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

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.

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)

Where we live…

I’m on the road right now and it’s only once in a while I have a little time to surf the net a bit.

I felt really blessed when I saw this little video on Urth.tv

Maybe you enjoy it too…

Towards an Integral & Pluralistic Spirituality

deepest pic of the universeAn archetype is emerging – the archetype of a participatory, integral and pluralistic spiritual culture.

People all over the world — caring about the life on and of this planet, and experiencing themselves as embedded in continually expanding networks and environments — are seeking genuine, open and constructive dialogue and mutual support in their work towards a better world and spiritual wholeness: one planet on which all beings are at home.

Until very recently in our history values and practices have been mostly generated in vertical structures, and this is especially true regarding life-guiding or value-generating structures of learning, practice and daily life, the structures of spirituality and religion. Whereas in many ways the Internet has provided ways and means to transcend and surmount ‘verticality’ and promotes a co-creative, participatory and pluralistic approach to all kinds of matters and processes (P2P, Wikipedia, open source programming, sharing economy, conscious capitalism, distributed research, Web 2.0 & 3.0 etc.) this approach seems to be missing very much in spirituality and religion.

Also the spirituality that is now on the increase in business, psychology, politics, and numerous other fields of human endeavor is almost entirely ‘vertical’ in teaching and structure, being founded mostly on what is often called perennial philosophy. This philosophy acertains that the material world is the shadow of a higher reality, that spirituality and religion (re)establish the link between the human soul and this higher and ultimate reality, and that the Ultimate Reality, whatever name it is given, is the Absolute (principle/space) from which all existence originates and to which all will return.

Copernicus cosmic view with sun in the center

Even the post-60ies, or ‘modern’ spirituality – after freeing itself from ego- and intrinsically ethnocentric views, from materialism and scientific reductionism – is still enthralled by the perennial philosophy and happily believes itself to aspire to, be informed or blessed by, and basically move around a singular Transcendent Sun common to all faiths, creeds, mysticisms and spiritual paths and practices.

This spirituality seems to resonate with the situation in astronomy when we believed that our sun was the center of the universe.
We have had to learn, though, that obviously this universe does not have a center at all or, to put it differently and just as true, the universal center is everywhere. And yet, when it comes to our spirituality we are very reluctant to take serious what we have learnt from studying the heavens astronomically. We object to the image that there are numerous Transcendent Suns around which meaning, understanding, love, devotion and divine, true and valid mystic experience revolves. And even then, surrendering one’s defenses against this understanding, one still would love to salvage some of perennial philosophy’s tenets by believing these Suns to turn around a common Center. And indeed, it seems that some Suns do; for instance the Suns of most Christian, Islamic and Jewish faiths turn around the Monotheistic Galactic Center. Yet, other Suns do not turn that way, they participate in and form other constellations in different Galaxies of our local cluster.

The present day spiritual explorer, teacher and finder is having to face a huge challenge – to come to grips with the undeniable non-centeredness of the cosmos, the plurality of suns and galaxies, the undoing of all ‘cosmic justifications’ for vertical structure and certainties. This might be as scary for us as it wasn’t when it was possible anymore to reasonably doubt Kepler’s, Copernicus’ and Newton’s discoveries. The beautiful certainties of old are evaporating, and with it what gave purpose and meaning to life. All of a sudden we find ourselves in an endlessly open universe that doesn’t turn around us or around what we hold sacred anymore. The One Transcendent Sun setting and a multitude of Stars lighting up the mysterious darkness we now find ourselves in.

This is the challenge: seeing that there are no pre-given and objective constellations in the skies anywhere, and wholeheartedly facing and embracing this freedom; moving from a bi-directional, vertical understanding of the Highest and Lowest towards an omnidirectional, participatory, co-created, radically pluralistic reality.

It dawns on us, a cosmos with innumerable Suns around which a multitude of constellations of experience, understanding, faith and meaning are configured and brought forth, all participating in the dynamic matrix of the mystery we call reality

Formerly embedded in what I’ve been calling “vertical spirituality” it was a personal existential/spiritual crisis which made me realize what I’ve tried to sketch above. Since then I have come in touch with numerous people all over the world moving in this general direction. This in turn has convinced me that, indeed, what is emerging at this time and age is more than a personal revelation. It is an archetype emerging, the archetype of a pluralistic, polycentric, participatory spirituality which is surfacing in many ways, reckognized and not yet reckognized, and being explored with numerous methods which mostly are still very much experimental.
Now, after the the crisis has led me into these truly awesome and beautiful whereabouts, exploring the consequences of such a sea-change in understanding, living, feeling and teaching, I have started assembling material for a book that I hope to write – a portrait of the emerging archetype and how it translates into action, teaching and community all over the world.

Hopefully the book-project in due time will also become a web-plattform for people wishing to communicate what is emerging here, and finally an Academy that will provide an institution where teachers can learn, where students can connect, where all of us can study and learn from each other what richness this emergence offers to us and all of mankind.

At this moment I am seeking financial support of ca. 30.000 € for this project.

Thank you.