“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.”
Thus, the transformation of sociological and psychological structures must take place initially in our own minds. . . (this is) the blueprint for revolutionary change, first in the individual, then in the community of which he or she is a part. . .if we truly hope to address the root cause of social suffering -Charles Johnson
Posts Tagged ‘integral
Rapid technological advances. Increased wealth. Stress. Stable lives and careers come under the pressure of accelerating change. The twenty-first century?
the sixth century B.C.E.—a time of destructive warfare, economic dislocation, and widespread disruption of established patterns of life, just like today.
In conditions similar to ours, the Buddha discovered a path to lasting happiness. His discovery—a step-by-step method of mental training to achieve contentment—is as relevant today as ever.
Putting the Buddha’s discovery into practice is no quick fix. It can take years.
The most important qualification at the beginning is a strong desire to change your life by adopting new habits and learning to see the world anew.
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana from “Getting Started ,” Tricycle, Fall 2001
(ahh history just continuously repeats itself ~John – but you don’t have too)
Just as energy can be used for many different purposes, so can pure existence be experienced in relation to any phase of life—anger, hatred, or jealousy as well as love and beauty.
Every human action must be carried on through the ego, which plays a role comparable to that of a pipe or channel through which energy is conducted for different uses.
We usually think of the ego as a kind of constant, unchanging entity. In fact, however, it is simply a succession of physical and mental events or pressures that appear momentarily and as quickly pass away.
–Katsuki Sekida, from A Guide to Zen (New World Library)
Is He more like Scorcese’s Last Temptation or Gibson’s Passion? Would your Jesus drive an Army Tank or a Prius? Would He be in support of the war in Iraq or marching in a Peace protest?
Bruce Sanguin, a progressive minister recently featured in EnlightenmentNext magazine, has written a book, The Emerging Church in which he explores how the changing perceptions of Christ help to illuminate the evolution of spirituality throughout human history.
I am excited for the emergence of this book at a time when we seem to be collectively embracing the need for change in our Western American culture. For many people burned out, or burned by, Christianity, this book may offer a healing and resolution. (And for me this fits in with my integral view and understanding of spiral dynamics and my world)
Here are just 4 perspectives in the development of our spirituality with regards to Christ, taken from the EnlightenmentNext article:
The Traditional Christ: “I am the one and only son of God. If you give yourself to me and me alone, you shall be saved and granted eternal life.” (where seen: The Left Behind series, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins)
The Modern Christ: “I am an example of extraordinary human potential. Those who strategically apply my teachings will achieve great success.” (where seen: The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren)
The Postmodern Christ: “My teachings are one among many paths of Truth. I am an example of universal Love, Compassion and Equality.” (where seen: Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith , by Marcus Borg)
The Cosmic Christ: “I am the Spiritual impulse itself – an evolutionary intuition embedded within the sacred unfolding of the cosmos.” (where seen: The Phenomenon of Man , by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)
Here is a link for an audio: http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/unbound/media.asp?id=247
The book is available from Amazon
The face of impermanence is constantly showing itself. Why do we struggle to hide it? Why do we feed the circle of suffering by perpetuating the myth of permanence? Experiences, friends, relationships, possessions, knowledge – we work so hard to convince ourselves that they will last. When a cup breaks or we forget something, or somebody dies or the seasons change, we’re surprised. We can’t believe it’s over.
… Permanence would be awkward. There would be no beginning and no end . . . Everything would last forever. There’d be no seasons. We’d never be born, grow up, fall in love, have children, grow old or die . . .
No matter how we want to cling to our loved ones, by nature every relationship is a meeting and a parting. This doesn’t mean we have less love. It means we have less fixation, less pain. . . we can relax into the ebb and flow of life.
We don’t have to keep imitating an idea of permanent happiness.
Understanding the meaning of impermanence makes us less desperate people. It gives us dignity. . .
~ SAKYONG MIPHAM RINPOCHE, Turning the Mind into an Ally
For me this dignity is essential in cultivating a heart of compassion (and Sakyong points to this also). If my heart is full of fixation there is no room for anything else to exist. It’s as if this letting go is a first step in taking the focus off of merely myself and opening up to something larger than myself.
I find that embracing the nature of impermanence in the seasons, in financial areas, and relationships to be easier these days. The impermanence in knowledge is becoming more evident in this information age as “things” we thought to be true are quickly outdated and replaced by new information – it’s funny, I still hold certain knowledge to be more permanent – I grasp this tighter; I hold on with a closed fist – especially when I do not see the difference between knowledge and my opinion or I try to make a certain knowledge “fixed” rather than unfolding (which happens when I am caught up in my blue or orange development – see Spiral Dynamics).
I hope to cultivate a bit more dignity in this area.
Divinity has one ultimate secret, which it will also whisper in your ear if your mind becomes quieter than the fog at sunset: the God of this world is found within, and you know it is found within: in those hushed silent times when the mind becomes still, the body relaxes into infinity, the senses expand to become one with the world-
in those glistening times, a subtle luminosity, a serene radiance, a brilliantly transparent clarity shimmers as the true nature of all manifestation, erupting every now and then in a compassionate Radiance before whom all idols retreat,
a love so fierce it adoringly embraces both light and dark, both good and evil, both pleasure and pain equally….
~ Ken Wilber
Source: “Simple Feeling of Being”
(and this is one reason why when I do not sit regularly in meditation, life is not the same. And when I do sit, life is not the same – John)
Our own worst enemy cannot harm us as much as our unwise thoughts.
No one can help us as much as our own compassionate thoughts.
~ Jack Kornfield, Buddha’s Little Instruction Book
Thank you for all the well wishes, offers, chants and prayers. I am feeling much better, just a bit fatigued now. Many Blessings, John
So why the hell do you meditate? Everyone has their reasons. Individuals and teachers vary on this subject. Usually there’s a common theme – it’s about tapping into something deeper than what’s typically going on, on the surface.
Some side effects of deeper can be peace, insight, centeredness, health but it can also be terror, frustration, confusion, anxiety. Few people tell you that second part. Over identification with these “swinging doors” of positive and negative emotions or thoughts is the stumbling block or the prison.
Freedom for me is being the watcher, the observer who just notices what is arising. To notice what’s going on and very naturally let it go and move beyond it. That’s one reason I meditate. To remember the deeper me behind the ego. Remembering is needed since my ego likes me to forget.
So do you meditate? If so, please share why – I wanna hear what you have to say. Choose not to meditate? Post why not – I wanna hear that too . . . Below is an explanation on the purpose of meditation by Andrew Cohen that I find useful.
The Purpose of MeditationQ: Why is it important to meditate?
A: You meditate to remind yourself that you’re not a prisoner. If there is power in your meditation, if your experience of the ground of being is deep and profound, you will discover and rediscover, over and over and over again, that you are not a prisoner. You are not held captive by your own mind; nor are you imprisoned by your own emotions. It sounds simple, but it’s so easy to forget. If all you are aware of is the endless rollercoaster ride of thoughts and feelings, of course you will believe you are trapped.
The ground of being is a deeper, infinitely more subtle dimension of your own consciousness that simply cannot be perceived by the gross faculties of the conditioned mind and ego.
You can’t see it; you can’t taste it; you can’t touch it. So even if you have directly experienced the unconditioned freedom of that empty ground, when you return to the world of conditioned mind and ego, you’re likely to doubt it. The mind simply cannot cognize this ground, and the ego cannot know it. That is why it’s very important to meditate as much as you can. If you meditate regularly with a strong intention, you will keep rediscovering that you’re not a prisoner. You cannot recognize that enough.Until your conviction in your own freedom is unwavering and you’re able to prove it through unbroken consistency in the way that you live, you need to keep having that experience. Each and every time you realize that you’re not a prisoner, it gives you a deeper confidence in the limitless inherent freedom of that empty ground that is your own deepest Self. It builds a conscious conviction in no-limitation, and, as I teach it, this is the most significant purpose of meditation.
~ Andrew Cohen
Okay, if you don’t have the incense to burn away your accumulated Karma, you might be interested in these definitions. They are some of my favorite and each touch on very different aspects of Karma. Sure, I could post hundreds of aspects or viewpoints on the subject by teachers, musicians, poets . . . Today, I just happen to like these three . . .
With open hands,
Karma is created every time you act out of unconsciousness, ignorance, and selfishness in ways that cause suffering to others. For most of us, karma is a powerful force—the accumulated momentum of literally countless actions. The momentum of karma is what makes the personal world of ego and unenlightenment appear so attractive to us.
The authentic self in each of us is compelled to become enlightened and perpetually evolve, but the ego is driven by the need to always be in control and ever remain the same. And it is the choices that we make in every moment that determine which part of our self will be creating our destiny. Each time we act out of ego, karma is instantly created.
Enlightenment means freedom from karma.
It’s the law of interdependence—that every action produces a reaction, and that when you combine billions of actions with billions of reactions, and they begin to react to one another’s reactions…well that’s why it’s not as simple as if you do good, good things come back to you. Or if you do bad, that bad things will happen to you. Why? Because your karma could, boomeranging back toward you, come into contact with other streams of karma, either good or bad.
But if you want to keep things simple, live by these words:
“If you want to be happy, think of others. If you want to be unhappy, think only of oneself.” It’s the Buddhist version of Christianity’s Golden Rule: Do Unto Others as you would have Others Do Unto You.
~ Waylon Lewis
“We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
I love Stuart Davis’ way of zen and his embrace of the 3 selves – especially the shadow (I had to post this after all the chats with Frizz). This is a classic for me.
PS – not for the faint of heart, this is a stick upside the head kinda zen
SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH . . .
The more I take time to sit, the more I make time to do my QiGong, the more I take time to pay attention to the activties in everyday moments – like when I am eating a piece of food and turn my attention to this activity, rather than wander off in my head or in front of the TV as I shovel food in my mouth - the more I relax into who I am beyond my ego.
Slowing down, emptying out and paying attention have some wonderful side effects (lowering blood pressure, destressing, muscles becoming less tense, etc.). An often overlooked benefit however, is a wide-openness in relationship with the self. Sounds great, huh? (ok, now I’m chuckling – or is it snickering?)
You see, I do not subscribe to a romantasized view of enlightment (or love) so at first this openness may not exactly seem like a benefit. Because just as with any relationship we have that grows deeper, the relationship with the self as it opens, brings to the surface all the dark stuff, all the shit, all the obstacles – anxieties, triggers, the raw-ness, the mistrust that comes from being in love and getting closer. It’s honesty – a being honest with who you are in an integrated wholeness. I take me as I am, not just the enlightened stuff, warts and all (or is it “ego” and all?)
Sticking with it – like a committment I’d have with any other love relationship – and being sure to treat myself with kindness, compassion and honesty allows me to be the container that can hold these areas as they arise.
So while we may all believe we need to love ourselves more, I am reminded what real love entails. It means being with the shit. Not ignoring it or reacting to it. This is true with the others I love as well as myself. And lets face it, if that type of development were easy we’d all be in enlightened relationships . . .
So I continue to sit
(and watch the Stuart Davis show on the web – I like how he integrates the shadow and I usually always laugh – especially the show on “The Secret”)
Owning up to your “shadow” – not a bad idea, can be a difficult process though. It’s the Holiday Season so get ready to face it, cause it is going to be in your face screaming a big “Fuck You”, which for me can easily mean, turning around and projecting it onto someone else (I mean wtf, this is the shadow – I ain’t gonna own it – that’s its point).
Tis the season to be with “family” and there’s nothing like family to bring out a little bit of my repressed features. The bigger the jerk, the more likely I’ll project my disowned self (hell, you should see me at work recently – it’s all – “I’m rubber, you’re glue”). But family D-r-a-m-a makes the stunts pulled at drag shows seem tame (and trust me, those queens know drama).
If you head over to http://www.IntegralLife.com, Kelly Sosan Bearer has written some great 101 articles on the Shadow. Really worth taking a look – even if you’re like me and spent quite a bit of time examining this issue over the years. ”Hot on the Shadow’s Trail” also includes an informative 10 minute video by Diane Musho Hamilton. Here is an excerpt:
“There are several benefits to recognizing and working with our shadow qualities. For one, we are usually more effective when we are not projecting all over everyone and everything we encounter. By reclaiming our projections, we unburden others from our projections about them, and allow them to just be themselves, rather than as how we see them. In that way we gain more objectivity.
But possibly the most important reason to work with our shadow is that hiding our shadow from ourselves requires an extraordinary amount of energy. What could we do with all that liberated energy? Enjoy life more? Enjoy others more? Accomplish more because we aren’t being constantly triggered into a familiar drama? Maybe even make a developmental stage transition?”
I think one of the greatest benefits of examining and owning the shadow for me is that I have a great desire to open – and part of what the above excerpt points to - is that we are able to be more objective when we own our shadow. Wouldn’t it be great to say, “I don’t ALREADY know how you’re gonna act”, because you’re making it about yourself (your shadow) rather than them?
So in the end whether they are a jerk or not doesn’t really matter.
(sure, easier said than done – but you gotta start somewhere. And you have to have a bit of healthy ego development and sense of self to begin to even look at your dark side, otherwise you’re gonna go neurotic or even psychotic – which probably explains why some of those family members will never try this process.)
My background in Counseling tends to make me think in terms of developmental stages or evolution. So I am attracted to ideas/theories like Maslow, Piaget, Kohlberg, Graves, Beck, Wilber - Spiral Dynamics, Integral Theory, etc. So I came across “The Theory of U” by Otto Sharmer (recommended by the latter), I’ve posted the beginning of the theory which has to do with Evolving as a Listener. This also gels well with many of my Taoist beliefs about remaining open enough to say “I don’t already know”. “Change” has been a buzzword along with ‘Hope” these last few months. Real change happens when you remain truly OPEN. So, are you evolving as a Listener?
Learning to recognize the habits of attention in
any particular business culture requires, among
other things, a particular kind of listening.
Over more than a decade of observing people’s
interactions in organizations, I have noted four
different types of listening.
“Yeah, I know that already.” I call this type
of listening “downloading”—listening by
reconfirming habitual judgments. When
you are in a situation where everything
that happens confirms what you already
know, you are listening by downloading.
“Ooh, look at that!” This type of listening
is factual or object-focused: listening by
paying attention to facts and to novel or
disconfirming data. You switch off your
inner voice of judgment and listen to the
voices right in front of you. You focus on
what differs from what you already know.
Factual listening is the basic mode of
good science. You let the data talk to you.
You ask questions, and you pay careful
attention to the responses you get.
“Oh, yes, I know exactly how you feel.”
This deeper level of listening is empathic
listening. When we are engaged in real
dialogue and paying careful attention,
we can become aware of a profound shift
in the place from which our listening
originates. We move from staring at the
objective world of things, figures, and
facts (the “it-world”) to listening to the
story of a living and evolving self (the
“you-world”). Sometimes, when we say
“I know how you feel,” our emphasis is on
a kind of mental or abstract knowing. But
to really feel how another feels, we have
to have an open heart. Only an open heart
gives us the empathic capacity to connect
directly with another person from within.
When that happens, we feel a profound
switch as we enter a new territory in the
relationship; we forget about our own
agenda and begin to see how the world
appears through someone else’s eyes.
“I can’t express what I experience in
words. My whole being has slowed
down. I feel more quiet and present
and more my real self. I am connected
to something larger than myself.” This
type of listening moves beyond the
current field and connects us to an even
deeper realm of emergence. I call this
level of listening “generative listening,”
or listening from the emerging field of
future possibility. This level of listening
requires us to access not only our open
heart, but also our open will—our
capacity to connect to the highest future
possibility that can emerge. We no longer
look for something outside. We no longer
empathize with someone in front of us.
We are in an altered state. “Communion”
or “grace” is maybe the word that comes
closest to the texture of this experience.
When you operate from Listening 1 (downloading),
the conversation reconfirms what you
already knew. You reconfirm your habits of
thought: “There he goes again!”
When you operate
from Listening 2 (factual listening), you disconfirm
what you already know and notice what is new out
there: “Boy, this looks so different today!”
you choose to operate from Listening 3 (empathic
listening), your perspective is redirected to seeing
the situation through the eyes of another: “Boy,
yes, now I really understand how you feel about
it. I can sense it now too.”
And finally, when you
choose to operate from Listening 4 (generative
listening), you realize that by the end of the
conversation you are no longer the same person
you were when it began. You have gone through
a subtle but profound change that has connected
you to a deeper source of knowing, including the
knowledge of your best future possibility and self.
Want to know more? Go to:
I love discovering – don’t you?
It is very common for me to over identify myself with my thoughts or feelings. Like my thoughts are, oh so important and my current feelings are, oh so real. Ever do that?
The reality is everything changes. My thoughts about issues change as I get more information, or as I process something, or with hindsight. My feelings can change even faster depending on what song is playing on the radio, or if someone cuts me off on the highway, or if my niece gives me a hug. It’s all Impermanence.
Remember, no matter what it is, “this too shall pass”. (Our electoral process alone is a great example of that)
That’s where meditation is centering for me. It allows me to step back and observe (with a gentleness and kindness) what is going on in my head (without judgement) and also what I’m feeling at the moment (without over identification).
To paraphrase some of Wilber’s thoughts – it’s the big “I” observing the little “i”. The Greater Self behind the self.
Now my habits often keep me in a “mindless” state rather than a “mindfull” presence. But even just a few moments a day of reconnecting with the big “I” can not only change thoughts and feelings but can even change heart rate, blood pressure and sleep. I’m not even talking about hours – just a few minutes of reconnecting. The biggest change over the years has been one of nonjudgement. I don’t beat myself up for not meditating; I’m a lot kinder to myself. I just make time to meditate again without spending a lot of energy on the “missed” meditation or mindful times. (Genpo Roshi’s “Big Mind and Big Heart” helped me evolve in this)
I also believe in clinical depression and medication (this is not a post about how quickly we tend to take a pill to solve a “feeling”, but to say there is a “place” for science and meds). If you take medication for a chemical imbalance, it can enhance the ”observing process” of meditation. Often times it is too painful to observe without it. Just don’t overidentify with your diagnosis, remember being say, “bipolar” is just a part of who you are – and all the more reason to not over identify with thoughts or feelings (which is common to that diagnosis).
Here is a quote from ~ Anthony de Mello, 20th century Jesuit priest
It speaks of this over identification well:
“Don’t say, “I am depressed.” If you want to say, “It is depressed,” that’s all right. If you want to say that depression is there, that’s fine; if you want to say gloominess is there, that’s fine. But not: I am gloomy. You’re defining yourself in terms of the feeling. That’s your illusion; that’s your mistake. There is a depression there right now, but let it be, leave it alone. It will pass. Everything passes, everything. Your depressions and your thrills have nothing to do with happiness. Those are swings of the pendulum. If you seek kicks or thrills, get ready for depression. Do you want your drug? Get ready for the hangover. One end of the pendulum swings over to the other.”
Thanks for stopping by,
Moving up the development spiral from purple (see my purple post a few days back) – which is the tribal and family oriented stage of life, we can see the need to break away and be independent (and often very narcissistic in our breaking away). In societies this was reflected in movements from tribes to fuedal kingdoms – in human development it’s the rebellion of teenage years. The Red Stage.
In arrested development it’s those people who remain so grandiose and self absorbed that unless they are a family member or boss – we rarely have anything to do with them. They never move into the next stage of development – and let’s face it, there are things you can get away with as a teenager that you can’t get away with any other time in life. And it’s inevitable like any “developmental theory” that we hopefully move up the spiral and through the stages (both individually and collectively).
Anyway this video has both the worst and BEST of the Red stage. This is so unlike the purple stage where the tribe or family means more than the individual – no wonder it’s so hard to let our teenagers go; it’s the reason we worry and want to keep them close to the tribe – but it’s also the reason we know we gotta let em go! I love this video and it’s no wonder Bono picked her to cover one of his songs. She actually lived this . . .
OK it won’t let me embed the video so here’s the link to YouTube. GO! It’s worth it:
Over the course of the next week or so I am going to post some of my favorite videos that I think represent some of the best stages in Spiral Dynamics (if you’re not familiar with this Theory and you want to learn more look up Spiral Dynamics and: Ken Wilber, Andrew Cohen, Don Beck or see http://spiraldynamics.net/DrDonBeck/essays/stages_of_social_development.htm There is also a link to Joe Perez on this page and he has some great 4 quadrant, spiral news posted daily)
If evolving means incorporating the best of each level of development as we move up the Spiral and not rejecting what each stage has to offer (including the Shadow work), then I hope these videos will give some insight to a part of each stage (as represented by a color) and help you stay connected to that part of yourself . . . no matter what color you currently resonate in (as for me, I’ve got one foot in Yellow)
So I’m beginning with Purple, (the Animistic, tribal stage) enjoy:
“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”
~ H.H. The Dalai Lama
How beautiful and simple is that? The Philosophy of Kindness.
I came across this quote along with some writings on “Letting go”. Now I get that I need to let go of things – I do way to much fucking accumulating with my head and sometimes with my heart too. The economy as well as my present economical situation has made material accumulation a let less than it’s been in my past, and I’ve been letting go of complicated accumulations in my head more and more.
Anyway, in this life-long letting go process there are moments of, “Oh shit – this makes TOTAL sense; I already new that – it’s just no one ever stated it like that”.
The above quote by the Dalai Lama is one of those, another one was an example of letting go and I do not have a citation (I searched for it but to no avail – think I read it in a David Richo book – if you know the Zen master who said this, leave me a comment) so I will paraphrase:
“Open your hand and let the dead wood drop”
I love that. Again, it’s simple, not complicated – like the Dali Lama’s quote. It’s not about trying to take the shit in my life (or in my head) and throwing it out – forcing it away. It’s more like taking a deep breath and letting it fall away. Not tossing the the piece of dead wood; not burning it; not breaking it up into little pieces. Just opening my hand and letting it drop. The wood serves no purpose. Let it go.
I hope you have a day with open hands . . .
“The acorn becomes an oak by means of automatic growth; no commitment is necessary. The kitten similarly becomes a cat on the basis of instinct. Nature and being are identical in creatures like them. But a man or woman becomes fully human only by his or her choices and his or her commitment to them. People attain worth and dignity by the multitude of decisions they make from day by day. These decisions require courage.”
~ Rollo May, 20th Century Existential Psychologist
Kind of appropriate during election week huh? Like any other time wouldn’t be appropriate.
Oh well, I’m glad my “SELF” does not need to choose like my “self” does. That’s grounding for me. Because while some days I have much courage – and actually choose with a balanced head and heart, other days I’m just, “king of the forest” making some really shitty choices out of a fearful ego.
Thank god there’s always another chance at relationship with others – with myself. A chance to have the curtain pulled back, to wrestle with flying monkeys, to get a smack on the nose (ok, enough of the damn Oz references). The bottom line is that I don’t always choose with courage – but I always get another chance to choose and that’s the fuck’n beauty of life! To learn to be fully human.
And then to learn to move beyond this and to -
let it go . . .
Resting in the “SELF”