Ecstasy at the Gates of Ecological Hell

CHINA ENVIRONMENT POLLUTION RECYCLINGEvery evening, when time for reflection and contemplation comes, desperation sets in. And it’s getting worse every day, ever since I’m in the loop of ecology and world change activists’ free-style mail groups. I think it started for real after reading some of the posts on “preparing for civilization’s collapse” – that friend Dave Pollard links to at times. – Anyway, I’m desperate, getting more desperate by the day.

So here they are, all my world change friends. Brilliant, active, moved by concern for planet, society, living creatures in suffering everywhere – some of them singing their final farewell songs as they go extinct. We all know this, anybody that can afford to stay connected through media – which is everybody that is creating her/his part of the challenge we face… We all know in our marrow, and it’s saddening our soul in its depths, we’re on a path of death and destruction. We’re well on our way to oblivion, and to waste go all the wonderful flowers of civilization everywhere on this planet. We all know this song, and many of us care – more and more people feeling concerned, and some act, and some cry, and some prepare for civilization’s collapse.

I’m in the loop, as I said, I’m getting around 10 emails per day that diagnose the disaster and offer ways to deal with it; some are bleak, others urgent calls, again others more positive. But all of us could read all day and all night about this and never come to the end of the sounds of alarm and requiems of loss and a few signals of hope. We could work all day and all of the night and never even come close to answering the tiniest fractions of the calls…

CHINA-ENVIRONMENT-POLLUTION-TRANSPORT-AUTOThere are a thousand great plans that promise to help. There are a million fantastic, creative voices. Leaders, activists, spiritual and post-metaphysical women and men all over the planet. We’re all shouting and pointing in a thousand different directions. “Let’s go!” we say, “We need to be on our way! It’s urgent.” And we’re right, aren’t we?! So, “Let’s unite!” — And hundreds of banners are raised in the field and shouts go out to “Rally here! Unite! We’re in this together!”
But what is this?
Authentic chaos has broken loose, and all the well meaning attempts to take the lead only create more confusion and chaos.

I know, I need to face this – too long have I avoided seeing the obvious. Too long have I thought that if we would all just use this tool or that, align ourselves along these lines or those, all would be well. And now I see, even though we do – we do our very, very best – it’s still authentic chaos, confusion and running around, getting more desperate all the time. Despair constricts my throat. Tears well up. There’s nothing I can do anymore. There’s nothing you can do. There’s nothing, really we can do at all to end this descent into a chaotic hell, where everybody really does their best and nothing gets done…

paul_damato_03And I see – we’re being broken. Those of us, allowing ourselves to see this – we break, and mourn… in our heart a requiem wells up for all our individual possibilities, our creativity, our brilliance, what each and everyone of us could think of and do. I accept.

This is what always happens when the second phase ends and the third phase unfolds in a process I know so very well – it has several names, depending whom you ask, but in the fifth phase of it “collective consciousness” is born, the circle-being, the “critter in the middle”.

And now I’m filled with elation, all of a sudden I’m in ecstasy: All our individual plotting and planning must run its course until it comes to an end, our own brilliance and knowing what’s best – even if we’re absolutely sure it is so. Everything we can think of and do as separate individuals must be shown and experienced to be insufficient to the challenge, and then from our collective unconsciousness it can emerge, collective consciousness!

And I’m elated today as I was ecstatic last night: It all falls into place, our ecological and social crisis, the impossibility to get the willing on one page or even in one book, our evolution as a species… It’s clear what some of us need to do to help us all transform to the next phase of human life and civilization on Earth.

___________

The process I allude to could be called “awakening in collective consciousness”. It has played an important role in my development from being a traditional (be it non-conventional) guru or ‘spiritual teacher’. I’ve written about it some years ago when I experimented with it to arrive at “authentic community“. Then and there, when we had passed through the fourth phase somebody put it very succinctly, “It appears as if we are one body with many heads and arms and legs.” Collective consciousness had taken us in. Not swallowed us but rather everyone of us had become a living, vibrant member of something tangible that embraced and transcended us – something experienced by everyone in the room.

From what I’ve learnt since it is unmistakable when it’s there – when you’re still asking yourself, “Is this it?” you can be sure it’s not. You do not need any special training to discern it, it’s “in your face”, and you sense, feel and know it immediately, no matter what you believe, how much meditation or philosophy you’ve done or haven’t done – and it doesn’t matter if you’re spiritual inclined or not, either.
You might think about it differently, you might draw different conclusions from experiencing and being embedded in this collective awareness, but the very ‘fact’ of it is as unmistakable as waking up in the morning and knowing that you are…

Collective-Consciousness-Sadness-GaiaAs many others I’m convinced that we’re going through a momentous evolutionary period and the ecological hell we’re collectively creating on this planet is that face of reality that has become impossible to ignore. Yet a deeper aspect of reality seems to be that in and through humanity an evolution towards collective consciousness is possible. There are many good reasons to think so, here I only want to mention the evolutionary pressure the ecological predicament exposes us to.

Our planet’s ecology is an amazingly complex affair and it involves many strands of influences that dynamically interact. Not only the web of life is extremely complex, also the web of human politics is so, and if we take some other webs interacting with this, the very idea that any number of brilliant individuals might rise to the challenge is hilarious. The web of life is out of control, and our human influence is pushing it towards an ecological hell. And again, there is no way to get that under control. But, and here is my personal hope after last night’s elation, evolution is already formulating an answer – self-organizing some of us into testing grounds for the emergence of a collective intelligence, which might be complex enough to rise to the challenge we face.

I’ll end this post with indicating what I’ve learnt in the Circles I facilitated. The process that clearly is conducive to the emergence of collective consciousness can be shown to have seven phases:

  1. Recognition that the “old ways” don’t work
    In the first phase people are usually kind and polite to each other. This phase comes to an end once it is generally understood that artificial kindness and civilized responses don’t work, and that a deeper authenticity is a minimum requirement on the way forward.
  2. Chaos
    People authentically struggle to come to good results; discerning & acknowledging what is “really going on”, trying to work things out. Alliances are wrought, leaders work with persuasion, ‘acting as if’ counterfeit ‘collective awareness’ is tried and fails, everything in the book and more is used to try to mend, fix or heal the situation. Yet, collective consciousness is not achieved. This phase usually lasts longest of all phases but is finally overcome as more and more people give up trying to realize it their way or by following others and confess their failure in getting ‘things under control’ or ‘making collective consciousness’ happen.
  3. Mourning, brokenness
    In this phase a sense of utter failure often appears; we can’t do anything to make it happen. Sometimes people cry. Often people move back to the second phase trying to mend and heal the ones who accept their brokenness and inability to ‘do it’. A sense of gloom can become quite strong. Yet, when enough people are letting go of their ideas, interpretations, theories, opinions of what needs to happen and allow themselves to be with “I don’t know”, with their helplessness, the next phase gels.
  4. Silence, turning point
    Slowly the mourning over failure, the feeling of defeat is replaced with a sense of peace, the peace that comes with accepting ‘things as they are’. As more and more people start to listen to simply being together in peace, to this ‘silent center’ we all share… something emerges that after a while is clearly perceived, sensed, felt, known by everybody as it gets deeper and stronger. And then it is utterly and unmistakingly clear…
  5. Collective Consciousness is discovered
    Elation even ecstasy is felt, “We are one body and mind with many heads.” A sense of celebration pervades the room. We finally know what it is! Conversations are of an amazing deep and authentic kindness, everything that formerly was a matter of morals or learnt behavior becomes fluid and natural.
  6. Living Field Zone – What do WE want?
    If the collective has enough time and space to go on beyond the celebration of our embodied consciousness and unity it can look into its collective desire and what WE want. Very complex matters are seen as beautiful challenges and people very easily find their role and resources to act upon the collective desire.
  7. Realization
    In this phase the immediate sense of collective consciousness moves to the background as what one has decided to engage in as member of that collective moves to the foreground.

These link to what I’ve written about the general topic of the Living Field, Community and Collective Consciousness – I would hope that you would put your links around this topic in your comments. Thank you.

The Chaordic Path and Stepping Stones

Toke Mller and Monica Nissn weave stories around the chaordic path and stepping stones.
Video & video cutting by Helen Titchen-Beeth

The Most Effective Way to Change the World

Wow… that’s really a headline, isn’t it?

And that is really what we’re going for here, isn’t it?

Well, one extremely effective way to not only change the world but your self as well is:
Changing the World one smile at a time.

If today we all make at least three strangers smile – maybe by a nice remark, maybe by smiling at them from our heart of hearts , maybe by offering them a helping hand – and commit ourselves to doing that every day… we will be spreading a lot of the “good stuff”.

Another way – and you can combine these methods – to effectively change yourself and the world is:
Doing what you want to do with all your heart.

What do you really want to do now? I ask myself this question in many situations…
Entering a restaurant I ask, “Were do I really feel like sitting?” and then I go there.
Talking with someone I take a moment asking myself, “What would I really like to talk about?” and then I do that or steer the conversation in that direction.
Standing in a grocery store I ask, “What would I really like to cook tonight?” and then I buy that. (Hey girls, you can do that with shoes too 🙂 )

You might say, “But often – in my work for instance – I have to do all kinds of things I don’t want to do.” Well, I’m not going to advise you to find the work you really want to do – you might not be ready to live this so radically, yet; we all go step by step, don’t we? So I’ll give you the advice I have been following for some time before I could muster the strength to actually live this way all day long; it come from Neil Young (I think):
If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.

Simple, effective, and causing lasting changes in your body-mind and the environment around you. Bringing your heartfelt presence to this moment and giving yourself truly, madly, deeply to what your doing (or not-doing for the Taoists among us) will not only be a blessing and change you on the cellular, psychological and spiritual level it is also already reflecting the world we want to live in, doesn’t it?

And one last ‘thing’ you can do for yourself and with friends as well – I have been doing this with the participant of my recent 7 day seminar “The Art of Being Happy”.
Take time to reflect on what you are really good at (and allow yourself to consider everything you’re good at).

What would happen if you told your friends today, “I really love it how you can …” or, “I think you’re a real master of …” or some such thing?
What if once in a while you got a little circle together with the expressed purpose of telling each other what you are good at, and help each other see even more things that you’re good at? You might even want to tell us here in the comments…. 🙂

So… what is your Most Effective Way to Change the World & Yourself?

Integral We-Fullness – A Trialogue (The We of Us – Part 2)

TogetherThe last trialogue The We of Us [alas, link no longer functioning] was published here on May 21st. Since then there has been two posts by Michel Bauwens of the P2P-Foundation on his blog; one in which he talks about my post “We are the Next Buddha” and one where he looks at Helen’s post “The Next Buddha will be a Collective” (which sparked of my post after I realized that we already are the Next Buddha). Also there have been quite a few interest comments added to the posts in this interwoven thread on “We-Fullness” as we’ve started to call the emerging melody which I encourage you to look at.
Bruce — whom we hope can participate in our next we-alogue — has added significant and beautiful posts on Deep Dialogue (Part 1 & Part 2), and now 3 incredibly helpful posts on The Flowering of Intersubjectivity (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).
Helen has also looked a bit closer at one of the topics we touched upon in our last trialogue, the question “Could there be a hierarchy of collective Buddhas“?

In this trialogue we talk about the young integralists, the fastness of the ego and development, we touch on trails of breadcrumbs and helpful stories, the art and discipline of we-full living,portable sacred spaces, connecting loops and what We-culture is,learning from ourselves and finally some interweaving. Helen is in Brussels, Doug in Berkley, California and Mushin in a little village near Prague in the Czech Republic.

After saying hello and some preliminary remarks about the quality of our connection …

Doug: I have been sharing the We a lot with young people from New Zealand. There are 20 people from New Zealand here for a youth retreat. It is called a collaboratory: Youth Insight Collaboratory.Starts this afternoon.The youth have been gathering the last three days in California coming from three continents.

Helen: How many will you be?

Doug: A community of 40+, with American youth and adult members, and then some volunteers who will take some of us on a beach outing.This all comes from the same moment I met Morel (one of the organizers of the Edge of Emergence meeting were we 3 connected for the fist time).From the same gathering.

Mushin: And I just want to mention that there are interesting people engaging with our conversation some of which we will surely invite to participate in some of our future we-alogues.

Now we take a moment of silence — the way we like to start these we-alogues.

Doug: I want to tell about this room full of these young people being absorbed into this awareness.In the meditation we had, and they showed up.

Helen: How did you experience that, Doug?

Doug: A lot of light. And also I have been evidencing with them a lot of connectedness to their body.They are very attentive and they have been flying across the world, so they take care of their body to be awake.
I was up early this morning and I ran into some of them, and they were responding to how present they were since time they have had arrived.They are in their young 20s.

Mushin: One of the persons who wrote comments on our last trialogue, Lynn, she is also 23, I saw in her profile.Young people seem to be catching up on that We-fullness rather early.

Helen: Yes, it’s the integral babies;Even if they haven’t found it yet they are very awake and bright souls.

Mushin: I feel called in this regard to create a trail of breadcrumbs, by that I mean us finding metaphors and story-lines so that it can somehow pave the way so We-fullness can easily flourish without people having to go through crystallizing ego structures.Do you think that’s possible?

Helen: I don’t know, because the ego is so fast that sometimes it gets there first; it works so fast that actually it gets a hold of things before they hit our awareness.Our direct experience gets labeled and fragmented almost before we perceive it, in between our perception of it and when it hits our brain it gets labeled and fragmented. But there is something else that is coming to me now.An inquiry whether or not that matters; because if we are present holding that we-full space then anybody coming into the field,whether they perceive it or not is being permeated and drenched in that space, a bit like sheepdip — there is a metaphor for you :-).

Mushin: As you were speaking about the fastness of the ego and fragmenting I was also thinking, “If we are holding the container it really doesn’t matter for the We.” But it does matter for the individual, the single person.I guess that’s where the bread crumb metaphor comes in.There needs to be a kind of collaboration of the ego function, or the individuality with the We, and for that to happen the ego needs good reason, that is, good stories.I think the ego lives by and through stories.Good stories will somehow help it feel the the goodness of that collaboration.I think the ego is always best motivated with goodies.

Helen: I have just been revisiting a paper by Susann Cook-Greuter about the nine stages of ego development, and in particular where she describes the higher, unitive stages, the Alchemist and the Ironist she calls them.The description of those stages is based on her research, people demonstrate those stages.It is fascinating how she describes the relationship between the consciousness and the ego.Susann Cook-Greuter is one of the leading development psychologists, she is one of students of Loevinger.

Doug: I have one other thing to bring from what we are saying a few minutes ago.When you talked about the bread crumbs and storylines… I’ve been a conscious of the role of one that has journeyed on the way to elderhood relative to the youth that I guide as my mission.I am very aware of being a storyteller when I’m in their presence.The stories just come out in the moment, and these young people are incredibly present to the stories and the teachings therein.And then they’re commenting, loving the stories.This is about Wu wei, action without action — in the way of being that I am with them in that role there is a telling of the stories as a way of transmission that is called forth in their learning journey.They love that, so that happened this morning…

Mushin: As you’re speaking about stories, breadcrumbs and storylines, I am considering that we-fullness and the We we are talking about is a new storyline.And just as the old stories have been told by good storytellers, and I think we as elders to young people…We tell stories.I often find myself doing that also, mostly stories of my life, experiences or stories that I’ve read.This is not so much a mutual storytelling, it is still one-way.The we-fullness is there, having a focus on that now I can experience it, but I doubt that it is experienced in the sense that we are having and focusing on; they experience it as a beautiful atmosphere which accompanies storytelling occasions.So what we are doing here now is — the We spinning new stories.And that seems to be an art that we are learning.

Helen: Can you tell more about this art?

Mushin: Take our conversations here: They differ from ordinary conversations because they are contemplative, that means as we are speaking we are aware of the speaking, and we are aware of each other and the nonlocal we-fullness, and we are consciously upholding it.So that would be part of this art.
Michel Bauwens in his post picked up on your term pattern cohorts… What emerges in we-fullness is patterns.And we are unpacking these patterns rendering them to each other in the story of we.

Helen: I keep having this image of Indra’s net where each of the stories reflects all the other stories and is reflected in them.That implies we are weaving some kind of Indra’s net with the conversations we are having, and with the way in which we are tracking other conversations and weaving them together, detecting the patterns in these different stories and holding them up so that people can see them. But not only the patterns in their own stories but also the shared patterns.And this is basically what Michel has done.He has picked up our conversation and is showing it to his interlocutors, saying, “Look, these people are talking about the same thing and they are taking it up in these languages and words, and here is the gateway into their conversation.” — it is nice to find soulmates.

Doug: From the time we first met until now I am quite conscious that in describing this part of my lifestyle recently or choosing to bring the story of the trialogues and the we-fullness to someone, that this invokes a sacred space.It’s quite subtle, but there’s a different quality in the choice to tell what we’re doing and to invite someone to open up to what is We.Sometimes I really miss we.The field is strong enough so I am conscious of the gap…

Helen: What is coming to me right now, and we’ve mentioned it a couple of times before, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am to.” We have convened this We and it is always there and not only for me — before I laughingly have referred to myself sometimes as a portable sacred space… but this has become three times stronger, and I’m noticing it in the way people respond; it’s as if this we-ness has become a dominant part of my personality.

Mushin: When I consider how this We influences me then it’s almost as if I’m becoming a spokesman towards other people who still see themselves as a lonely isolated I.Immediately or almost automatically, this is how I connect to Helen saying that it has become dominant, I take others in to the We that we are.And it is being sensed, and it is being felt I think. If you use Indra’s web instead of Indra’s net, it’s as if one immediately starts to weave a person in to the web, into the We.

Helen: What degree of volition or will is needed by the other in order to stay in the We?

Mushin: If I look at my history, where I am at now, it is the result of a development.Resulting from this development there is a voluntary focusing on the We, holding the We — like you say, Helen, I’m a portable sacred space. It’s intentional.It’s a doing that is becoming more and more automatic, but there are times when there is tensions with friends or my girlfriend so then there is a stronger willfulness needed to come back to the We.
But for others to stay in the We…You would need to have a kind of grounded basic feeling of being embraced by a bigger We, and then embracing this bigger We yourself, turning that into a discipline, a daily discipline of often looking at the we-fullness or we-emptiness of a situation.Some situations are not very full of We so you bring it in and other situations are we-full so you don’t have to bring it.

Helen: Through the habitual filters of the egoic mind, why would one want to be in a We — there is this whole groupthink…?

Mushin: Because you don’t want to be alone. Talking with my girlfriend Janshi recently about what in systemic thinking is a concept of loops… I’m using that concept in my training; we are working on loops of our basic assumptions, believing in something and also something else, and then there are tensions between these beliefs. And yet this tension is also creating a kind of balance; so I asked my girlfriend, “What do you think this balance is for?” And she said, “It’s aim is to be connected to others, connected well.” And as she was saying that I saw that this is a very natural tendency. If for instance you give children no chance to talk to you or relate to you, to be we-full with you, then if they’re small enough they will even die.So it’s obvious that the psyche is absolutely predestined for we-fullness.

Helen: As we hold that we-space and expand it around us even non-localy… as we hold the we-space that we have created with each other people feel it and they do come into it.And you’re right, there is something that is part of our birthright and part of what we are being called into as the next stage of our development. It is possible that if you’re walking into that field that your sensory mechanism, your energetic mechanism is going to pick it up and resonate with it whether or not you know how to interpret it with your egoic are rational mind. How you going to interpret it depends on your developmental filters.But fact is that you will feel it.It will be picked up in some way and that puts you in an altered state of consciousness ever so slightly.

Doug: Have you heard of David Suzuki, the Canadian environmental cosmologist? There is a metaphor for the field we are talking about and the effect of we-fullness on those in our surrounding; this is a scientific analogy that comes from him.Molecules of the breath that I breathed in in Japan within hours are breathed in and become part of beings in Vancouver. Our life energies is merged and integrated with the same stuff molecularly with those of beings all over the world within hours.

Mushin: That makes me think of Masaru Emoto, the Japanese man working with water crystals and resonances.If we claim for air the same properties that he claims for water then we breathe spirit into each other; inspire, inspirare, “breathing together.” That’s going on all of the time and has been going since the beginning.So there must be a difference to that situation now as we are coming to We-culture.So is what we’re doing now creating a We-culture, turning this into a We-culture?

Doug: It is very simple, “What do we as a society put our attention on?”We do this by choice, so we-fullness can become a choice.Therefore being an accelerator of the formation of we-culture is an elemental choice of beings.

Helen: This is waking something up in me in the moment, saying, “What do we choose to pay attention to?”

Doug: It’s a very powerful phrase.What do I have my attention on? Then you can direct it.Shaping and influencing in leadership is about calling into question what does the group have their attention on? And then it instantly shifts…

Mushin: Self-consciousness means being conscious of yourself, then we-consciousness is being conscious of us, us-consciousness is being conscious of the We that we are.We are moving from self-consciousness to we-consciousness in some way, and as we are putting more and more attention on that then the we-consciousness inevitably will grow.

Helen: It’s a learning curve.Basically we are becoming consciously competent at holding the We, and there are times when you need to hold it consciously and other times when it’s more automatic.So that is the learning curve.And it is incredible how much faster one learns when one is awake.

Mushin: We can actually learn from ourselves… how easy that is!Much easier than learning from some other. If I had to learn from somebody else there is always the possibility of resistance, my ego and their ego, who is right and who is wrong, and all that stuff.But when we are learning from ourselves,there is none of that resistance.

Helen: This is something I’m learning with a colleague. Since we did the Women moving the Edge there is a very strong sense of a We… once you’ve had this extraordinary experience like we had, once you’ve been through the eye of the needle, you don’t get back again.

Mushin: The first time I really experienced this was 15 years ago.And I forgot all about it, I didn’t remember any of this anymore, it just disappeared.I remembered that there was something special there, the sense of being together but really I forgot all about it.This brings me back to the breadcrumbs and we-culture… at the time of the first experience of this I was busy with quite another story.It was the story of my personal enlightenment. I was concerned with moving up the ladder of a spiritual conquest, of spiritual development, of being able to doing this and that, to meditate deeply, etc.So my attention was very much on myself.And even having had that we-experience didn’t change that.Somehow it needed the development of the last 15 years for me to be ready and willing to create a we-culture and not be so concerned about myself.

Doug: There is a power and a limitation in the illusion and fantasy of progress that you were caught up in in the past, and in its essence it’s very self-oriented

Helen: And yet you have to go through it.

Mushin: That brings me back to the young integralists. It seems that our job as elders is to create we-full containers and we-cultural memes and powerful stories.I think this ego development of trying to conquer Mount Kailash, climb the Himalayas and do this whole heroic story is necessary, at least for men.What is valid for both genders, to reach my happiness, to first be happy myself and to then spread it.Thinking about Robert Kegan’s curriculum for fourth level consciousness, on that level it is all about self, self-empowerment, self-trust, self-reliance… so the question is, and this is maybe something for the next trialogue, how to embed this quest for self empowerment, self-reliance and so on which is absolutely needed in my view, how to embed it in such a way in we-fullness and we-space that as you’re climbing your personal Mount Everest that you can easily jump off any place on the mountain into the we-space, and to be embedded, to be embraced and even empowered on this journey, being encouraged on this self-journey that eventually will come to an end.

Doug: I would like to introduce you to one of the youngsters from down under. (Doug introduces us to Karl and him to us.)

Karl: It’s really a privilege to join you. Doug showed me the transcript or montage of the trialogue you were having, and I am enthralled. I’m with these 20 young people, and we are looking at how we shape the future and the spaces between us… (long silence)

Helen: This silence is also a part of our trialogues (I usually don’t transcribe these silences 🙂 ; Mu.).

Mushin: We-fullness is also emerging from the interweaving of silence and words coming through one person or the other — opening up, different colors coming through different voices — whereas the silence, of course, comes through all of us. (Silence)

Helen: I am getting such a surge of spirit right now. Just hearing Karl speaking about what these young people are gathered together to do.

(After Sam, another young man from down-under says hello to us it is time for Doug to start the retreat and we finish this trialogue.)

Defuse me

If I were a bomb
ready to explode,
if I have become
dangerous to your life,
then you must take care of me.
You think you can get away from me,
but how?
I am here, right in your midst.
(You cannot remove me from your life.)
And I may explode
at any time.
I need your care.
I need your time.
I need you to defuse me.
You are responsible for me,
because you have made the vow (and I heard it)
to love and to care.

I know that to take care of me
you need much patience,
much coolness.
I realize that in you there is also a bomb to be defused.
So why don’t we help each other?
I need you to listen to me.
No one has listened to me.

No one understands my suffering,
including the ones who say they love me.
The pain inside me
is suffocating me.
It is the TNT
that makes up the bomb.
There is no one else
who will listen to me.
That is why I need you.
But you seem to be getting away from me.
You want to run for safety,
the kind of safety
that does not exist.

I have not created my own bomb.
It is you.
It is society.
It is family.
It is school.
It is tradition.
So please don’t blame it on me.
Come and help;
if not, I will explode.
This is not a threat.
It is only a plea for your help.
I will also be of help
when it is your turn.

– Thich Nath Hahn

We are the next Buddha

Helen wrote in her blog “Why the next Buddha will be a collective.” I hope to show with this article where I am coming from in this regard so that in the time to come we can have beautiful dialogues, trialogues or any other -logues to help this meme propagate.

I guess, for me it all started in earnest when in the summer of 2005 one of my trainees asked, “What about we?” I guess, he asked that because I was using my own path and experience as a template for the spiritual journey, as most spiritual teachers do. Because that’s what I felt myself to be at that time, a spiritual teacher. And, being steeped in a guru culture, my role was centered around having a ‘working relationship’ with the divine, by whatever name you want to call it, and my teaching and methods were congruent with that. (I won’t go into the aspect of the “teaching beyond words and scripture” that also is very much a part of this; some of how I looked at these matters you find here.)
The question really struck me, and so I started to read a lot of Martin Buber, and what he had to say about the possible quality of true relationship moved me deeply.

Wer in der Beziehung steht, nimmt an einer Wirklichkeit teil, das heißt: an einem Sein, das nicht bloß an ihm und nicht bloß außer ihm ist. Alle Wirklichkeit ist ein Wirken, an dem ich teilnehme, ohne es mir eignen zu können. Wo keine Teilnahme ist, ist keine Wirklichkeit. Wo Selbstzueignung ist, ist keine Wirklichkeit. Die Teilnahme ist umso vollkommener, je unmittelbarer die Berührung des Du ist.
Das Ich ist wirklich durch seine Teilnahme an der Wirklichkeit. Es wird umso wirklicher, je vollkommener die Teilnahme ist.

Being in relationship one participates in reality, that means, one participates in a being that is not only one’s inner being nor is it the being outside of one. All reality is a becoming-real in which I participate without my being able to take possession of it. Without participation there is no reality. Where there is a taking into possession to oneself there is no reality. The more perfect the participation the more immediate is the touching of the thou.

The I is real through its participation with and in reality. And it becomes more real the more perfect the participation is.

(My translation of Martin Buber: Das Dialogische Prinzip – Ich und Du – Seite 65-66)

Over time starting to understand what Martin Buber is indicating I left behind my formal conviction that was very much founded on experiences interpreted through Eastern philosophy and spirituality. “Thou art That” (Vedanta)… “I and the world are one” (Upanishads)… “I am is all there is” (Advaita). And I was moved to explore in all manners possible to me, what is between us.

During the winter seminar of the same year I went for a walk in a wooded valley nearby. The afternoon sun was coloring the snow golden white, the gurgling streamlet hid underneath a thin layer of ice and a deep blue sky spanned over the wonderful silence, when all of a sudden I saw a flock of finches, sparrows, stock doves and a rusty brown bird with a many-colored tail that is very common here. Different birds in one flock settling in a couple of trees and starting a game, it seemed, flying from branch to branch and tree to tree: a fink jumped-flew onto a branch on which a dove was sitting who then flew to a branch on which one of the brown birds was sitting and so on. And it seemed to have a rhythm: the birds in a game I used to play as a child called “Bäumchen wechsle dich” – a delightful jumping and a flying all over.
I had never seen anything like it or heard of it before, yet this experience befitted my development of the period very well. It isn’t important what species of bird I am with – what matters is engaging with what is between us, “Can we find a common game?” I wrote in my diary. Because then we can play with all species of birds in the trees of life. You show yourself as the sparrow or the dove you are, as the crane or the eagle or any other bird you find yourself to be, and you are taking the other birds just the way they are… and then something new, unknown, a never before seen or experienced game begins. Whatever song you sing let’s hear it, and listen to our melody, because without both the game, our joyous, delightful, mutual game cannot happen.

That spring and summer I was in trouble because I started to see that I couldn’t go on with my old way of teaching in which I was the one that “has it”, and the people coming to me didn’t – or where not conscious of it. Not, that I didn’t feel connected anymore to the deep sources of life and being, not that there were no more Satori’s or deep mystical states – quite the contrary many of my days were spent in a very juicy sense of lightness, as if bubbles of champagne were coursing through my veins. But it was what I and others made out of this that was the trouble. It was the ‘vertical spirituality’ in the patriarchal mode that I became wary of. It reminded me very much of feudalism, a social structure that I didn’t want to be part of anymore.
And as my opposition was growing (the article linked above was written in that period; you can see how very critical it is) so was my insight into what I came to call the emerging archetype of the “between us”. There is the huge P2P movement, Wikipedia, open source programming, sharing economy, distributed research, Web 2.0 & 3.0, etc.; the Internet has opened a huge gate towards the culture of collaboration in the production of knowledge and understanding but also of products and services.
I also came in touch with spiritual teachings and philosophies that are deep and and encompassing, thorough and practical and sophisticated as well, which apparently are not in need of the ‘vertical stance’ (John Heron‘s participatory spirituality, Jorge Ferrer‘s revisioning of transpersonal psychology, Alan Rayner’s inclusionality, Samuel Bonder‘s wakening down in mutuality… to name but a few).

I also saw that many of the methods I was using already for quite some time – dynamic presencing for instance – could be regarded very much as an expression of the spirit between us, the “We” (whenever I am alluding to the emerging archetype of the “between us”, which is also “the spirit between us” I will from now on be using We with capital W). And as I realized this the methods changed to incorporate this understanding. I started to realize that my real art is creating an atmosphere and situations in which the We can appear and start to move and even incorporate each and every one of us. The beauty of course is that this understanding meshes with another insight that came out of facilitating “Enlightenement guaranteed ;-)” events, a method that has become famous through Genpo Roshi who calls it “Big Mind”. Suffice it to say here that this method uses voices or sub-personalities as the main gate to understand how the human mind works. So there is not only the We between the many persons outside of us but inside of us as well. These ideas evolved into an understanding that I will sketch in more detail below.

Then in autumn and winter 2006 I went through a deep existential crisis which touched all aspects of my life, heart and mind – to put it in the metaphor I met the senex, Saturn, and it took quite some time before I could discover the We and allow it to unfold between us. But as spring dawned and with it my old friend Jupiter it was as if I started to hear a symphony – many different melodies coming together. And if I put it in language, this is how it sounds…
At this moment of our history we are on a critical path starting to leave an old view behind. If I am to sketch the perspectives of this view in a few broad strokes I would say it is basically one of centralism. It reminds me of what I think went on at the time when Kepler revolutionized the astronomical place of earth and sun. Before him most people, even the most intelligent ones, believed the earth was the center of the cosmos. But now he showed that the sun was at the center. It took a few hundred years for us then to realize that this is really not so, this cosmos does not have a center (more about this metaphor it in this article). So instead of our sun being at center we are now faced with innumerable stars and their relationships – constellations and configurations. So as beautiful as the sun might be around which I turn, and as enlightening the sun might be around which you turn, we are discovering that if we do not find the We (the movement and nourishment in our relationships and what happens or doesn’t happen in it) between us this universe starts falling apart into discrete stars and galaxies which are separated by huge stretches of empty space.

So it is very beautiful and makes deep sense that obviously this space is not empty at all; it is flowing over with the We that embraces all. And as I said, the We is making itself felt, understood, intuited all over this globe and is manifesting in many different ways – as people wanting to cooperate, to collaborate, to be in community and communion, seeing that the time of heroes (central suns) is definitely over, the time for the saviors and lone leaders that could set things right again. The world and its problems have become so complex that we can only hope to find adequate answers in “circles”of very different people where we can meet eye to eye and heart to heart – in a sort of collective leadership maybe. And this is underfoot already on a worldwide scale. The place here would not suffice to mention all the initiatives that are going on all over the world. Yet, this is one aspect of We manifesting.

Another aspect is the sense of spiritual or soul families or clans finding each other again across countries and continents. It is as if we have chosen ages ago to come together in this critical time on the planet to be midwives to what is wanting to emerge. What ever may be the case we do recognize each other and there is an immediate connection beyond words, even beyond understanding; all we do is accept it.

A third aspect manifests through what has been called the Circle Being, manifesting as a higher order of being together with an incredible coherence that draws in the individuals participating. This certainly is We, being highly coherent. (Helen has written about it here, and I have also reported a very strong experience here). The “between us” can also come into being in what has been called “a silver moment” or in German Sternstunde, “stellar hour”. In the Bible it has been alluded to – and much misinterpreted as only applying to the divine person of Jesus – as, “Where two or three are gathered in My Name there am I am in their midst.” (Matth. 18:20)

A fourth aspect is the insight that our very consciousness itself can best be regarded as plural and not singular as a traditional mysticism has it. In the individual this shows itself as sub-personalities or the many voices that speak in us – for instance the ego, the inner child, the judge, the saboteur, the seeker, the achiever, the non-seeking mind, the inner master, the higher self etc.. So looking at our individual consciousness or psyche as a “we” rather than as an “I” would pave the way for a “circle being” to manifest inside the mind of the individual. This to me at this moment is one of the most interesting aspect of the emerging archetype.
It seems obvious that the “inner We” does not dissolve individuality, I or ego; it rather enhances its possibilities and functionality, because as the so far dominant ego realizes its embeddedness it can let go much easier of its compulsory need to control, and become part of the conductorless orchestra of the “inner We” tuning in to the “larger We” dawning on all of mankind and even, so I think, all beings and what we now still call derogatively ‘dead matter’.

This allows us to regard the emerging We as a scalable, fractal phenomenon on many and maybe even all levels. Contemplating all of this I come to the understanding that I am called – as are many others – to support and nourish these dynamic constellations of individuals and voices to configure themselves so that the transformation that is necessary for the health of the planet and its inhabitants is facilitated optimally.

Is the Force real?

Find out with Psi Wars, an animated movie starring Oh Be One Kenobi, a scientific Jedi who shares intriguing new research on psychic abilities with aspiring Paduwans. Is it true that events such as 9-11 or the O. J. Simpson trial result in detectable changes in global consciousness? Can we communicate at a distance? Are our minds entangled? Join Lukie Psiwalker and a young Yoda on a Jedi’s path towards a more enlightened paradigm that can triumph over the Dark Side of fixed ways and beliefs.

5 Keys to Mastery

George Leonhard has been an inspiration to me for a long time. The morning exercises (German version) I do almost ever day (6 out of 7) come out of the book The Life We Are Given that he wrote together with Michael Murphy; it’s actually a program making it easier to find Mastery, which is the title of the book he wrote also, and now there is a video-trailer of a DVD with the same title. (I found it thanks to Siona’s blog) Very inspiring indeed…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd3fO99Uln4

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.

Why I left my spiritual teacher – vlog

Here I’m telling why I left my spiritual teacher, and a little bit about vertical and cooperative spirituality – and why we need much more of the second variety (ca 9:30 min)

A man’s world?

In answer to a great post by Helen and her question about what men are about, I wrote an answer and I think it’s worthwhile to also post it in my blog. So here it is:

Dear Helen,

“Ive just been informed by one of the beloved people I live with that she thinks it will be very difficult for me to ever find a suitable partner because I am independent and I dont need anything. So a man cant feel important and powerful, and men wont enter into a relationship unless they feel important. Is that so? Are there any men out there who can shed some light on this for me?”

I know this is almost a month later, and maybe you’ll have found suitable answers to these questions already, but being a man, or so I somethimes think 🙂 there are some answers here that might be of use.

“So a man cant feel important and powerful, and men wont enter into a relationship unless they feel important. Is that so? ” I don’t know if men generally have this need to feel powerful and important. I am often rather motivated by the feeling of doing something meaningfull and supportive of people around me.

I rather find another general ‘need’ among men – it is the need to be free, which seems to mean, free to go our own way unchecked.
Our first experience as man is of a strong and all-powerful woman – our mother. She sets the limit to our relentless curiosity. She is also the one who had to cope with our sensual joys as they develop: all boys from the age of 1 or 2 years old onwards like to play with their pecker a lot if you let them, sometimes proudly presenting it in it’s hardened shape to their mother and others around. This is not encouraged, to say the least. From this we must conclude that there is something wrong with our feelings – especially pleasurable ones.
So women have power over our sensual and sexual feelings, a conclusion that a boy correctly draws; at least I found that in me. Such powerful beings are best kept at a little distance in the hope that if they hurt us (and that they inevitably will at some time) it will not be too overwhelming. We want to be free from that prohibiting influence.

I guess that men, wanting to feel important and powerful, are going for a compensation for the little power they have over women – and the huge power they have over ‘us’. This is a conclusion I draw from the first ‘men’s group’ I did as part of the Dionysian Festival I organise here in Postupice (Czech Rep.) once a year. Asking the men to share their most traumatic experience it’s all about this huge power of women in their life and how they were hurt. And how now, trying to protect themselves against it, they don’t want to get too intimate (and I would add especially with a strong, independent woman – especially if she isn’t obviously restraintful. The need to be with a young woman might very well stem from the centuries of experience that these women have not enough power to overwhelm us. The sad part being, of course, that they don’t allow for a peer2peer partnership where we can truly meet eye to eye).

I’m not such a fan of what I call “vertical spirituality”; much rather I take a stand for what so far I’ve called ‘cooperative spirituality’ (more about that here). The vertical spirituality looks for ‘higher development’ etc. to gain power over the ‘lower’ levels of development – basically. (You can see some of it’s results in the frequent mean-green-meme bashing that is going on in Wilberian circles – which is another topic showing, in my view, some of the possible pathologies of yellow and beyond – if indeed that color coding makes any sense). This is the spiritual male’s way out of the necessary acceptence of powerlessness, unknowing and embeddedness that we have to face.

There is no culture of suffering – rather every man seems to be looking for a way out: either through spirituality, or technology or or economy/politics/military. The Buddha’s promise that there is an end of suffering hasn’t done much good either, as I see it. (As not many people – usually men – have been able to go that way to it’s very end of enlightenment; so what about all of us who ‘fail’?)
Opening up to and opening up as the suffering here with me (in me) gives me depth and connects, showing me the blessing of being alive in the mystery called reality. If this ‘way’ is wrapped up in some kind of friendly heroic words men actually get interested in taking it I’ve found.

So, back to your question. When I look at your face on the picture with Geert (and I must say it looks familiar to me; have you been in seminars with Michael Barnett?) I don’t think that men will not be attracted to you. But what I do think that it is good to come from, “I really don’t know what you are, know, feel, etc.” This is what I practise with my girlfriend (I practise; she does whatever she does to go through the difficulties I manifest for her). Allowing myself to find out day by day what this paradoxical creature I’m with is being.
(She is definetly not a mirror – even though at times I see my ideosyncracies clearer though our interaction.)
I really have less and less idea of what it might be like to be a woman (or my girlfriend), and I’m happily and sadly surprised at times how unsurmountably different we are. So best to come from radical respect (and stop the telepathy-syndrom of thinking you know what the other means) and open heart, and see what life brings…

Hmm, I guess I got into rambling a bit. But maybe this might be of some help for you.

Much Love,
mushin

What facilitating comes down to

I found this today, and I feel that it really applies to all facilitators…
Parking Lot Blog Archive What is really evolving
[…] If you are a facilitator looking to deepen your practice, heed this lesson: it is not the tools that need changing and constant improvement; it is you. Let your use of tools shape you to working with people in the ways which feel most natural. From that place, we develop the approach of inviting leadership. From inviting leadership we develop excellence and ease in making good.
Peggy Holman and I were talking about this the other day. She is in the final stages of completing the second edition of The Change Handbook, which will be a mammoth collection of tools and processes. And despite this last word on the tools of dialogue and deliberation, we agreed that even that tome is simply the proverbial hand pointing at the moon.

Immerse yourself in these tools, practice and then see how YOU change. That is the secret, the golden elixir, the pearl. Master practice, practice mastery.

The Lure of Cognition

As I was watching one of the I-I videos I downloaded a week ago I was again struck by the enormous cognitive slant in the presentation of the “self” – what the self is, who we really, really are…

Not that there is no talk about feelings. Not that there is no mention of the shadow, and all of that. No, all these ‘matters’ are mentioned and talked about at length sometimes. Nevertheless is is all this cognitive understanding that somehow gets on my nerves – I’m positively irritated.

Now that might be, of course, because I’m just one of these dumb guys – easily irritatable, fast in their judgement, and so on. Maybe. But maybe there is something to this: “I miss the feeling side of things.”
As if we knew what we are dealing with when we cognitively know phenomena. ..

So here is a question for you: When Adam knew Eve and she begot their first son Kain, what kind of knowing is meant there?

Well, I think it’s called “carnal knowledge” and making love is just a prt of it, I presume – I’m not English (my mothers tongue is German and I grew up speaking Dutch). So there is this cognitive knowledge which is what people at I-I are very good at, I think. And there is feeling knowledge which, in my understanding mind which deals with language, is more like an expert participation in what’s going on.

And then there is mystic knowledge. I think it fuctions in everyone as ‘intuition’ and comes into bloom when you’re into all kinds of spiritual practises of which meditation is the quietistic one. That’s the kind of knowledge that goes by the name of ‘revelation’ or ‘enlightenment*’ I think.

I simply wish that I-I could go more into those kinds of ‘presentations’ – but don’t ask me how, because I have no idea.

The Living Field Inspiration Newsletter – Issue 4/06

Hi,

I took a distance from what I call ‘vertical spirituality’. If you want to know how and why then you will find reasons here in a short essay.

Actually I’ve had this coming for a long time as you can see from the article that I wrote originally in 2003 “Why God does not need a Throne“. And it does have consequences, of course. A friend, who recently visited, wrote, “It was also a lot of fun to be with you and the people of the Community. It’s beautiful to feel the changes time and again, and see that you guys nevertheless manage to use the chaos productively. Anyway, I think it is great that you let go of the vertical structures and guru-dom (even if this revolution comes from ‘above’ 😉 )”
Well, in my events and seminars things are not as chaotic as S. writes about the community’s development even though the vertical structures are disappearing more and more.

I call the direction in which I see us moving cooperative spirituality. All of this leads me to tell you what I have found useful these last weeks:

  • After waking up in the morning I remember the many fields and dimensions in which I am embedded ( body, family, friends, neighbourhood, country, continent, planet, galaxis, flexiverse… and the subtle dimensions as well: the aura, fields and energies between us, the dimensions of the predecessors and disincarnate entities, the very subtle fields, the realm of archetypes and godheads, the nothingness and fullness: the whole unspeakable mystery…)
  • Remembering that we ourselves are the highest authority – this is our reality, our life, our destiny, our development and opportunity…
  • Remembering that reality always also is a co-production between me, the ones I’m with and all I am embedded in.
  • Remembering my heart’s resolution: May the fullness and richness of all fields and dimensions be with me and all living beings.
  • If I feel like it : sing, dance and express in any way what bubbles up from deep within.
  • And then I let go of it all and move to do what’s next …

This is just a trial run of a new ‘morning exercise’ – and I would like it very much if you would use some similar process and tell about it, for instance in this weblog.

Much Love ,
Mushin

PS.: Short remark re. “Silence & Celebration” from August 24th ’till 27th: We will also be silent outside the group-room (There will only be a very short possibility each day to confront burning questions).

Moving beyond the Patriarchal Temptation

This article is to be published on a German magazine soon – please do not publish or copy to other sites or places. Once it is published, I’ll put it up here regularly… and take this note away. So until then, feel free to link or comment.

Vertical Spirituality and the Suffering it Causes

Let’s start with two examples for the suffering recently caused by vertical spirituality:
Ken Wilber is an intelligent theoretician of spirituality and also an enlightened practitioner living what he speaks and writes about. If you’ve read his diary-like book “One Taste” you know that he has indeed realized the level of consciousness that he describes in his books as the highest.
All right then: June 8, 2006 Ken Wilber throws up a appalling rant against his critics on his weblog.

The whole article here.

The Dalai Lama about interdependency

In todays highly interdependent world, individuals and nations can no longer resolve many of their problems by themselves. We need one another. We must therefore develop a sense of universal responsibility It is our collective and individual responsibility to protect and nurture the global family, to support its weaker members, and to preserve and tend to the environment in which we all live.

THE DALAI LAMA

The Divine in us…

In my dream I sit across an enlightened teacher teaching ‘vertical spirituality’. He says that many great things have happened because of this teaching and education. In the course of history, he says, there have been many enlightened beings and this way has managed to carry the essence of spirituality to this very day.

I agree. Human kind has much to thank this Way and I gladly appreciate and honor that. Nevertheless, I say, in cooperative spirituality we come from seeing that the Divine – or what the enlightened have realized – is in everyone and everything. And we act accordingly. We don’t have to – like in vertical spirituality – have the enlightened experience to ‘move on’. We don’t have to feel, see or perceive the Divine to come from It being immanently present in him or her. Yes, I say, the Divine can actually be in hiding in him or her. What is important is to live with and from the acknowledgement that It is in him and her. That makes it much easier and more effective as in vertical spirituality to tease the Divine out, if one wishes to do so.
After our conversation we decide to create a huge oasis in the desert.

Cooperative Spirituality… a beginning

Picture by lorretineChildren at play
The summer group from July 1st untill 9th is behind us now. It was the first group after I definetly distanced myself from the ‘vertical spirituality’ which is how I now call the way that I myself have been taking for more than two decades; and it was the first group in which we could experiment with the new ways and means and most of all a new perspective on experience and life…
The spiritual crisis that I passed through these last two months (and which brought forth the posting “Abuse in spiritual circles” in June) has flowered into what I now call ‘cooperative spirituality’ since it isn’t fixed on some individual or collective ultimate (like enlightenemnt for instance) but rather proceeds from the understanding that life can be a continual development of ever widening horizons in which we are all participating as co-creators appreciating and honoring (German “wrdigen”) each other.
Therefor it is a deeply humane spirituality because it meets both the most divine of experiences as the divine in the other openly and compassionatly, without any bias. This is also based on the reckognition that I can only really meet others (men and gods alike) if I do not have an agenda, if I do not put them into some prefabricated structure in which one has IT and the other doesn’t (whatever IT might be).
The divine – or whatever one wants to call the ground of being (German “Urgrund”) – is inherent in all and everyone, it is immanent throughout. This is also a claim of vertical spirituality but it is hardly, if ever, put into practise. Yet in cooperative spirituality this goes without saying – due to the prime directive: Honor, appreciate (“wrdige”) all beings and phenomena as they appear.
In the summer group this manifested as growing trust, and very, very deep experiences that we now could regard and inquire to in mutual respect and appreciation. And because we didn’t come from any prefabricated opinion or perspective or some spiritual teaching and point of view but rather supported each other in the art of dignifying inquiry and interpretation a great and hitherto unknown richness could unfold.
And we could see how this cooperative sprituality is also an emancipated spirituality in which one rediscoveres one’s own authority, power, love and intelligence and experiences that one can actually trust it. This shows the unending diversity as much as what connects us – the unity of being – and it also reveals the different poles of being human.
I learned how much a vertical spirituality protects against feeling my own vulnerability. Emptiness, not knowing, feeling powerless and vulnerable – all of this opens one to the present if one doesn’t strive for anything ‘higher’, if the journey doesn’t orient towards infinity but is open to the finite, impermanent and meeting the unknown in one self and the other.
And the beauty of all this is that none of the valuable experiences of vertical spirituality is lost – enlightenments, Satoris, catharsis, revelations, insights, realisations, unconditional love, streams of energy, experiencing beings of light, seeing auras. etc. all the true, beautiful and good is still there, and, or so it seemed to me, even with greater depth and intensity.
So with cooperative spirituality we can enter into the inheritance of the great vertical traditions (like Buddhism, Vedanta, Zen, etc.) without taking on their vertical, patriarchal top-down structures in teaching and being with each other.The transition is not always simple – one of my oldest students in the Czech Rep. said that he was irritated and even frustrated in the beginning by me not leading but much rather facilitating the seminar. But, he then added, what he had always wanted had now become a reality: a meeting from heart to heart and soul to soul, and a communion and communication beyond words, concepts and forms.

The search is over

Now the re-search can begin.

I now remember many things that happened along the way which are much more congruent with my present way of inquisitive and cooperative spirituality than with the authoritarian spirituality that I was participating in these last 22 years.

Having dropped the feudalistic-patriarchal maps of spiritual experience and the universe I stand unencumbered by the need to realize anything at all. That allows me to stay with reality in its, I was going to say two directions within and without but as I now look, there actually is no inside that I could look into: it somehow stops at the ‘point’ of awareness. Yes, I can explore this ‘point’ being aware of awareness, being amazed at the very fact of it being. Yet, I dont feel that I should privilege awareness above its content .

The Living Field Inspiration Newsletter 3/06

Hi,

Often in my seminars and events someone asks, “Why…?” this or the other frustrating is happening in his or her life. The Buddhists among us have quite a clear answer to that question, citing the First Noble Truth, “There is suffering and impermanence in life for all beings.” Not being a Buddhist, although I do have great sympathy for the wisdom that this tradition brings, this is not an answer I prefer, and that is because I am not thoroughly convinced that life – our being in this world – actually is suffering. Neither do I believe that impermanence is a reason or cause of suffering.
The question ‘Why?’ is always also a question where the unliked or frustrating happening comes from, and often it is a request for a reasonable explanation for what is happening to me or us. And, of course, a good answer then gives us a meaning that we can attach to what is happening. This, it is supposed will give us an opportunity or the means by which we can avoid this unpleasant thing or happening in the future (and maybe does).

Whatever may be the case, we cannot avoid the fact that what is happening to us in daily life is… already happening; it is the case – whatever the meaning might be that we give it (even if a ‘good’ meaning might be helpful in dealing with its consequences). Seeing that this is so I am bold enough here to tell you ‘Mushins First Noble Truth’: “What is happening is already the case.” Or to put it more flippantly, “Reality, as I am experiencing it, doesn’t care what I think about it.” And this leads us to ‘Mushins Second Noble Truth’: “What I think about what is already the case determines very much wether I suffer or not.” So it is up to me – in many ways – how happy or unhappy daily life is in my case.

What does that mean for my spiritual practise?
Let’s assume that I meet someone that says something hurtful to me or that something frustrating is happening to me. My First Noble Truth informs me, “This is already happening – regardless of whether I want this to happen or not. And I perceive this happening as hurtful or frustrating. I can accept it, supress it or try to change it, but so much is true: It is happening/has happened and I feel bad.”
Now what?
If I am adequatly awake . and maybe the frustration has awakend me from my dreamlike state – I will pause. That means the automatic chain of judging (“this is frustrating”) and feeling bad and reacting (I justify myself, fight or try to escape) has been broken.
Now I have created enough space to undo my judgement (that I ‘automatically’ had) or regard it as not very adequate to the occasion. In this space also the ‘bad’ feeling loses power so that I can now accept and possibly ‘study’ it: How does it feel – exactly? Where does it manifest on the bodily level?
And I have another possibility in the space I created: I can – as this feeling (or with this feeling) – open to what is happening. Now my feelings don’t seperate me anymore from what’s going on – it doesn’t serve as protection, justification or whatever anymore – but rather connects me to what is the case right now. I don’t recoil or cramp up but rather loosen up and relax into what is the case.

In opening to this moment – just as I am feeling and experiencing it; just the way I am right now – I don’t need a ‘why’ or ‘whence’ or ‘where will it lead’ anymore; what is appropriate to this moment opens itself to me spontaneously. The moment of crisis showers its entire richess on me, and I can live it in relationship.

And so the way has become the goal…

Much Love,
Mushin

PS.: We still have a few places free in the summer-event “Opening the Cosmic Heart” – July 1st untill 9th – and I would be delighted to see you there.