“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”
- 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.
- 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 cells – the 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).
“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-meeting” model 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.
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
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:
- How do we engage our development along the spiral, including the eventual movement from 1st Tier to 2nd Tier?
- How do we manage the differences in the ways that each vMEME, or Level, emerges and expresses within our organizations and spiritual communities?
- 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