms and gestalts.
Yet, closing our eyes we do not feel limits, even if we touch whatever-it-is.
Touching we can explore where surfaces interface & touch; we feel textures, temperature and sometimes inexplicable pulls and pushes, yet their limit and shape as independent form is added in our imagination. We create an image, imagine: not wrong, not right – an image.
We cannot touch the air; it’s surrounding us entirely. Only when moving we feel it – the wind of our movement.
We have no image of the air. It, being transparent, only is experienced in movement, touching grass, branches and leaves and all manner of ‘things’, carrying some of it along in its breeze, wind or storm.
We have no image of the air.
No image, but a feeling.
Holding our hands still with eyes closed in a windless place, the feeling-touching field of our hands goes way beyond the skin we see, imagining it to be its limit. Holding still we don’t feel were the hand ends and the air begins, and also we don’t feel were exactly our hand ends and where the arm begins… except if we use our imagination.
We don’t feel limits.
Just close your eyes and feel, sense and experience for yourself if there are any limits there, any separation, or if not everything is flowing into everything else…
Expanding the field of awareness to the whole body, you don’t know where what is called the body begins and ends. All limbs, all so called parts of your body flow into, melt into each other. You can discern between arm and hand but in your feeling experience, in the immediate presence of your awareness – eyes closed – you cannot separate them.
Separation is an act of imagination, an artifact of our cultural heritage – not good, not bad, just the case we can put our experience in. You can’t feel the limit, the separation, even though its easy to discern or differentiate.
And, feeling what’s called your body when you close your eyes it’s easy to feel the living spaciousness expanding way beyond the limits your imagination habitually creates.
A living spaciousness, a presence gradually melting into an absence. And when you focus on where exactly the presence ends and the absence begins… can you find it?
What’s present flows into what’s absent.
You feel the presence of the absence – not as if it were something, but also not as if it were nothing: The absent is present to you.
Just close your eyes and feel, sense and experience what your feeling reveals to you.
It is as if you were feeling unlimited vastness – space.
A space that, even more than air, permeates everything.
The more often you enjoy this spaciousness the more often you sense what flows within it – as if it were a soft breeze maybe or a current in water.
And you might feel a tingling in what, with your eyes open, looks like your body – the dynamic standing wave whose continual flow forms your whereabouts.
Sometimes the tingling feels like the fine bubbles in champagne, a freshness that bubbles through and through, coursing through the streamings in the whereabouts our imagination calls body.
Sometimes the tingling becomes stronger and stronger in certain areas of the dynamic standing wave that forms the flow of your whereabouts – maybe as if it were flowing into a whirl. (In New Age folklore these areas are called “chakras” using an ancient Indian, Sanskrit term: ???? “wheel”, vortex of aliveness.)
All of this appears where we are, at the place of our presence; not a separate place, not an object at all. Like a village is not separate from the landscape it’s embedded in, although easily discernable fom its surrounding, so we are never separate from the spaciousness that we feelingly so easily experience.
The myth of Cause and Effect – Or, is it really the slap that hurts?
Most of us think linear when it comes to what happens in life: “My cheek hurts, because someone slapped me”; “And now I am angry, because I did not deserve it.”
Scientists, at least the overwhelming majority, are certain that consciousness is caused by the grey matter residing in our head. So in this view having a revelation, for instance, is just a matter of some neurons firing and sending chemicals to other neurons – they even have a word for the discipline studying divine, mystical or other spiritual states of consciousness; neurotheology.
I have just read a scientific article which again states this theory in connection to free will – in this view the free will is an illusion as conscious states which lead to ‘free decisions’ are all caused by the brain. In this view “free will” cannot exist because everything is determined; in this case by firing neurons interchanging chemical substances as well. (Not once in all this scientific literature there is a deeper consideration of what most of us actually mean by free will, but I’ll let that go this time).
So cause (neuronal activity) –> effect (conscious state).
It cannot be denied, without uttering nonsense, that to actually be angry and feel this anger one needs adrenalin, for instance. As it is quite impossible to make love to your beloved without the appropriate hormones moving in your blood. So there certainly is a deep connection between our state of mind and our neuronal-chemical state. And whoever had a friend or acquaintance who suffered a brain-stroke will know the shock that comes when the person has a very different character from before or doesn’t even remember one’s name or face.
So we do think: cause (stroke) –> effect (change of character).
But if we do actually believe this I do not see how we can truly believe that our conscious states – let’s say a satori or divine vision – are actually what they themselves ‘say’ they are: revealing our true nature or the divinity of being, for instance. We cannot have it both ways. The scientists saying that consciousness is an epiphenomenon are then just more honest than the rest of us still wanting to believe in free will, angels, spirits etc., and/or a consciousness that is uncaused.
Surely this is not my view. The setting or finding of causes and effects happens in accord with a great myth, the myth of cause & effect. Even though the cause&effect-myth is really helpful and practical in many ways, especially when it comes to actions and their consequences or our technically advanced society (click ‘publish’ and this post appears on my blog, for instance). But what we usually do not see is that we create the story, we often divine the causes working backwards from the effect that we have differentiated from the whole situation/context.
What I do not like about this myth of cause & effect is that it fosters determinism – and in the case of the brain and consciousness a very impoverished story that robs its believers of a depth and richness another story might provide. So I’m reinterpreting the ‘facts of life’ that my culture is continually shoving onto me, reinterpreting the stale story of determinism.
In the case of brain and consciousness it seems to me that the states of consciousness and the physical states of the brain are synchronically coincident. Actually only in the materialistic myth it makes sense to say that brain and consciousness are separate phenomena and one is caused by the other. Everything is unfolding in concert, it is ‘resounding’ with everything else. The kinds of differentiations that we have used so far fosters the kind of culture we have in this day and age: an ecological, economic and political disaster-prone time. When we look with the eyes of the deterministic myth at the mystery called reality, for instance, trees are ‘things’ and not living beings with – yes! – a consciousness.
So beings move in concert – sometimes cacaphonically, sometimes polyphonically and sometimes symphonically, to differentiate a few of the many ways of relating between entities, beings and the whole. And when one looks in the cause&effect-way one takes a slice out of this resounding story to, maybe, know what to do. But looking at it as if the kosmos (signifying ‘harmonious whole’) were a concert one rather asks, how to be, how to sound right now.
In the cause & effect world there are laws. In the world of kosmic concert there are repeating melodies, rhythms and rhymes… which is why I’ve come to prefer that myth over the deterministic one.
The Self is an Archetype
The archetype of the self is the ‘product’ of an evolutionary development – we do not have a self, it has us once in a while 🙂 …
By archetype I mean a kind of constellation that psyche and cosmos have in common; they express themselves both in what we call reality and what we call our psyche – but more than that archetypes develop in this relatedness and at the same time (in)form it.
Around 7000 years ago (an estimate that I cannot explain right now) the archetype of the self appeared for the first time; it differentiated itself out of the archetype of the clan – the birth of individuality, the individual that could stand up to the gods… maybe this archetype is the one the ancient Greeks called Prometheus.
It appears to me as if presently a ‘new’ archetype is coming into being; it seems that what I call “between-us” and “we-consciousness” is very much part of this new constellation in cosmos & psyche… I really don’t know, but at times it is very clear to me.
Self-realisation would be the historic and personal prerequisite for this new archetype to appear on the evolutionary stage we’re on.
In self-realisation the song of praise of body, mind and spirit as one is sounded, and a true identity is forming when the personalities (inner child, controller, seeker and also the wise one etc.) are ready to become part of the choir; yes, once in a while the can sing a solo, but only once in a while and always as part of the choir as a whole. Individuation then would be the ’rounding’ of the archetype of the self in our psyche which expresses itself also in all kinds of synchronicities as all archetypes are inside and outside…
Archetypes last – they are not to be separated or isolated from existence and being (like disincarnated souls), and they are deathless yet evolving. As in our individuation or self-realisation the archetypes of, for instance, the ‘puer’ (what we call ‘inner child’ nowadays), the controller (in astrology that might be Saturn) and so on surrender to and become part of the rounded self – they don’t dissolve or ‘die’ – so in due time this archetype will become an organ of the now burgeoning archetype that I call “Between-Us”.
A man’s world?
In answer to a great post by Helen and her question about what men are about, I wrote an answer and I think it’s worthwhile to also post it in my blog. So here it is:
“I’ve just been informed by one of the beloved people I live with that she thinks it will be very difficult for me to ever find a suitable partner because I am independent and I don’t need anything. So a man can’t feel important and powerful, and men won’t enter into a relationship unless they feel important. Is that so? Are there any men out there who can shed some light on this for me?”
I know this is almost a month later, and maybe you’ll have found suitable answers to these questions already, but being a man, or so I somethimes think 🙂 there are some answers here that might be of use.
“So a man can’t feel important and powerful, and men won’t enter into a relationship unless they feel important. Is that so? ” I don’t know if men generally have this need to feel powerful and important. I am often rather motivated by the feeling of doing something meaningfull and supportive of people around me.
I rather find another general ‘need’ among men – it is the need to be free, which seems to mean, free to go our own way unchecked.
Our first experience as man is of a strong and all-powerful woman – our mother. She sets the limit to our relentless curiosity. She is also the one who had to cope with our sensual joys as they develop: all boys from the age of 1 or 2 years old onwards like to play with their pecker a lot if you let them, sometimes proudly presenting it in it’s hardened shape to their mother and others around. This is not encouraged, to say the least. From this we must conclude that there is something wrong with our feelings – especially pleasurable ones.
So women have power over our sensual and sexual feelings, a conclusion that a boy correctly draws; at least I found that in me. Such powerful beings are best kept at a little distance in the hope that if they hurt us (and that they inevitably will at some time) it will not be too overwhelming. We want to be free from that prohibiting influence.
I guess that men, wanting to feel important and powerful, are going for a compensation for the little power they have over women – and the huge power they have over ‘us’. This is a conclusion I draw from the first ‘men’s group’ I did as part of the Dionysian Festival I organise here in Postupice (Czech Rep.) once a year. Asking the men to share their most traumatic experience it’s all about this huge power of women in their life and how they were hurt. And how now, trying to protect themselves against it, they don’t want to get too intimate (and I would add especially with a strong, independent woman – especially if she isn’t obviously restraintful. The need to be with a young woman might very well stem from the centuries of experience that these women have not enough power to overwhelm us. The sad part being, of course, that they don’t allow for a peer2peer partnership where we can truly meet eye to eye).
I’m not such a fan of what I call “vertical spirituality”; much rather I take a stand for what so far I’ve called ‘cooperative spirituality’ (more about that here). The vertical spirituality looks for ‘higher development’ etc. to gain power over the ‘lower’ levels of development – basically. (You can see some of it’s results in the frequent mean-green-meme bashing that is going on in Wilberian circles – which is another topic showing, in my view, some of the possible pathologies of yellow and beyond – if indeed that color coding makes any sense). This is the spiritual male’s way out of the necessary acceptence of powerlessness, unknowing and embeddedness that we have to face.
There is no culture of suffering – rather every man seems to be looking for a way out: either through spirituality, or technology or or economy/politics/military. The Buddha’s promise that there is an end of suffering hasn’t done much good either, as I see it. (As not many people – usually men – have been able to go that way to it’s very end of enlightenment; so what about all of us who ‘fail’?)
Opening up to and opening up as the suffering here with me (in me) gives me depth and connects, showing me the blessing of being alive in the mystery called reality. If this ‘way’ is wrapped up in some kind of friendly heroic words men actually get interested in taking it I’ve found.
So, back to your question. When I look at your face on the picture with Geert (and I must say it looks familiar to me; have you been in seminars with Michael Barnett?) I don’t think that men will not be attracted to you. But what I do think that it is good to come from, “I really don’t know what you are, know, feel, etc.” This is what I practise with my girlfriend (I practise; she does whatever she does to go through the difficulties I manifest for her). Allowing myself to find out day by day what this paradoxical creature I’m with is being.
(She is definetly not a mirror – even though at times I see my ideosyncracies clearer though our interaction.)
I really have less and less idea of what it might be like to be a woman (or my girlfriend), and I’m happily and sadly surprised at times how unsurmountably different we are. So best to come from radical respect (and stop the telepathy-syndrom of thinking you know what the other means) and open heart, and see what life brings…
Hmm, I guess I got into rambling a bit. But maybe this might be of some help for you.
The Living Field Inspiration Newsletter – Issue 4/06
I took a distance from what I call ‘vertical spirituality’. If you want to know how and why then you will find reasons here in a short essay.
Actually I’ve had this coming for a long time as you can see from the article that I wrote originally in 2003 “Why God does not need a Throne“. And it does have consequences, of course. A friend, who recently visited, wrote, “It was also a lot of fun to be with you and the people of the Community. It’s beautiful to feel the changes time and again, and see that you guys nevertheless manage to use the chaos productively. Anyway, I think it is great that you let go of the vertical structures and guru-dom (even if this revolution comes from ‘above’ 😉 )”
Well, in my events and seminars things are not as chaotic as S. writes about the community’s development even though the vertical structures are disappearing more and more.
I call the direction in which I see us moving cooperative spirituality. All of this leads me to tell you what I have found useful these last weeks:
- After waking up in the morning I remember the many fields and dimensions in which I am embedded ( body, family, friends, neighbourhood, country, continent, planet, galaxis, flexiverse… and the subtle dimensions as well: the aura, fields and energies between us, the dimensions of the predecessors and disincarnate entities, the very subtle fields, the realm of archetypes and godheads, the nothingness and fullness: the whole unspeakable mystery…)
- Remembering that we ourselves are the highest authority – this is our reality, our life, our destiny, our development and opportunity…
- Remembering that reality always also is a co-production between me, the ones I’m with and all I am embedded in.
- Remembering my heart’s resolution: May the fullness and richness of all fields and dimensions be with me and all living beings.
- If I feel like it : sing, dance and express in any way what bubbles up from deep within.
- And then I let go of it all and move to do what’s next …
This is just a trial run of a new ‘morning exercise’ – and I would like it very much if you would use some similar process and tell about it, for instance in this weblog.
Much Love ,
PS.: Short remark re. “Silence & Celebration” from August 24th ’till 27th: We will also be silent outside the group-room (There will only be a very short possibility each day to confront burning questions).
Moving beyond the Patriarchal Temptation
This article is to be published on a German magazine soon – please do not publish or copy to other sites or places. Once it is published, I’ll put it up here regularly… and take this note away. So until then, feel free to link or comment.
Vertical Spirituality and the Suffering it Causes
Let’s start with two examples for the suffering recently caused by vertical spirituality:
Ken Wilber is an intelligent theoretician of spirituality and also an enlightened practitioner living what he speaks and writes about. If you’ve read his diary-like book “One Taste” you know that he has indeed realized the level of consciousness that he describes in his books as the highest.
All right then: June 8, 2006 Ken Wilber throws up a appalling rant against his critics on his weblog.
A Bold, Comprehensive, and Integral Strategy for the Middle East
I can only support this initiative with all my heart.
Hard Truths & Fresh Start:
A Bold, Comprehensive, and Integral Strategy for the Middle East
East Don Edward Beck, Ph D
The safest place in any crisis is always the hard truth. Distorted recriminations about the past and naïve idealism about the future can be just as blinding as the tear gas. Personal or political agendas, whether obvious or hidden, protect no one from simplistic suicide bombs or sophisticated air-borne rockets. The smell of cordite has a way of cleansing one’s filters, or at least focusing on what is real. Alas, we often refuse to deal with the hard truths until all sides lie bloody, exhausted, vanquished — having jointly destroyed the relationships and physical resources necessary to invent a better future. The mythical phoenix that rises from the ashes is too often a vengeful vulture.
But what are the ‘hard truths’ about the Israeli/Palestine crisis? What if we had the visionary minds and courageous hearts to address these core realities? Would a fresh start, one that transcends the current stalemate and repetitive cycles of violence, become a possibility? If so, what are its principles and contours? Who can introduce it? How might it self-organize into the mainstream?
The Dalai Lama about interdependency
“In today’s highly interdependent world, individuals and nations can no longer resolve many of their problems by themselves. We need one another. We must therefore develop a sense of universal responsibility… It is our collective and individual responsibility to protect and nurture the global family, to support its weaker members, and to preserve and tend to the environment in which we all live.”
The Divine in us…
I agree. Human kind has much to thank this Way and I gladly appreciate and honor that. Nevertheless, I say, in cooperative spirituality we come from seeing that the Divine – or what the enlightened have realized – is in everyone and everything. And we act accordingly. We don’t have to – like in vertical spirituality – have the enlightened experience to ‘move on’. We don’t have to feel, see or perceive the Divine to come from It being immanently present in him or her. Yes, I say, the Divine can actually be in hiding in him or her. What is important is to live with and from the acknowledgement that It is in him and her. That makes it much easier and more effective as in vertical spirituality to tease the Divine out, if one wishes to do so.
After our conversation we decide to create a huge oasis in the desert.
Cooperative Spirituality… a beginning
In the summer group this manifested as growing trust, and very, very deep experiences that we now could regard and inquire to in mutual respect and appreciation. And because we didn’t come from any prefabricated opinion or perspective or some spiritual teaching and point of view but rather supported each other in the art of dignifying inquiry and interpretation a great and hitherto unknown richness could unfold.
And we could see how this cooperative sprituality is also an emancipated spirituality in which one rediscoveres one’s own authority, power, love and intelligence and experiences that one can actually trust it. This shows the unending diversity as much as what connects us – the unity of being – and it also reveals the different poles of being human.
So with cooperative spirituality we can enter into the inheritance of the great vertical traditions (like Buddhism, Vedanta, Zen, etc.) without taking on their vertical, patriarchal top-down structures in teaching and being with each other.The transition is not always simple – one of my oldest students in the Czech Rep. said that he was irritated and even frustrated in the beginning by me not leading but much rather facilitating the seminar. But, he then added, what he had always wanted had now become a reality: a meeting from heart to heart and soul to soul, and a communion and communication beyond words, concepts and forms.