The Dark Ages and the Beautiful Ages

It’s Saturday, or Reflection Day, so here comes something I’ve reflected upon today: “We are powerfully imprisoned in these Dark Ages simply by the terms in which we have been conditioned to think.” – Bucky Fuller

This is NOT pointing a finger at those who’ve done the conditioning.
This is also NOT about believing that others-than-I are being conditioned.
This is about inspecting how my thinking is imprisoning me.

Recently my heart-friend Jean asked, “What would happen if you totally embraced what is right now. In your life. In your community. In the world. Just allowed it to be. And then, after a deep breath you said, I am going to make the most I can of what is. What might happen?”

What has imprisoned me?

  • The assumption that imperfection is a flaw I need to work on. I got out of that prison by embracing my and everybody’s imperfection.
  • The assumption I need to make money. I left that prison by doing what really, really mattered to me. And I always got all the money I needed. And now even much more…
  • The assumption that without intimate partner I’m not whole. Even though that particular prison sometimes catches up with me I leave it again through the understanding that I’m a cornucopia of love and attention.
  • The assumption that I need to be more, better, smarter, more loving, more ‘enlightened’ and work more disciplined and harder. I left that prison by realizing that as long as I live I grow and develop because that’s just the way humans are; nothing to be done about that. And now I find myself getting better, smarter, more loving and more enlightened for the shere fun of doing what I LIKE to do…
  • The assumption that I need to avoid suffering, pain, and the abyss, and/or escape the cauldron of challenging relationships. I walked out that prison by actually staying with the suffering, pain, and looking into the abyss (without dramatizing!) until it reveals its treasures that hide beneath that fiery surface.
  • The assumption I need to be someone. I walked away from that prison by simply being many, and not trying to be or stay one and the same. I find that I have multiple identities that collaborate to form this whatever-I-may-be, or to use a grand word, this mystery I call my self.

So what happens, as I leave the prison? The Dark Ages end and the Beautiful Ages start. And in the Beautiful Ages I see us build Paradise. With our very breath, with our gestures, with our communication, and with all who have walked out, and continue to walk out their private prison.
Thank you for taking this path with me.

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 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.

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.

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

Enlightening the Passions – Day 26 (Presence of the Past)

The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made. And the activity of making them changes both the maker and their destination. — John Schaar

1964-7There is a healing quality to bitter tears. When we’re moved into the depths of our despair there is a space for the traumas of the past to surface. One of these has surfaced yesterday.

Like every child under a certain age experiences the parents break up; I felt when my parents did separate that it was all my fault. My parents behavior towards me didn’t convince me otherwise. You could say they left me to believe there was something utterly wrong with me. Parents have to go out of their way to make a child accept his or her innocence. Mine didn’t.

Doing a lot of Hellinger-type family constellations I learned that children will often want to prove that their parents were right. From my present perspective I see that I proved my parents to be right by recreating difficulties, or by enacting what I think I inherted from my father, who in turn inherted it from his father – and who knows how many more generations.
When situations became too emotional he either turned cynic, sarcastic, aggressive or he withdrew in an inpenetrable castle of arrogance. There is a lot to my dealings with highly emotional situations that I seem to have inherited.

Coming from another perspective one can say that my father, by leaving, was the “doer” in my parents divorce, and that out of misinterpreting the reasons for that divorce I started to manifest behaviour in line with the larger pattern of the masculine family line.
But whichever way I have come into following a destructive tendency at important junctions of my life not only I but others as well have reaped the consequences. I needed to go to deep despair to come to realize this. I am not guilty of my behavior, nevertheless the consequences are here, and I accept needing to respond with the expanded life I now live.

jurgen-mai-19581Accepting this freely and willingly is obviously the most “reasonable” thing to do. Having come to be the way I am now, through now almost 55 years of intense living and experiencing a character has formed. Denying and avoiding feelings, repeating the ancient stories from my family album doesn’t seem like what I’d want to be doing.

By the grace of the experiment so far, which is turning into a practise, �both an understanding and an expansion into what I call feeling-field have occured. This is far from stable and it needs continual care so I can establish a new type of relating. Being feelingly open and at the same time authentic. Part of that is being open to the consequencesof all of my behavior and manifestation, knowing that I’m not guilty but responsible.

This enables me in a more compassionate and maybe also powerful way to participate in life more fully; regaining trust based on deeper and more naked realities about myself and others. Participation, trust and surrender, as much as clarity, penetration and courage have been the qualities that have carried me through an eternity these last weeks – for as much as I have been destructive, a nuisance to myself and others, for as painful and horrible all of this has been, the qualities I mention above are probably those that played a role in getting me this far; the alchemical essences that started a transformation on a level I have no control over, whatsoever.

And having told so much about myself you might ask, “But what about those people around you? What about your partner?” I can only express my deepest gratitude for when it really, really mattered she and my friends have given me the support I needed to be able to come this far.
And I want to thank those who’ve commented showing their own heart and soul. This is the world I want to live in. To see and be seen on that level is wonderful, it nourishes the soul.

1954-ich-mit-meinen-eltern


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)

Enlightening the Passions – Day 23 (Fear & Imagination)

Angels can fly because they take themselves so lightly. — G.K. Chesterton

I think I finally know what the basic vibration of jealousy is: It’s fear, the fear of separation of the one you love most. It’s an utterly irrational fear fed by the demon of distrust, a mind that can easily imagine bleak futures, and – if it’s not pure paranoia because there is no other lover – supporting circumstances. So maybe saying that it’s utterly irrational is not true, since there is a significant connection to reality. It is this fear, this jealousy, that has me confess that for an important part I must declare the experiment a failure. I do not want to allow this fear to “be my guest”. And maybe my resistance, my focus and awareness that went into “being with it” has made it as big as it is now. It’s now easy for me, almost autonomously, to imagine all kinds of disastrous futures in which everything failed and I’m all on my own again. It is somehow much harder, to find the trust to imagine a bright future.

You could say that imagining anything is the real disease, imagining a future even worse. But wouldn’t you then also say that hope is the real disease? Because hope imagines a future, or is the manifestation of the faith in a bright future. Is despair – hope reversed – that comes from images of a bleak, pain-filled future the consequence of a hope gone sour? Maybe so. What I do know is that I cannot stop my imagination from imagining, just as much as I cannot stop my heart from feeling hope or despair, fear or joy, love and beauty. So what can stop me from replacing the images of 2 hells – the fork of choices that I’m facing – with 2 possible bright futures, where both options let me become a more loving, beautiful, joyful, authentic, rich and deep human?

I now see, and it is late at night and I got up to write my blog for this day, I now see that on top of the practice of “unrestricted feeling” I have to practice also “imagining light and bright futures” with all the people that are also in my “despairing visions”.
I now also see how big a part my imagination played in co-creating the utterly challenging situation I find myself in. Never mind how real the base of my imaginations, more and more it served in an escalation of catastrophic feeling. So much so that opening up intimately became more and more difficult. The only possibility in such a situation being the forking of the way, the choice between 2 hells.

Should I respect my limits that have become apparent in a situation that I feel I have been forced into? Even if I have co-created it by imagining 2 hells where I could imagine 2 brighter futures, it feels right to do so. The basic question is, “What are the minimum needs, what are – right or wrong – the basic conditions that are needed so that a much deeper level of relationship is a realistic possibility? And what, if anything, can I do or not do to lift my bit of the weight that needs shifting?”

I’ve, feebly but truly, started to imagine a brighter future instead of 2 hells tonight. At first glance its clear that accompanying the fear of separation is the fear of imagining that as beautiful, for I might make it happen that way, and then (imagining that as bright) I might not have enough energy to not totally break down if it becomes real. And there is the fear of imagining a bright future for the relationship because it might hurt so much more if it doesn’t get a real chance.

Yesterday, for some time, quite some time, I was full of hope – today despair, which I’m responsible for myself by inviting it in around noon letting my fears move me to ask questions that reflected distrust and fear and fueled visions of a dark future. So it’s about time I invite trust, and beauty and brightness to come and visit this guesthouse more frequently!

Addendum: I find that if I set myself out to use my imagination in this way, I can. And the brightest future I can imagine is the one where I say, “I’m so thankful, happy and once more: thankful for you to have gone into the depth of intimate living with me and that we mastered all the challenges on our path together to have this rich, true and peacefully satisfying life.”
I will carry this image into my sleep now…


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)