Body, Soul and Spirit 1: Modes of being alive – on modes of consciousness and why we are polymorphous
Body, Soul and Spirit 2: The Way of the Soul – on what becomes embedded in flesh and why incarnate in the first place, and a bit on enlightenment
Imagine sitting in a circle with 20 people or so. Imagine going through a deep process that lets you pass from artificial community, where everybody is nice and friendly but not very authentic, to the authentic struggle for leadership and what’s next. The first step from polite to being more true, governed by the powerful drive for real healing and community, where alliances form to get everybody to do ‘the right thing’ – in short the charismatic, idealistic and beautiful chaos between well-meaning spiritual beings. But we’re not getting it together as we all have a good cause not easily given up, knowing the right way for ourselves and others. And more groupings happen and negotiations start, and haggling and trying to get everybody on one page; only it never works out and there is no way back to friendly superficiality.
Maybe somebody starts to cry and express sadness at our fragmentation. And the fixers and healers and dealers get new fuel. Maybe someone gets angry at all the haggling and conflict about what’s the right thing to do and all the efforts at healing and bridging gaps. Maybe someone even says they hate it when people comfort each other, and say that it’s alright when its not. And maybe a wave of protest rises against the voice saying, “Look at how we can’t even get it together, how should the world?”
As we go round and round in circles trying to heal, fix, organize, manage, try to get everyone to change, or to accept the way things are, or be this way or that, or at least do something… its all to no avail. The chaos persists; but since it’s part of a process and not ‘in the wild of the world’ its a civilized sort of chaos in which this fundamentally discordant incoherence persists. And therefor its’s easier to to see that this is so.
As more and more persons come to this realization and see that not one of us, not even in a coalition of the best and brightest, can make us cohere into true community, and as this understanding sinks in slowly the voices die down and a depressed silence sets in.
As the silence thickens and deepens it, after a while, looses some of its sense of failure and depression. A feeling of “just so” might spread, spiced with seeing the beauty of people just sitting in a circle. Doing nothing, saying nothing and not knowing what’s next, or where to go from here.
And now imagine a first voice speaking up in celebration of this, of us here, just the way we are, without a clue and a solution, but here. And after a deep appreciative silence in which you can almost feel everyone tasting the truth of what has just been said a second voice might say, “In a strange way I feel you are all part of a greater ‘us’.” Another pause where everyone just cherishes these words. And now, “I feel that we’re one body with 21 heads and 42 arms and legs…” We now can all feel something bigger gel. The the coherence takes, deep community is manifest and the Circle Being wakes up in the living field of all of us who are present…
I’ve facilitated many such “Circles of the Heart” – a happening that has many names: U-process, community building, gestalt-energy process, Edge of Emergence, collective wisdom, whatever. I know this process has been experienced by tens if not hundreds or even thousands of thousands people on this planet. It is real. It is risky cause it is out of anybody’s control. And the Hieros Gamos – the Divine Marriage – can be more or less intense, depending on the circumstances, the context and the nature of the facilitation, but it is definite evidence for an Intelligence that manifests between us.
Now imagine someone telling you that you are not really a fixed person, there is not just one but there are many voices that manifest in this one person that we all call “me”. Imagine that it is much more than just a metaphor and that you’re really a different person under the shower, than with your lover in the warm and intimate night, or with your boss in her office, or with the police officer giving you a speeding ticket, or with your children when your playing hide and seek and so endless on.
Imagine that what we call ego, what everyone of us calls “I, myself” is just that one voice that claims much of the goodies of the others and disclaims most of the nasties. And now imagine that with what you ordinarily take to be yourself you go through a process where you get to be many of these other voices in ‘you’ quite intensely for a while. So imagine you are the inner child for a while, and then maybe the controller, and after that the critic and the protector and the healer-fixer and the seeker and the ‘awed one’ and the ‘shiny one’ and the divine and so on. And every time you embody a voice you notice, really, that the voice enlivens you in a particular way. Again and again.
Imagine you’ve gone through this process a couple of times. You’ve gotten to know some voices very well, your favorites. And some who are not your favorites but nevertheless they often sound through you, you are them and they are you. And through this process you come to know them much better. You also find some hidden voices, and then some more. And after a while, maybe you ask yourself, “Who of all these voices is the real me?”
It may not be easy to accept, but imagine you now know for a fact that the different voices all have a different answer to that. And now as this is sinking in you look at the question – Who am I? – and find that what you’ve always called your “self” is just one of the voices that sounds through you. And now imagine, as you’re studying the different ones that you are, or maybe more correct, that are you, you find that what the quantum physicists say about the measurement problem – that the observer is always influencing the outcome of any measurement s/he makes – is also true for awareness. When you study a voice in action it changes; you know it does because you remember that when you’re not aware of “the voice that’s speaking now” (maybe the ‘curious reader’ or the ‘thoughtful seeker’ or ‘critical thinker’ or whatever) it simply follows its own internal pilot but once you’re aware, something essential changes.
I believe “awareness” or “consciousness” is one of the voices – or call them archetypes – that can be you and me, and to a certain extend us. So when this influences the “being in the world” of any voice it is changed irrevocably. Awareness can be very dominant, much like love or hate or passion – and just like these it is out of control. You cannot decide to be conscious, or more conscious, unless you’re conscious already. And so it seems to be with most, if not all of our voices or sub-personalities, or demons, or archetypes, or whatever you want to call this. So when you are investigating these voices, it’s the investigator that is looking at these ‘others’. And when you enter a process like this (I used to do guided tours through our voices with the title, “Enlightenment guaranteed”, and for some minutes at least it worked out every time) you first act ‘as if’ you’re the inner child, for instance. But then, after a while and with the help of the others, you truly become it… And there you are, investigator, child, guardian, dominator, manipulator, hero, honorable one, teacher, student, critic, madman, wanderer, simply being here, healer, meditator, enlightened mind, cosmic heart, transcendent navigator.
And now imagine that you start to consider the possibility that as the persons in the Circle of the Heart went through a cycle with some definable stages – artificial community, chaos, depression/sadness, silence, coherence and celebrating the polymorphic togetherness of Circle Being – that all your ‘inner voices’ go through a similar process in life. Imagine that you’re lucky and things work out; imagine that you’re blessed and grace showers on you; imagine the Moirae spin that destiny for you; imagine that you’ve chosen that fate and the We that is Me coheres in your inner ecology, time and again…
It seems that some things are conducive to such happenings. Many of the voices that are me are convinced that as a human species we need more and more of this if we are to thrive instead of fading away in fragments in a more or less catastrophic way. So imagine with me, if you like, how more and more our inner voices find both, authentic expression – able to offer a genuine contribution to all of you – and the grace to fall silent genuinely, sadly maybe or depressed, because all is done and to no avail. And how out of that silence emerges ….