THERE IS A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT AT THE END OF THIS POST!
“If you live in a world where you are constantly replaying the past, you can never imagine a world that has not yet existed.”
~ Adam Curtis
In my last post (LINK) I described how a return to some of the basic principles and practices of New Thought can be very helpful in dealing with the pressure, stress, and frustration of the issues facing us. In this post, I suggest that if we are to transcend the challenges we face, we may have to take those principles and practices to a deeper level.
With all that is happening now – the pandemic, growing unemployment, Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, the conflicted mess of US politics with a coming election, and the elephant in the room: Climate Crisis looming and still getting worse. We are in a time of VUCA challenges – Volatility – Uncertainty – Complexity – Ambiguity.
We are experiencing high amounts of stress. Michelle Obama announced that she is suffering from “low grade depression” (LINK) as a result of all that is happening in the US. As a demonstration of how things are in US society, she is immediately supported by liberals and vilified by conservatives. Such is our current reality.
The disastrous US national response to the COVID-19 pandemic is just one example of the results of electing people to office who lack the capacity for truly complex thinking and for compassion. The rising up of many in protest speaks to a desire to heal the nation – but then many get caught up in fear-based responses. Can you envision Moses, returning from Mount Sinai with the tablets, coming upon a scene such as the one currently playing out in the United States?
Imagine instead if this were how we collectively approached electing leaders:
“More important than any other quality in our politicians we must demand psychological illumination, psychological awareness, because otherwise we get people sparring with their own shadows. Otherwise you’ll get nations, as we had in 1939, like the Germans projecting their shadows onto the Jews, and then when they were eliminating the Jews, onto the Poles and God knows what else.”
~Sir Laurens van der Post, Matter of Heart
One might think that the application of New Thought principles would lead to a clear voice for the kind of leadership mentioned above. However, within our New Thought community, I am seeing a lot of “stress fractures” among some folks on social media and at centers where I have guest spoken and done Q&A – a broad acceptance of conspiracy theories by some, a withdrawal from anything “negative” by others. On the positive side, we are also seeing many who seek some clarification/revision of NT principles to allow for a recognition of a kind of “victimhood” for oppressed people. None of this is particularly surprising, given the confluence of the pandemic with BLM and the woke/cancel culture movements. And it is necessary to acknowledge the oppression and harm that so many have suffered in our society. Without that acceptance, we will not be able to move toward healing, reconciliation, and true equality and inclusion.
What I see lacking in the moment are a sufficient number of leadership voices helping people through these perplexing times – finding ways to reinforce the basic principles of the Science of Mind and other NT teachings, while adding some nuances is increasingly important, I think. In these complex times, a simplistic grasp of Principle is inadequate. For some, ideas such as “it is all consciousness” and “you create your own reality” seem to include the false belief that this means a level playing field – that everyone is in an equal place when they become aware of how to think in more powerful, positive, and effective ways. Such thinking ignores the lived experiences of people. It also carries with it a sense of supremacy (white/male/straight) and privilege with the accompanying conscious and unconscious biases leading to vastly inaccurate assumptions.
“. . .And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
The fact that this 40-year-old statement by Dr. King is still valid, that the progress sought is still largely unrealized, speaks to the resistance of white culture to putting the necessary effort into bringing about justice and humanity for all. And this failure is not limited to those outside of the New Thought movement. Our members who are of color have not experienced a full sense of inclusion historically. While we may be more open to exploring this issue than some others, we have much work to do, both within our spiritual communities, and without in the larger communities where we live and work.
“Our spirituality should not infantilize us or make us whitewash evil. Spiritual seekers should be the biggest grownups in the room.”
~ Marianne Williamson
What is required as complexity increases and the responses from those unready or unwilling to adapt become more destructive, is an increase in emotional and spiritual intelligence (EQ – LINK) (SQ – LINK). This means developing our capacities to accept uncertainty, paradox, mystery, while staying grounded in the ability to act in the world around us. It means finding the inner strength to withstand the pressure and stress of living in this moment. It means increasing our abilities of (Discernment – LINK) so as to find the grains of truth in the onslaught of information and false claims coming at us every day – from advertising, to political punditry, to conspiracy theories.
“The bigger the context in which you can see your own life, the more informed your choices and actions are.”
~ Cindy Wigglesworth
Expecting the same level of consciousness with which you manifested a promotion, or a better car, or healed a minor illness to be adequate to what humanity collectively faces now is naïve at best. I call that “first plateau consciousness,” the level that many students of New Thought reach after a year or so of study and practice. It is a definite improvement over “ordinary consciousness,” when you don’t know how powerful thought can be, but a higher level of realization is needed today. We need to break free of the deeper limiting believes in our subconscious – the ones which are generally untouched by first plateau consciousness.
This is why unconscious biases including racism, sexism, ageism, and gender and sexual identity biases can continue to exist in our spiritual communities. These things tend to be beneath the awareness of those who hold them but are painfully obvious to the targets of these biases. Anything within your subconscious of which you are ashamed is very unlikely to be healed by first plateau consciousness.
“Nature will not let us stay in any one place too long. She will let us stay just long enough to gather the experience necessary to the unfolding and advancing of the soul. This is a wise provision, for should we stay here too long, we would become too set, too rigid, too inflexible. Nature demands the change in order that we should advance. When the change comes, we should welcome it with a smile on the lips and a song in the heart.”
~ Ernest Holmes
Higher levels exist, and your soul is yearning to experience them. These levels include growth in EQ & SQ along with deeper spiritual and self-realization. But they require deep personal work, which is always uncomfortable and often very painful. This is not the kind of thing that is healed in a weekend seminar or a short class, and certainly not in a single Zoom call. Higher consciousness requires commitment, diligent work and spiritual practices, and at least one, but more likely several guides who have traveled the pathway ahead of you.
We are called to rise up today. Before we can properly and effectively rise up in the world, we must first rise up within ourselves. We were born with everything we need, every shred of potential lies within us, much of it unrealized. It is time to rise up and realize more and more of that potential so that we can each give our unique gifts to co-create for all of humanity #AWorldThatWorksForEveryone.
You are needed.
You are essential.
You are ready to rise up.
And it is all within you.
To answer the question in the title of this post, our principles can never hold us back. They are timeless and limitless. What is holding us back is our resistance to going deeper, to delving into the discomfort of our repressed selves, creating a path to healing and to allowing our inner wisdom to come to the surface so that we can apply it for ourselves and for all of humanity.
“Real emergencies surface people with real leadership capacity. It is possible to become more clear, present, focused, and capable as the stress rises. If you are centered and clear, then act. If you are anxious, frantic, overwhelmed, or unclear…take a break and center yourself. Come back to action when you are clear and ready to act effectively.”
~ Daniel Schmachtenberger
As always, your comments are welcomed in the comments section. Please feel free to share this post with others.
Copyright 2020 – Jim Lockard
A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:
Once again I will be offering my Metaphysical Psychology course to a limited number of students for the coming year.
If you are interested, the email is below.