HUMANITY’S IMMUNE SYSTEM IS EMERGING

“Transformational evolutionary times make the status quo shake and fracture. Those wedded to the status quo shout the loudest. It can be jarring, but it’s not surprising.”

~ Jim Lockard

 “Everything changes when you start to emit your own frequency rather than absorbing the frequencies around you, when you start imprinting your intent on the universe rather than receiving an imprint from existence.”

~ Barbara Marciniak  

“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

 These opening quotes speak to the evolutionary process of emergence, which is, quite simply, the way that everything new comes into being and everything old ceases to be dominant. This is true in the physical realm and in the realm of human and cultural development, which is our main concern here.

We can look within human systems to the methods which aid and abet evolution’s determined path toward the new and more complex. Systems within all of creation assist in this process, whether by creating biological “mutations” which alter the direction of a species or cultural “awakenings” which alter the direction of a society. The massive youth marches for climate policy on March 15th can be seen as a bunch of young people deciding to get a day off from school, or, more correctly I think, as a collective action arising from some inner urge to cleanse the human system of destructive, outdated behavior. As Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish teen who has been the inspirational spark for the movement said: ”This movement had to happen, we didn’t have a choice.”

 

 

These youths, taken collectively, can be seen as a kind of immune system for humanity, attacking sclerotic belief systems and paving the way for the emergence of what is next for humanity in a positive way. They are imaginal cells in consciousness; just as the imaginal cells which transform the caterpillar into the butterfly. And, the belief systems supporting the status quo will try to kill off this new consciousness, because that is what existing systems do – they try to perpetuate themselves despite their growing obsolescence.

“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, can penetrate the opacity 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

 These emerging values are just that – newly emerging values systems which are evolutionary in nature. Evolution is a relentless, unpredictable, emergent process which seeks greater adaptation through increased complexity. It is at work in our DNA, our subconscious mind, and in the collective subconscious of humanity and all other occupants of this universe, organic and inorganic. If humanity is to come to a place where we choose to create a more equitable, sustainable, and survivable experience on earth, it will be because of emergent newness which is both heeded and acted upon.

“Because we are moving into a new mythic age, it is little wonder that a kind of mutation is taking place in the entire earth-human order. A new paradigm of what it is to be human is emerging.”

~ Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth

Beautiful Earth with Clouds

The youth who marched on March 15th and who will continue to march represent the natural tendency of a living system to heal itself from destructive environments and/or behaviors. It is a natural and normal emergent property of living in this universe. Our lack of awareness of this most important process may result in our collective doom as a species. Of course, that will not deter the universe, our planet included, from evolving forward, but it would be a tragedy for humanity. This kind of whole systems viewpoint is becoming increasingly important if we are going to have a positive influence on climate change and other issues as our world grows more complex.

When we are confronted with something beyond our ability to comprehend, we turn to the artists and the poets for guidance and awareness.

“The poetry of creation is necessarily incomplete — always unobtainable. It is emerging, dying, defining boundaries, and breaking them, contracting and expanding in controlled chaos, or chaotic control. This is the uncrackable code of evolution.”

~ Nora Bateson

 We are part of a fluid, messy, living system with linear and non-linear properties all subject to the emergence of the new and the obsolescence of the old. Some, particularly in the social sciences, are beginning to see this truth and the immense potentials we carry within us – if we can only learn to come into congruence with the principal of emergence as the prime channel of creativity.

“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

It can be frightening to see the collective need for a “human immune system” and to realize that our existence can be so fragile, and to further realize that it may come to an end (or at least be very miserable) due to our own fear and ignorance. Yet this is what the modern spiritual warrior must face. The courage of the youths who are stepping forward – in every nation, for every cause – is heartening and should be encouraged. We must hospice what is read to die in our culture and midwife what is being born. This takes both courage and some degree of complex thinking – the ability to see that things are connected in mostly invisible ways. And then to trust in those connections and in the collective intelligence of evolutionary processes and to do nothing to obstruct what wants to unfold. It is, admittedly, a tall order, but we have put ourselves into this position, have we not?

I may sound like a doomsayer, although I am not. I think I am an Apocaloptimist (thanks to Nora Bateson for the term), someone who recognized the possibility of a human apocalypse but is optimistic that we will find an alternative. We cannot close our eyes to either possibility and be truly effective.

I believe that there are deep living systems at work, with our self-awareness at the surface. These deep systems operate by evolution, a fluid system of change through adaptation to greater complexity. These systems are self-healing but are not concerned with the forms at the surface, which are continually renewed and improved, or set aside as they become obsolete or unable to adapt.

Are God and Nature then at strife,
That Nature lends such evil dreams?
So careful of the type she seems,
So careless of the single life.

~Alfred Lord Tennyson

 Nature is, indeed, careless of the single life, no matter how important we humans think we are, we are one among many aspects of huge living systems. Here is an analogy: while you may love every cell of your body, how “careful” are you of each one? Don’t you unconsciously slough them off without caring about them individually? Why? Because it is the way of things at the human level – why would it be any different at the universal level?

As we mature spiritually, we come to terms with these difficult ideas and we learn to trust the wisdom of deep living systems of which we are a part. New life arises and old life expires, new forms arise and old forms dissolve; all along the Universal living systems flow and grow. When we are in tune with our immune systems at every level, we can facilitate the healing of ourselves and our communities. Let us awaken to emergence, recognize it, celebrate it, and come into a deep harmony with it.

“This is exactly the position that modern philosophers take; it is called the theory of emergent evolution, which means that when nature needs something, it demands it of itself, and out of itself makes it.”

~ Ernest Holmes

 As always, your comments are welcomed below. Please share this post with others who may be interested. Thank you!

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

THOUGHTS FOR A NEW YEAR – SEEKING WHOLENESS

“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.” 

~ William James

Dali-2 - Egg

“This is the moment when we either turn up the light within ourselves or move further into the darkness. Stop giving energy, time, and power to negativity. Counteract it with goodness. Notice where there is a need, then do whatever you can to help.”

~ Oprah Winfrey

Whether you call it wholeness, authenticity, or oneness, what we seek is the deep and profound connection with our souls. This is the essence of spirituality – the bringing forth of the best of ourselves, our Divine Natures.

Entering a new year is a wonderful opportunity to make the kinds of changes in your life which will lead to a deeper level of beingness. You can, of course, do this any time, but the symbolic opportunity of a new year is particularly apt. The theme is seeking – what we seek and what seeks us. Spiritual wisdom teaches us that this is an inside-out process; change begins within and seeks expression and the changed person now notices different things in the outer world. It is like putting on glasses which enable you to see more clearly. The external world has not changed, but one’s ability to perceive it more clearly changes how one relates.

The work of changing our perception is done by using our conscious mind to change belief patterns in our subconscious mind. The best way to do this is through regular, daily spiritual practices, the repetition of which generates new beliefs by altering the information stored in the brain. New neural pathways are opened over time, and our perception becomes clearer. As William Blake wrote: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear . . . as it is, infinite.” Our spiritual practices and the guiding of our daily thoughts to be more loving and wise help us to cleanse those doors of perception.

“Carl Jung saw that the human psyche strives always toward wholeness, strives to become more conscious. The unconscious mind seeks to move its contents up to the level of consciousness, where they can be actualized and assimilated into more complete conscious personality.”

~ Robert A. Johnson

Poster - authentic-self-soul-made-visible2

What is unconscious is not available to us directly, but is active in our creative process, which is a blend of conscious and unconscious elements – thoughts, beliefs, emotions, etc. By working to bring more to the conscious level, we gain greater dominion over our experience. The process of bringing the unconscious to conscious awareness can be difficult and painful – much of what is unconscious is repressed aspects of ourselves, called shadow, which we deemed unacceptable at some point in our lives. When we do not do this work, we remain at the mercy of our repressed selves, which seek healing by bringing us into challenges calling for healthy expression of those repressed aspects. This cycle of projection and denial continues until we interrupt it and re-integrate those aspects consciously.

The seeking we must do is beyond the superficial, beyond just positive thinking, meditating, and contemplating. While all of those are essential, they are not sufficient to do the deep work of healing shadow. I do not believe that this deep work can be done alone, the ego is so resistant to revealing what has been repressed. We need to work with someone who has done their own deep work, a therapist perhaps, who will lovingly hold our feet to the fires of radical self-honesty. Anything less is insufficient.

This is a hero’s journey in itself, requiring a departure from the apparent safety of our denial (which is a false sense of security), and into the depths of our being. It requires that we acknowledge, own, love, and finally, integrate what we have repressed into a healthy self-concept.

heros-journey-project-details-1-638

“The journey of the hero is about the courage to seek the depths; the image of creative rebirth; the eternal cycle of change within us; the uncanny discovery that the seeker is the mystery which the seeker seeks to know. The hero journey is a symbol that binds, in the original sense of the word, two distant ideas, the spiritual quest of the ancients with the modern search for identity, always the one, shape-shifting yet marvelously constant story that we find.” 

~ Phil Cousineau

The good news is that we are supported in this work by our soul – the deepest and truest part of who we are. The soul seeks to experience the fullness of life and refuses to sit quietly by as we ignore its urgings. It does not care about propriety or the opinions and rules of others – it wants what it wants. It wants love and expression – it wants to experience the infinite.

“Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come into being. Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves.”

~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

To the degree that you choose to do deep work in 2019, you will need to accept that such work is not easy and that it will affect every area of your life. Beginning with an appraisal of your regular spiritual practices – are they sufficient, are they deep enough, are they delivering what you want from them?

If you want to do such an assessment, I am providing access to a document I use with my private students: Click to download Self Assessment Authentic Self Handout 2018. You can download it and complete it, then use it to guide you toward developing a more meaningful and relevant set of spiritual practices.

“Job Description for Spiritual Seeker: Full time position available for person who strives to be mindful and aware of the deeper context of life. Must be intellectually curious, open-minded, and willing to change. Reverence for creation, personal humility, and a strong commitment to social justice will be necessary. Study, prayer, dialogue and meditative practice are expectations. Cross cultural experience important. Compassion and kindness are requirements. Starting date: now. Salary: zero. Benefits: unlimited. Apply in person to the Maker of Everything.”

~ Bishop Steven Charleston

End of Year

As always, your comments are appreciated.

And many thanks to the nearly 12,000 visitors to this blog during 2018. I am very grateful that you found value here.

Copyright 2019 – Jim Lockard

 

BE ENCOURAGED. IT’S CONSCIOUSNESS – ALL OF IT.

“Consciousness is a singular, the plural of which is unknown.”

~ Erwin Schrödinger

So, as far as I understand it, here is how it works:

Whenever I enter something – a pattern of thought, a room, a situation, a relationship, an agreement, a voyage, anything – I bring my consciousness of the moment. That consciousness determines my experience of what I am entering; it determines my behaviors, helps to co-create whatever it is I am entering before I enter it, and what it will change into while I am there and after I leave. It also determines whether and how I am changed in the process.

Beautiful Prayer Flags

The same consciousness is also in everyone and everything associated with what I enter, and through each individual involved, the Universal Consciousness interacts with itself. So, I am a bit player, albeit an important one, in a much larger theater which is unfolding. Universal Consciousness, knowing itself and discovering itself as it changes, is really all that is happening in this universe. My role (and yours) is to consciously and unconsciously direct that consciousness from potential into actuality by individualizing it within our unique identities. I do this individually in my own life and collectively in my sphere of influence as I live. Quantum physics tells me my sphere of influence (and yours) touches every particle in the universe and beyond to any other universes which may exist.

“As Jung argues in ‘Answer to Job,’ human self-reflective awareness might be seen as the medium through which God becomes conscious – with the human ego serving as the divine organ of self-reflective consciousness.”

~ Keiron le Grice

Beautiful Nautilus

I like to get back to basics in December as I prepare myself mentally and emotionally for a New Year. I like to think about the metaphysical creative process and how it works by means of me to create my own life experience and to influence the experience of others. This thinking helps me to see the value in a regular spiritual practice to bring my psychological process into focus toward positive experiences, outcomes, and contributions. Of course, you can do this work at any time of the year, and I recommend that you do it continuously.

Now, I know that thinking is only the beginning, not the end of what I need to do. I must think in the most constructive way possible, but also be doing deeper work to reveal the limited and destructive aspects buried within my unconscious, for they will continually show up in ways that negatively affect me. This means shadow work, delving into my discomfort to bring light to it and to reintegrate what I have rejected about myself earlier in life into a healthy adult self-concept. For I realize today that my self-concept directs the consciousness expressing as me in whatever I enter into.

Often, my repressed energies deal with my own body, my sexuality, my identity. We are taught to separate our connection to sensuality and put it out of our socially approved range of experiences. We compartmentalize, and the repressed energies continue to express through the “back channels” of our psyche.

“Don´t condemn sensuality. It has been condemned by the whole world, and because of their condemnation, the energy that can flower in sensuality moves into perversions, jealousy, anger, hatred — a kind of life which is dry, with no juice. Sensuousness is one of the greatest blessings to humanity. It is your sensitivity, it is your consciousness. Consciousness filtering through the body is what sensuousness is.”

~ Osho

Beautiful Baby 5 - feet.jpg

My expression of life is limited to the degree that my primal energies have been caged rather than harnessed; they have been imprisoned rather than disciplined. When this is so, they rebel in their desire to be a part of the expression of a healthy being and emerge as destructive behaviors, guilt, and shame. Deep inner work and daily spiritual practices are the path to returning these inner energies to a healthy state of expression.

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline. . .. That is real freedom. That is being educated and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.”

~ David Foster Wallace

Spiritual Mind Treatment, or affirmative prayer, is a form of affirmation and visualization to train my mind in ways leading to the constructive expression of the complete array of primal energies within me. For all of these energies are creative and are essential in living a fulfilled human life. I cannot contribute the fullness of my potential to others unless I am realizing that fullness in my own life experience.

We are, of course, aided in this process by a universe which unerringly cooperates to meet our need for positive development. This is so because, as I noted earlier, all consciousness, including my individualized consciousness is part of the same thing. Our experience of our own different inner manifestations of consciousness and the mingling with the expressions of others is Universal Consciousness knowing and interacting with itself. Because this is so, we are continually in a place of opportunity to realize what we need to do to move toward an enlightened way of being – meaning a consciousness which is individualized as a high self-concept. Natasha Dern puts it beautifully in this quote:

“So, what is enlightenment? How about coming down from that mountain and putting your unity consciousness to the test amidst mortgage payments and credit card debt, divorce lawyers and aging parents, nasty bosses and health problems, wars and poverty? Such conditions, as the alchemist knows, burns away the dross to reveal who we are not. Yes, in the midst of the madness we awaken, grow comfortable with our dualistic nature and develop mystical stamina so that we can handle our sobriety. Illusions are like drugs and enlightenment is like rehab.”

~ Natasha Dern

Caterpillar - Image of Butterfly

As individuals, being aspects of a larger expression of Universal Consciousness, we seek both unification and healing so as to return to a sense of Oneness with our true nature – our God Nature. We are assisted by the unfolding an expressing universe and have everything we need to make our life journey one that leads us toward greater and greater fulfillment. Our struggles are part of this process – it is all the unfolding of consciousness. There is nothing else happening. I cannot think of a more encouraging way of seeing our lives.

“We are ever renewed by the passage of the Divine light through our consciousness.”

~ Ernest Holmes

HAVE A WONDERFUL 2019 –

MAY YOUR LIFE BE FULFILLED.

 

As always, your comments are appreciated. Please share this post with those you think might find it of value.

Copyright 2018 – Jim Lockard

 

THE ULTIMATE FREEDOM

 I’m writing this post on my iPad, because my laptop is in hospice. The new laptop should arrive in a week. So this post won’t have all the highlights and other bells and whistles that you may be used to as a reader of this blog. Oh, and yesterday marked the second anniversary* of this blog. So many thanks to all of you who have been with us all along, and those who have joined along the way.

Wayne Dyer once wrote that the greatest freedom was an absence of self-regard.  When you think about it we are bound by our fears, our anxieties, and far too often, our ignorance about many things. There is ample evidence that the anxiety levels have risen since the last election in the United States. And I know that many of you are following the news online and in other ways, and finding yourself getting upset and fearful about many things.

What are we to do about this? Some others choose to simply tune out.  Others are becoming more actively engaged in the political realm, while others are simply hoping it all goes away.  But one commonality in all of this is that it is anxiety that is leading the way, determining how we behave and ultimately how we see the world.

In my book and in this blog I have consistently pointed out that we are in a time of great upheaval, of cultural evolutionary change which is really significant, and about which we know very little. No one has been where our societies are heading, so the only models we have our models from the past Which are no longer sufficient.

The world views of many in the current US government seek to apply old solutions to current challenges. They too are operating from fear, anxiety, and ignorance. They to desire a better life as they understand it.

So in general we have two sides (actually many, but let me generalize a bit here),  two worldviews which are apparently incompatible. One of the results of our overall frustration with how to deal with this rapidly changing world in which we find ourselves, is that we have more and more trouble talking to one another. The fear out of with this arises is fed by our media, or political parties, and let’s not forget, by our own sense of fear and anxiety. We are often so afraid that we make anyone with a different idea into an enemy.  Have you noticed?

As always those of us on the spiritual path recognize that healing is the answer. Healing is a return to truth, and we know that fear and anxiety are based on a false idea of separation.  We know this and yet so often we find it almost impossible to put into action in our lives on a continual basis. So our challenge in these times is to live more fully the principles of our spirituality. We must stop waiting for the other side to change, or for conditions to be different before we will be happy or fulfilled. We must take the lead in our own lives in seeing, accepting, and living the truth.

I don’t know of any shortcuts. I am is troubled by events in the world as anyone else.  I have my own set of answers, based on my own conditioning and experiences. And I understand that these may not be the best answers, and that nothing significant is going to change until there is a greater degree of cooperation among the human beings on this planet.

But I don’t have to wait for their cooperation to occur. I can live in my truth more and more each day. I can free others to follow their own path. But I understand that to do this I have to except that I won’t like everything that happens.  I will experience loss, sadness, perhaps even betrayal. I can fully expect that humanity including me will move forward toward our solutions imperfectly.

And I have to come to realize you’re fully but the more I resist the more I add to the energy of discord, disharmony, and sadness. My actions must be consistent with love. My actions must be consistent with my own sense of a compassionate heart. Is we are to co-create #TheBelovedCommunity together, I must be in rigorous integrity with myself and my spiritual principles.

To be truly loving demands of us high standard of principle, integrity, and courage. We must never forget that.  Spiritual realization is never easy. And our spiritual communities can be sources of great help in urging each of us forward as our best selves. Do you demand that your spiritual leader hold you accountable fully for your spiritual development? Or do you seek to be let off easy, to find ways around the difficulties on your path?

And for spiritual leaders: do you withhold teaching principles in a rigorous way and holding people, your students, to be fully accountable for their development? Or do you let things slide, afraid that people (and their $$$) will leave your community?

These are difficult questions, but we are in challenging times. Our movement is not growing, to be generous, and I think a significant part of the reason is because we are simply not helping people to develop to a level of spiritual mastery that is required for these times.  The collective unconscious of New Thought seems to be stuck in the past, not in the sense that our principles are out of date, but in the sense that believe we can be truly effective in the world.

I write this blog mostly for myself. I need to express myself in a way that helps me to reveal what I need to do to develop my own spiritual growth. I trust and I think I know that some of you are helped by reading it.  Readership of this blog is a community, a community of people who are dedicated post to their own spiritual growth, and to the growth of the spiritual movement that we call New Thought.

I am grateful for both the opportunity to write in for the knowledge that quite a few people read what I write. But the real meaning of it all is that we are working together in community to awaken humanity to with spiritual magnificence – beginning with ourselves.

So I seek the perfect freedom Wayne Dyer wrote about. The freedom from any concern about myself that is separate from a global consciousness. As I begin this fifth year of the #NewThoughtEvolutionary blog, It is my intention to keep that in mind every hour of every day.

* For some unknown reason, when I initially published and promoted this post, I indicated that it was the fourth anniversary of the blog. I apologize for any inconvenience that my inaccuracy may have caused.

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

#Charlottesville – Thoughts and Prayers?

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

~ Charles Fillmore

 

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

~ Norman Vincent Peale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“May this suffering serve to awaken compassion.”

~ A traditional prayer to Kwan Yin, Bodhisattva of Compassion

 

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

~ Morris Adlier

 

The Prayer of the Heart

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

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

~ Thomas Merton, from Thoughts in Solitude

 

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

~ Joseph Francis Argazzi

 

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

~ Ernest Holmes

#Charlottesville

#AWorldThatWorksForEveryone

#TheBelovedCommunity

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

WHEN HEALING IS REVEALING – AND WHAT IS REVEALED IS PAINFUL TO SEE

I know that in metaphysics we learn that the process of healing is often initiated by having hidden truths revealed – often by negative experiences. We are wounded by something and an inner truth that we have hidden or repressed is revealed. At that point, we have a choice – to do the work to heal what has been revealed, or, to do the work of burying it again so that we do not have to face it. The work of healing what is revealed is often daunting, demanding, and scary.

Examples abound. A diagnosis of cancer reveals unhealed childhood fears about our own mortality; someone burglarizes our home, revealing deep fears that can become debilitating (many people sell their home after a burglary); a trip to the emergency room reveals the addiction that we have been in denial about, sending us into deep fear about the huge hill to climb to recovery.

Sometimes we make the choice to do the healing work and sometimes, we do not. In the Spiral Dynamics community, we often say – breakdown can lead to breakthrough, but it can also lead to collapse. There are no guarantees that we will successfully undertake a healing process after such a revelation. We may try but fail, or we may not try at all.

“Healing is not CREATING a perfect idea or a perfect body; it is revealing an idea which is already perfect. . . . Disease is a fact but not a truth; it is an experience but not a spiritual reality.”

~ Ernest Holmes, THE SCIENCE OF MIND

Until we are ready to confront those aspects of ourselves, healing will elude us.

Which brings me to Donald Trump.

During this election cycle thus far, Mr. Trump has opened a lot of wounds. I do not have the time or the space to list them all, so let’s just look at one – the issue of how our culture values and treats women. This has been a front-burner issue this past week, and may well continue to be one for the remaining weeks before the election.

I am less concerned about the specifics of any issues or allegations about Mr. Trump or about former President Bill Clinton, or about former FOX News CEO and current Trump Advisor Roger Ailes, nor even the fact that Hillary Clinton is being held up for derision by many because her husband cheated on her, and more concerned about the meaning of all of this for our society. How we deal with our individual and collective Shadows is elemental to our future.

Poster - Jung - Darkness Light

If it isn’t clear to you that our U.S. culture is paternalistic, that women are, in many ways, second-class citizens, and that the objectification and devaluation of women is ongoing in ways both covert and overt, then I suggest that you wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe this post from a woman names Gretchen Kelly will help (LINK). Or this video of a speech by Michelle Obama (LINK).

Go ahead, I’ll wait for you. And yes, the speech is partisan. I suggest you watch it anyway.

meme-waiting

What the explosion of reaction around Donald Trump’s relationships with women has done is reveal a deep-seated sense of inequality in our society that costs women dearly – both in everyday indignities and, sometimes, their lives.

Once again, we are at a crossroads – as we were during the days of the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, The Gulf War, The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, the LGBTQ movement – well, I said no litanies here, so let’s stop. We have an opportunity, ironically enough thanks to Mr. Trump, to take a pathway toward healing. Will we? I do not know.

Turning our attention to our own New Thought communities, we might ask how we are doing in terms of this issue. Anything to heal here?

I can’t really answer that question, because as noted in the excellent post from Gretchen Kelly cited above, I am not qualified to answer it. As a man, even one who tries to be aware, I am largely unconscious to how the valuation of women plays out. When I do examine my thoughts and actions, I can see where I have failed to honor women in all ways. Things in New Thought may look okay to me, but I can also say that I have been told by some women in New Thought that there have been, and continue to be, issues. There are very likely, in fact almost certainly, some hidden and denied patterns that are waiting to be revealed.

I do not think that it is in keeping with our principles to take a position that says something like – things are better than they used to be and will probably get better over time. Nope, that’s an inadequate position on any issue where injustice is ongoing.

Maybe Donald Trump can help us in New Thought as well. May we take the opportunity to move toward healing.

I would especially like to hear from my women New Thought readers on this issue – what is your perspective? Men, too, of course. As always, comments are appreciated.

Copyright 2016 – Jim Lockard

WAKING UP IS HARD TO DO – THE CRITICAL NATURE OF AWARENESS

“If you don’t take the lamp of awareness with you, you are going to create a hell around you. Light your lamp wherever you go — courting, not courting, that is not the point. Wherever you go, whatsoever you do, always do it in the inner light, with awareness.” ~ Osho

We are in the midst of a period of time where cultural evolution seems to be taking a leap forward. Things are speeding up and we are in a time of tumultuous change as a number of macro-level and many micro-level changes unfold. As a result, some of us are being left behind in the development of a more evolved worldview.

I have blogged about this before – the need for our organizations and spiritual communities to learn to thrive in a changing environment. And I will blog separately about the issues surrounding policing in our culture and #BlackLivesMatter.

Even within our New Thought slice of the world, we can see the effects of changes and the resistance to many of those changes. We can see people insisting that others accept ways of being and doing that many of them are not ready to accept. I have used models, primarily Spiral Dynamics™, as ways to illustrate the nature of evolutionary change and how we, each of us and all of us, exist at certain levels on the spiral during our developmental process. Those levels have different value systems and worldviews, and quite often, communication across levels is difficult. People, unable to cope with greater complexity in the surrounding culture, become frustrated, then angry.

“Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates too quickly into dehumanization. Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.” ~ President George W. Bush at the memorial service for slain Dallas Police Officers on July 11, 2016

As spiritual leaders, we find ourselves needing to respond to the concerns of our spiritual community about what is happening in the world around them. The issues of racial injustice, the increasingly negative tenor of our politics, income inequality, violence, climate change, and more are confronting all of us. Add to those macro issues the challenges within your own local community and those within your spiritual community, and there is much to address. And what needs to be addressed and how will vary by the cultural levels of existence and demographics of each spiritual community.

People of color, those in the LBGTQ communities, and others, including women, have experienced oppression based upon who they are – not as a spiritual being, which is not usually recognized in our larger culture – but for how they express in their humanity. Their spiritual needs are somewhat different from those whose expression in humanity has been in an empowered or privileged group. The benefits of having people who have experienced oppression in a spiritual community are manifold – not least because they can share their experiences as a member of the community. Also, such diversity brings greater opportunities to be with others who may appear to be different, but who are, at their core, one with everyone else. Inclusion goes a step farther – it brings everyone who is in the circle into full inclusion in the spiritual community in all ways.

Poster - Diversity Inclusion

“When we encounter those who have been oppressed by a system that has always worked just fine for us, we have a conscious choice about whether we will make space in ourselves to receive the truth of their experience. Will we have the courage to listen with an open mind and to recognize ourselves in the other? Will we have the humility to admit that we have been living with harmful misconceptions and to change our course?” ~ Trudy Smith

Those spiritual communities with little or no demographic diversity have a different set of spiritual needs; in part, to learn about the larger picture in the overall culture. This includes the levels on the spiral and the demographic diversity that exists beyond the spiritual community. If such a spiritual community is made up of white people in the suburbs or exurbs, the ideas of white privilege and recognition of oppression and its effects may not resonate at first.

“In modern America we believe racism to be the property of the uniquely villainous and morally deformed, the ideology of trolls, gorgons and orcs. We believe this even when we are actually being racist.” ~ Ta-Nehise Coats: The Good, Racist People

I recall a situation in the former International Centers for Spiritual Living (ICSL) when the marketing brochure for one of the organization’s conferences was distributed and did not have a single person of color in any of the photos. This was immediately “seen” by a person of color in a ministerial class, who showed it to others, and those ministerial students were, to say the least, upset; they brought it to the attention of the organizational leadership. When the Board of Directors reviewed the situation (I was a member of that Board) some of the responses were, to say the least, disheartening. These were very good people, but from the viewpoint of the privileged experience of a few of the white people on the board, the brochure was not an obvious problem. I will not go into greater detail, but at one point, I felt like it was the 1950’s – and I said so. Finally, the decision was made to re-do the brochure. All of this came from an unconscious, automatic response system – an inner sense of identity, if you will – both in those who did not see the problem and in those who did. We all have our unconscious conditioned responses and their attendant blind spots – the key is to bring it into awareness, which is an upsetting and painful process – hence we resist it.

“Every positive change – every jump to a higher level of energy and awareness – involves a rite of passage. Each time to ascend to a higher rung on the ladder of personal evolution, we must go through a period of discomfort, of initiation. I have never found an exception.” 

~ Dan Millman

If a vision in contemporary New Thought is to help to create a world that works for everyone (#aworldthatworksforeveryone), then an important step in the development of the kind of cultural awareness that would make that possible is the awareness of oppression of all kinds within that culture. This will not be an easy task, because there is often an inner resistance to such ideas that arises from the internalized identities of the majority or privileged groups. Their version of their experience is often that nothing was “given” to them and that they have struggled as much or more than anyone else. This may be true from an individual perspective, but it is not so from the macro perspective.

“The purpose of fear is to raise your awareness, not stop your progress.” ~ Steve Maraboli

Where some spiritual leaders make an error is to dismiss the experience of those in groups which have been identified as privileged, and to insist that they accept a definition of themselves as oppressors. The effect of this dismissal is a felt experience which, like any dismissal tends to drive one away from the center of the community. In fact, we have seen the effects of the accumulation of such dismissals by western governments and other institutions in the recent Brexit vote (LINK) and in the surge of a certain kind of angry populism in the U.S., France, Germany and other nations. To the degree that this consciousness is present in your spiritual community, you will encounter resistance even when speaking and acting from a higher level on the spiral to encourage diversity or to recognize and even make amends for past and present oppression. As Dan Millman notes above, there needs to be some kind of initiation into each new level of awareness – not simply the spoken expectation that if you are not there already that you are somehow deficient.

‎”Diversity … is not polite accommodation. Instead, diversity is, in action, the sometimes painful awareness that other people, other races, other voices, other habits of mind, have as much integrity of being, as much claim on the world as you do. And I urge you, amid all the differences present to the eye and mind, to reach out to create the bond that will protect us all. We are meant to be here together.” ~ William Chase

The idea is to move through the fear, the resistance, the frustration and even the anger. As a spiritual leader and teacher, the role includes teaching how to live in the world in which we find ourselves as a spiritual being having a human experience. To promote and teach how to be radically self-aware and from that deep sense of awareness to express a powerful compassion to self and to the world. That is our charge in New Thought – to fully engage life knowing that we have a divine nature, access to an Infinite Mind, and the capacity for unconditional love. If we are going to create The Beloved Community together and to presence ourselves from our emerging future, we must do this.

“The moment you step out of the ordinary ranks, the moment you step out of the procession that moves endlessly down the aisle, you are in the spotlight of evolution. Your own choice has decided you, and you are no longer going to think as others. You are no longer going to lay your greatness at the feet of a person whom you recognize to be great. The moment a person steps out of the endless stream of humanity, he no longer goes by the norm that was set by the mass mind. (She) is a leader, (she) is a thinker. He is one who introduces new things to the world.” ~ Ernest Holmes, “The Beverly Hills Lectures”

As always, your comments are welcomed.

Beautiful Garden

Copyright 2016 – Jim Lockard