CASTING A VISION FOR AN EMERGING FUTURE

“What looks like the end of the world today is often divine intelligence prodding us to incubate (to cocoon) to change ourselves from the inside out and emerge the butterfly. Don’t fight it.”

~ Nathalie Wynn Pace

We find ourselves in a unique time and situation here on planet earth. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we, well most of us, are in some form of isolation or quarantine, most of the global economy is on hold, most work is not being performed or being performed differently, and we face a future of great uncertainty. As we find our way in this current moment, learn to change our routines and our priorities, we come to a point where it is time to think about our future. It is time to cast a vision to pull us forward into what is next, even as we deal with the ongoing situations of the present.

In New Thought, we learn the power of intention can be internalized and accepted on the subconscious level. We also have adopted other technologies such as Visioning (LINK) (LINK to Theory U), which help us to access the deepest aspects of our intuitive knowing in our unconscious mind. The key is to practice these and other techniques (meditation, contemplation, selfless service) on a daily basis to train our minds to be continually accepting of our highest good. And we stay focused in the Absolute realm in mind when we do our practices, ignoring any relative conditions which may be present and focusing only on feeling that the desired effect is already manifest.

Of course, as we do our practices, we open to deeper levels of acceptance and invitation, encouraging our evolution. When we are haphazard in our practices, we find ourselves treading water in the shallows of the ego – in ordinary consciousness.

Ordinary consciousness holds us in what we know, what we have come to expect, and in the accepted consciousness of our surroundings; what Ernest Holmes called “race mind.” If we are fearful about our acceptance by others or of straying too far from established norms, our imagination will be limited to what we already know, plus some small additions, rather that being available to radical transformation. Deeper consciousness, established through long and proper practice, opens us through a process of inner emergence to what is radically new and to possibilities beyond our previous imaginings. Remember, there is an intuitive visionary within you – it may just be covered by years of conditioning.

“Perhaps, some day, humanity can start afresh, a new world, a tabula rasa, a world with a mind without prior experiences. No memories and no pain. A day when the ones with abundance do not look down at the poor and the needy, a day when we learn to care for the victims, the fallen souls of civilization and advancement, a day when the world will be pure. When all of humanity becomes a clean sheet of parchment, without knowledge and prejudice, simple, hungry for knowing, tasting, and feeling; hungry for life and ready to absorb the ink of experience.”

~ Henry Martin, Escaping Barcelona

scientists_happy-when-this-is800

Occasionally, living conditions for humans become so radically different that potentials open which would have seemed impossible before. We are in such a time. The wave of the pandemic may be seen as preparing us for the much larger wave of climate change which is already rising as a much larger threat to humanity and other life forms. If we simply choose to return to a previous normal after the pandemic, we will show that we have not learned its potential lessons and we will likely be swallowed by the larger wave. This moment contains within it the possibility to reset and to invite an evolutionary jump in our consciousness. We either maximize that evolutionary opportunity or we will not be ready for what is coming next for us.

“An evolving system cannot return to the past.”

~ Barbara Marx Hubbard

Cartoon - Evolution - More Steps

Our evolutionary impulse is being called forth by increasingly complex and challenging living conditions, and we are each called to listen deeply and open to personal and collective transformation. Who we have been is inadequate to the emerging future. Intention is powerful but it must be reinforced to build belief and then to transcend belief and become knowing. There is no substitute for daily practice to develop our mystical and psychological faculties to work together for our greatest benefit, both as individuals and as part of any community.

“In order to manifest you must assume the feeling of the (intention) fulfilled. You must be able to feel it in your body long before your senses are aware of it. Your inner pictures and the corresponding feelings that are connected to your vision belong only to you, and you begin to treat this inner world of thoughts and feelings as sacred territory. You make the shift from believing to knowing, and what you absolutely know is not tinged with doubt.”

~ Wayne Dyer

In terms of personal growth, my lodestone is the direction to which my authentic feelings point. I say my authentic feelings, because it took many years of practice to discern those feelings connected to my intuition from those connected to my fear-based ego. But when I attune to those authentic feelings, I have a North Star to follow. In setting my intentions, I may not know what form their manifestation will take, but I always know how I want them to FEEL. That feeling becomes my guide and the expression to which I compare any forms which appear to see if there is a right fit.

Each of us has latent genius within. We are evolutionary beings designed to emerge, layer by layer, in response to an increasingly complex environment. The tools for managing and supporting our evolutionary growth are our spiritual practices. Your inner genius and mine will only be fully and usefully revealed when combined with powerful intentions supported by serious practices. If we are to flourish ourselves and contribute to the flourishing of others, we must be all in. We must, as the great Patanjali put it: “seek enlightenment as a man whose hair is on fire seeks a pond.”

“What does matter, as Kierkegaard so rudely reminded us, is that only by investing and speaking your vision with passion, can the truth, one way or another, finally penetrate the reluctance of the world. If you are right, or if you are wrong, it is only your passion that will force either to be discovered. It is your duty to promote that discovery—either way—and therefore it is your duty to speak your truth with whatever passion and courage you can find in your heart. You must shout, in whatever way you can.”

~ Ken Wilber, One Taste

We share the passion of our emergence by connecting with others, by finding like-souls who are committed to bringing us to something better together. We speak up and speak out according to our individual natures, but we determinedly contribute to a better world, regardless of our temperament. As we evolve, we become focused on our good and release any concerns about the judgement of others. We leave the opinions of the world and become our own authority – but an authority with rigorous standards based on deep inner work.

We contemplate our intentions, play with them, expand them, deepen them. We allow our deepest intuitive wisdom to be free of our ego’s need to limit our access to the unknown within us through rigorous and regular practice. We vision and envision, we seek and explore, we love and connect. The mystic within us sees through sacred eyes, as we do our spiritual practices to remove the scales of limitation, fear, and cynicism. We emerge as a new level of evolutionary being, one suited to confront greater challenges, and to respond with strength, wisdom, and compassion.

“If we look with cynical eyes we see a truncated vision, bereft of hope. . . .It is with sacred eyes that we can see the larger, more realistic, picture. Sacred eyes can penetrate through the opaqueness of materialism and reductionism, and can sort through the chaos of our current time to see the emerging values of the 21st century.”

~ Robert Keck, Sacred Eyes

Oh yes, and JOY. As Joseph Campbell pointed out, “We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can learn to live joyfully in the sorrows of the world.” This means that we can strive to know our own divine nature regardless of outer circumstances; that we can best serve when we know the bliss of this divine nature; and that in experiencing this joy, we are simply knowing who we really are. Then, we are ready to show up and co-create a world that works for everyone.

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

As always, your comments are encouraged and welcomed. As you do your practices, what visions arise – personal or collective – for the time after the virus? What are your thoughts about the possibilities for new ways of being happening in our societies? What are your visions for New Thought in the world? Your intentions for the next chapters of your own life?

 

Copyright 2020 – Jim Lockard

ISOLATION AND THE RE-EMERGENCE OF SOCIETY: SOME THOUGHTS

“. . .the frenetic pace of life has subsided. We’re no longer hurrying around, taking kids all over the city for friends and hobbies. There are no social engagements. It feels as if we’re in a cross between hibernation and meditation, hunkering down together to discern what really matters in life. I am, on the whole, unconcerned about our children’s education because this is a unique chance for them to step off a fast, ferocious treadmill. They can just play cards, table tennis, or – some hope – read books.”

~ Tobias Jones

As we begin the phase of getting used to self-isolating, we may be finding that there are things about ourselves that we either did not know or had not experienced in some time. How we respond to being home in an enforced way; how we respond to prolonged periods alone or with our shelter-mates; how we respond to demands from work or the fear associated with having lost our job. An article (LINK) by Tobias Jones, journalist and author in The Guardian triggered some of these thoughts for me.

After a week or so, we may be moving toward some kind of schedule or routine. Maybe we are consuming entertainment, reading books, or playing games with the family. Maybe we are beginning to contemplate who we are without our normal routines and the various aspects of our identity associated with being out of our homes some or most of the time. We begin to wonder what things will be like when this phase of the pandemic is over. How will the world be reordered (or will it)? From such thoughts arises our sense of vulnerability to our living conditions.

“I’m not fetishizing vulnerability. It’s a frightening thing. But vulnerability brings humility and reflection. And one of the blessings of this dark season is our awareness of the fragility of our arrogant society. It seems, too, that we’ve woken up to those who are most defenseless. Sure, there’s self-interest in our new-found empathy, because in a pandemic you’re only as safe as the most vulnerable. But contagion at least means that the vapid slogan from the last crisis – that ‘we’re all in it together” – might this time be true.”

~ Tobias Jones

Can a shift in our thinking about what it means to be in society together – at every level from household to globe – emerge from this crisis and lead us to a greater wisdom in co-creating sustainable and livable societies on our planet? Can we be truly more inclusive and appreciative of diversity of all kinds so that we can weave stronger and more compassionate communities? It is being reported as I write this that the European Union is placing an environmental focus on economic recovery plans from the COVID-19 pandemic. That is a good sign. In fact, the basics of the so-called Green New Deal in the US would have provided a much better prepared set of systems, including health care, logistics, and industry, than is being experienced currently. Shouldn’t groups such as Extinction Rebellion (LINK) be at the table as future plans are developed? Who have we left out in the past? We are finding that it is the everyday people who truly make our communities function, aren’t we?

“We can no longer fail to notice those we have previously overlooked. The homeless – for whom the instruction to ‘stay home’ means nothing – are thrown into sharp relief on our deserted streets. We suddenly see that those who are still working in public, risking their own health – the cashiers, couriers and nurses – are those paid a pittance and often with no contractual commitments from their employers. Never has it been so apparent that our society is built on exploitation.”

~ Tobias Jones

Indeed, we are seeing how our society measures value – in economic terms for the most part – and how that can produce consequences which affect us all. Now, some of the lowest paid and purportedly least skilled workers have been revealed to be our lifeline when the fragile structure of our society is impacted by an invisible virus. Will we remember to reorder our priorities to reflect this when we are past this phase?

Oh, and brace yourself for this: If confinement measures work, those who advocated the strategy will be pilloried as Cassandras who shut down the economy for no reason, because “not that many people died.” There will be much acrimony when we come out of this isolation phase by those who have lost something they value – if it is only their sense of being self-righteous. But we must keep our focus on what we are creating together – societies which serve as living systems and  work better than in the past; economic systems which serve humanity rather than just a few; and governments which are truly representative of the people. We are being called to awaken a greater generosity of spirit in how we view ourselves and each other.

“If we look deep, close and long enough, if we become still and allow ourselves to be empty, we might see what happens here. Right now, in this moment there lies an expression of the eternal within us. No boundaries at all. Just compassion. In the hectic trance of our everyday lives this might seem cynical and ridiculous, but here during those weird days of isolation and politically induced slowness lies the glimpse of a new hope.”

~ Jan Kaspers (LINK)

Once again, compassion (LINK) is the key. The sense of oneness with all, with everyone, and the love and caring which arises from the compassionate heart. Perhaps, just perhaps, this experience is leading us toward that greater expression, even as we mourn those who are sick and dying, and we mourn the structures of the past which no longer serve who we are becoming. We grieve, we mourn, we hospice; then we midwife our new ways of being into form.

All of this is possible as we envision a reset of what community is and how it functions. The temptations to revert to the past will be strong, especially for those who benefited from those systems. It will take a strong collective will to bring love, wisdom, and compassion to the table. Let each of us be a voice for that level of inclusion, cooperation, and the immense potential of our collective hearts and voices. Perhaps the best way to spend this time of isolation is to do our inner work to develop and expand our capacity for compassion, wisdom, and love. And to envision a world that works for everyone as more than an aspiration – as a reality unfolding beginning with our intentions in the now moment.

“But it does feel as if the world’s reset button has been pushed, as if we’re defragging society’s hard drive. Once we boot up again, we might find ourselves in a better place.”

~ Tobias Jones

Peace - world

#AWorldThatWorksForEveryone #TheGlobalVision #TheBelovedCommunity

 

Copyright 2020 – Jim Lockard

THE CORRECT RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

“Each (of us) is a different combination of experience, temperament, personality, physical make-up, intellectual curiosity, beliefs, and moment-to-moment attention.”

~ Derek Meador

We are all different in our responses and reactions. And we are different in our responses and reactions to different things. So, of course the idea that there is one way to respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic, or anything else for that matter, is preposterous.

Unfortunately, we don’t always remember this, especially when we feel pressured. We insist that there is only one proper response, OUR response, and that any other response is either inappropriate, wrongheaded, or even offensive. The result of this is that some people who have lots of anxiety about issues like this are angry at anything which makes them fearful; others, who tend to dismiss warnings and the like are upset that everyone is making such a fuss and panicking. Some criticize the use of humor online or in conversation, but some of us use humor to deal with stress and fear.

Some people self-isolated very early in the process (a wise decision in retrospect) while others still cavort in groups on beaches, at parties, and in coffee shops. How are authorities, and the media, and others supposed to craft warning statements and disseminate the news so that both of these groups can respond appropriately and so that neither is offended by the tone of the messaging?

“Healing depends on listening with the inner ear – stopping the incessant blather, and listening. Fear keeps us chattering – fear that wells up from the past, fear of blurting out what we really fear, fear of future repercussions. It is our very fear of the future that distorts the now that could lead to a different future if we dared to be whole in the present.”

~ Marion Woodman

Clearly, some need to be threatened before they respond, while others take actions to isolate quickly. This is always the case, isn’t it? We respond differently, so we need to be approached differently; and hopefully, we have the wisdom not to insist that every message be tailored to our own sensibilities. As we do our inner work to transcend our own fears, our sense of compassion can arise.

What we are called to do, actually called to BE is a better term – we are called to be our best selves right now. And we realize our best selfhood by doing the necessary spiritual and psychological work to bring that innate selfhood to the surface of our lives. Our best self is open, magnanimous, kind, compassionate, and wise. This current situation with the COVID-19 virus is calling that best self forward, but so do our ordinary lives, perhaps not as urgently, but the call is ever-present.

“It’s the coronavirus now but it could’ve been something else. It could’ve been a bioweapon or nuclear disaster. Some symptom was bound to erupt of humanity’s reckless & irresponsible behavior toward fellow human beings, to animals and to nature. This is our wake-up call to change.”

~ Marianne Williamson on Twitter

Our calling and our task are not only to weather this current storm, but to find ways to respond so that we co-create new living systems which form the basis for a sustainable human presence on earth. Our focus must therefore be dual – on the present, making wise decisions about our behavior and finding ways to survive, getting ourselves centered and stable in consciousness. Also, our focus is on the future, as we allow new visions to gestate in consciousness so that we can assist in their emergence in the near future.

Our systems and institutions are being shaken by this pandemic, which may instill uncertainty and fear, but also creates space for something new to emerge. The earth must be broken for the plant to grow, and our existing systems, so many of them limiting and obsolete, must crack open for what is next to emerge. Then, we will need wise stewards of those process of emergence to step forward.

Each of us has something unique to contribute to this process. There is no script for going forward; we are writing the script together and it is important that the wisest and most loving voices be integral to the process. There is and will continue to be much fear expressed, but the voices of love must transcend that fear so that we collectively move forward and not backward. Fear constricts, love opens.

“The world we see that seems so insane is the result of a belief system that is not working. To perceive the world differently, we must be willing to change our belief system, let the past slip away, expand our sense of now, and dissolve the fear in our minds.”

~ William James

My suggestion is to include daily spiritual practices in your isolation routine and keep that dual focus in mind – the present and the future – as we co-create what is next for humanity.

 

Copyright 2020 – Jim Lockard

GETTING USED TO UNCERTAINTY – PANDEMICS, CLIMATE CRISIS, POLITICAL CHAOS, AND MORE

“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.”

~ Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

I just returned to France after two trips to the US. We left on December 4th, visited Mexico for two weeks, then were in the US until late January, then back to France for a couple of weeks to renew our visas, then back to the US for the Centers for Spiritual Living (LINK) Convention in Denver and a visit to New York to see our daughter and celebrate Dorianne’s birthday. During that time, the world news has been filed with crisis after crisis. How are we to come to terms with all of this? How do we stay healthy and balanced and attend to our own life issues?

If you have followed this blog for a while, you have probably noticed that I often write about uncertainty and chaos as effects of rapidly changing cultural evolution. The rate of change is speeding up, and bringing with it lots of side effects, the largest of which is a growing inability to predict the future. Greater complexity means that just about everything has more factors, seen and unseen, affecting possible outcomes and blurring our ability to predict. We are all in uncharted waters and the knowledge and experiences of the past have an increasingly limited ability to help us as we move forward.

Future-1024x936

We are seeing what appears to be (and too often is) a failure of our traditional institutions to effectively negotiate this increasing complexity. Those who feel left behind by the increasingly complex world in which we find ourselves are rising up and electing leaders who promise simple answers; answers which have no hope of success as they fail to even acknowledge the complexity of issues we face. Traditional religion is fading fast in the developed world as the magical-mythical deities and saints repeatedly fail to help believers to transform the present complexities into simplistic outcomes. Science continues to be reliable (for the most part anyway), because it is not about certainty. Science is about finding the most reliable way of thinking at the present level of knowledge. But as science grapples with greater complexity, it becomes more difficult for non-scientists to grasp, and is often treated with the same respect as opinion.

“. . . I worry that unwarranted certainty, and an under-appreciation of the unknown, might be our collective downfall, because it blinds us to a new dynamic governing humanity: The world is getting more complicated, and therefore less predictable.”

~ Farhad Majoo, NYTimes (LINK) (LINK)

While the forms of spiritual community and practice change with time, elemental spiritual principles are timeless: Oneness, the realization of our own spiritual nature, our ability to use our mind to think and to adapt to new conditions. All of these are as reliable as they ever were – we may just have to see and experience them in new ways. Today it is more important to adapt and change quickly than in the past. While in principle it has always been important to adapt to one’s environment, today conditions are less stable and predictable than in the past, so adaptation must be to a higher order of complexity than before. We must find new ways of being in relationship to one another and to our planet.

There is little that we can be certain of beyond our basic principles. This offers a lot of freedom, but also demands greater accountability to ourselves and to one another. The Mystery of Being is ever present, and the spiritual pathway has always been about deepening our realization of that mystery. What is visible is changeable. We are called to expand our ability to thrive in an increasingly unpredictable set of external conditions. The good news is that we have the capacity to adapt as needed.

“When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life. It means fear is no longer a dominant factor in what you do and no longer prevents you from taking action to initiate CHANGE.”

~ Eckhart Tolle 

There is nothing to fear but fear itself. This is true, whether it is about something like the Coronavirus (LINK), politics, our own health, or how to be in spiritual community together. By doing our spiritual practices diligently, we expand our capacity to live with uncertainty as we strengthen our awareness of our divine nature. Fear, beyond the “alert system” designed to make us aware of imminent danger, is a corrosive element which weakens our ability to see clearly and to respond compassionately. Fear drives us to make excessive and unrealistic demands on conditions and the people around us. It drives us from grace.

“We have certain ideas about how we want grace to appear. But grace is simply that which opens our hearts, that which has the capacity to come in and open our perceptions about life.”

~ Adyashanti

Fear constricts; Love opens. They cannot coexist in the same consciousness.

Fear leads us to weaken our body’s systems, to reduce our capacity for compassion in community, to make fear-based choices, to decrease our ability to discern wisdom, and to demand certainty, even when impossible. It can make us fear being less than experts on any topic and limit our ability to see how much we do not know.

Love allows us to strengthen our body’s systems, to expand our sense of compassion in community, to make better choices, increase discernment, and to embrace uncertainty. It can make us comfortable being amateurs. Love opens the way for our evolutionary process of the emergence of new adaptive capacities.

“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

Think of being an amateur as having a beginner’s mind. This does not mean to be ignorant, but to recognize the truth that there is always much we do not or can not know. We do the best that we can, always being open to greater awareness, being willing to change our worldview when it becomes inadequate, being willing to let go of what no longer serves us, being willing to live in the mystery.

Love and a beginner’s mind tell us to take reasonable precautions to protect ourselves, and also that no set of precautions makes us invulnerable. So have adequate insurance, wash your hands when viruses are around (LINK), be gentle with yourself and others when you don’t have all the answers, be rigorous in evaluating your information sources, stand up for your beliefs in a compassionate way, and no matter what, keep moving forward.

“It may not be easy in the beginning, but with some practice you will find that your mind can function on many levels at the same time and you can be aware of them all.”

~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

With right practice, we get better at things. Amplify and deepen your spiritual practices as necessary until you find that you are getting the results you desire. That means until you are moving toward a state of equanimity regardless of external conditions. Mastery comes as a result of clear intention followed by right practice.

We face the inevitable storms of life knowing that we stand a better chance of weathering them when we are more like the flexible willow tree than like the rigid oak. It is realistic to be optimistic when you have an honest assessment of your inner strengths and use right practices to expand and deepen your realization of the divine within you.

“Once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

~ Haruki Murakami

 

Copyright 2020 – Jim Lockard

UPCOMING EVENTS:

  1. I will be presenting at the Integral Europe Conference in Hungary in late May (https://integraleuropeanconference.com/)

  2. I’ll be a keynote presenter, along with the amazing Karen Drucker, at ‘The Game Of Life – And How To Play It’ – Using Spiritual Principles for a happier,healthier and more abundant life. June 20, 2020 in Chipperfield, Hertfordshire, UK    (NewThoughtNewYou)

  3. I will be a keynote presenter, along with the wonderful Lisa Ferraro, at the CSL Geneva New Thought Conference: THRIVE! BE SPIRITUALLY ALIVE!, October 2-4, 2020 at the beautiful Chateau de Bossey.  (http://www.csl-geneva.com/)

FINDING OUR WAY THROUGH THE CHAOS

The past two months have taken me to the U.S. and Mexico before coming back to France. Dorianne and I vacationed in Puerto Vallarta, stayed with friends and visited family in Southern California, and attended to some elder care issues for family members. I traveled to Washington DC to visit my daughter and Maryland to visit my aunt and uncle, now in their 90’s. I did a men’s retreat at CSL Simi Valley (LINK) and spoke at the Global Truth Center LA (LINK); later I spend a weekend with the leadership team at CSL Salt Lake City (LINK) and spoke at their Sunday service. While I was doing that, Dorianne was teaching courses in Mindful Leadership and more to students in Health Care Management in San Diego and Houston.

It was an exhilarating and exhausting trip, book-ended by long travel days, but all of it was our choice, which made it a bit more exhilarating and a bit less exhausting. Of course, during this time, climate change continued on its inexorable pace, the impeachment of the US President moved to the Senate for a “trial,” the Coronavirus (LINK) became news, and the usual litany of humanity’s agonies was discussed on regular and social media. What a time to be alive!

It is a great time to be alive, first because we are alive, and that is pretty great; but also, we get to live at a time which is calling forth great strides in human development. While this is often painful, chaotic, confusing, frustrating, and challenging, it is also filled with the opportunity to actualize potential at levels never seen in human history. Nothing short of this kind of growth in consciousness will take us to a sustainable future.

“Most people with an ear to the ground understand to some extent that the collective behavior of our species is unsustainable. Where they differ in opinion is on what should be done to address this problem. Where they unify in opinion is on the assumption that the solution will look like their own personal ideology winning out over all the others. Capitalists believe that capitalism will provide technological solutions to the problems that capitalism has created, and that this will happen more quickly and efficiently if the fetters on capitalism are removed. Socialists believe that socialism will solve the problems that socialism has been powerless to provide this entire time, if only this consistent pattern of socialism’s inability to obtain dominance is magically deviated from somehow. And so on.”

~ Caitlin Johnstone (LINK)

Driving around Los Angeles, I was struck by the magnitude of the challenge to shift away from fossil fuels in this car-dominated megaplex. What combination of technological advances and cultural willingness to change is required to shift to a more sustainable existence here? Where will the resources come from? Who will lead in influencing so many diverse people to make such a shift?

Our stuckness in our own ideologies is an enemy of collective progress. We are called to rise beyond political, religious, and philosophical differences and to contribute to a new collective wisdom. Being humbly unattached to our certainties and willing to explore different and new ideas is now an essential reality. As Alvin Toffler wrote in the last century, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Our answers lie not in our past, nor in what we know presently, but in our ability to merge our current wisdom with new thinking while releasing what no longer works.

“. . . if there is to be any deviation from our species’ self-destructive trajectory, the cause of that deviation will come completely out of left field. No one will expect it, because it won’t come from a direction that we have been conditioned through our experience to look. Our unpatterning will necessarily come from a completely un-patterned direction. A collective movement in an unprecedented direction will necessarily have an unprecedented antecedent.”

~ Caitlin Johnstone

 “The problem isn’t whether or not, as I find myself being asked lately ‘we have a future’, but that we do, absolutely, have a future.”

~ William Gibson

Given that we are faced with a future which arises out of our present, there are questions I must face. Am I in a place where I can shift deeply held aspects of my beliefs and behaviors quickly enough to embrace something radically new? If not, is it something I can be working toward – the ability and a greater willingness to shift? How many of my comforts am I willing to do without?

“An epochal shift is taking place in the contemporary psyche, a reconciliation between the two great polarities, a union of opposites: a sacred marriage between the long-dominant but now alienated masculine and the long-suppressed but now ascending feminine.”

~ Richard Tarnas

At the men’s retreat on the healthy masculine (LINKS to past blog posts on this topic), we talked about such issues – coming to terms with our conditioning to abandon our feminine side and how to re-connect in a healthy way. We were confronted with the significant challenge to heal what we often did not realize was wounded, as we are so conditioned in society’s view of what it means to be a man. Women, along with men and everyone on the spectrum of gender have their own work to do in this regard, because only healthy masculine and feminine aspects (not genders – all genders contain masculine and feminine) can allow us the creativity to move forward.

Only through deeper spiritual and psychological exploration and practices will we be able to tap into the reservoir of genius within ourselves. This is what we are called to do by the world as it is today – to deepen our practices and be the drivers of the next leap of evolution as humanity. The alternative is to be driven by conditions produced by a collective consciousness of fear and ignorance.

“Our blind spot, from a person or people point of view, keeps us from seeing that we do indeed have greatly enhanced direct access to the deeper sources of creativity and commitment, both as individuals and as communities. It is one of our most hopeful sources of confidence because we can access a deeper presence, power, and purpose from within. From a structural point of view, the societal blind spot deals with the lack of these cross-sector action groups that intentionally operate from a future that wants to emerge. Instead, we see only special interest groups and three types of fundamentalism, each trying to solve our current mess in a single-minded way.” 

~ C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U (LINK)

Going beyond our settled notions of what works and what doesn’t is essential. Only by breaking through to new developmental levels and to new ways of seeing at every level will we move forward with a minimum of suffering and loss. Yes, it is that serious; the effects of our past ignorance and greed are rising up as the planet’s immune system seeks to rid itself of the disease called fear-based humanity. We are the disease, not in our highest potential, but in our collective actions up until now.

“So what you can do on a personal level is let go of your attachment to the known. Sell off all stocks you’ve invested in your conditioned mental patterning and begin doing the hard inner work necessary to embrace the unknown and unknowable. Begin surprising yourself, and opening doors to allow life to surprise you. Take chances on new and unpredictable situations instead of taking refuge in the known and the familiar. Give less and less interest and attention to your conditioned, looping mental narratives and more and more to the uncontrollable present moment in which literally anything can be born.”

~ Caitlin Johnstone

I do not see my inner work as hard in itself; inner work is a joy. What is hard is peeling back the layers of the onion of my fears, limitations, entrenched beliefs, and biases. So I engage in my inner work, my daily practices, not a labor but as exploration in a field of love. My fears, limitations, entrenched beliefs, and biases are not held against me. They simply disappear when I replace them with a higher order of thinking and being. Our work together is serious and has huge consequences; it is too important to be left to chance. However, we must approach our individual work lightly, lovingly, with self-compassion and higher expectations. I know of no better way forward.

“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. I was so preposterously serious in those days… Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me…So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling…”

~ Aldous Huxley, Island

 

Copyright 2020 – Jim Lockard

I will be at the Centers for Spiritual Living Convention in Denver in February (CSL.org); also, I will be speaking at the Foothills Center for Spiritual Living Evergreen (LINK) on Sunday, February 16th and conducting a special interview with CSL Spiritual Leader, Dr. Kenn Gordon later that day at the Grand Hyatt Denver LINK to info – join us if you can!

Archives Denver Event

2020: IS IN YOUR HANDS

Where am I? Who am I?
How did I come to be here?
What is this thing called the world?
How did I come into the world?
Why was I not consulted?
And If I am compelled to take part in it, where is the director?
I want to see him.

~ Søren Kierkegaard, “Repetition: An Essay in Experimental Psychology”

Many of us can relate to the quote above from Søren Kierkegaard, the great philosopher. Today, as we enter 2020, a new year and a new decade, I thought it might do some good to spend some time with Kierkegaard. His wisdom is both accessible and honest. Those are things and I wish to carry forth into the new decade – clarity and honesty, along with the deepest compassion that I can manage. Compassion is a tough one – for to be compassionate is to invite pain and suffering; it is to identify with everyone as yourself, it is oneness personified. That’s a hard thing to do with any kind of consistency.

2020 IS IN YOUR HANDS

“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the moment we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in this world?

~ Søren Kierkegaard

This quote set me to wondering. Could the same thing be said if we substituted any New Thought text for the Bible in this quote? Are we in New Thought scheming swindlers in the way Kierkegaard describes Christians?

Of course we are.

If we weren’t, we would only need to read the texts once or twice and take but a class or two, as the principles of New Thought, like the principles of Christianity, are very simple. But decades into my New Thought studies, I still need more because I tend to weasel out of the clear dictates set forth about how to think and feel my way to a consciousness of love. I tend to scheme and fudge in my practices and in how I view other people. You, dear reader, can answer the question for yourself.

“Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.”

~ Søren Kierkegaard

Here, Kierkegaard hits the New Thought nail on the head. Regardless of how we would like things to work, there are certain universal laws which cannot be disobeyed, meaning that they work according to how we use them – but they always work. Our experience is largely the result of the thoughts we think and the feelings we attach to those thoughts. We are also subject to larger forces – the collective consciousness of humanity and its subsets (family, community) – but we cannot escape this essential truth. My individual thoughts may not determine where and to whom I am born, nor do they determine the outcome of national elections, but they do determine my experiences within those fields of influence, absolutely.

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”

~ Søren Kierkegaard

The human capacity to be misled is all to large. We all have believed and do believe things which are not true. We prove this regularly by underestimating ourselves and others, by purchasing products we do not really want or need, and by being swayed by others who have a vested interest in getting us to believe certain things. Much of this is due to unconscious processes over which we have no immediate control. Some is due to our conditioning which we tend to follow automatically.

“The most common form of despair is not being who you are.”

~ Søren Kierkegaard

The year 2020 seems set to be another year of great suffering, natural disasters, political corruption, economic inequality, and ideological battles. I must accept this if I am to increase my dominion over my own thoughts and feelings. In the past, I have tried, on my own, in consciousness; and with others in consciousness to shift these larger patterns to no apparent avail. In the process of thinking that I could affect the larger patterns of society via my consciousness, I found myself despairing and losing my often too fragile grip on my own optimism and positive intentions for my life.

It is important for me to view this apparent detachment as acceptance rather than as resignation. I accept that human development is where it is, while also feeling sad that this produces so much suffering. I also accept that there is growth happening in ways both seen and unseen. And I focus my own intentions for my development toward growth which is not dependent on how others are doing or behaving. When I have accepted myself deeply and lovingly, I can develop a greater capacity for compassion. Compassion is seeing others as one with myself.

“Resignation is a shrinking, a turning away from life. Acceptance is an expansion, an opening that helps us find the courage to be who we are and do what we can.”

~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer

For the new year, my spiritual practices will expand and deepen, as I seek new emergence of the vast potential within myself. I seek to craft an attitude of acceptance of both human nature as it as evolved so far and of my own limitless capacity to express love. I shall engage in the affairs of the world as the best possible version of myself in that moment; I shall arrive spiritually prepared to engage from a compassionate heart. I shall seek to manifest the intention set forth in this final quote from Joel Goldsmith for my relationships with all of my fellow beings:

“Let us never accept a human being into our consciousness who needs healing, employing, or enriching because if we do, we are his enemy instead of his friend. If there is any man, woman, or child we believe to be sick, sinning or dying, let us do no praying until we have made peace with that brother. The peace we must make with that brother is to ask forgiveness for making the mistake of sitting in judgment on any individual because everyone is God in expression. All is God manifested. God alone constitutes this universe; God constitutes the life, the mind, and the Soul of every individual.”

~ Joel Goldsmith

Have a blessed New Year. I am grateful for you.

 

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

 

NOTE: I will be speaking at the Center for Spiritual Living Simi Valley on January 5th; at the Global Truth Center in Westlake Village on January 12th; and at the Center for Spiritual Living Salt Lake City on January 26th. I believe that all are live streamed – check the appropriate websites or Facebook pages for more information.

If you attend any of these, introduce yourself as a reader of this blog – it will be nice to meet you!

ESSAY: WHY IS TRUE EQUALITY TAKING SO LONG?

This is an essay, meaning that it is significantly longer than a regular blog post. You may want to bookmark it an come back to it if you don’t finish it in one reading. I did it in this format because I felt that the topic was better served within a single essay format than by breaking it up into parts. As always, your comments are welcomed in the comments section below. I will be on vacation for a few weeks and will not be posting – I will check in on your comments, however.

 

A thousand times I have ascertained and found it to be true:

the affairs of this world are really nothing into nothing.

Still though, we should dance.

~ Hafiz 

 Humanity seems to be in the process of waking up to some of our collective past inequities. This is nothing new, all of human history is about waking up as we learn and develop, however the current awakenings, sometimes called becoming “woke,” are to be celebrated. We are waking up to the idea that in the past, we have been unfair or worse in our collective characterizations, definition, and actions toward just about anyone who was not a part of the current dominant race or class.

This has included people of color, women, children, those who did not conform to rigid gender definitions and expressions, and so on. From the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s, the Women’s Movement in the 1970’s, and LGBTQIA+ Pride movements beginning in the 1980’s, we have seen an awakening in (in the developed nations at least) in varying degrees to the need to recognize and honor equality. These movements are among the expressions of the Postmodern-Green Level of Existence in the The Spiral Dynamics™ Model (LINK). The Green level is complex and those arriving at this level of complexity view exposing past wrongs as essential in the process of moving forward to a healthier cultural future.

This awakening process is far from over, and once it is, there will undoubtedly be other things to awaken to, but we are making some progress, if not enough fast enough. This essay is an exploration of this dynamic, where it seems to be stuck and how it can move forward.

“A lot of our ideas about what we can do at different ages and what age means are so arbitrary — as arbitrary as sexual stereotypes. I think that the young-old polarization and the male-female polarization are perhaps the two leading stereotypes that imprison people. The values associated with youth and with masculinity are considered to be the human norms, and anything else is taken to be at least less worthwhile or inferior. Old people have a terrific sense of inferiority. They’re embarrassed to be old. What you can do when you’re young and what you can do when you’re old is as arbitrary and without much basis as what you can do if you’re a woman or what you can do if you’re a man.”

~ Susan Sontag

It seems that human nature is such that if people can hold themselves above someone else, or hold their group above other groups, they will usually do so. If a previously subjugated group ends up in power, they are likely to subjugate their former oppressors, at first by seeking revenge, and then by institutionalizing the subjugation. The process of seeking equality with a group which has held you in bondage or subjugated you or otherwise treated you badly is always a struggle and it is difficult to see the oppressor as human or as worthy of love or respect.

“When we are in conflict we tend to make such sharp oppositions between ideas and attitudes and get caught and entangled in what seems to be a hopeless choice, but when the neurotic ambivalence is resolved one tends to move beyond sharp differences, sharply defined boundaries and begins to see the interaction between everything, the relation between everything.”

~ Anaïs Nin 

The Spiral Dynamics Model can be helpful in understanding these dynamics. The model shows human development through the lens of increasing complexity and the values systems which emerge as our thought becomes more complex. The six stages or Levels of Existence which make up the 1st Tier account for perhaps 95% of all humans. These stages are all fear based, which is an important consideration in how we treat those who are different from us. When 2nd Tier stages emerge, this fear is gone, and an appreciation for all Levels of Existence is possible. At 1st Tier levels, there is always some fear of the other.

When an individual or group is centered at any of the first 5 Levels of Existence (represented by the colors Beige, Purple, Red, Blue, and Orange) the process of stereotyping and the conquest of others is a generally accepted way of life within the values systems of those levels. Human history bears this out, of course, and today we are dealing with both current expressions of these values systems and the after-effects of that history, most notably the periods of the Crusades and European Colonialism (including the expansion into the Americas). The murder and enslavement of the peoples of Africa, the murder and denial of education to vast swaths of the Arab world, and the genocide of the Native American peoples have left us legacies of deep harm which have yet to be fully understood, much less repaired in our times. In the East, the pogroms of Russia and the USSR, the Cultural Revolution of Mao Tse Tung, and the genocide of Pol Pot, among other atrocities, continue to affect the cultural evolutionary process.

“A stereotype carries no numinosity, no living energy, no intensity of feeling. A stereotype is a worn-out vision, a dead archetype, or perhaps even worse, a parody of it.”

~ Marion Woodman, Jungian analyst

VMEMEs Simplified

The emergence of Postmodern-Green, the most complex 1st Tier Level of Existence (LINK), has brought the emergence of systems thinking, or the ability to see many more connections among human systems than was previously possible. A result of this is the capacity and the desire to recognize past injustices and bad practices, reveal them, and encourage society to take steps to bring about a more egalitarian and fair culture.

While this is a positive step in our overall cultural development, there are new and complex challenges which arise when deep cultural shadows are brought to the light. While most people who are centered at the Green Level of Existence see the necessity of such revelations and also value egalitarian expressions of culture in all circumstances, those who are centered at less complex levels have different values. These include resistance to deep shadow exploration, both personal and societal. At the Traditionalist-Blue level, nationalistic pride takes precedence over any suffering which resulted in the building of one’s nation. Also, a more simplistic worldview sees through a very personal lens and has less understanding of differences which are not within their own experience. Racism and sexism become institutionalized and largely invisible to the privileged groups, who have little incentive to look beneath the surface.

Note that oppressed people at every Level of Existence on the Spiral are aware of their oppression and have a deeper understanding of its dynamics, since they live with it every day and do not have the privilege of ignoring it.

The emergence of those centered at Green in larger and larger numbers brings a values system which seeks to dig deeper as part of the process to create a fair and equitable society, including making amends for past oppression. But these Green voices are distinct if growing minority and have less presence in the centers of cultural power than Modernist-Orange and Traditionalist-Blue currently have. The response to calls for greater equality, civility, and non-violence in our society has often been a backlash of the opposite – because those levels below Green do not share the same values or worldview.

Blue-Orange power structures operate according to who has power and they do just about anything to gain and hold power. They value competition and winners get and deserve status, wealth, and the power to dictate to the rest of society. Witness current politics in the developed west; a mélange of Blue and Orange values systems fighting for control, seeking every advantage including those gained through corruption. Corporate (Orange) power using money to get the “right” politicians elected to gain influence and enable competition without regulation. Billionaires have easy access to others in power and to the media, in fact, they own much of the media. With few exceptions, they are not interested in greater equality as it would mean less influence and attention for them.

The typical white person in the middle or working class has a different lens, but one which generally supports the billionaires and power brokers, whom they admire. At Blue and especially Orange there is value in making it on your own, and there is little acknowledgement that everyone in a nation like the United States doesn’t have equal opportunities to succeed. This is a mostly, but far from entirely, unconscious belief system. Another example is the mostly unconscious, culturally driven nature of Blue/Orange racism which is captured well in this quote from a recent article:

“If you asked rural Americans how they felt about people of any particular minority group, most would pride themselves on having an unassuming, open-minded acceptance. And, for the most part, that is true on a personal level. But, to them, racism is a Klansman in a movie. It isn’t a contemporary power structure, or an implicit bias that gets black teenagers killed. They don’t see that. They can, on the other hand, see themselves struggling. They just very earnestly do not get it. The minorities they do know are — like that little girl in my third-grade class — pressured to fit in, to stay quiet. They’re not talking much about racism.”

~ Larry Womack, The Independent, UK (LINK)

Those who seek to bring about a more egalitarian and sustainable future for humanity, most of whom are centered at Green and above, would do well to have a greater understanding of the levels of complexity and the values systems of those centered elsewhere on the spiral. Those at any Level of Existence on the Spiral who do not have an understanding of the dynamics of the spiral, believe others share their own values system and that they only have to convincingly state their premise and others will see the truth of it and come into harmony or compliance. This is particularly true at the Green level, where feelings are very important. This naivety regarding how they are being heard has led to a considerable amount of anger at Green expressions, and those at Green are uncomfortable with anger. This has led to expressions such as “Call-Out Culture” (LINK) and “Cancel Culture” (LINK), two ways of using social media to correct what is judged to be bad behavior. Green will try to lovingly bring people into compliance but can become authoritarian (channeling Blue values) if others do not comply.

The problem with these approaches is that they are perceived by their targets as coming from levels of complexity and values systems which they do not possess or accept. Each 1st Tier Level of Existence works best within its own level and has difficulty working across levels. Many at Orange and below, for example, see the Green views on sexism and racism as overly sensitive and unrealistic; this is especially true on topics such as gender fluidity and cultural misappropriation.

In November, according to some conservative media outlets, there was a “War on Thanksgiving” – meaning the Green focus on recognizing the true story of early settlers and Native Americans rather than the fairy tale generally taught to children and believed by adults. This, of course, sits beside the ongoing “War on Christmas” which consists of suggestions that “Happy Holidays” be a default greeting if you do not know the faith tradition of the person(s) to whom you are speaking. But most of those in privileged groups centered at Orange and below don’t want to be told that their cherished nation and its traditions are essentially flawed, or that their default Christian culture is not at the center of Americanism. With some exceptions, they simply will not hear it.

We also see push-back and cries of excessive political correctness by comedians and others against proposed bans on certain kinds of jokes. While the views expressed by those centered at Green reflect more complex ways of looking at these issues and a compassionate desire for people to be accepted for who they are, these points are lost on many at Orange and below on the spiral. This segment from Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee is about this topic:

LINK to Comedians In Cars Video

Comedian.jpg

It is important to note that each of the Levels of Existence on the Spiral were once leading-edge thinking. When Living Conditions became more complex people tended to adapt to new levels of complexity. Those who do not adapt have trouble keeping up with greater complexity, and the pace of change and increased complexity is growing ever more rapid. This means that if you do not adapt, you get further behind, making life more difficult in many ways.

It is also important to note that at every Level of Existence on the Spiral, the thinking and values are internally logical – they just may not be adequate to address a more complex outside world. As we move up through the Spiral by adapting to more complex Living Conditions, it is important that we retain the positive values of each level as we leave it behind – Red assertiveness, Blue ethical systems, Orange self-agency, and so on. If we do not retain these healthy values, we are more likely to express in unhealthy ways at higher levels. This shows up as Orange refusing to accept Blue regulatory processes on Orange’s excesses or as Green refusing to accept Orange self-agency and expecting everyone to accept whatever Green is saying as irrefutable.

While many of the emerging ideas from the Green level are, in fact, morally good ideas arising from a more complex worldview, the authors of these ideas and their supporters often fail to understand the dynamics of complexity and values on the entire spiral. They sometimes take absolutist positions as to the rightness of these ideas and are surprised when others do not agree; then all too frequently, they denigrate those who do not agree. The idea of being woke or being in tune with the prevalence of racism and sexism in the dominant culture is seen as a given by many at Green, but is generally viewed as a form of elitism and political correctness at Blue and Orange.

Hence #CancelCulture and other hashtags like #GenderFluidity and #HeyBoomer, are, ironically, used to be dismissive of others outside the parameters of healthy Green values. There is always truth in the issues raised, however, those accused of being complicit in mass misbehavior often do not see things in the same way. Raising awareness is a first step in bringing change, and in that first step there will be dissonance as people hear things for the first time. The question for me is how to best move through that dissonance toward resonance more quickly and with less negativity.

This brief Twitter exchange illustrates this point:

Twitter

The comment from @ChaosComet about being perceived as part of the problem regardless of intention gets an accurate but very Postmodernist-Green and complex response from @emrazz. If @ChaosComet is centered at Orange or below on the Spiral, they will not get the complexity nor see the value in the complex idea – they will find it confusing and feel unheard or diminished. The real issue here is not so much one of values, but one of complexity and how we communicate with one another.

True equality is taking so long to realize because the strong desire for it is only recently emerging in human thinking and values systems. To progress forward more rapidly, we need strong, positive, and compassionate leadership, 2nd Tier worldviews and skills, including the solutions noted below.

SOME SOLUTIONS:

There are few immediate solutions because we are in a time where change is constant, the old models are in decline or have already failed, and the new models have yet to emerge or be recognized. This means that we have to find our way forward without a clearly defined understanding of where we are going in most instances. This requires a different set of knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) for leaders.

“Whatever leadership used to be — it used to be. Now, it has to be something different. Now, we all have to be more than we were. The kind of leadership that I want to explore may not be identifiable as leadership at all.  I am interested in a kind of mutually alert care and attention to the well-being of all people and ecological systems. This kind of leadership cannot be found in individuals, but rather between them. It cannot be found in organizations, nations, religions or institutions, but rather between them. I have called it Liminal Leadership to highlight the relational characteristics.”

~ Nora Bateson

Leadership today is like being a ship’s captain before modern navigational instruments, sailing through a fog that goes on and on. You have to keep the crew motivated during uncertain times – and today’s “crew” consists of people at various stages of development in terms of complexity and values. Those in leadership positions need to be sensitive to the different values systems present and communicate across the spiral effectively. It begins with kindness and the development of compassion.

“I have read somewhere of an old Chinese curse: ‘May you be born in an interesting time!’ This is a VERY interesting time: there are no models for ANYTHING that is going on. It is a period of free fall into the future, and each has to make his or her own way. The old models are not working; the new have not yet appeared. In fact, it is we who are even now shaping the new in the shaping of our interesting lives. And that is the whole sense (in mythological terms) of the present challenge: we are the ‘ancestors’ of an age to come, the unwitting generators of its supporting myths, the mythic models that will inspire its lives.”

~ Joseph Campbell, Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine

Another key factor, one that is not directly addressed in the Spiral Dynamics Model, is the emotional intelligence (EQ) (LINK) of those involved, especially leaders. EQ is the ability to know and manage one’s emotions and to have an awareness of the emotional states of others. In uncertain times, the pressure rises, and emotional intelligence is more and more important for us to navigate.

“As much as 80% of adult ‘success’ comes from EQ.”

~ Daniel Goleman

What we often see in Green’s attempt to get other stages to accept responsibility for (or complicity in) past bad practices is low emotional intelligence on one or both sides of the conversation. In such cases, the conversation becomes a shouting match and future harmony becomes more difficult to manifest. It takes high emotional intelligence to calmly process your own shortcomings, especially if you are hearing them for the first time. It also takes high emotional intelligence to communicate in such a way as to raise awareness and gain cooperation in getting to resolution of deep cultural issues.

One positive leadership practice can be to model and teach emotional intelligence in your community or organization. When integrated with positive spiritual principles, this is a very powerful way to develop spiritual poise.

Another positive leadership practice is to model and teach good listening skills in your community or organization. This is an essential element of compassion – the ability and willingness to listen deeply, both within yourself and to others.

A third positive leadership practice is to model and teach humility in your community or organization. To be humble is to be true to what you are, which is a divine being having a human experience, but one who still has much to learn.

A fourth positive leadership practice is to model and teach patience, especially patience for people to develop along the spiral to more complex stages and values systems. This can be a challenging aspect of leadership – impatience with those who are not as developed as you, perhaps not as woke as you. It is important to remember that all of us are works in progress and that none of us is in our final form.

Emotional Intelligence, Deep Listening, and Humility tempered with Patience are a strong foundation for building equality in spiritual community and in organizations. When applied well, people at all Levels of Existence can cooperate and co-create interdependent living systems which can contribute to creating The Beloved Community.

“A leader is a person who has an unusual degree of power to create the conditions under which other people must live and move and have their being, conditions that can be either as illuminating as heaven or as shadowy as hell. A leader must take special responsibility for what’s going on inside his or her own self, inside his or her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.”

~ Parker Palmer

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

I will be leading a retreat for men on healthy masculinity at

The Center for Spiritual Living Simi Valley

on January 3rd (evening) and 4th (9a-5p).

If you are in the SoCal area and are interested, visit the link:

(LINK)

SIMI - THE HEALTHY MASCULINE

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON:

https://www.amazon.com/Creating-Beloved-Community-Spiritual-Leadership-ebook/dp/B01MR2IOBA/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3G8OYZYCLFD5B&keywords=creating+the+beloved+community&qid=1575645208&sprefix=creating+the+b%2Caps%2C208&sr=8-1

LEARNING HOW TO DIE

“Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death – ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life.”

~ James Baldwin, “The Fire Next Time

I think I have mentioned in a previous post the story of my encounter with a very old man early in my Science of Mind studies. He had been in the teaching for some time and we were having a discussion during a class break. What he said to me has remained with me as one of the most significant statements in my metaphysical learning. He said that in learning the Science of Mind, we are learning how to die.

2016-11-09-11-54-52

When I questioned his meaning, he replied that only in learning how to live fully can we learn how to die properly. If we have not lived fully, we will resist that final state of our human lifetime and likely suffer much more than necessary. The quotes from James Baldwin, above, and Krishnamurti, below, speak to this deep truth.

“Death is extraordinarily like life when we know how to live. You cannot live without dying. You cannot live if you do not die psychologically every minute. This is not an intellectual paradox. To live completely, wholly, every day as if it were a new loveliness, there must be a dying to everything of yesterday, otherwise you live mechanically, and a mechanical mind can never know what love is or what freedom is.”

~ J. Krishnamurti

In our New Thought principles and teachings, we have a recipe for living fully, not just a series of lessons in positive thinking. Our teachings are about the realities of a human existence and a realization that although we are imbued with divinity, so is everything else. Pain and suffering are not to be denied but experienced and transcended as much as possible. The “successful” spiritual pathway is not one free of negativity and pain, but one in which the inevitabilities of life are met with compassion, grace, and wisdom. Our path is never completely clear of challenges, but we can begin to clear it of unnecessary challenges created out of our own ignorance and fear.

“A good life is still a life. It must involve a full share of suffering, loneliness, disappointment and coming to terms with one’s own mortality and the deaths of those one loves. To live a life that is good as a life involves all this.”

~ John Armstrong

Beautiful Angel Sculputure 3

Our fears lead us to live false lives, repressing aspects of ourselves which do not seem to lead to our acceptance by those by whom we wish to be accepted. We develop personalities designed to manipulate others through charm, intimidation, or aloofness. We come to see ourselves as inadequate and try to protect ourselves by hiding behind masks of various kinds.

“Most hide behind the smile because they are afraid of facing the world’s complexity, its vagueness, its terrible beauties. If they stay safely ensconced behind their painted grins, then they won’t have to encounter the insecurities attendant upon dwelling in possibility, those anxious moments when one doesn’t know this from that, when one could suddenly become almost anything at all. Even though this anxiety, usually over death, is in the end exhilarating, a call to be creative, it is in the beginning rather horrifying, a feeling of hovering in an unpredictable abyss. Most immediately flee from this situation. They try to lose themselves in the laughing masses, hoping the anxiety will never again visit them. They don inauthenticity as a mask, a disguise protecting them from the abyss.”

~ Eric G. Wilson

For some on a New Thought pathway, this becomes a fixation on being positive, good, even perfect. There is a clear sense of fear if anything negative is said or if the bad news of the day is discussed. This compulsion to avoid negativity is, psychology tells us, another form of the fear of death. In this realm, no one dies, they “transition.” The fact that no one knows what happens after that “transition” is also not spoken about, unless one has a belief that they do know.

Beautiful Angel Sculputure 5

A major lesson taught by Jesus is that every resurrection requires a crucifixion. In other words, there is no new birth without a death – the child must die so that the adult can be born, ignorance must die so that awareness can be born, etc. If we do not grasp the inevitability and the necessity of death in our existence, we sentence ourselves to incomplete lives lived in bondage to fear and avoidance. This shows up every time we cling to something that no lover serves us or that is, of its own volition or nature, ready to move on. Relationships, old belongings, stages of life, and limited ideas exist in this category. Clinging to the past is a form of denial of our actual fear – that we are destined to be forever moving into an unknown future which includes a physical death, and that we fear living fully.

It can be comforting to have a belief about what happens to us when we die. The founder of Religious Science, Ernest Holmes, was agnostic on this topic. He did believe in immortality of the soul, of the essence of who we are, but he was less certain about any retention of memory of our life in human form. He did not believe in reincarnation to earth but believed that every individual has access to every thoughtform, and memories of past lives were just that – thought forms (see the 1926 Science of Mind Text). Of course, he also held that this was his own opinion and others were not required to believe as he did.

“I do not believe in the return of the soul to another life on this plane.  The spiral of life is upward.  Evolution carries us forward, not backward.”

~ Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind (1938), p 386.

The ability to live in the paradox of a life which ends with a physical death and the continued journey of the soul, in another form or formless, into an unknown eternity is a sign of spiritual maturity. The spiritually mature person lives with mystery and paradox easily and does not require specific answers where they are not forthcoming or simply cannot be known.

Beautiful Angel Sculpture Death

By learning how to live fully, to accept the mysteries and paradoxes inherent in life and to be a living expression of our uniquely divine nature is the key to learning how to die. To enter that mystery with no more knowledge than we had when we entered this lifetime is what Nature requires of us (“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” ~ Matthew 18:3). To come to a place where we do not fear death because we accept its inevitability and its mystery is to prepare ourselves and to enable us to live fully in each present moment.

Accepting the reality and inevitability of physical death is an important aspect of living a life worth living, one that offers the chance for fulfillment of your reason for being. It allows you to live both fully and lightly, with humility and humor, and to accept death and loss as part of the journey – not tragic but sorrowful, as sorrow is also part of human existence. Living as if life is an adventure to be explored rather than a fragile jewel to be protected at all costs – finding that middle balance where you ride the crest of the wave without falling in and without withdrawing out of fear. In this way we find the grace of life, which is a sense of true belonging, of deep connection with all of life, not just the parts we think we should like. We are all learning how to die.

“The conquest of the fear of death is the recovery of life’s joy. One can experience an unconditional affirmation of life only when one has accepted death, not as contrary to life, but as an aspect of life. Life in its becoming is always shedding death, and on the point of death. The conquest of fear yields the courage of life.”

~ Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

Angel Tears

As always, your comments are welcomed. And feel free to share this post with others who may be interested.

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

A COUPLE OF ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Geneva 2020 Marketing Slide Green 1SIMI - THE HEALTHY MASCULINE

ROOT CAUSE: HEALING THE MASCULINE CONSCIOUSNESS, PART 5

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

~ Frederick Douglass

In Parts 1 (LINK), 2 (LINK), 3 (LINK), and 4 (LINK) I covered a number of aspects of what makes up the wounded masculine and how it shows up in individuals and societies. In this final part, I will attempt to describe healthy masculine energy and how it can form a balance with the healthy feminine in people.

Without such a balance, we are incomplete in our ability to express authentically in life. As noted earlier, in our culture boys tend to be raised so as to minimize or eliminate feminine tendencies; girls tend to be raised so as to minimize masculine tendencies. Here is some typical advertising, some modern, some from my earlier years:

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Children generally have to fight their parents and others when the energies of expression opposite their appearance is strong. The terms “tomboy” and “sissy” are still used to describe such children. For most children, the process is one of accepting the signals from parents (who are watching carefully for deviation from the gender norms) and society and repressing the opposite energy. The results are often wounded people who lack inner balance and express incompletely and, too often, harmfully in society. The entertainment media provides a great imbalance in male role models.

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So, what does healthy masculine energy look like? First of all, I think that healthy masculine energy is filled with wonder and curiosity.

The masculine qualities include initiation, protection, adventure, warriorship, cleverness, and exploration. The feminine qualities include creativity, ferocity (think of a mother protecting her children), homemaking/nesting, perpetuating the stories of the tribe, nurturing, and wisdom. When in balance, these qualities compliment one another in an individual. When one set of qualities has been repressed, the person will seek completion by developing defenses and compensatory behaviors – think “macho man” and the “sex symbol.” The masculine or feminine qualities operate without balance or restraint, leading to dysfunction in life.

The healthy masculine energy when balanced with healthy feminine energy has an expanded capacity for both creativity and compassion. Yet, this person can also be a wise warrior – the healthy masculine is tough when necessary, but also capable of expressing great gentleness, and not afraid of either. If a man, he is able to express emotions, be vulnerable, but also be assertive when appropriate. He is capable of great intimacy with lovers and friends as well. If a woman, she is able to assert her power as a creative individual and collaborate effectively with others.

The balance of healthy masculine and feminine energies also increases the likelihood that the person will have higher emotional and spiritual intelligence. This means that he or she has dominion over emotions and can remain in control in very stressful situations. It means that he or she is not easily knocked off balance by others; they have fewer “buttons to push.” This also means a greater openness to self-examination, especially for men, who are often reticent to explore within themselves. Note the percentage of men and women in New Thought spiritual communities or in therapy.

Healthy masculine energy does not repress feminine energy, and it has a positive inner relationship with the Anima, or inner female. Therefore, men with a healthy balance of energies do not abuse women, nor see them as less than human, nor as sex objects. They do not seek women as sexual conquests, but as partners in relationship. They are comfortable working with women and having women as supervisors.

There are, of course, divine aspects of the masculine and feminine; ideal forms of these energies which are available to each of us to actualize. But this is difficult when we have been conditioned to be out of balance in these energies.

It is incumbent upon all of us to search within and really feel into our Anima and Animus energies. To seek therapy where appropriate, to find groups in which to explore these energies safely, and to be very conscious of how we address these energies in one another – especially in our children. We need to honor all forms of gender expression as an important step to accepting the reality that our masculine and feminine energies do not necessarily honor our gender appearance. And the truth is that most of us have been conditioned to repress one or the other energies in favor of a socially acceptable expression of gender. Changing our expectations in this regard is a healthy way forward.

Finally, we must come to terms with the reality that many people are simply not going to be willing to take the necessary steps to recognize and honor full human authenticity. So be it. That must not stop those with the awareness of the need to do so from developing these capacities and expressing them. While this can be dangerous, and one must take precautions, it is more dangerous to repress who we are.

“Never for the sake of convenience or acceptance give up the authenticity of your journey.”

~ Bishop Yvette Flunder

Finally, healing wounded masculinity is both a huge challenge and a necessity for individuals and for all of humanity alike. It is a Hero’s Journey we all must take, as it is the root of so many of our challenges and also of our greatest potentials.

And for the last word:

“As you proceed through life, following your own path, birds will shit on you. Don’t bother to brush it off.
Getting a comedic view of your situation gives you spiritual distance.
Having a sense of humor saves you.”

~ Joseph Campbell

As always, your comments are welcomed. For those who have persevered through this series, I thank you. Please feel free to share with others who may be interested.

 

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

 

My Companion in blogging about things New Thought, Harv Bishop, has published an anthology of materials from his HarvBishop.com Blog. It is titled NEW THOUGHT (R)EVOLUTIONARY, and there is an interview of me in the book. You can find it at Amazon.com. Check it out.

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