Hope & Horror, Parts & Wholes.

I am re-blogging this post from Nora Bateson’s blog because I think it speaks to not only a major crisis of our time, but also to the complexity that I have been blogging about since the inception of my own blog. Nora’s amazing view points which allow us to be more clearly understand the interrelationships of all aspects of our universe, or critically important for those of us In New Thought to digest, and to incorporate into our own world views. We who teach Oneness must come to see your world as an expression of that worthles must come to see our world as an expression of that Oneness, not just as an idea, but as the basis of our construction of reality. The blog post take you to a link which contains a chapter from Nora’s book, SMALL ARCS OF LARGER CIRCLES. It is worth your time to read it. I look forward to your comments.

norabateson

This is a chapter from my book, Small Arcs of Larger Circles. It is a story of my discovery and confusion around the emergence of a widespread global grouping of people concerned for the survival of “indigenous Europeans” — white people. It is important to note that a peephole into this parallel world began for me in 2013 (maybe 2012?), and by then as an internet phenomenon of community it was already in full swing. This white supremacy question is not about the USA, it is not about Trump, it has nothing to do with Making America Great Again (MAGA), this situation runs much much deeper. In my considerations of how and where to take action, I am finding that an oversimplified, or decontextualized view of these social divisions only helps to fuel the fire. I am not suggesting that I have the deeper view necessary, only that I am…

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#Charlottesville – Thoughts and Prayers?

“We have been so persistently taught that prayer consists in asking God for some human need that we have lost sight of our spiritual identity and have become a race of praying beggars.”

~ Charles Fillmore

 

“Prayer doesn’t change things for us, it changes us for things.”

~ Norman Vincent Peale

What showed up in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend was a consciousness of ignorance and fear, one that many of us thought long dead (but many others know better). It is a consciousness which has been encouraged by many aspects of our society, not just the right-wing media, but they bear a great share of the responsibility for fanning the flames of ignorance and fear. Like an iceberg, what we see above the surface is only a small percentage of this consciousness – it exists in various degrees in many people as a dominant way of thinking, and many more as secondary elements of their worldviews. To deny this is to make a grave mistake.

This consciousness is so pervasive that it exists in barely cloaked forms at the highest levels of our government – to deny this is to make another grave mistake.

Like any consciousness that leads to a worldview, it is self-justifying in that it alters perception to make the world look as if this consciousness is both reasonable and necessary. In that regard, it is no different from any other type of consciousness.

In fact, this element that surfaces as white supremacy is only one aspect of a much larger consciousness of ignorance and fear. It shows up as every human failing, every criminal and unethical act, every failure to act from a compassionate heart and the wisdom that emerges from a heart fully opened to compassion. You might say that it shows up in every opportunity for human learning and spiritual growth – it is not alien to us, it is part of our nature, a part that is to be gradually transcended as we deepen and grow.

So, what we see in Charlottesville is like one lesion on a body with many lesions, all arising from the same disease – a sense of separation from Good, from Love, and from Wisdom. Every lesion is a symptom of something deeper, there are no exceptions. Thinking that removing the most currently painful lesion will heal the body is magical thinking. We must get to cause – we know that, right?

If I were speaking to a spiritual community today, Sunday, I would make mention of this consciousness of ignorance and fear urging everyone present to look for evidence of its many tendrils within themselves. For when the consciousness of ignorance and fear is present beneath our awareness, we are helpless to do anything but be carried along by it, acting as though it were a justifiable way to see the world. Those of us who were not part of the mob in Charlottesville may well be part of the same root system which produced it. We believe in separation, we blame, we hate – but we are reasonable whereas they are not.

Have I ever blamed? Have I ever made another wrong in such a way as to accuse them of committing wrongful acts from a level of awareness that they had not attained? Have I ever projected my own unhealed issues onto others because I had not done my deep personal spiritual work? Of course I have – I still do, don’t you?

But ours is not to get stuck in self-criticism either – that is not productive. Ours is to find the Compassionate Heart which lies beneath the crazy, sad, false ideas that we have all accepted to one degree or another. Ours is to do our spiritual work to heal those aspects of ourselves that still give energy to the consciousness of ignorance and fear.

If you are a student of New Thought, as I am, you already know how to do this. You can tell you are doing it well when your first reaction to the actions of ignorance and fear is compassion, the sadness of a broken heart, rather than anger. That is when we will co-create The Beloved Community and your “thoughts and prayers” will be powerful enough to influence the world around you in a larger more positive way. That is what we are called to develop in ourselves.

“May this suffering serve to awaken compassion.”

~ A traditional prayer to Kwan Yin, Bodhisattva of Compassion

 

“Our prayers are answered not when we are given what we ask, but when we are challenged to be what we can be.”

~ Morris Adlier

 

The Prayer of the Heart

To deliver oneself up,
to hand oneself over,
entrust oneself completely to the silence
of a wide landscape of woods and hills,
or sea and desert; to sit still while
the sun comes up over the land
and fills its silences with light.

…few are willing to belong completely
to such silence, to let it soak into their bones,
to breathe nothing but silence, to feed
on silence, and to turn the very substance of their life
into a living and vigilant silence.

~ Thomas Merton, from Thoughts in Solitude

 

Don’t surrender your grief so quickly,
let it pierce the soul
Let it wail and crack open wide the disbelief
allowing its searing tears to stain your face
Something is missing in my heart tonight,
it has made my gentle eyes soft with sorrow
while my angry voice turns into a whispered prayer
and my tender need of absolution so clear.

~ Joseph Francis Argazzi

 

“We can be certain that there is an Intelligence in the Universe to which we may come, that will guide and inspire us, a love which overshadows. God is real to the one who believes in the Supreme Spirit, real to the soul that senses its unity with the Whole.
Every day and every hour we are meeting the eternal realities of life, and in such degree as we cooperate with these eternal realities in love, in peace, in wisdom, and in joy—believing and receiving—we are automatically blessed. Our prayer is answered before it is uttered.
Wake up! Your word is all powerful. Your consciousness is one with Omnipotence. Your thought is infinite. Your destiny is eternal and your home is everlasting heaven.”

~ Ernest Holmes

#Charlottesville

#AWorldThatWorksForEveryone

#TheBelovedCommunity

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

DIVINE DISCONTENT – WHAT MOVES US TO CHANGE

“I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit.”

~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Having been in the throes of a major personal transformation process over the past three years or so, I have become more sensitive to this kind of process emerging in others – both in people and organizations. And I see it everywhere.

As of a few weeks ago, I am living in France, on a long-stay visa, looking for an apartment with my wife, Dorianne Cotter-Lockard, whose own journey has paralleled mine, at least in a geographical sense. During the past 2 ½ years, we have visited 23 countries and 16 of the United States, looking for a new home base (which we believe we have found in Lyon, France – we shall see). But more important to this post is the process that got us up and out and moving around; what drove us to sell most of our belongings, uproot from our home, for me to retire from pulpit ministry?

“Every transformation demands as its precondition ‘the ending of a world’ – the collapse of an old philosophy of life.”

~ C.G. Jung, Man and His Symbols

bird-in-the-rain1

What led me (and I will only speak for myself here) to initiate the outer effects of inner transformation was a degree of dissatisfaction – discontent, if you will. Something was emerging within me which was not a good fit with the outer life experiences that I had created in my life to that point in time. It was time to move on.

I’m restless.

Things are calling me away.

My hair is being pulled by the stars again.

~ Anaïs Nin 

Everything can be fine, then, almost imperceptively, it isn’t fine. Or, everything can be fine, then, suddenly, it isn’t – there is no set pattern. For me, in this instance, it was the gradual one. But I had come to know about the value of Divine Discontent, and was more receptive than I may have been in the past.

discontent

Since Dorianne was experiencing something akin to that, we decided to sell our home, cars, most of our furniture and belongings and move on. Initially, it was going to be to the east coast, where she had a couple of applications for jobs – but they did not come through, so off we went, and just kept going. We went from intending to relocate to define ourselves as “Intentional Nomads.”

“Transformation is about enlargement, and enlargement generally comes only from suffering. Stop and reflect on growth experiences. Invariably they arise out of conflict and loss, for consciousness only comes from the tension of opposites.”

~ James Hollis, Jungian analyst

Our suffering, mine anyway, was not horrible, it was well within the definition of Divine Discontent which I understood – the inner urge toward something new, defined or not, which grows unless and until you listen to it. When we set out there was no plan, no clear goal. Our intention was to make ourselves available to people, places, and things which inspired us, and perhaps gave an opportunity to share our gifts. Along the way, I began this blog and found my voice about leadership in a spiritual setting, and about the interrelationship of spiritual community, a changing world, and the challenges of spiritual leadership. I wrote and published a book (LINK) on the topic, and often speak and coach on the subject.

I had noticed the growing discontent within myself for a while before acting, and I have noticed evidence of it in many of the people I knew (and know) – a restlessness, a growing sense of disconnection; old patterns and strategies no longer work. When we experience this, most do what I had done initially: try the same things as before, only “louder”; or they had begun a process of withdrawal from the world – a combination of settling for the discontent and slowly giving up.

“The manifestation of emotional and psychosomatic symptoms is the beginning of a healing process through which the organism is trying to free itself from traumatic imprints and simplify its functioning. . .. when properly understood and supported, this process can be conducive to healing, spiritual opening, personality transformation, and evolution of consciousness.”

~ Stanislav Grof, Shift Magazine, June-August 2004

This profound statement by Stanislav Grof requires a reordering of our perspective on the healing process – and moving from one life paradigm to another that is more suited to who you are becoming is a healing. So often, we get stuck in the part of the process that requires us to let go and trust (surrender) that an inner wisdom is emerging to carry us forward. It is very important to be in touch with our sense of intuition at this stage. Instead, we resist and double-down on the old ways. And our suffering increases.

quote-we-must-be-willing-to-get-rid-of-the-life-we-ve-planned-so-as-to-have-the-life-that-joseph-campbell-44-57-01

I see the same thing in many of our spiritual communities. As I have blogged about so often, we are in a time of rapid and profound cultural change. “The sky is not falling, but the earth is moving,” as Dr. Gary Simmons says. People don’t want to be in spiritual community in the old ways in sustainable numbers, and our communities struggle with how to come to terms with that reality, usually beginning with denial. Our ways of “doing church” have been changing, often too slowly, and we face an uncertain future with little guidance as to how to proceed. But proceed we must, for the old ways are no longer sufficient in the world in which we find ourselves, much less in the world where we are headed.

The same Divine Discontent drives both processes – the transformation of our individual selves and that of our spiritual communities. The incredible good fortune that we in New Thought share is that our spiritual communities are designed to be vehicles for our personal transformation. A major part of the present challenge is those vehicles need more than a tune-up; they need an overhaul. Undoubtedly, the wisdom to carry us forward is emerging now and will continue to emerge within the chrysalis of enlightened spiritual community – the question is, will we be wise enough to recognize it when it comes through what may well be unrecognized channels?

“It is in the narratives and the psalms. Beginning with the Exodus narrative and the Elijah narrative and the Jesus narrative, they are all storied about public transformation that happened by courage of uncredentialled people. These kinds of narratives feed our imagination and give us energy and courage. As the civil rights movement of the 1960s and ‘70s understood, singing is a way to keep your nerve. If you think about the Song of Miriam or those dangerous songs (many of which are in the mouths of women) we are invited to join that kind of singing which is a refusal to accept the dominant definitions of reality. Such singing and storytelling is an insistence that there is another way to experience the world and there is another way to act in the world. These are very important models and authorizations for us.”

~ Walter Brueggemann

In future posts on this topic, I will explore more about Divine Discontent and how it manifests individually and collectively – and how it is, when seen with proper perspective, a great treasure in our transformation.

 Dali-2 - Egg

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

 

Here is where you can get my book
CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY: 
A Handbook for Spiritual Leadership
in paperback or Kindle editions –
(LINK TO AMAZON.COM)
(LINK TO AMAZON.CA – Canada)
(LINK TO AMAZON.CO.UK)
And at DEVORSS.COM

IS NEW THOUGHT 2ND TIER?

“If you realize that all things change,

there is nothing you will try to hold on to.”

~ Lao Tzu

We hear a lot of talk in New Thought circles about moving into 2nd Tier (at least I do). I would like to look at that possibility and what it may involve for us individually and collectively. First, New Thought is perfectly suited to 2nd Tier thinking as a spiritual philosophy; it is in no way stuck in old beliefs that would inhibit its use as adherents move to higher levels on the spiral. Second, movement along the spiral does not change the basic principles of New Thought teachings – it changes how people relate to the principles and to one another. Each vMEME acts as a container for the principles seeing them through different levels of complexity and different values systems. More about this later in the post.

“Others will arise who will know more than we do; they won’t be better or worse, they will be different and know more than we do. Evolution is forward.” 

~ Ernest Holmes,

Sermon by The Sea, Asilomar, Saturday, August 15, 1959

2nd Tier is on our agenda. We are moving in that direction, the world getting more complex (the human cultural aspects and our abilities to see through an increasingly complex lens). This calls forth from within us the emergence of greater levels of adaptability to that complexity.

By my observation, New Thought has individuals centered from Blue to Yellow/Turquoise on the spiral, with most centered at Orange and Green. You might wonder why the Yellow/Turquoise Level thinkers aren’t recognized as such? I will give you two reasons”

  1. You can’t see what you don’t recognize – 1st Tier thinkers can’t recognize 2nd Tier thinkers as such unless they understand the dynamics of cultural evolution and have sufficient self-awareness to see that they tend to project their own level beliefs onto others – thus seeing 2nd Tier thinkers as some form of their own level.
  2. Since all 1st Tier Levels will reject the values of levels different from their own, they will also see 2nd Tier values as something to reject. When in the 1st Tier (where the clear majority currently reside), one will see 2nd Tier values as dangerous and/or wrong. Remember in the motif of the caterpillar to butterfly transformation (LINK) that the old immune system of the caterpillar initially kills off the imaginal cellsthe forerunners of the butterfly, the new form. So, we will tend to do that with values emerging in others from higher on the spiral that we may currently be.

Currently, I am unaware of any New Thought organization or spiritual community which is operating at 2nd Tier as a community. This is most likely because there are not enough at 2nd Tier in leadership in any particular place yet. You are, of course, welcome to let me know if I need to be corrected in this regard in the comments section below (but first, read this entire post, and the (previous post LINK).

Poster - Toffler Quote

“The ability to shift from reacting against the past to leaning into and presenting an emerging future is probably the single most important leadership capacity today.”

~ C. Otto Scharmer

 

The models show us that movement into 2nd Tier is a great challenge, and how that movement happens is not well understood. The gap between the Green & Yellow Levels is much wider than between any two 1st Tier Levels. It seems individuals move first, and their organizations may follow if conditions are optimal. Frederic Laloux (LINK) believes the minimum requirements for operating at 2nd Tier as an organization are that the CEO-equivalent AND the board of directors-equivalent are both centered at Yellow or Turquoise. The presence of 1st Tier thinking among top leadership would have the effect of bringing fear into the mix and creating or continuing systems which attempt to reduce that fear.

We also have strong indications that unless one is centered at the Green Level in a healthy way, movement to 2nd Tier is unlikely, if not impossible. Integral-Yellow and Holistic-Turquoise are the first levels which are not fear-based. At these 2nd Tier Levels, there is a sense of empowerment and a healthy self-concept; one does not expend energy in ego defenses (such as worrying about how others perceive you). One must be at the Green Values System in a healthy way before the move to 2nd Tier can occur in a comprehensive way.

This suggests to us that a major focus now in New Thought can be to develop healthy Green ways of being. I have blogged about that here (LINK) and here (LINK) and here (LINK). Healthy Green contains a high capacity for complexity to see large patterns and connections. Those at Healthy Green have a greater willingness to incorporate a variety of viewpoints, cultural influences, and unique characteristics among membership without losing the capacity to hold fast to basic principles. Unhealthy Green, by contrast, can become authoritarian when its values are questioned, and has great difficulty holding others to accountability out of a fear that feelings will be hurt. A sense of peace is very important at Green, and unhealthy Green will take this to an extreme level“no one should ever feel bad about anything.” The result of this is usually everyone feeling bad about everything, but feeling that they cannot show it.

The rigor with which we teach our spiritual principles and with which we hold ourselves and others accountable for expressing them clearly and faithfully, will be an important factor in the future health of our New Thought organizations and spiritual communities, regardless of the level on the spiral that any of us happen to occupy.

“Amateurs [are] just regular people who get obsessed by something and spend a ton of time thinking out loud about it… Raw enthusiasm is contagious. The world is changing at such a rapid rate that it’s turning us all into amateurs. Even for professionals, the best way to flourish is to retain an amateur’s spirit and embrace uncertainty and the unknown.”

~ Austin Kleon

We are all living in a mystery accelerating toward the unknown. The idea of seeing ourselves as amateurs is a powerful one. The reality is that no one knows what models of spiritual community, or anything else for that matter, will be the most useful in the next decades. We do know that the “Sunday-go-to-meetingmodel is in decline as people evolve, but we do not know what will replace it. Perhaps a single, compelling model will be “discovered” and adapted by others; perhaps a dozen ways of being in spiritual community will emerge; perhaps none of the foregoing. We are, indeed, in the mystery.

We must be willing to be guided by principles, but not be bound by form.

Poster - Troward - Principle 2

The past cannot be our primary guide any longer.

“Anything from the past, like an idea of what man of this or that culture might or should have been, is now archaic, and the transformation we are experiencing is really of the whole sense of humanity; what it means to be a cultured and world-related human being. This is a whole new thing. And so, we have all of us to leave our little provincial stories behind. They may guide us as far as structuring our lives for the moment, but we must always be ready to drop them and to grasp the new experience as it comes along and interpret it.”

~ Joseph Campbell

The models of cultural evolution are helpful to us if we learn them, but they are not complete, and not predictive beyond a certain point. Our unfolding evolution as a spiritual movement of individuals and communities must be conscious and intentional to the highest degree possible. We cannot intend to go backwards, the universe doesn’t work that way; nor can we intend to stay where we are since evolution goes in one direction, so there are limits to what our intention can accomplish, unless it is aligned with Reality. We can, however, be conscious of who we have been, of who we are, and of who we intend to be in the future; this will require the courage to be unattached to anything that does not serve us in evolving toward a greater expression of Life.

“The spiral of life is upward. Evolution carries us forward, not backward. Eternal and progressive expansion is its law and there are no breaks in its continuity. It seems to me that our evolution is the result of an unfolding consciousness of that which already is, and needs but to be realized to become a fact of everyday life.”

~ Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind

Spiral Kids

In closing, there is nothing about our New Thought spiritual principles which would limit the ability of anyone to move into 2nd Tier and to thrive there. The principles announced by the various Founders are timeless. However, the principles will be viewed according to the cultural development of the viewers.

As an example, the Principle of Oneness can be understood at every level on the spiral – but it will be understood differently at each level. The degree of complexity to which one has access is a factor (at Traditionalist-Blue and below, it will be taken on faith; at Modernist-Orange, there will be a lot of analysis; at Postmodernist-Green, greater complexity plus a re-emergence of Purple provides a richness to the understanding; at Integral-Yellow, it is easier to see universal connections). The Principle of Oneness is the same in each, but each level will have a different understanding and experience of the principle.

It is often these differences that lead to a sense that we are not all on the same page when we discuss our principles. And yet, it is natural for each level to have its own understanding and experience of things. In fact, there can be differences within a level – not of the capacities to see, but in the individual influences that are brought to that seeing.

There is no danger that New Thought Spiritual Principles will be lost at 2nd Tier. The real questions are:

  1. How do we engage our development along the spiral, including the eventual movement from 1st Tier to 2nd Tier?
  2. How do we manage the differences in the ways that each vMEME, or Level, emerges and expresses within our organizations and spiritual communities?
  3. When do we choose to incorporate cultural evolutionary models and evolutionary leadership principles and practices into our various leadership training programs?

How we approach these questions will determine our future ways of being in our internal and external relationships in the coming years – years of great uncertainty. And with great uncertainty comes great opportunity for creative expression.

As always, your comments are welcomed – encouraged even!

 

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

Here is where you can get my book
CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY:
A Handbook for Spiritual Leadership
in paperback or Kindle editions
(LINK TO AMAZON.COM)
(LINK TO AMAZON.CA – Canada)
(LINK TO AMAZON.CO.UK)
And at DEVORSS.COM

 

 

CONSENSUS AND THE EVOLUTION OF PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS, PART 3

(NOTE: Since writing the last installment of this series (just over a week ago – but it seems longer), my wife and I have arrived in Lyon, France, where we plan to make our home. We have been in transit and in three (so far) temporary lodgings as we begin the process of seeking a long-term rental here. We have also begun to study French in an intensive setting, and last Thursday was my 66th birthday. I point this out to illuminate the undeniable truth that whatever I would have written right after Part 2 was published is not what I will be writing now. Living our lives has a powerful effect on our creative direction. Again, my immense gratitude to those of you who take the time from your lives to read this blog and, perchance, my books. Your participation in seeking to know how to wisely steward our New Thought movement through increasingly complex times means very much to me.)

 

“I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing – a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process…”

~ R. Buckminster Fuller

In writing about what 2nd Tier decision-making practices may look like for organizations and spiritual communities, I draw primarily from my own experience and these sources:

  • The body of work that constitutes Spiral Dynamics™& Spiral Dynamics Integral™ via Clare Graves, Don E. Beck, Christopher Cowan, and others; this includes the members of the Beck-Graves Original Spiral Dynamics Community on Facebook. As faithful readers will know, it is my go-to model for understanding human and organizational cultural evolutionary dynamics.
  • The work of Frederic Laloux, particularly his book, REINVENTING ORGANIZATIONS (LINK), and the expanding work of the growing community of those who seek to understand it and expand upon it (LINK TO VIDEO).

As noted in Parts 1 & 2 of the series (LINK) (LINK), the use of consensus (LINK) as a decision-making process is a choice based on the cultural evolutionary development of the individual(s) or community present. As I noted in Part 2:

It is important that we realize the evolutionary nature of human cultural development as we explore how we make decisions in groups. Those centered at the various levels on the spiral will naturally gravitate toward decision-making processes which reflect the values systems of their own level. And, they will tend to reject the decision-making processes which reflect the values systems of other levels. So, for someone centered at Blue or Orange, consensus will seem less than ideal. And for someone at 2nd Tier, Yellow or Turquoise, it will seem like an immature process.

Sign - Complexity

Consensus as a decision-making process is a choice which is likely to emerge when the Green vMEME is predominant. When we are not aware of the dynamics of the spiral, we will not notice this as an emergence, rather, we will see it as a new discovery of something with which we resonate. Consensus is to Green what majority rule is to Orange. But what decision-making process(es) does 2nd Tier – Yellow and beyond – bring? Before we can explore that, I need to share some ways in which 2nd Tier organizations operate.

From Laloux, and his research, we learn that 2nd Tier is a vastly different way of being than 1st Tier organizational design and operations. What he found was that 2nd Tier organizations:

  • function without the fear-based structures from the Blue/Orange For example, in the organizations that Laloux studied, there were no (or minimal) centralized functions (think accounting, IT, planning, budgeting); such functions, if used at all, are handled at the level of self-organizing teams who hire & fire, set compensation, negotiate contracts, pay vendors, etc.
  • essentially do away with layers of management. These organizations have a CEO-equivalent, sometimes a board-equivalent, and the self-organizing teams. There may be a very few people who work with teams to ensure things like licensing requirements are met (adherence to Blue/Orange requirements), but that is all.
  • use the Advice Concept (LINK). Essentially, any decision can be made by anyone in the organization (you may want to sit with that one a minute – I know I had to). What is required is that the person who intends to make a decision advise everyone who will be affected by the decision before hand (where possible), giving them a chance to respond and give advice. Once the responses are in, the person still has authority to make the decision. The role of the CEO/leader is primarily to communicate the vision, deal with outside entities (like vendors who are used to dealing with centralized purchasing departments), and provide other forms of support to the teams.
  • Group decisions at the team level may be made by consensus, but are more likely to be made by individuals who have taken temporary leadership status with regard to specific tasks or issues.

Caterpillar - Image of Butterfly

Now you see why I used the metaphor of the caterpillar transforming into the butterfly in Part 1 of this series. 2nd Tier, as described by Clare Graves, Ken Wilber, Frederic Laloux (note that Wilber & Laloux use the term TEAL) and others, represents a transformational change in how people and organizations operate. The Spiral Dynamics Model tells us that this transformational change represents a “momentous leap” in human consciousness. It also tells us that once that leap is made, the operational activities that represent 2nd Tier, including decision-making processes, will emerge naturally. Laloux notes that in every organization he studied, the Advice Process was present in some form, even though the organizations had not been in communication with one another. That would be a clear indication of the emergent nature of our development.

ELP Butterfly

Using the consensus method of decision-making is a natural and appropriate emergent development when a group is at the Green vMEME. It will be uncomfortable for those at other levels on the spiral, and they will probably resist it to some degree.

“People in any organization are always attached to the obsolete – the things that should have worked but did not, the things that once were productive and no longer are.” 

~ Peter F. Drucker

When members of a leadership team move to 2nd Tier-Yellow as the predominant vMEME, we can expect that consensus would be set aside or minimized at some point, and something akin to the Advice Concept would emerge, just as consensus emerged to replace or supplement majority rule after Green emerged.

As always, unless there is an awareness of the nature of cultural evolution and the spiral, all of this will be seen as simply discovering a new method, rather than as an evolutionary emergence of a new level of development.

Those who don’t feel this Love
pulling them like a river
those who don’t drink dawn
like a cup of spring water
or take sunset like supper
those who don’t want to change
let them sleep…

~ Rumi

In Part 4 of the series, we will explore whether New Thought is 2nd Tier.

Your comments are always welcomed – please consider following this blog and you will get an email when a new post is published, and get to see it first.

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

Here is where you can get my book
CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY:
A Handbook for Spiritual Leadership,At
in paperback or Kindle editions
(LINK TO AMAZON.COM)
(LINK TO AMAZON.CA – Canada)
(LINK TO AMAZON.CO.UK)
And at DEVORSS.COM

CONSENSUS AND THE EVOLUTION OF PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS, PART 2

“Change is inevitable. Progression is a choice.”

~ Sonya Teclin

In Part 1 (LINK) of this series, I pointed out how consensus decision-making is the result of an evolutionary dynamic – one which emerges with the movement on the spiral into the Postmodernist-Green Level of Existence.

Consensus as the primary, or sole, formal method of decision-making at the spiritual community or organizational level works very well, if not perfectly, when all of those involved in the decision-making process are centered at Green. It is less successful when participants are centered lower or higher on the spiral. (Remember that lower or higher is not better nor worse, simply a reflection of the level of complexity of thought at which someone is operating currently). There is a tendency for those who are not aware of the dynamics of cultural evolution to simply think that they have discovered something new, such as consensus, and seek to entice others or impose the new thing on them. This can lead to negative consequences. An understanding of cultural evolution will help one realize that we are all evolving differently and unevenly; and that there are vMEME-driven implications in our emerging values systems.

VMEMEs Simplified

 

Let’s look at some pros and cons of consensus decision-making, then follow with some additional exploration of developmental and evolutionary factors.

PROS OF CONSENSUS (some from this LINK)

  • A way to ensure that every voice is heard
  • A way to make decisions without authoritarian energy
  • A safe space to voice concerns
  • A respectful hearing of all perspectives
  • A bias toward the non-rational – this can allow exploration of deeper meaning (Presencing – LINK).
  • A process by which a group mind emerges from individual input
  • A process aimed at achieving a greater good
  • A way to synthesize various ideas or perspectives into a uniquely new outcome
  • A way to forge greater emotional connection between members of a group or team

CONS OF CONSENSUS

  • Those operating at vMEMEs below Green will feel out of harmony with the processing and will believe they must comply or be a hindrance (they will project their own values system onto the process at hand). Those at Blue will want to know what happened to Robert’s Rules of Order and be uncomfortable with what is to them the free-flowing nature of the process.
  • Those operating at 2nd Tier may well become very frustrated with how long it takes to process decisions and by the tendency to succumb to manipulation by feelings (see below), and they may leave the group.
  • When unhealthy elements of Green are present, consensus can be obstructed or, at minimum, become very difficult. Examples of unhealthy Green include:
    • Open-ended relativism – every idea or concept or belief system has equal value – “Who am I to say what we should decide?
    • A bias toward the non-rationalGreen is where elements of Tribal-Purple re-emerge. This can result in budget income line-items such as “God Will Provide” when dealing with scarcity. This will be very difficult for someone centered at Blue, Orange, or Yellow to accept.
    • A strong bias toward inclusion can lead unhealthy Green to overlook whether candidates for positions have the necessary skills, experience, or ethical backgrounds.
    • Unhealthy Green can become authoritarian (re-emerging Blue). Remember, unhealthy Green can be in shadow and have a high tolerance for dysfunction.
  • A tendency to be manipulated. At Green, feelings are paramount. Everyone must feel that decisions are correct and in the best interest of all concerned. This can lead to two major issues:
    • Someone with a lack of emotional maturity can manipulate the group by expressing negative or hurt feelings about issues. A sociopath can effectively sabotage or even take over the group by manipulating emotions.
    • Getting everyone on the same page emotionally can take a long time. Seemingly endless processing can frustrate members and make it difficult to recruit new people into leadership due to the frustrations of some with the leadership culture – word spreads that being on the leadership team is no fun.

Cartoon - Agreement in Principle

It is important that we realize the evolutionary nature of human cultural development as we explore how we make decisions in groups. Those centered at the various levels on the spiral will naturally gravitate toward decision-making processes which reflect the values systems of their own level. And, they will tend to reject the decision-making processes which reflect the values systems of other levels. So, for someone centered at Blue or Orange, consensus will seem less than ideal. And for someone at 2nd Tier, Yellow or Turquoise, it will seem like an immature process. At the same time, someone centered at Green will see authoritarian or majority rule decision-making as undesirable as well.

Remember also that vMEMEs are fluid – we are always in an evolutionary flow, even if we are slow to change. Evolution is never static, always dynamic. The composition of vMEMEs present on any decision-making team will be in flux, as are other aspects of their developmental natures. Each will bring levels of psychological development, styles of being such as introvert or extrovert, orientations to change (LINK), and what is happening in their lives at the current moment to the decision-making process. That said, the vMEME levels occupied by those involved will have the greatest effect on what kind of decision-making process is most favored.

“While genes evolve slowly, the decision systems formed by vMEMES are always on the move. vMEMES can be so dominant they seem like archetypes and are easily misinterpreted as ‘types’ of people. When several are in harmony, vMEMES resonate like the notes in a musical chord. However, vMEMES in conflict lead to troubled individuals, dysfunctional families, corporate malaise, fractured churches, and civilizations in decline and fall. Since they are ‘alive,’ vMEMEs can ebb and flow, intensify and soften like a string of Christmas tree lights on a dimmer. Several different ones may line up in support of a specific issue, idea, or project because they share the values contents. At other times, people with essentially the same vMEME decision-making frameworks may disagree violently over details of beliefs and what is ‘the good,’ degenerating into holy and un-civil war.”

~ Don Edward Beck & Christopher Cowan, SPIRAL DYNAMICS

Consensus is a good fit when an organization and/or its leadership team is centered at the Green vMEME. That said, it does not guarantee that the consensus process will have positive results. That will depend on how healthy the team expresses at the Green level. It will also depend on how those centered at different levels on the spiral are welcomed within the leadership team and the larger spiritual community. Like all 1st Tier levels, Green is fear-based, and those at Green will tend to view those expressing the values systems of other levels as being wrong. When there is pushback, those at Green may close in together and keep others out of the decision-making process. These are all things that good spiritual leadership will be aware of, and work to minimize.

“Cultures are moving pictures, adoptive flow states, that can either downshift under fear or upshift with waves of confidence, access, education and appropriate structures.”

~ Don Edward Beck

Finally, it is important to realize that while consensus may be an ideal fit when those involved are at the Green level, the evolutionary process will continue, and there will come a time when expression at a higher level on the spiral will emerge. Any given spiritual community or organization may be centered at the Green Level for a few years or a decade or more. In Part 3 of this series, I will explore some of what we know about 2nd Tier decision-making.

“It’s a recognition that reality as we know it is being animated by an evolutionary current. This is true on the cosmological large-scale structure of the universe. It’s true biologically. But it’s true on a human level, too. The great mystery is living and wanting to transcend itself through us toward greater expressions of beauty, truth and goodness. And so evolutionary spirituality says that, for lack of a better word, God is implicate, intrinsic to that evolutionary push.”

~ Rev. Bruce Sanguin

 

United colors-38
Here is where you can get my book
CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY:
A Handbook for Spiritual Leadership,At
in paperback or Kindle editions
(LINK TO AMAZON.COM)
(LINK TO AMAZON.CA – Canada)
(LINK TO AMAZON.CO.UK)
And at DEVORSS.COM

 Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

CONSENSUS AND THE EVOLUTION OF PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS, PART 1

“You must constantly transcend your present positions, indeed, even perhaps contradict them altogether.”

~ Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Consensus (LINK) is a form of decision-making used in a number of New Thought organizations and spiritual communities. This series of posts is designed to explore the evolutionary nature of consensus and its pros and cons.

I believe that people and organizations (which are people in groups) evolve by design. That is, they change over time in a developmental manner, moving through generally understood stages of growth. Individuals and organizations evolve physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. They evolve toward greater complexity, an evolutionary process driven by the increasing complexity of the world around them. If they fail to adapt (evolve) to the external level of complexity (living conditions), they suffer to one degree or another, since they are unable to fully engage with the world in which they find themselves. If they get too far behind, their suffering is more serious.

Cartoon - Evolution - More Steps

In the individual, this evolutionary process involves many factors, as mentioned above – our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual natures are all evolving at different rates. It is important to understand concepts and models such as emotional intelligence (LINK), spiritual intelligence (LINK), Presencing (LINK), and Spiral Dynamics(LINK). We are at different places along the developmental measures of these various models and instruments; so, in effect, each of us has a different “evolutionary code”; we are unique in that way.

This, of course, makes groups and organizations even more complex mixtures of individuals and their developmental levels. I have explored a number of these factors in this blog over time, and in my book, CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY (LINK). Spiritual Leaders lacking an understanding of the dynamics involved will be at a loss to guide their communities forward through times of rapid external change. Decision making processes, the topic of this post, emerge like other elements of organizational behavior, as spiritual communities move on the spiral (see Spiral Dynamics LINK). We may think that we are having new ideas, but they are more a reflection of what is newly emerging within us as we adapt (or fail to) to increasing external complexity.

“Evolution has not shaped an all-knowing computer, but rather a modular computer for making different decisions based on different contexts.”

~ Jason Collins

Which brings me back to the Green Level of Existence, Values System, or vMEME (LINK) (LINK). Each level or vMEME on the spiral will have decision-making processes which align with the vMEME values of that level. For example, at Traditionalist-Blue, something resembling a monarchy with a form of bureaucracy is a likely decision model; at Modernist-Orange, we get democratic forms – people vote, and we get autocratic leadership in many settings.

Green vMEME

At Postmodernist-Green, where values include egalitarianism, relativism (one belief is no better nor worse than another), every voice must be heard, a bias against hierarchy, and a high regard for feelings, consensus is often the decision-making process that is favored. Before I go into the pros and cons of consensus decision-making in Part 2 of this series, I need to point something out. Those centered at Green strive to be non-judgmental and they seek intimacy in groups and spiritual community. This arises due to the immense complexity of thought at the Green level. It creates a broader and deeper view of possibility, and widens the field of choice, but at a cost. I’ll let philosopher Ken Wilber point out an issue with Green’s tendency toward no judgements:

“It’s the calamity you’ve discussed, the calamity of our generation, that we’ve come to think that you’re morally good if you don’t make judgments. But that’s exactly wrong. You’re morally good if you make the right kind of judgments. And you have to learn how to make wise judgments in order to make moral decisions. But what we do, because we understandably don’t want to marginalize anyone or unfairly judge, is to say, therefore, don’t judge at all. And so we stand back with no moral compass, no judgments, no discriminating wisdom, and basically the whole show goes to hell because of that. So in the midst of saying that nothing is better or worse than anything else, even on a relative plane, if you then have an experience of satori or kensho or oneness, it reinforces your broken moral compass. And this broken moral compass, combined with your realization, is what you call spirituality.”

~ Ken Wilbur

When it comes to making decisions, holding people accountable, and dealing with conflict, spiritual leaders who are centered at Green often find themselves unable to act clearly and forcefully. Green tends to have a high tolerance for dysfunction due, in part, to the value of not upsetting people. Green-centered leadership will often let disruptive behavior go on for some time without speaking up about it, as being non-judgmental becomes more important than accountability. This creates real problems for the spiritual community, who must operate in a sub-optimal atmosphere. Also, the fact that Green is the level where spiritual communities are often moving toward a possible transition to 2nd Tier (LINK), the absence of strong leadership can be devastating.

In Part 2, I will look at the pros and cons of decision-making by consensus, and why that form of decision-making works only at the Green Level of Existence.

As always, your comments are encouraged! Please consider following this blog and sharing the link with your friends.

Photo Jul 04, 1 26 08 PM.jpg

My view this week in Connemara, Ireland

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

Here is where you can get my book

CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY:

A Handbook for Spiritual Leadership,At

in paperback or Kindle editions

(LINK TO AMAZON.COM)

(LINK TO AMAZON.CA – Canada)

(LINK TO AMAZON.CO.UK)

And at DEVORSS.COM

GETTING CULTURE RIGHT IN A SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY

Navigating a culture

towards conscious impulsion

with unshakeable vision

while at the same time

honoring its sacred heritage

is not for the faint of heart.

~ Unknown

 new-thought-logos

Organizational culture is defined as: The values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization (LINK). In New Thought, we have two levels of organizational culture – the denominational organization (such as CSL, Unity) and the local spiritual community. The focus of this post will be the local community – I will address the larger organizational level in another post.

The culture of a spiritual community is the environment, the energetics, the Presencing (LINK) that exist as a felt reality for those who are a part of the community and for those who encounter the community and its members. It includes any sense of vision, mission, purpose, and passion that the community espouses – or the lack of any of these things. It includes the leadership Presence, style, and expectations. It includes the values & behaviors of members in support of the highest vision (if one is articulated) or in opposition or indifference to that vision. It includes the overall sense of well-being, or lack thereof, at any given time in a spiritual community.

“As within, so without. As above, so below.”

~ Ancient Hermetic Philosophy

Far too often, the culture of the spiritual community is not consciously considered; it simply happens. The role of spiritual leadership in the creation and maintenance of the culture cannot be overstated. It is a critical aspect of spiritual leadership. Culture is fluid by nature, it ebbs and flows, it evolves, and it is a constant presence that everyone feels and experiences. If not properly attended to, it can devolve quickly into negative behaviors, confusion about values and vision, inconsistency of message, fear, and indifference.

“The one constant, the North Star of every vital community is its commitment to nurturing a culture of love. This reverent commitment uplifts our relationships to one another and to the world at large. Without it, our collective experience is embittered rather than empowered.”

~ Dr. David Ault

What is the culture of your spiritual community? Can you define it? Can you articulate the vision and mission, whether you are a spiritual leader or a regularly attending member? Can you describe the values of your community based on how people behave toward one another – toward leadership – toward the teaching?

Poster - Culture Quote - Nehru

In a more secular, but still applicable, context, Seth Godin speaks of organizational culture this way in his blog (LINK):

Four ways to improve customer service

  1. Delegate it to your customers. Let them give feedback, good and bad, early and often.

  2. Delegate it to your managers. Build in close monitoring, training and feedback. Have them walk the floor, co-creating with their teams.

  3. Use technology. Monitor digital footprints, sales per square foot, visible customer actions.

  4. Create a culture where peers inspire peers, in which each employee acts like a leader, pushing the culture forward. People like us do things like this. People like us, care.

You’ve probably guessed that the most valuable one, the fourth, is also far and away the most difficult to create. Culture is a posture that lasts. It’s corroded by shortcuts and by inattention, and fed by constant investment and care.

Big company or small, it doesn’t matter. There are government agencies and tiny non-profits that have a culture of care and service. And then there are the rest…

How do we ensure that the culture we ARE living in our spiritual communities is the same as the culture WE SAY that we are living? This is primarily the role of spiritual leadership. The culture must be presented over and over again – spoken about at gatherings (every gathering is an opportunity to express the culture to those present); taught in classes; expressed at special events; mentioned in conversations; modeled in behavior, etc. It is best presented in an evolutionary context, recognizing the ongoing development of the spiritual community and its members. So evolutionary leadership is called for here.

When you consider what kind of events your spiritual community is going to host, do you think about things like “does this represent our culture well?” or “how can we use this to express our culture clearly?” Do you include cultural identity and its expression in your planning? Do your planning teams know what that is and how to do it? I hope so. Would someone from outside your spiritual community get a good sense of your culture by attending any event that you present?

“As I see it, there are two main reasons to be in spiritual community. One is to develop a culture of love and support for people living their daily lives based on spiritual understanding; the other is to introduce them to the mystical path.”

~ Jim Lockard, CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY

Poster - Included Inspired Involved

You can think of your organizational culture as the environment that is created by those present. Every spiritual community has a culture. That culture is best cultivated and expressed in a conscious manner. Over time, it becomes more and more automatic, but still it must be expressed. It is much more than reading the mission and vision statements out loud. We don’t hit people over the head with our culture – we speak of it internally and express it through our behaviors and statements to the larger world. We tend it like a gardencultivating the flowers and removing the weeds.

Beautiful Tree in Lake

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

 

Here is where you can get my book

CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY:

A Handbook for Spiritual Leadership,At

in paperback or Kindle editions

(LINK TO AMAZON.COM)

(LINK TO AMAZON.CA – Canada)

And at DEVORSS.COM

ONE POWER – AND HOW WE GROW INTO IT

“In the Science of Mind, we learn that persistent, constructive thought is the greatest power known and the most effective. If the visible effect in our lives is not what it should be, if we are unhappy, sick and poverty stricken, we know the remedy. The Truth is always the remedy, and the Truth is that the law of liberty is the only real law. When we reverse the process of thought, the effect will be reversed.”

~ Ernest S. Holmes, The Science of Mind 

“It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.”

~ David Brin

The same word, power, is used in both quotes above, but not the same meaning of the word. Indeed, POWER is a charged word in metaphysics in general, and in New Thought in particular. Coming to terms with the immensity of the idea of ONE POWER and the understanding of our access to that Power in our lives is a major aspect of living a spiritual life in New Thought terms.

spiritual-latest

The Universal (ONE) Power to which we all have access, indeed, are all immersed within, is a very different idea of deification than the God of traditional religion. That God is separate from its creation, has a personality, and, in most cases, a temper. The Universal Power (God, Spirit, Intelligence, etc.) of New Thought teachings might be said to “transcend and include” the more limited versions of God.

The nexus of New Thought, to me, is the idea of bringing oneself completely into alignment with the idea, the realization, that the ONE POWER and the individual are ONE THING. This is a huge leap, both intellectually and emotionally, for most of us, especially if our conditioning in the standard kinds of religious dogma was rigorous. The challenge of our practice, then, is to deepen this realization of our alignment and to live from that center in our lives. It is to see empowerment always as an uplifting thing, never as a means to feed our fearful selves.

“The need for approval, the need to control things, and the need for external power are needs that are based on fear. This kind of power is not the power of pure potentiality . . . or REAL power. When we experience the power of the Self, there is an absence of fear, there is no compulsion to control, and no struggle for approval or external power.”

~ Deepak Chopra

Our struggle with power is never about Universal Power. It is always about a sense of our own separation and inadequacy, a grasping for a sense of personal power. We will fall short of true empowerment until we learn to become psychologically healthy – to see ourselves as whole, if flawed, beings and to accept both our limitations and our potentials. Our psychological functions – thinking, feeling, perceiving, feeling – are the vehicle for our spiritual realizations. Until we are psychologically healthy, we will unconsciously project our sense of separation and inadequacy onto others, develop codependent relationships, and be terrified of being called-out and embarrassed.

“My definition of codependency. Making yourself smaller than you are in order to fit into someone else’s dysfunctional life. For example, when you’re in relationship to an addict, struggling to make things seem okay when they’re not. This enables both of you to lose your power and hide your light. An old joke: ‘A codependent is a person, who at the moment of death, see someone else’s life flash in front of their eyes.’ No matter how difficult it seems, your first responsibility is to be kind and true to yourself.”

~ Joan Borysenko

Spiritual practice, then, is about creating a healthy psychological structure (mind) including our abilities to think and feel. By taking dominion over our thoughts and feelings, we can guide ourselves to a healthier level of being. Our spiritual community can support us in this, as we support others in the community on their own pathways. We do our work to realize that there is no separation between us and the Universal Power – none whatsoever. We then depend on this growing realization to guide us in our lives, our relationships, our efforts to contribute to the greater good. We remember that all that is new emerges from within us; it is never gained from the outside. Our work is to draw forth that which is within each of us – via a Oneness with Universal Power.

“Be at Peace with Everyone. No one is capable of making you upset without your consent, so if you begin practicing the intention to be authentic and peaceful with everyone, you connect to peace itself – and gain the power to change the energy of your relationships with family and friends.”

~ Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

I keep hearing that the world is becoming a more frightening place. Well, it has always been a frightening place. But it is far less frightening, it is even welcoming, to those who see with the eyes of Oneness. That takes work and practice, and a strong sense of determination to align with our good – but each of us is capable of doing those things. We must set our mind to it and do the work – every moment, every day. Perhaps in doing so, we will overcome our deepest fear:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

~ Marianne Williamson

The world is calling for the fullest expression of your Power and Genius so that we can co-create #TheBelovedCommunity.

How will you answer?

 

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

TRANSITIONING THE GREEN LEVEL OF EXISTENCE – WHERE ORGANIZATIONS GO TO DIE, PART 4

“It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when they have lost their way.”

~ Rollo May

ELP Butterfly

In Parts 1 through 3 of this series (LINK), I have suggested an idea about the nature of the Postmodernist-Green Level of Existence from the Spiral Dynamics™ Model. Namely, that the Green Level is where organizations go to die – in the sense that the caterpillar enters the chrysalis to die as the caterpillar, but to emerge as the butterfly.

Green nature has many facets, and it also provides a “launching pad” into 2nd Tier Levels of Existence. 2nd Tier is starkly different from 1st Tier. The preparation for what Clare Graves (LINK) called the ”momentous leap” from the Green Level to the Yellow Level is nothing if not significant, requiring a massive change in consciousness.

“To move beyond the Green memetic mindset and consciousness requires that you start to really and honestly understand, appreciate, and respect your own and other people’s incomparable cosmic singularity. So long as you compare yourself with others (equality is a term of comparison) you will remain in the mode of deficiency. When you realize your and other people’s incomparability, you enter the existential mode of abundance and start to live in the world of abundance and plenitude.”

~ Yasuhiko Genku Kimura, President & CEO, Vision-In-Action, LLC

2nd Tier consciousness is not fear-based. That is a huge distinction, as most of our energies when we occupy 1st Tier levels go into self-protection, ego defenses, and creating the structures which provide these. As we move to 2nd Tier, this changes, moving into an empowered, love-based ego structure. There is currently no well-defined pathway into 2nd Tier, but this transition clearly requires significant changes in one’s self-image.

“Human consciousness does not emerge at any depth except through struggling with your shadow. I wish someone had told me that when I was young. It is in facing your conflicts, criticisms, and contradictions that you grow up. You actually need to have some problems, enemies, and faults! You will remain largely unconscious as a human being until issues come into your life that you cannot fix or control and something challenges you at your present level of development, forcing you to expand and deepen. It is in the struggle with our shadow self, with failure, or with wounding, that we break into higher levels of consciousness. I doubt whether there is any other way. People who refine this consciousness to a high spiritual state, who learn to name and live with paradoxes, are the people I would call prophetic speakers. We must refine and develop this gift.”

~ Richard Rohr

Sign - Self Knowledge

When an organization or spiritual community emerges into the Green Level of Existence, one of four outcomes is possible:

  1. A long period occupying Green due to either unhealthy expression, a lack of 2nd Tier Living Conditions being present, or a lack of 2nd Tier development by the spiritual leadership. This is a good thing when there is movement toward a healthy expression of Green.
  2. A transition to 2nd Tier occurs over time – this requires a healthy Green foundation to be successful.
  3. A regression to Orange due to unhealthy Green or a change to Orange-centered leadership.
  4. The organization or spiritual community ceases to exist.

Major challenges for spiritual leadership within organizations or spiritual communities that are entering or centered in the Green Level of Existence are twofold: (1) to guide them toward a healthy expression of Green and (2) to shepherd them through the transition to 2nd Tier when that is appropriate. And, if it is time for a spiritual community to cease to be, wise leadership will hospice that process.

While arrival at the Green Level may not have occurred for many spiritual communities, it is on their agenda. As Living Conditions (the cultural world around us) grow more complex, humans are called to adapt to that complexity by moving their Level of Existence farther up the spiral. Here are my suggestions for spiritual leadership who are recognizing these dynamics:

  1. Grow your knowledge about cultural evolution. Models such as Spiral Dynamics (LINK), Theory U (LINK), and Edgewalkers (LINK) are important tools in this regard. Get a coach/mentor to work with you – this is not a solo journey.
  2. Seek to expand your capacity to be creative and bold. Evolutionary leadership skills are essential to determining who will thrive in the future. Success will come to those who are willing to make decisions that require deep knowledge and the willingness to risk being judged (LINK). Remember that significant transformation is on our agenda. How will we respond to that challenge? We are not planning for catastrophe, we are setting the stage to thrive in the chaos.
  3. Grow the knowledge of your community leadership team as well – ensure that you are developing evolutionary leadership capacities in your spiritual community.
  4. Speak about evolutionary growth – personal and communal – when you address your community members. Your future leadership team is in the audience every time you speak.
  5. Remember that, for the most part, people with different value systems are not corrupt or lacking understanding – they are operating from the values system of their Level(s) of Existence. When spiritual leaders are aware of this, they can expand their field of compassion to include those with different values than their own (whether higher or lower on the spiral!). The key is to encourage healthy expressions from each of the levels present.
  6. It is critical that spiritual leaders understand and model the healthy aspects of each Level of Existence present in the community. To do this, develop an awareness of the spiral, and do the deep personal work to develop greater capacities for compassion.
  7. Those centered at the Green Level will advocate for processes like governing by consensus and shared leadership. It takes wise leaders to recognize that consensus is only viable when everyone is operating from the Green Level.

Those centered at Blue and Orange value authoritarian leaders and majority rule. When consensus is imposed, they will find it very difficult to respond authentically – they will feel coerced. Shared leadership feels good to those at Green, however, it often results in a lack of clear accountability, which is a significant liability for any organization with Blue/Orange structures and proceduresGreen will tend to insist that everyone else be as “evolved” as they are, and have little patience with those who currently occupy the same places on the spiral that those now at Green occupied a short time ago. The tendency of those centered at Green to insist that no one feel discomfort or use abrasive speech can also be an obstacle to progressive growth.

“We live in a bourgeois cocoon of niceness and anything that breaks out of that is very threatening and disruptive to people. We have to work towards having honest speech with each other. When we have honest speech, we have to speak out about the things that are unjust and unfair. We need a more honest and abrasive speech to bring our talk into connection with our social reality. Any intent to curb that kind of speech is a desire to not have reality pointed out to us. But if we don’t have reality pointed out to us nothing will ever change.”

~ Walter Brueggemann

  1. At 2nd Tier, leadership moves away from both authoritarian leadership and shared leadership. In most organizations operating at 2nd Tier levels, anyone can make any decision at any time! (LINK) Imagine leading such an organization. Can you see now why the “leap” to 2nd Tier is so momentous?

What is required of spiritual leadership in these times is a deeper step into our own authenticity. If something new and different is required of us in these times of accelerated change, that something is already within us, awaiting our permission for it to emerge. The process is not one of becoming different, but of becoming more of who we already are. Finding our inner genius, our inner lover of life, and bringing them forward is our calling. We in New Thought have the tools to do so.

“Do not adopt the letter of my teaching, but the spirit, and you will find, as I did, that you will begin to formulate a system that is true for you. I learned for me, and you must learn for yourself that you must develop your own faith and confidence in your own interpretation of God, humanity, and the universe.”

~ Ernest Holmes

spiral_staircase_photography

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

Here is where you can get my book

CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY:

A Handbook for Spiritual Leadership,At

in paperback or Kindle editions

(LINK TO AMAZON.COM)

(LINK TO AMAZON.CA – Canada)

And at DEVORSS.COM