The Living Field & the Art of Living

childrendetail3-cory_enchWikipedia: Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music and literature.

In my most recent post I have been revisiting what I’ve called the Living Field, how I experience it and how I’ve worked with it and still do. Michel Bauwens of the P2P foundation extracted a “typology of fields” from that post and talked about it here.
I don’t know if it was the “Goldberg-Variations field” that Jascha Rohr tweeted about in response that got me thinking about art as a particular type of constellation of the living field or if it was the Wikipedia definition of art; it might also have been the dream I had this morning of creating a large scale systemic constellation in some unknown land and being struck by the beauty of what emerged…

One of the most amazing characteristics of a living field is that it creates epiphanies, realizations or comprehensions of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. In systemic constellations this might be some explicit pattern in the system one inquires into that is surfacing as an “Eureka!” experience, a surprising insight into why or how things are as they are; in a circle that has managed to surrender into a highly coherent we-fulness the epiphany can be the tacit experience of individually being embedded in a higher We or “Circle Being”; and in a Dynamic Presencing constellation it can be the undeniable sense of unity with ‘all-there-is’.
The living field is, it seems, childrendetail1-cory_enchcontinually creating or triggering epiphanic in-formation in living beings. And since my main gate to the spiritual realm is beauty – truth is beauty, love is beauty, the gods are beauty, the essence of life is beauty etc. – to talk about epiphanies is to talk about essential beauty. Beauty – something many of us look for in art – is an epiphany more or less strongly altering our conscious state, momentarily or sometimes even permanently changing us by changing the way we perceive the world and interact with it.

In previous posts I have suggested that a living field is a particular – often dynamic – constellation of elements and/or beings in space and time. It can be regarded as the network, the mesh of relations between all these elements and beings involved. We could also imagine a living field as a web of relationships that in and of themselves already are dynamic, comparable to a melody which can only be enjoyed or understood in their flow.
[This makes me think of the neuronal network in the brain and that this particular constellation gives rise to the ultimate form of beauty: consciousness.]

Take these lines of poetry:

Here are the miracle-signs you want: that
you cry through the night and get up at dawn, asking,
that in the absence of what you ask for your day gets dark,
your neck thin as a spindle, that what you give away
is all you won, that you sacrifice belongings,
sleep, health, your head, that you often
sit down in a fire like aloes wood, and often go out
to meet a blade like a battered helmet.

When acts of helplessness become habitual,
those are the signs.

But you run back and forth listening for unusual events,
peering into faces of travelers.
“Why are you looking at me like a madman?”
I have lost a friend. Please forgive me.

— from Acts of Helplesssness by Rumi

What makes the hair on my skin stand as I read the poem? Is it how I relate to it? Is it how words and meaning of the lines relate to each other as in, “to meet a blade like a battered helmet“? I don’t know. But following the trace of the experience in my imagination/memory it feels as if at a certain moment all the relationships between words, lines, meaning, feeling ‘gel’ into a highly coherent whole. The ecology of the living field has reached a tipping point and evokes an insight, feelings, childrendetail2-cory_enchconnectedness, inspiration – sheer beauty.
This leads me to the understanding that creating the ecology and atmosphere for a living field to resonate with high coherence is very much akin to art. This type of creation, though, goes way beyond the above mentioned definition of art as “deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions“. Creating living field art is also related to the question that shapes the boundary of that ecological niche of highly coherent resonance, asking, “Which dimension am I going to call on, explore and what are the ways, values and means I set out with?”

We know nothing of the living field in ‘ordinary circumstances’ – it is epiphanies that indicate the whereabouts of the high resonant spaces within it that can be used for artful constellation. And then, once the artist has gone through the epiphanic process provided by the living field, s/he can constellate circumstances and deliberately arrange elements so as to propagate an epiphany-prone ‘object of art’. A conversation, a poem, singing, growing a garden, sitting in a circle, writing, dynamic presencing, participatory design, intense we-fulness, the blossoming of the heart-chakra, cooking, painting, cuing up, communing with disembodied entities, a smile on the bus… it is epiphanies that turn these moments and movements into art, making space for beauty in form. There is, of course, always a magic at work, something forever out of control of the artist. Without it all these moments and ‘objects of art’ lose their color and feel; without this mysterious extra it all lacks authentic, beautiful presence in our real-life-stream.

childrendetail-cory_enchAn artist, a living field artist recognizes this ‘magic’, s/he follows its scent to where there is ‘light in the atmosphere’ that is on the brink of emerging as epiphany. S/he’ll arrange – often without knowing how – the words, gestures, colors, beings so that their relationships invoke and evoke, tease out what flows and resounds between them; these streaming sounds, the melody of the artist’s doing, entrain the relating participants into epiphany-prone circumstance. This is where everybody and everything involved is unfolding in a deeper, higher, utterly satisfying space, round and resting in itself, and expressing in religious people spiritually, in the aesthetic ones as beauty, in inquisitive beings as realizations and insights, in philosophic and scientific minds as truth, in life’s sailors as the winds of love, in kosmic space cowboys as bliss-bubbles, in earthlings as the joyful gravity of reality.

Becoming an artist of life entails more than sniffing out, co-creating, co-evolving the forms and ecologies for epiphany, it is developing spiraling processes that enlarge the circle of resonant living fields in the manifest and virtual realms by participating in their emergence wherever that may be, “making it up as we go” with all the other feelers of the collective world-being we truly are.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.

Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

childrenstorymural-cory_ench

Mural by Cory Ench

The Living Field, Participatory Design & Collaboration Ecology

field1Physics has discussed fields for quite some time but the term can very well be used in the context of the noosphere, our ‘inner’ landscape, the dimension inside and between living beings. Then there is the so called ‘knowing field,’a concept to explain the remarkable phenomena that happen in family-constellations; these phenomena are also explained using the ‘morphogenetic field’ theory as popularized by Rupert Sheldrake. Shall I mention the “Buddha-field”, a realm existing in the primordial universe outside of space time, produced by the Buddha’s merit? Hmmm, maybe. But surely I’ll acknowledge the ‘energy-field’  as I have been using the term in the “energy-work” I do since 1987, a term that later, upon leaving my role as a guru behind I’ve dropped to use “dynamic presencing” instead because it is a method, really, a way to create a greatly coherent region within the Living Field that connects, informs and enlivens living beings.

A field in physics is an intrinsic part of each point in space-time; we could say it informs that point and/or expresses it’s forces or properties and how it interacts with other points in space-time. A physical field can be measured by the proper gadgets.
field31A knowing field, as we encounter it in systemic constellations can not be measured with physical gadgets because it is not a physical property as we know them at this moment in history. But whoever has participated in a constellation and ‘all of a sudden’ knew things about the person s/he was representing will attest to its informative reality. Having both facilitated and participated in hundreds of systemic constellations I can affirm, “The knowing field is as real as the understanding you get by reading this constellation of letters, these paragraphs.” In some way a well facilitated constellation makes implicit knowledge, emotions, tendencies etc. explicit – deep, often transforming understanding surfaces through the dynamically located presence of representatives in a constellation.
The morphogenetic field [derived from Greek: morphe=form, and genese=create] as Rupert Sheldrake uses the term is also not (yet?) measurable by any means we know of but it gives us an elegant explanation of what helps form such sophisticated ‘things’ as plants or bodies. Genes act upon fields, which then act upon the developing organism, goes the thought. Ever since Sheldrake has experimented and written elequently about these fields they also are taken to be essentially non-local, and the theory also can explain why after, for instance, a substance has crystallized for the first time in one laboratory the next crystallization in a different laboratory far away happens both in a similar way and a tidbit faster; as if the field informs the substance of the ‘best way’ to form a crystal. In a very interesting way it is Plato’s theory of forms all over again.

With the Buddha-field we explicitly enter the dimension of spirituality. In essence, similar to a morphogenetic field, a Buddha-field would inform the aspirants on the Buddhist path by surfacing as enlightening experience or insight within the inner ecology of mind, the personal noosphere. A Buddha-field would differ from, for instance, a “Christ-field” as what it causes to surface in the inner ecology has different forms and different associations attached to these, but both fields (and other such as the “Aura” or “Subtle body field“, for instance) are surely part of the “Spirit-field” as it unfolds within and between conscious beings.

field5The Living Field that I have been accessing for the first time some 35 years ago but more systematically and consciously the last 25 years mostly through dynamic presencing and systemic constellations, and in the last 5+ years increasingly with circles of the heart and spontaneously in other contexts as well… the Living Field, in my view embraces all non-physical fields mentioned above in as much as they express within and between living beings. It surfaces as meaning, inner depth, beauty, healing, empowerment, solidarity, mutuality, to name but a few way that it comes to light. If we consider the effects a coherent living field can have on participation, engagement and collaboration and its consequences in social or financial benefits we might even arrive at quantifiable effects and eventually measurements in the future.

Most if not all of us have experiences of the living field. Remember the last time you were talking with someone and time faded away? You got so involved in the conversation, being absorbed in both listening and speaking, following the thread of the conversation, open, authentic, in full sympathy-mode… It was a “silver hour”. And when you remember it you don’t necessarily remember the exact content of that conversation; but it’s spirit still turns you on when you think about it. This is what a coherent living field can feel like.

As human beings we are super-social animals. The Living Field has evolved with and through all our ways of being together, and feeds back into it. We all know it immediately; it feels good, nourishing. It is most likely the main cause of the happiness a rich social life brings – and the suffering a lonely, disconnected life causes. It is connected with our emotions and most likely our highest ethical values that guide our every day actions (giving us ‘negative’ feelings when we do not move in the direction our ‘highest values’ indicate). We could regard the life-orienting values as ‘attractors’ in the living field, and because we are super-social we can very easily feel what moves the person we meet. A resonance in the living field between people creates some coherence that strengthens that particular constellation of values. A “silver hour” then is an event when a good conversation moves into higher and higher resonance: values are aligning, meaning is apparent and shared on the fly, empathic flows meander into blissful estuaries.

field6The Living Field spans the whole spectrum from the experience of being one with a Supreme Being, or Nature to the instant spark of sympathy upon seeing a stranger, from communication with disembodied entities to sitting in a circle with friends, from intuiting where the person sitting opposite you comes from to inspired teamwork. Yet, for the purposes of this post I refer to the Living Filed most of all in the practical context of participative design and the ecology fostering collaboration.

I have worked a lot on the concept but most of all on the practise of Collaboration Ecology in these last 2 years, co-creating social networking software and practices for community managers, community builders or whatever you want to call these new professionals serving the community and giving it a strong voice in the top-management of a social network. Getting to know Jascha Rohr recently and discovering how close our ideas on many of these issues come I’ve come to understand many of the principles underlying the creation of an ecology of collaboration as participatory design.

Imagine you have to create something that will be used by many people. Let’s, for example take the product to be a little park in a new neighborhood. Ordinarily the local government calls on some expert park planners or landscape architects, lets them draft some plans, presents these plans to the population through some bureaucratic procedure and then decides what it’s going to be. It then has this plan implemented by a company making the cheapest offer on tender. After a very long time, usually some years, the park is finalized and within a year or two it looks quite ugly because the city doesn’t have enough money to keep it in a beautiful state (if indeed it was that in the beginning), and since it’s not theirs but the government’s park the citizens do not take care.

park2Now imagine you involve many people from this neighborhood by using a process of participatory design. This means the citizens, maybe supported by a professional or two, don’t get to vote on 2 or 3 plans but actually collaboratively create the plan themselves in a participatory process. Because the facilitators of the participatory design process know of the power of a coherent living field they take much care for it to unfold its power; they create the beginnings of an ecology of collaboration. Making the plans within a coherent living field deepens the connection between people so that it is often amazing how fast and smooth the collection of ideas and wishes and the deciding on what is best for the common good goes. Obviously such a process turns all participants into stakeholders of the end-result, the park. And since it is not just communal property but has turned into a common good the likelihood that it will be received and kept beautiful for decades by the neighborhood is great. Actually it is most likely that it will be a focus of a coherent living field in the neighborhood much beyond clear psychological and social factors introduced by the participatory design process.

Grassroot-movements, since their first big bloom in the Sixties, have grown so much that this way of organizing is very much a standard among “concerned citizens”. When grassroot-movements have to deal with more traditional power structures (businesses, governmental organisations, etc.) the top-down approach of these organisations and the bottom-up structures of grassroot-organisations can cause very challenging situations.
Yet, looking at a situation like this as a living field that could well do with some more resonance allows us to look for ways that both types of organizations can connect maybe more harmonious. This is exactly, what a Collaboration Ecologist does – he’ll be looking for some kind of process that everybody would be willing to engage in, a process that would bring everybody together for some hours so that a sense of “We’re in this together” can unfold. From the point of view of the living field this means that a higher coherence and first level alignment of forces within the field can happen.

One of the first steps of a collaboration ecologist will always be to create a process (involving as many stakeholders as possible) where everybody will listen to each other and deepen their understanding of a) what ‘we’ are talking about and b) who is involved. Next this is deepened and reflected upon. If this is done by talented people and there aren’t too many ‘prickly plants’ in the collaboration ecology a coherent living field starts to form. If this can be pointed out a quantum jump towards community and mutual understanding can happen that greatly enhaces the richness and will very fast lead to strong results of “what we’re talking about.” Whoever has participated in a process like this that led to a high coherence in the living field will be deeply touched by the experience and motivated to engage much more strongly.

Knowing about, but most of all having been immersed knowingly in the living field lots of times helps. And at the same time the challenge for the facilitator of these participatory processes remains the same: You need to put yourself at a point where you are willing to change, willing to surrender to what emerges in the process itself, trusting that what human beings – often almost in spite of themselves – tend towards is strengthening the resonance of a living field. Understanding this and helping to orient the field towards practical collaboration is the fine art.

I see participatory design and it’s implementation as something that naturally emerges from a coherent living field that is looked at with the purpose to create an optimum ecology for collaboration.

Out beyond the ideas of right-doing or wrong-doing there is a field — I’ll meet you there. ~ Jelaluddin Rumi

 

 

 

 

A wordl cloud of the most frequent words in this article
A wordl cloud of the most frequent words in this article

An Artful View of (Western) Civilisation

Reminding me somewhat of the Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, Marco Brambilla‘s video installation is traveling from Hell to heaven in an elevator… well, not really, it just looks as if we’re in one. Not much I can say about this, really, except that I’ve looked at it in HQ and on the whole screen many times now… it’s quite a trip!

Some more information on the making of this video installation and a quicktime version of this video here.

The Nest that Sailed The Sky

I’m so happy to have stumbled upon this video – the music is by Peter Gabriel, one of the most creative musicians that I know. I don’t usually like music videos as they tend to subtract from what I can see with closed eyes when listening. This is different. Relax. Breathe in and out and click play…

The Nest That Sailed The Sky from Glenn Marshall

You can find a HD version here.

US Now

A film project about the power of mass collaboration, government and the internet… this is what the makers say about this very interesting movie that some of my twitter friends pointed me to (sorry girls and guys, I forgot who it was, and I have yet to delve into the possibility to finding pieces of info like this; so let me honor Us All for contributing to the stream that then brings flowers such as this).

The examples for collective intelligence are amazing, and previous to this I had no knowledge about them. And they are encouraging, very much so.

Us Now from Banyak Films on Vimeo.

For more information, extra clips and reviews please go to usnowfilm.com

Watch Us Now in other languages here: http://dotsub.com/view/34591ca8-0ef5-48fb-82e6-163a9f21298d

Practical Wisdom

Barry Schwartz makes a passionate call for “practical wisdom” and shows how rules often fail us, incentives often backfire, and practical, everyday wisdom will help rebuild our world.

Into the Polyverse

My twitter-stream has many tweets like these:

ColinUdeLewis “Self-control is strength. Right thought is mastery. Calmness is power.” James Allen

WilliamHarryman “95% of your emotions are determined by the way you talk to yourself.” — Brian Tracy

bfederman A man’s own self is his friend. A man’s own self is his foe. Gita

Good advise, wise words, wonderful and inspirational stuff reflecting, I think, some of what goes on in the larger ‘community’ of world-change agents, spiritually savvy geeks, integralites etc. that I feel part of. Contemplating these and many similar tweets I was inspired to put this statement on twitter:

We might be moving from transpersonal to multipersonal, from transcendence to polysemous diversity, from individual to distinctively plural

Nurturegirls response got me interested to see where this spontaneous tweet takes me when I unwrap what this means for me. So here we go…

Hands1

With “transpersonal” I’m refering to Transpersonal Psychology which put Spirit and metaphysics back into Western psychology. The dean of Integral, Ken Wilber, has expanded it to a much larger system which he calls Integral Psychology – which, in turn, is part of his much larger Theory of Everything. People who have been following this blog probably know that I am critical of Wilber’s views, and most of all his vertical spirituality with an Absolute or Non-dual at it’s pinnacle, implicitly downgrading whatever is ‘below’ – but that’s a different conversation I don’t feel like getting into now except for my tweet’s topic of trancendence, the movement that rises forever up the (spiraling) vertical axis, going beyond body, mind, matter, and endlessly on until it has gone beyond everyone and everything… this is what we’re moving away from and towards polysemous diversity; which I will come to a bit further down.

Vertical spirituality used to be my orientation since I was 14 years old when I first read about yoga and silence (1967) right until the very day I was finally enlightened 33 years later; yep, you’re not supposed to say that, but bear with me. Actually I call this happening Grand Disillusionment because it was basically nilling everything I thought meant anything before this happened. But, silly me, this level-change was just the end of a strand that had been in development since my very young years fuelled by the kind of thought-food one gets as a hippie becoming meditator becoming deep seeker becoming spiritual teacher becoming guru and then, finally, dropping out of that whole game altogether.

You see, my whole journey was fueled by the conviction that a single self or Self actually exists. But the idea of being or having a self/Self is really a nest of meaning and reasoning that very much reflects our cultures’ need for capable individuals (from latin, “non-dividable”) that have a permanence and consistency that can be relied upon and that can be (made to be) responsible. And our type of meaning-making needs a center around which it revolves and to whom it refers, so there you are

This is very sketchy, and much more can be said about the self/Self, its sources and status – maybe another time; for I also want to mention two basic perspectives in Western, and maybe Eastern, culture:
The ‘scientific’ view which is basically saying that ‘out there’ beyond our skin, and even inside of it, there is just accidental matter that we, our mind and consciousness, project onto. So, for instance, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder; it is not a feature of a flower or a sunset or a person or the galaxy. The same, obviously, goes for truth and everything else. All of this is “in the mind” and not “out there”. (That there are laws governing energy-matter that are objective and not projected is an interesting conondrum most empiricists carefully avoid; this doesn’t take away the basic conviction, though, that really matter is absolutely devoid of spirit, essence or whatever else you can project on it.)
The other perspective is formed by the ‘absolute truth’ that people, things and even processes have an essence, a soul, a spirit in and of themselves. This is taken to mean that beauty is not really, or only in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is actually part of being a flower, a sunset, a person or galaxy. In this view the beauty in us resonates or in some other manner communicates with the beauty out there – we recognize truth, beauty, the Good or God that is there already whether we know it or not. We find it, it is not projected at all.

These perspectives seem very contrary but they have something in common, the idea of a subject, “in here” and an object “out there” – the idea of a singular “me” and plural “other” or “you”. (An idea that Ken Wilber and his Integralites have expanded to a quadriga, “I, we, they, it” – the 4 quadrants). This subject-object orientation system is so pervasive and seems so natural that we do not often question it. No, and aren’t there enough beautiful and deeply meaningful systems of thinking, spiritual practises and day to day life that show subject and object, I and other, inside and outside to be really real and truly true?

2006-03-17-59To unhinge this a little bit and come to a proximation of what polysemous diversity might allude to let’s look at some experiences we probably share.
Remember your last “silver moment.” You were talking with a friend maybe, or even a stranger, and you forgot all about the time and everything else; the flow of the conversation was so wonderful, you even forgot yourself. And now, as you remember this, you might not recall what exactly you were talking about but you do remember the ‘spirit’ of it, the breath, the “silver in the air” or however you want to characterize it.
Do you remember a critical moment in your life with several people involved? Maybe an accident, a fire, a thunderstorm out in the wilds or something similar? How everybody just acted in unison, nobody being in charge, really, but everything got done in no time at all?
Or do you remember a great moment in sports when your team was suddenly “in the zone” and acted as a unity, unstoppable?

What is characteristic of these moments or times is that there is no self-awareness, no individual consciousness to speak of – you’re present, you’re aware of everything that goes on but in no way as a self or self-aware. There is, rather, a polyphony sounding around a melody common to all participating voices, sometimes taking in even some of the more perceptive spectators as in sports. This, I would say, is a very natural way to be; acutually I think this is the way we often are, only we don’t notice it because the flow is not sparkling so bright as in our “silver moments”.

Does the transpersonal, evolutionary view help us understand this or, and that’s what we’re approaching here, help us turn into artists of polysemous diverse ecologies of being-together? It does, and doesn’t.
It does in that we have co-evolved as aligned (tuned in) groups of humans. To be synchronised with others is wonderfully adaptive and helps along the continued survival mightily – from multicellular beings to swarming insects, flocks of birds, fish-swarms and herds, the same pattern has been used in nature countless times. So it’s not really amazing that such highly complex beings as humans are polyphoniously connected – a great diversity of voices ‘swarm-creating’ meaning, stories, understandings and yes, identities.
And it doesn’t, because the individualistic view that is part of the fundamentals of transpersonal psychology and vertical spiritualities or religions is operating with the assumption that we are a single subject, residing somehow in a skin-encapsuled cell-ensemble, in the head maybe or the heart.

We are also biased towards clear – simple, singular – meanings. Meaning should not be ambiguous or, since that term is often used in a negative sense, polysemous. This basic assumption has taken progressively hold of our collective psyche since the birth of modern science. But we only need to look at children or people who haven’t (been able to) loose their imaginative powers to see what rich meanings things can have. Who would insist to a child that a heap of sand cannot be a mountain in which dwarfs dig for gold?

If these ideas about ‘swarm-creation’ are right than meanings continually flow-emerge between us, in the polyphony of voices and forces that we are embedded in – the so-called internal ones and the external ones. When we experience a “silver hour” with friends diverse meanings flow polysemously between us, and it is the very flow in which we delight. Were one of us to single out a meaning and individualise it, that would be the end of the silver in the hour…

Don’t get me wrong; I do not believe the silver hour to be better than other not so silvery hour. Rather it’s hinting at an evolutionary possibility for human-kind that I see dawning. The subject-object orientation isn’t wrong or illusory, the transpersonal and integral view that proposes a vertical path of transcendence is a beautifully valid orientation – it is the individualized version of being human. We’ve worked very hard as a species to differentiate enough so that we can actually regard ourselves as seperate individuals with rights and responsibilities. Yet this is no end but rather the stage for the next step, where we use what is natural to us – silver houring – develop it into an art and use it to adapt to the challenges we now face in the exponentially complexifying realities we live in. Being an individual with a transpersonal, trancendent agenda was perfect in the much lesser complex times before massive globalisation, the ‘good old times’.
2006-03-17-60But now we’re in realities were two airplanes hitting the WTC can cause worldwide mourning or were political choices in the US can cause a global financial break-down, for instance. That all is one is not a spiritual statement anymore, it’s stating the obvious. The interconnectedness that goes with this has transformed, though. In a less complex world only a decade or two ago interconnectedness did at most linearly influence other beings, systems or processes; now interconnectedness means is a massive, uncontrollable, exponentially influential process. In this situation meaning is always polysemous, diverse and complex.

Individuals can’t handle this. Teams like we’ve known them in all kinds of organisations cannot find real solutions. Clear meanings cannot connect multifaceted challenges comprising multiple unknowns with the people and resources needed for the emergence of adequate solutions. We need coherently self-organising collaborative and collective intelligences to adapt to this situation. The technical means are either here already or on the verge of becoming available.

The ‘imaginal cells‘ are realizing who they are and starting to align with each other all over the world. You are one of them. So happy we’re connecting…

Strengths, happiness and 21st Century Life

flex flowMaking myself available and looking out for new streams of income I’ve revisited Martin Seligman’s “Authentic Happiness” site to redo and check out what my strengths are.

Seligman has pointed out, and I agree from my daily practise, that to lead a happy life we need to use our main strengths regularly. Knowing this I felt confident enough to recently write a short statement on twitter:

Happiness is likely when you do / be something you’re good at & like, follow your intuition & heart, communicate from your soul.

Being, who you are, doing what you’re good at – this is exercising our strengths.
Actually, being good at something is our gift to all the relationships and communities we participate in. Who would have thought we don’t have to be anything other than who we are, and do anything other than what we’re good at to be a blessing to this world! This doesn’t mean that we don’t need to develop or improve, if that is what we feel like doing. But unless we do, or are compelled to by inner pressure, simply being who we are is more than good enough: it’s our gift.

Development and improvement is a natural movement; actually it’s emerging in nature all of the time. Our cats, now 8 months old, impress me recently with the precision and strengths of their jumps which have mightily improved these last few weeks. They love hunting the occasional fly that comes into our appartement and to catch them… this is how they developed, by doing what they love doing.

surfing_17_470x350Recently we have moved from a merely changing world to an emerging-flexflow world; by this I mean that the rate of change has accelerated so much that now ‘novelty’ is continually emerging – unprecedented situations, unreducable complexities, ambiguous multiplicity abounds. It seems that a good way to adapt to this, let’s call it simply ‘complexity’, is with collective and collaborative intelligence. This goes for the economy where we’re seeing the first signs of “Enterprise without Boundary” embedded within “Information Fabrics” and “Collaboration Ecologies”, and it goes for social and political life where we also see first signs of the influence of social networks eclipsing the power of parties in some issues. And of course this is true in the individual’s life where the role of community is rising again out of the ruins of mega-individualism; and what we mean for each other is strengthened immensely.

Our identity used to be a fixed ‘thing’. When I grew up – and I’ve heard someone say this just the other day again – grown-ups where asking children (mainly boys, but in emancipated surrounds also girls), “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
It’s a recent development in Western societies that we start to understand that life-long learning and development is not a choice but a must. But actually, that was yesterday, because now having one fixed identity, being someone, is not really needed anymore. Multiplicity, flexibly being many things to many people is much more helpful and satisfying.

So when I say, being who you are – being who I am – this is what I mean, “It’s as if we come from an era where we thought we were a tree in a wood, and now we see that we are a wood ourselves, part of and meshed into forests upon forests.” Another way to put it would be, trust that you cannot be anything but ‘yourself’, which is being many and diverse…

Back to strengths – which are, if what I said above is right, the strengths of all of you; I’ve taken the “VIA Signature Strengths” test on the above mentioned website again today and found that the following are the ones that “we” have; strengths that I very much love to support the larger community with:

  1. Appreciation of beauty and excellence
    You notice and appreciate beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.
  2. Creativity, ingenuity, and originality
    Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.
  3. Social intelligence
    You are aware of the motives and feelings of other people. You know what to do to fit in to different social situations, and you know what to do to put others at ease.
  4. Curiosity and interest in the world
    You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.
  5. Love of learning
    You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn.

love

Where Beauty is Alive

Yesterday one of my twiends (people on Twitter I love to follow, Ravi Tangri) alerted me to a blog entry by Amy Lenzo about true beauty.

Truth has always been beautiful in my eyes, and what is deeply beautiful true. Not only in the visual worl but also, and much more so, in the world of music. Actually my very first deeply mystical experiences were connected to music by Stevie Wonder, The Beatles and Moody Blues – it was really an I-Thou happening; beauty unfolding in between me and the music, in the linking field where “we are one and not the same…” (U2)

Beauty is self-evident, I think, and I’ve been blessed enough to never work on these experiences with the tools of theory beyond the saying, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” And finding out, that I do not really believe that – rather, when I see something as beautiful I have the deep conviction that he/she/it is revealing their soul, what they are in truth. Beauty as a window to the really real…

Looking at this 8:11 min. portrait I was touched deeply. Here is a man that looks disfiguered, and when listening to him you get a sense of what real beauty is about. What came up for me, and what keeps on influencing me even today, one day after first seeing it, is the thought that I see society as disfigured – right now, for instance, my window is open and I hear the traffic of the main road further down… or, listening to the radio during my breakfast this morning and hearing about women in China and India rising to the challenges that patriarchal traditions impose on them… or just a moment ago looking at the Plan B 3.0‘s Table of Content (to just randomly pick 2: Deteriorating Oil and Food SecurityPopulation and Resource Conflicts)… there is so much disfigurement.
Having seen this video has changed that in (at least) two ways: When I see something at first glance as being “disfigured” I look again. And, supporting the people that make up the processes and systems that are coming from this ‘being disfigured’ (all the challenges we are facing in the world) to move in the direction David Roche has moved to become the true beauty he is.

Climate Change Debate

My friend Vic invited me to – and thereby introduced me to – this wonderful tool for online debates. I haven’t yet looked to it in depth, but I hope to do this in the next few days. Maybwe you enjoy it too…

Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

Very beautiful music, I feel, of two of my all time favorite musicians. And I do love the way they are distributing it, bypassing the whole industry – you know, those people lamenting that everybody infringes on their copyright …

As One Listenes To The Rain

I just read, and re-read this poem, that was brought to my attention by Zayra Yves and it touches me deeply…

—————-

Listen to me as one listens to the rain,
not attentive, not distracted,
light footsteps, thin drizzle,
water that is air, air that is time,
the day is still leaving,
the night has yet to arrive,
figurations of mist
at the turn of the corner,
figurations of time
at the bend in this pause,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
without listening, hear what I say
with eyes open inward, asleep
with all five senses awake,
it’s raining, light footsteps, a murmur of syllables,
air and water, words with no weight:
what we are and are,
the days and years, this moment,
weightless time and heavy sorrow,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
wet asphalt is shining,
steam rises and walks away,
night unfolds and looks at me,
you are you and your body of steam,
you and your face of night,
you and your hair, unhurried lightning,
you cross the street and enter my forehead,
footsteps of water across my eyes,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the asphalt’s shining, you cross the street,
it is the mist, wandering in the night,
it is the night, asleep in your bed,
it is the surge of waves in your breath,
your fingers of water dampen my forehead,
your fingers of flame burn my eyes,
your fingers of air open eyelids of time,
a spring of visions and resurrections,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the years go by, the moments return,
do you hear the footsteps in the next room?
not here, not there: you hear them
in another time that is now,
listen to the footsteps of time,
inventor of places with no weight, nowhere,
listen to the rain running over the terrace,
the night is now more night in the grove,
lightning has nestled among the leaves,
a restless garden adrift-go in,
your shadow covers this page.

Challenges of Community and Collaboration

challenge

Being an aficionado for collaboration, so much so that I’ve created a job for me being a Collaboration Ecologist, recently more often than not I’ve come to inquire into the question, “If, as seems to be the case, many if not most people and organisations in the world seek collaboration and want to become communities of mutually aided flourishing, how come it is not the greatest hit on Earth?”

Or as my friend Doug who’s profession is coaching CEO’s, among other things,  tells me, “In the US now all companies want to collaborate. They just don’t know how.”

Remember New Year’s resolutions? Remember, what you wanted to change in your life this year? To be honest, I never make any resolutions on New Year anymore, since remembering them later on is such a pain. The reason is most likely the same that keeps all the good willing people on this planet, including the businesses and organisations, from collaborating to change the course of the planetary commons – we don’t like to face the deeper challenges that need overcoming. Actually I think the are the stuff out of which our advances are made.

So here are the challenges as they show up on my radar:

  • Challenge # 1: Probably the mother of all challenges to collaboration and community – Trust, patience, ‘deep’ listening and heartfelt connection.
    Looking at my experience in life, business and relationships, and of course at many, many theories of what community and collaboration is really based upon, these 4 ‘values’ seem to be the most persistent ones.
  • Challenge # 2: If #1 is the mother of all challenges, # 2 is the father – walking in somebody else’s shoes.
    People do not only have different characters and views, convictions, beliefs, theories and opinions, they are also on different levels of evolving towards what we could call “wisdom”, something that doesn’t come with age (as any acute observer of world- and human affairs has already noticed) but with developing all kinds of skills, lenses, and intelligences (heart, mind, gut, social, relational etc.). On the way to some wisdom, for a long time, people live in a land where they wouldn’t know what it means to “walk in somebody else’s shoes”, leave alone that they would actually be able to do so. Yet, it is prerequisite to anything that resembles true collaboration.
  • Challenge # 3: This one is centered around the question of leadership.
    Community and collaboration are situated far beyond democracy – which is based on quantity, counting the number of voices, and not quality, what these voices are saying. The challenge is to find ways and means to govern ourselves so that the good, right and beautiful things are accomplished.
  • Challenge #4: In the famous words of the Clinton Presidential Campaign in the USA, “It’s the economy, stupid!
    Collaborations and communities, on top of being simply a good and soul-nourishing thing to participate in by and of themselves, often also produce goods and services, and a commons that is recreational, inspiring, relaxing etc. (a source of aliveness; something like that, and also something that can be marketed). Who gets to share what of the communally created revenues is the fourth major challenge that needs facing, if communities and collaborations are to be more than a hype.

If you thought that I have the answers and that I’m going to give them here, I have to disappoint you. Not that I don’t have a number of very good ideas, processes and experiences around them (as many of my readers do as well), but if I were to tell them here, at maximum we would have a very interesting exchange of ideas and stories, and maybe even beliefs and convictions.And, so sorry, but I’m not really interested – mostly, because doing that will most likely lead to trying to make technical change out of the needed adaptive change.

There is a world of difference between technical change and adaptive change. A technical change you can manage using the given instruments and procedures. Often these revolve around a more effective use of the given instruments. You get long and wonderful To Do lists, that basically you need to check one after the other. Adaptive change asks you, on the contrary, to leave behind the old instruments and develop new ones. It requires you to adapt to a situation or process that you cannot yet analyse, and as such adaptive change is an “emergent phenomenon”… simply put, “Something is happening, but you don’t know what it is – and you cannot control it either.”

Sure, regarding myself as a Collaboration Ecologist I’ve got quite a number of processes and interventions up my sleeve that I can use in situations where people want to collaborate, and want some help. Often, I cannot do without them, yet these are not the secret of creating great ecologies in which collaboration and community flourishes. The real secret is this, “Find whatever helps the people present face the above challenges co-creatively, and go with what emerges in this group.” If you’ve got compassion, experiential knowledge, a working intuition and some intelligence you will, most likely, empower the people to squarely face these challenges. Then, and so far I can speak for 100% success, what comes out of that process you will advance into the Fields of the Future where Collaboration is Natural again.

My Father’s Cremation

Some days ago my son and l participated in the cremation service of my father who died on January 20th, at approx. 9am. That was 48 hours later then he wanted, really. As he had done in his life so he did in dying, trying very hard to have things work out exactly as he wanted it. And he got his way, more or less.

Sunday 18th, around 4 pm my half-sister had called and told me, “This is it; they gave him one of the special rooms in the hospital. Tonight, most likely, our father is going to die.” And then she passed the phone over to him. I was crying, my heart breaking, saying, “I love you, Dad. I want you to know. Whatever might have happened in the past, there are no hard feelings left. Nothing hinders what is between us anymore. There is just this love.” He reassured me that he had had a wonderful and fulfilling life. “I am really happy that I can finally go now, and I want you to be happy too.”
In dying as in life he couldn’t tell me directly what he felt about me and about everyone and everything, really. In all of the life we shared he only expressed feelings indirectly, except when he was cynical, ironic or angry. This inability to express most other feelings has been family-tradition since time immemorial until, l think, it finds its end with me. But then again, who am I to tell?
At the cremation hall, where the casket was adorned with flowers, candles burning, behind the curtained windows, half invisible, cars drove by fast in the medium distance on a highway. Later, sitting there and listening to some of my brothers and sisters, and 2 of my Dad’s friends, I was imagining the people in these cars, driving somewhere fast, knowing nothing about what went on here and what we felt.
The close family had been ushered in to have a last look at my father. Stepping up to the open casket I cried, my hand on my mouth which, when I noticed the shock that expresses in this gesture, I let drop again, weakly, and crying. Yes, this was indeed his body, but he was gone, my father was not there anymore. Being almost a week dead his eyelids and hands had weird colors, the rest of him very pale.
Yes, this body had been my dad. And as I went to take a seat, through my tears I saw one after the other stepping forward when they felt ready to greet him one last time.

Mourning is an amazing happening, and for those of my step-, half and brothers and sisters I’ve shared this with, it was very similar. Big waves of sadness and sobbing leaving us almost ‘not of this world’ in its wake. It is easy to do manual tasks, but intellectually demanding or creative work is not possible; there is a feeling of the brain and mind being in a mush. The inability to do much of anything seems to cover all things mental. And I have been amazingly tired without being able to actually sleep much, and then, once I slept, I slept long whenever possible.
Mourning is an out-of-control bodily/feeling happening, something totally natural, overwhelming the person with a sound sadness that feels very much in place.
Is there emptiness where my Dad once was? Maybe, but it doesn’t seem so (yet?); maybe because the relationship with my father had not been too tight, even though in his last year I visited him more often than ever before, not because I believed he was dying soon, but just because there was opportunity. It has been fated.

And then, after my step-brother had started up the ceremony with a song of one of my father’s old friends, a singer-legend in Sweden, and after he had read my sisters letter to the 100 or so people gathered in his honor, I was to say something. We had agreed on possibly 10 minutes and I honestly don’t know how much time it took; there was a deep quiet in me as I stepped up to the pulpit and microphone.
Just a few things I remember of what I said. As I was speaking freely — there were a couple focus points for me on a piece of paper — the flow came; and then I hardly remember anything. I had considered, for once in my life, writing down what I was going to say — wouldn’t want to choke in tears — but I thought that here, as every place I speak publically, it was best to let what is required flow from my heart and presence into the field of us.

I remembered the one and only time my father ever asked my advice; it was about restarting a relationship he had broken with some years before.
I also said, –I think, my father — being a non-believer in these things — will be in for a big surprise when he wakes up from this life to find a welcome committee waiting for him. Matter of fact, I think there is a welcome committee specialized for people for whom waking up in the next dimension is a big surprise.– Something like that.
I also remembered that he was a man with many mistakes, just like me, and spoke about how I felt only love, just like everybody in the family that could be present during his last days and hours. All our wrong doings and mistakes in the end can be washed away by the love between us. It’s unreasonable, maybe even unjust, but it is true nevertheless, and most of all it’s beautiful. Everybody was full of sad love and no grudge held against it.
No matter what goes before, in the end what counts is love.

Afterwards some of the core family stood shaking people’s hands and hearing condolences — looking into all these people’s eyes with the clarity of a love-bathed sadness I could see what the confrontation with the passing away of our close ones opens up: the soul shines through, colored and filtered by the many facets of a person’s character — but, it visibly shines. A blessing.

During all this time my son had been going through his feelings; not being too close to his granddaddy he could be safely sad, the distance cushioning his sadness. To me it was great to have him by my side. Once there will be a time when it’s my time to go, and he might be part of a ceremony honoring my passage. As parents, we not only give life to our children and educate them to be able to live a happy life, we also give them the most intimate taste of death when we go in the end.

The way my father left this world has been an inspiration to me. May I be able to — in the end — go in a similar way; a way where we all feel that we can let go, were actually, letting go is quite natural to us. Passing away like this is a blessing, as is giving life.
It’s amazing, shaking so many hands and/or kiss left-right-left, as is customary with people of a certain proximity in Holland (mostly inter-gender, and not so often with men; with them kiss-kiss-kiss is close relatives only). Some people were holding up the people cueing up behind them. With some people you don’t mind at all, with others you see that they do this because they need the comfort of special attention; this takes some energy but it is a natural part of such things.

Finally my father’s last wife, the mother of my youngest half-sister (4 wives, 6 children, that’s the patchwork my Dad created, 4 of them present + many of the children that came into the family with their mothers), took us all to a place for a drink with closest family and friends. Is it wrong to say that we had good fun? Maybe, but we had. It was good to see all of them in good cheer.

Some time in Spring we will be putting ashes of my father under the tree he used to play under and climb around in when he was a young boy, joyously, so joyously that he was imagining, he told me when we spoke about this a year or so ago, “When my life is over I want to be put at his roots.”

Woman – or a man’s apocalypse

1985-aug-21Woman is a masculine apocalypse, or can be – actually, she really is.

Once I started to open up to the area of feeling into the world as it is – which obviously means, as I feel it to be – I find that women, and my beloved is the closest woman nearby, know this ‘terrain’ much better. Actually it is almost their home ground. From the very beginning they’re into the games of relationship and seem, in my eyes, much smarter at playing that game: and if it is playing that game to win, woman wins, hands down.

“Anima” – the term C.G. Jung used to designate what I would call soul, or the innermost being – is a female word, it is what animates us, makes us move and be the way we are in the rivers of life.
The first woman a man meets, the first woman I met was Mother, the source of all life – but as a baby I didn’t care about life, I cared about food and kisses and stroking and cuddling and all that. Mother was the source. That is a broken relationship for most of us, because as all women, my mother was limited by, well, her own limits.

Woman is the giver of all good feelings. No, not all – the blessing for a man is to find a whole realm that is not really women’s territory; it’s a man’s world. And I don’t mean soccer, beer and lusting. I mean measuring up occasions, accessing one’s own strengths and courage, and deciding: “I will conquer this.”
I know, conquering is really “out” these days, laying a claim to this, that and the other is really spiritually or philosophically incorrect, using one’s power and might to get what you want is totally out of whack, but it is part of being a man, as is pulling things apart and putting them back together, and being proud of being able to do so.

51c5eeb3c7fab0b7acd6186fb0150936a7a73dc7_mCrossing over in women’s terrain is dangerous, and really, I wouldn’t advise anyone to do so unless his “anima” forces him, and there is really no choice. It is dangerous because, since winning and losing is an important happening for a man, you’re going to lose most of the time. If a man’s mastery is playing the game of heroics in some form or another good enough to be proud of himself, than a woman’s mastery is playing the relationship game in such a way that she ends up in the center of a relational vortex, where being close to her is the prize.

To put it rather bluntly (a masculine ‘thing’ I guess), a women’s game is for closeness to her, and a man’s game is to being the top of the heap. Both places offer a sense of great security.
Ooops. I’m sorry, if I tread on some toes here. Being paradoxical, crying out of nowhere, almost dying because of the feeling’s strength that one encounters, being shaken by a scene on the street, endlessly mulling over how this relates to that… that’s become a major “new” part of me and all of these seem ‘female’. And I’m just beginning to study this first hand (including the f…ing feelings). Doing so I find that the women around me are expertly wielding the little knives and chisels, are in possession of all the tricks and arts that are so very necessary when conflicts arise – and arise they must. So, again, why is it dangerous ‘here’? That’s easy: woman has all the weapons in a conflict, and you don’t (if you don’t want to take back on your male armour etc.)

Well, why I write all this?
I just lost another battle – and in the end got an honorable settlement in which I could put out some claims and be heard. It’s not that women fight better or worse than men, it’s that they fight using different means. And if you have started to develop opening up on feeling levels, which means you cannot really hit the table with a fist any more and play the conflict in the way you know best (loudness, restrained violence, mental fitness, maybe)… you lose.Which means that it’s now up to her to ‘make up’, because that’s what the winner does; eitrher ‘take the cup’ and shit on the loser or draw the loser in and make him/her part of the reconciliation.

nach-klimt-2Apocalypse means revelation. The revelation is, woman is expert in feeling-field, or the feeling connection to relationship and life. Woman is expert in ‘being the womb’, in ‘holding the space’.

So, being a man, this is what I do: I turn a lost battle into a great lesson that then I write about. There is, of course, an interesting feeling dimension to this – a dimension that is typically overrated by woman and underestimated by man. The soul is an apocalyptic teacher, to a man like me…

Life is Irritating

We need to recall the angel aspect of the word, recognizing words as independent carriers of soul between people. We need to recall that we do not just make words up or learn them in school, or ever have them fully under control. Words, like angels, are powers which have invisible power over us. They are personal presences which have whole mythologies: genders, genealogies (etymologies concerning origins and creations), histories, and vogues; and their own guarding, blaspheming, creating, and annihilating effects. For words are persons. This aspect of the word transcends their nominalistic definitions and contexts and evokes in our soul a universal resonance. — ‘A Blue Fire’ by James Hillman

909a07636e51036a64c09e64aa4e4f808202af7e_mWhat, if we own every feeling?

Standing on my balcony this evening I was feeling this slight tinge of irritation creep up on me. As I realized that I own this feeling, that this is indeed my feeling, a deep breath happened upon me. I stood upright. “This too is me, this is mine,” I thought.

Looking a few inches deeper the idea of possession became strange. What could I possibly own? Where could I store what I own? Do I own a memory? Is this memory about the day of today my memory?
We say these things but more often than not, when my mind can freewheel, they lose a lot of sense just a few inches below the surface. Nevertheless, owning that feeling of irritation I was nourished and strengthened. Making this feeling mine made me stand tall. So the idea of ownership my be strange a few inches deep into the realm of the soul, the process of owning makes very good sense.

What reveals itself in thinking about the relationship between me and what I own is static thinking. As if I was something permanent that could have a relationship to something else, that is permanent, and that relationship is a one-way street in which I own whatever-it-is. When my thinking goes a bit deeper still the flow of “I” and “it” is more apparent, and from that view “owning my irritation” is as if I would take in something of myself that was externalized.
105111_c450I differentiated myself from the irritation – which is a good move for a child needing to come to express predictable and reliable behavior. I externalized my irritation and placed it with the cause. Now “it”, whatever “it” is, irritates me; it is irritating me – I become the recipient of irritation, its victim.

Growing up, being ‘adult’, over time “I” was insulating myself from my feelings and impressions, and finally also concepts, ideas, whatever it was – I was not that. I was the “eternal witness” disengaged from life in many ways (even though often enough not really, because I behaved like many other men in situations with a strong emotional load), or I at least aimed for being/living That.
Going through periods of softening up to the other(s), discovering we-fullness and the amazing energies and being that can unfold and come into being between us, in critical times a critical ripening happened.

Coming back to re-internalizing what I have externalized over the last 50 years or so might take a while 🙂 But it is maybe not so much a goal as an orientation. Owning my feelings is a practice, not a goal; it is something that becomes part of the way I live.

Static think believes in things, and relationships between beings and other beings and beings and things. In this constellation of people and things there is more or less rigid limits between everybody and everything. In this scenario you can make me feel things, you are the cause of what happens to me. Or also things and situations are the causes of how I feel, and think and last but not least behave.

kiss-under-waterMore fluid thinking probably out of the practice of owning what it feels and sees and hears leads to much more respect towards others and things and situations. O yes, feelings and thoughts and behavior can still be triggered, but the triggering event itself or the feelings triggered are a much more fluid affair. What happens is much more happening within processes which do have a mysterious end; this end does have a name but in itself is another process: living.

The irritation that the child externalizes is not the same irritation that I re-internalize, or own. Both the irritation and I have been passing through a great number of processes – and yet we both are still recognizable. Re-internalized irritation is – most likely – a driving energy behind this investigation that turned into a blog post.

Desire is a meeting place

matteo_tranchelliniDesire is a meeting place. And it’s a matter of timing, aligning so much that synchronicity of desiring is much more likely. Have to have your ‘eye’ on the feeling-field, and keep the connection.

This is an inner gesture, an immediate expression of what you have learnt before. Like walking.
Ever looked at how a child learns to walk. They trie again and again until they can. And everybody celebrates the achievement. This is how we learn that it’s a pleasure we can share our achievements with those we love. And it’s wonderful to be applauded when following deep inclinations – like the strong desire to walk; all the Big Ones walk, I’ll follow the overwhelming desire to trie until I can walk just like them.

We have no examples for a tuned-in life, a life where we’re tuning in continually to the songs and melodies our destiny comes up with. We have to be the ones, we and all those that come after us, that we have been waiting for. If there is no example, let’s be it. What do we need to bring to this laborator?

  • a heart that has come alive
  • a heart that dares to be naked
  • our brightest intelligence
  • soul to soul relationship(s)
  • deep respect for natural development(s); and if possible:
  • the alchemy of a relationship with someone, possibly a life-partner

That’s it, I believe. Being open to the refining processes inherent in life as labratory – and this very wording of it – gives me a degree of freedom that is closely connected with respecting my limits.

What is transmuted is the forces of feelings that are connected with sad, with desperate, with “negative” emotions. The strength of these forces probably remain. The force, for instance, captured in the complex feeling of jealousy doesn’t disappear but is most likely one of the driving energies behind accepting my destiny as it reveals itself to be; the power that allows me to “face it” – facing whatever needs to see my face.
From my point of view this is just the case. Certainly the circumstances now make this a very natural part of the process. In life we can never repeat our experiments to verify if another outcome would be possible – what we would have done if this, that or the other happened?. So given the present state of the laboratory it is much easier for me to “face it” than at other moments in recent weeks 🙂

Since, as Heraclit said more than 2000 years ago, pantha rei, “everything flows” and “you cannot dip into the same river twice”, we are learning the art of navigation in this flow, and what are supportive ecologies to this flow.
I have been speaking of giving an example, and by that I don’t mean to say teaching people this particular metaphor but by being an example, by being beautiful, joyous, understanding, and by loving, wise navigation. Trusting life and each other, authentically being alive, continually enlarging our comfort-zone until it maybe encompasses everyone and all, becoming quite naturally comfortable with life in this existence (willing at any moment to face it when it needs our face)… maybe that’s the ones we truly are, the ones we have been waiting for.jeanbaptiste_mondino

Laboratory of Life

With the fire is gold tested. — Alchemical saying

alchemy01Looks like I’m asked to look at the next steps in this destiny that I find myself in. There has been today a tinge of desperation. I talked to my father who was just returning from hospital. Important people in my family believe that he doesn’t stay with us for very long and I should go make my peace with him.
Talking with him he said, he wouldn’t have minded dying. I said, I understand this but that I want to come visit him early next year and that he has to stick around for that. “Can you manage to do that for me?” I asked. And he said that he would do his best.

I’m asking myself if I can bear this now at this time. Just having gone through a very intense period of which the Experiment was an important and enabling part, I felt that some rest would do me good. So I’m asking my father to just hang in there a little longer. Because I need to tell him that I’ve made peace with my destiny and that he can go knowing this to be so.

No wonder, kids tell me that they don’t want to grow up. We all will arrive at a point were we’ll have to face our character. This basic pattern that navigates our destiny and how it apperas to us at the time. For at what stage of development we are determines for a large part how we face our destiny – that part of life that is given through our habits and the behavior we expressed in the past.

divinemarriageIntimate relationship and life and death.
My father is going to go for good in the next months, if I am to believe my family’s expectations. And the relationship in which I am embedded will go through this with me. I am blessed, and also I have to take care of my strengths, to keep them awake but not under stress. Destiny is giving me a chance to prepare, and my partner’s love helps me move on the soul’s level.

Presently I’m reading “The Reflexive Universe” by Arthur Young that portraits and demonstrates a developmental physics/evolution/life science which interestingly has a U-shape; it’s a process of light losing its freedom and “falling” through 3 stages and turning on the 4th, the molecular level to start what we call “life”: plants, animal, men?; each level up the second half of the U having more freedom again.
What I have understood so far is inspiring – and most inspiring I find Young’s ideas about the animal “group-soul”, and then that with man the evolutionary jump to an individual soul is made.

Group-souls being on the second level up the 2nd half of the U are resonating with the first stage of the “fall” of light into “matter” as particles: photons, electrons that on the next stage, where atoms form the 3rd kingdom (light being the first realm or kingdom, particles the 2nd, atoms the 3rd, molecules the 4th, plants – 1 level up te U on the 5th, animals on the 6th and man on the 7th). Particles are in space but not in time. they are eternal, as eternak as are the group-souls on the opposite side of the U.

postcard21Individual souls in this cosmology are eternal; they interact with matter by what can be described as a non-vsible force-field – creativity being a matter of the right timing of the soul. I was gladly living with the possibility that after death – nothing. Life being forever the place for the living.
John Heron’s experiences and now what Young writes makes me change my perspective. This book falling into my hands, making such a convincing case for an eternal individual soul (as an evolutionary development!), and at the same time learning of my father’s health…

Looks like alchemy has a point when it talks about refining the matters that go into the laboratory. Life, as it unfolds and flows, is the labratory and my feelings and intelligence, my experiences are the “matter” that is being refined.
And sometimes you have to let the Work rest…

Enlightening the Passions – Finale: Day 27 (Intentional Vulnerability)

Your life is always working, whether you know it or not. Sometimes it works to bring you what you want, and sometimes it works to keep you from what you think you want. — Neale Donald Walsch; Tomorrow’s God

11_11_2008_stephen_alvarezThis is the last entry I’ll be writing within the framework of the Experiment – because it’s finished, and it’s turned up enough of a practice for me to let go of, satisfied that it has carried me this far, and that it has been a teacher beyond anything I thought was possible.

An important lesson came to me yesterday on my birthday. Thinking about being 55 and what that means it became clear that now I’m ready to accept my destiny as it is. All of the life that I’ve lived so far – leaving traces that co-determine what the present is for me and those around me.
Today learning that some of my family believe that my father is very close to the end, I think this is the one ‘thing’ I can give both my parents. And I’m thankful that they’re still around to be able to have me give it to them. If I were to formulate what the essence is of what I have to say, it would be this, “Thank you for giving me life and doing what you could to raise me. What you might consider your failings have influenced me making choices in my life that were not always in the best interest of everybody involved. I have hurt others and myself out of lessons from my childhood were I misunderstood what went on.
Where I stand now – at the beginning of the middle of my life – and where you are – drawing closer to an end – I need you to know, that even though I have behaved far from perfect I have been blessed by gaining an enormous richness of experience. I cannot know what would have been possible without you and what you co-created my life to be in the first 16 years of my life.
Whatever may be the case – and there are also movements that are very much beyond me – I have accepted this destiny and I pledge myself to live according to the deepest love, joy and beauty that is in me. You have co-created this moment in my life, thank you. Thank you.”

11_11_2008_01_stephen_alvarezWhen I think about how I would call my practise then it’s Intentional Vulnerability. The vulnerability is a fact of life. To ‘plug in’ to the feeling-field I need to be vulnerable. I can either be vulnerable or I miss that whole area of unfolding life and not feel vulnerable. The strange logic I now have makes me see that vulnerability is a fact of life, as I said above, and it doesn’t care whether I feel it or not. Derestricting myself on the feeling level, the practice that evolved during the Experiment, I plug in to the feeling-field and am connected on the non-rational plane. Many, if not most, of life’s flow is happening on that level (today I found out that there is actually a tribe that lives within that ‘region of existence’ by the grace of their language), and being vulnerable, I am connected. This actually is not a choice, it comes with accepting your particular destiny as it unfolds.

When intentionally vulnerable I hold the space that all emotions need to unfold. Holding the space I do set a limit; the perimeter of the ‘sacred space’ in which I can hold space, where I actually am open to what unfolds in the inner and outer between-us’, where I can be with whatever comes as the host, the caretaker of the guesthouse.
So what about all the guests that visited me during the last month of this Experiment?
They have indeed “cleared me out”, and in a way “for some great delight” – not an ecstatic delight, more of a deep “This is indeed the way it is. And it is good.”

11_11_2008_0stephen_alvarezI might still analyze the blogposts that went before, but I do not feel that it is needed to come to a proper conclusion and rounding of the Experiment. I think the basic lessons are recorded; whatever else I might glean from the former posts, it is what moves me in the present and almost naturally that truly counts.


Starting up the experiment
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4 (Powerlessness)
Day 5
Day 6 (Jealousy)
Day 7 (Guilt & Jealousy)
Day 8
Day 9 (Shame)
Day 10 (Interlude)
Day 11 (Under Pressure)
Day 12
Day 13 (Clear Delight)


Day 14
Day 15 & 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19 (Dark Waves)
Day 20 (Time Out)
Day 21 (Splash)
Day 22 (Understanding)
Day 23 (Fear & Imagination)
Day 24 (Vulnerable)
Day 25
Day 26 (The Presence of The Past)
Ending the Experiment – Day 27 (Intentional Vulnerability)