A NEW YEAR’S REVOLUTION – SOME THOUGHTS AS 2017 ENDS

“It’s the end of 2017. Time to start making a New Year’s Revolution.”

~ Michael Ian Black on Twitter

I keep edging toward a realization that what we need – in New Thought spiritual community and in the larger world – is not just change but transformation. Think of change as rearranging the furniture and transformation, or revolutionary change as building a new house. We need revolutionary change, because the complexities of the world have grown and continue to grow at a rate which is outpacing our ability to effectively manage them. We are losing whatever coherence we have had with the rate of cultural change, and our organizations and communities are dissipating (coming apart). If that dissipation continues without evolutionary leadership to help the new emergence of what is next, then . . .

So-What-Am-I-Supposed-to-Do-HEADER

If 2017 has taught us anything it is that our manifestation of New Thought philosophy has often been inadequate to the challenges of our times. We are losing ground in many ways. A quick answer to this might be something to the effect of “Good! The system is breaking down – it NEEDS to break down – and we will keep doing what we are doing until the new system replaces it.”

While that answer may be both quick and satisfying, it is woefully inadequate. The earth is moving beneath our feet – tectonic changes are emerging in cultural evolution and those who are not riding the crest of change are falling farther and farther behind. Those people are angry, they are speaking out – sometimes violently, and they are even more inadequately prepared for what is coming than those “crest-riders” mentioned above. 2017 has shown these things in definitive fashion.

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

~ Stanislav Grof, Shift Magazine, June-August 2004

One way to transform our thinking is to see the “manifestation of symptoms” as an early stage of healing. This is true in cultural terms as well. We collectively face challenges which include political corruption, mass poverty, ecological devastation, terrorism, the refugee crisis, structural racism and sexism; the root causes for all of these issues are deeply and systemically cultural. The symptoms of these challenges, and the social and economic discrimination related to them are evidence of a deep universal pattern of healing attempting to emerge. Just as we often personally react with denial when symptoms arise, our culture fights the appearance of symptoms, delaying or denying any healing which may take place. Our Shadows, both individual and collective, hold us in place, driving us to try first to “return to normal” – an impossibility, but when we are in denial we lack clarity.

Poster - Jung - Shadow

“Any serious spiritual work brings up the shadow, the rejected parts of your own psyche, which have to be faced and accepted. It’s the process of inner purification. Other spiritual paths may focus on purification through diet or yoga or good living or correcting bad habits. Our particular Sufi path has a very strong psychological element, and the purification is analogous to Jung’s ‘shadow work’ in which the rejected parts of one’s psyche come to the surface to be confronted, loved and accepted. This begins the process of transformation. As Jung said, ‘One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.’ Then he humorously added, ‘The latter process, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular.’”

~ Llewellyn Vaughan Lee

There is a temptation for students of New Thought philosophies to express their fear and denial by practicing a form of magical thinking – something to the effect of “it’s all good!” The confusion here is that while it IS all good at the level of Spirit, we are the ones responsible for manifesting good at the level of our own reality. The world is not going to heal itself without a shift in consciousness, just as you are not going to heal your own issues without a shift in consciousness. And any shift of any real depth is not going to happen without some profound and rigorous psychological and emotional work. Our real challenges are not surface challenges, they call forward our deepest selves.

“There is a lack of spiritual leadership in the world right now, so we shouldn’t be concerned what the world thinks of us. We have a religious concept that will revolutionize the world and we just need to stick with it.

“Persistence will bring success, but it is a positive persistence that keeps affirming spiritual reality in spite of material effect. This means continually using ‘constructive rather than destructive conversation,’ seeing the Divine in every person and surrendering the mind in complete abandonment to the idea of success regardless of relative condition or opinion.”

~Ernest Holmes, 1933 Commentaries: Lesson Seven

Here Dr. Holmes uses persistence as a term for rigorous and continual work. It is not merely “holding a positive thought,” in fact, we are taught not to hold thoughts at all – they must flow. What we seek is a continual and persistent stream of uplifting and powerfully emotional thoughts which flow into the creative process and become our belief system. Then, we naturally act from this new belief system and our experience is transformed.

“Living a life of fulfillment that offers something of value to the world starts with radical self-knowledge, self-awareness and self-acceptance. Our task is to be who we are at the deepest level of being “

 ~ Oriah Mountain Dreamer, THE DANCE

 

Beautiful Dance

We keep doing our spiritual work to elevate to the next level of development, and the next, and the next. There is no arriving, there is only the journey. The journey is either going somewhere or staying in place, and the universe does not accept staying in place, does it? The key role of spiritual community today and in the future is to be places where such deep transformational work can be done in a safe and supportive environment. What the world needs now is empowered and realized evolutionary souls to contribute to an expanding consciousness of compassion, love, and service. It needs a #NewYearsRevolution.

“The 20th century was the Age of Introspection, when self-help and therapy culture encouraged us to believe that the best way to understand who we are and how to live was to look inside ourselves. But it left us gazing at our own navels. The 21st century should become the Age of Empathy, when we discover ourselves not simply through self-reflection, but by becoming interested in the lives of others. We need empathy to create a new kind of revolution. Not an old-fashioned revolution built on new laws, institutions, or policies, but a radical revolution in human relationships.”

~ Roman Krznaric

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

NOTE: I am honored to be a keynote speaker at BE THE VOICE FOR POSITIVE CHANGE GATHERING, an event in San Diego, California – January 19-21.

Here is a link if you are interested:

http://www.lornabright.com/gathering/

Positive Gathering Jan 2018

 

Hope & Horror, Parts & Wholes.

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

norabateson

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

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DIVINE DISCONTENT – WHAT MOVES US TO CHANGE

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

~ Elizabeth Gilbert

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

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

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

~ C.G. Jung, Man and His Symbols

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

I’m restless.

Things are calling me away.

My hair is being pulled by the stars again.

~ Anaïs Nin 

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

discontent

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

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

~ James Hollis, Jungian analyst

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

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

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

~ Stanislav Grof, Shift Magazine, June-August 2004

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

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

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

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

~ Walter Brueggemann

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

 Dali-2 - Egg

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

 

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

GETTING CULTURE RIGHT IN A SPIRITUAL COMMUNITY

Navigating a culture

towards conscious impulsion

with unshakeable vision

while at the same time

honoring its sacred heritage

is not for the faint of heart.

~ Unknown

 new-thought-logos

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

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

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

~ Ancient Hermetic Philosophy

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

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

~ Dr. David Ault

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

Poster - Culture Quote - Nehru

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

Four ways to improve customer service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Jim Lockard, CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY

Poster - Included Inspired Involved

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

Beautiful Tree in Lake

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

 

Here is where you can get my book

CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY:

A Handbook for Spiritual Leadership,At

in paperback or Kindle editions

(LINK TO AMAZON.COM)

(LINK TO AMAZON.CA – Canada)

And at DEVORSS.COM

DOES PROGRESSIVE SPIRITUALITY TRANSLATE INTO PROGRESSIVE POLITICS? Part 2

“Politics, though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good.”

~ Pope Francis

In Part 1 (LINK) of this series, I wrote: “If a society does not function to ensure the well-being of its citizens, how can someone in a progressive spirituality like New Thought remain silent? Some say the answer is that we pray and things will change – is that what our teaching says? Where is that exactly?”

My understanding of our teaching is that we do the spiritual practice of prayer-treatment to change our own minds – our own beliefs. We do not treat to change outer events, only our belief in them, which MAY lead to an outer change to the degree that our own consciousness has some influence, or our changed consciousness has a different relationship with the outer event (a healing).

Ernest Holmes wrote several times that the Science of Mind is not mind control – nor is it chance. Our sphere of influence in outer affairs (conditions) is primarily via action. Prayer-treatment develops the consciousness from which we act. If we treat for another, we treat for ourselves to know that they are healed. It is then necessary them to develop an acceptance of healing in consciousness (something the good practitioner assumes), for we know that there is no change in the external without a change in the internal. However, we also know that external changes involving more than our individual experience require both the consciousness of the change and the action to change it.

If our only role is only to be sitting in prayer for the ills of the world, then are we being truly progressive in any sense of that world? Or are we using a form of spiritual bypass to remain disengaged from a world that cries out for spiritual clarity in the form of visible action?

“Action without prayer/meditation leads to exhaustion. Prayer/meditation without actions leads to self-absorption.”

~ Jim Rosemergy

It is a balance of the necessary consciousness and the actions which support it that generates large-scale change in human affairs. Prayer-treatment can only change the mind of one who is open to that change. Actions, especially from a compassionate heart, can lead to that openness.

Poster - Compassion - Russell Simmons

One of the hardest things for a person developing a compassionate heart to face is the intransigence of those who are convinced that only a harsh and unforgiving approach to human affairs can be effective – those whose hearts are closed, whether because of their own woundedness or their conditioning.

This is clearly the approach of the current administration – there is a consciousness of coming to power to fix what has been broken by others; to take a hard line with perceived and real enemies within and without; to remove support for the vulnerable out of a belief that if they get desperate enough, they will either find their own way to success, or perhaps they will disappear. This consciousness, a vestige of the Puritan Ethic and the concept of rugged individualism that runs deep in the U.S.,  was clearly stated during the election process, and those promising these values were elected. We can see the spread of cultural evolutionary developmental levels along the spiral in the election results. More about the Spiral Dynamics implications of this in Part 4 of the series.

It may seem that the prayers and treatments for world peace, for harmony, for universal well-being have gone for naught – they have not worked. And, although it can be argued that they have worked to a degree, they have not brought about the kind of change in the human condition that has been sought. So, what do we do?

It is not the form of the treatment which you give, or the prayer which you make, that gives it power. Rather, it is your faith. Say:
I know that I am in the Spirit of God.
I know that the Spirit of God is in me.
I know that this Spirit is complete and perfect.
Therefore, It must be complete and perfect in me.

I know that this Spirit is now operating in my affairs.
It is manifesting Its beauty and harmony in everything I do.
I know that my body is a spiritual idea, manifesting in form.
I know that every organ of my body, being a manifestation of pure Spirit, contains within itself a pattern of joy, of peace, of divine order, of harmony and complete perfection.

~ Ernest Holmes, This Thing Called You

Here, Dr. Holmes writes very eloquently about the path to successful treatment for issues within one’s own personal affairs. And indeed, this is an essential component to a fulfilling life – to develop the consciousness as a self who is capable, effective, and fully engaged with life. What we do as we build such a consciousness is to prepare ourselves to more effectively contribute to a better world. To do so requires that we act from that consciousness regularly, even when the outer conditions seem contradictory

I must know myself more fully before I can be an effective vehicle for a higher consciousness to emerge. I must develop my spiritual muscles so that I can stand in my Truth with great power and wisdom.

‎”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

I must recognize that my desire to pray and treat from afar, without engagement with the great human epic that is unfolding, is a form of fear. Let me stay where it is comfortable, in my own room or with my close, like-minded friends, and do my spiritual work and wait for the world to realize my Truth. That fear must be healed.

“Nobody will save you but you. You alone have to engage your own contemplative development. . . Spiritual development is not a matter of mere belief. It is a matter of actual, prolonged, difficult growth, and merely professing belief is meaningless and without impact. . . . Reality is not interested in your beliefs; it’s interested in your actions, what you actually do, your actual karma.”

~ Ken Wilber

Progressive spirituality demands the courageous development of a consciousness of empowerment (which means peace, compassion, love, wisdom & power) which leads to a greater engagement with the life conditions in which you find yourself. When we use our New Thought Principles to realize our inner power and our inner love, we presence ourselves by standing tall in this world with a compassionate heart. In this way, we help to bring The Beloved Community into actuality.

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”

~ Leonardo da Vinci  

In Part 3 of this series, I will explore ways that progressive spirituality can engage in the political process to bring an agenda of healing, mutual respect, and even compassion – after we take a hard look at ourselves.

US Heart

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

Here is where you can get

CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY:

A Handbook for Spiritual Leadership,

in paperback or Kindle editions

(LINK TO AMAZON.COM)

cover

CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY Has Been Published!

(LINK to CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY on Amazon.com)

I am very pleased to announce that my new book, CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY: A Handbook for Spiritual Leadership, is now available on Amazon.com.

“Jim Lockard’s new book, CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY is an essential read for every spiritual leader, regardless of faith tradition.”

~ Rev. Dr. Kenn Gordon, Spiritual Leader of Centers for Spiritual Living

CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY is about the qualities, attitudes, and practices that are needed in order for the kind of world envisioned by Howard Thurman and Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. to manifest. The focus is on how to support the larger concept of the Universal Beloved Community by creating The Beloved Community locally – in local spiritual communities. This book is for spiritual leaders of any faith tradition who have a desire to create the kind of world the great spiritual visionaries have described for us. It is for anyone in spiritual leadership (clergy, practitioner, lay leader) who is interested in transcending the limited reality of focusing only on organizational survival so that a greater vision can unfold.

cbccoverkindle

“This book and its content is extremely important in contributing to a world that works, for unity lives inside community.”

~ Rev. Dr. Howard Caesar, Unity of Houston

The book speaks of the leadership qualities needed to create such a community, including cultural evolutionary awareness, presencing, and psychological awareness of our own and others’ development. The role of the mystical realms and the evolutionary nature of spiritual community are presented as necessary to fully engage taking The Beloved Community into the world. It is time for us to walk our talk and to bring the promise of harmony and peace to a world that cries out for them.

I hope that you, my blog readers, will find this book of great value.

Not a spiritual leader? You can read it anyway!

AND you can purchase a copy for your spiritual leaders!

You can preview the book at (THIS LINK).

“Jim Lockard has created an inspiring vision of what “church” can be – and how it can support our genuine spiritual growth and contribute to a better world for all.”

~ Cindy Wigglesworth, author of SQ21: The Twenty-One Skills of Spiritual Intelligence  

“Anyone who leads a spiritual community of any faith, or a movement of any kind, must surely know about the challenges of navigating the ups and downs, obstacles and disappointments on the path.  Dr. Jim Lockard’s book provides relief, inspiration, and hope for those who are engaged creating a spiritual community.  It takes the reader through a precise, deep, and uncompromisingly honest look at what leaders must face.  Creating The Beloved Community ought to be required reading for anyone who desires to lead anyone else.”

~ Rev. Dr. Edward Viljoen, author of Ordinary Goodness, and The Power of Meditation

“Where was THIS book when I was the spiritual leader of my church community for twenty-three years?” That is the question I found myself continually asking out loud as I read Jim Lockard’s latest book, Creating The Beloved Community – A Handbook for Spiritual Leadership. This book belongs on every minister’s bedside table as well as in every Board Room meeting” 

~ Dr. Dennis Merritt Jones, Award Winning Author of THE ART OF BEING & YOUR RE-DEFINING MOMENTS

(LINK to CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY on Amazon.com)

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Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

HOLIDAY MESSAGE: 2017 – A NEW BEGINNING, BEGINNING NOW!

“I will light a candle of fellowship this Christmas.  I know that the experiences of unity in human relations are more compelling than the concepts, the fears, and the prejudices, which divide.  Despite the tendency to feel my race superior, my nation the greatest nation, my faith the true faith, I must break down the boundaries of my exclusiveness until my sense of separateness is completely enveloped in a sense of fellowship.”

~ Dr. Howard Thurman

christmas-candles

As we move through the final two weeks of 2016, it is time, actually past time, to look forward to 2017 and to set the stage for who we will be when that New Year dawns. Spiritual work is best done in advance. When we lay the groundwork of building consciousness over time, our strengths are made available when the inevitable challenge or crisis comes.

“We do not change all of the patterns of our thought in a moment. Rather, it takes place little by little, until gradually the old thought patterns become transformed into new ones by some inner alchemy of the mind, the operation of which we do not see but the manifestation of which we do experience.”

~ Ernest Holmes

We are called to the heights of our potential, but our pathway is through the depths of our being.

christmas-myth-tree-woman

“Only the principle of love can recreate continually new guidelines in a changing world. Love alone an transform itself according to the demands of individuals in individual situations without losing its unconditional validity. Only love is eternally flexible and eternally relevant.”

~ Paul Tillich

 

This has been a difficult year for many, as every year is. It has also been a year of blessings for many, as every year is. But 2016 also saw more than its share of loss, tragedy, and ignorance. There is much work to do to right the ship of humanity.

 

 

‎”The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.”

~Joseph Campbell

christmas-in-paris

My good friend Dr. Jane Simmons, as a guest blogger on her husband’s (Dr. Gary Simmons) blog this week (LINK TO POST), outlines her feelings and ideas about how we can best approach what ails us as a society:

To overcome this hand-wringing sense of “hell in a hand basket” thinking, I set out to transform my inner state from one of WTF to OMG. I began by writing down five good, positive things that could conceivably come out of this messy time.

  1. The so-called Cultural Creatives finally get out of our complacent bubbles and off our complacent asses, find each other and mobilize.
  2. People take on shadow integration work as a way of life, realizing that all of the world’s ills stem from and in fact, are mirroring our own individual ego-based, shadow-driven behavior.
  3. Sleeping Beauty, aka the intuition, wakes up in every heart – and she is no damsel in distress. Turns out that taking authentic compassionate action is the awakening kiss.
  4. Wholehearted Living lovingly encompasses egoic thinking in “transcend and include style”.
  5. Second tier integral consciousness finally emerges.

 

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And, she gives us a prescription –

So as we are poised for a brand new year to begin, here is my to-do list for ringing in a New Clear Age of transformation:

  1. Let go of the belief it can’t happen.
  2. Visualize what you want to see come forth.
  3. Feel the way you will feel when it comes to pass.
  4. Saturate your heart in gratitude.
  5. Surrender to the Greater Mind. Let it lead. Stop interfering with the flow of life.
  6. In a state of total expectancy, gratitude and excitement, say yes to whatever is showing up on the path as the next step to making the new vision a reality.
  7. Be ever mindful of the critical voice and shadow beliefs as they surface. Then shower yourself with compassion.

Aaaaand, repeat.

I could not give a better prescription.

  • I am knowing that those who have the capacity to awaken, awake.
  • That those who become aware of their own shadow, do the work.
  • That those who have the capacity for compassionate action, act.
  • That those who can teach compassion and love, teach.
  • That those who are ready to hear, listen.
  • That we are transformed by our thoughts and feelings of beauty, love, peace and possibility.

“If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.”

~ Lao Tzu

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Happy Holidays to all – see you in 2017!

 

Copyright 2016 – Jim Lockard

SPIRAL DYNAMICS™ WORKSHOP IN THE LOS ANGELES AREA

An announcement:

I will be conducting an INTRODUCTION TO SPIRAL DYNAMICS™ WORKSHOP in Burbank, CA on Saturday, February 27th from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. The workshop will be held at the SpiritWorks Center at 260 Pass Avenue in Burbank. Anyone in the Greater LA/Ventura/Orange County Area who is interested in attending – simply show up at SpiritWorks before 9:30 am on the 27th. The investment is $60 for the full day.

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

~ Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind, page 387

The all-day workshop will provide a thorough introduction to the Spiral Dynamics Model with a focus on using it in spiritual community and spiritual leadership.

By attending, you will become aware of the meaning behind cultural changes in you, your spiritual community, and the world around us.

AND, you will gain tools to use to help you to integrate these changes in effective ways. What you gain here you will find useful beyond the walls of your spiritual community as well.

We will explore the model developed by Clare Graves and further developed by Don Beck and Christopher Cowan. I have been certified as a presenter of Spiral Dynamics since 2004, and followers of this blog will know that I reference Spiral Dynamics often.

Flyer - SpiritWorks 2-27

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

  • Clergy and other leaders in faith communities.
  • Anyone who wants more effective communication with leaders, volunteers, congregants and family.
  • People in the caring professions who seek to understand the values of those they care for so as to give more effective service and care giving.
  • Anyone interested in issues of culture and diversity in the workplace or in spiritual community.
  • Anyone in sales or marketing, or in any business or organization that needs to reach the public effectively.
  • Anyone who finds themselves in conflicts or disputes that elude resolution.

Not in the Area or can’t attend on that day? This presentation will not be live-streamed, however, I will be doing an online class introducing Spiral Dynamics in March of this year – watch this space for information.

VMEMEs Simplified

COMING TO TERMS WITH THE UNKNOWN – LEADING FROM AN EMERGING FUTURE

“Tradition is the illusion of permanence.” ~ Woody Allen

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” ~ Aldous Huxley

We are in uncharted waters, you and me. No one has been here before. The wisdom of the past, while useful to some degree, ultimately cannot carry us forward, cannot solve our problems for us. Human culture – essentially what it means to be human – is evolving at ever-faster rates, and we have outrun what we knew from the past in many respects. Of course, eternal principles hold true, but how those principles are applied is in transition.

Fifty years ago, a leader could look to the past for advice in how to lead an organization or community. If you open a leadership or management book from fifty years ago, you will find little or nothing to assist you in deciding what to do about where your organization is now or where it is headed. We are in uncharted waters.

 “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” ~ Alvin Toffler

“An evolving system cannot return to the past.” ~ Barbara Marx Hubbard

Poster - Change is a Process

In the mid-Twentieth Century or before, if you opened a church, a synagogue, or mosque, people would tend to seek you out. There was a cultural desire linked to dominant values which saw a Sabbath day as important in our lives, and organized religion as the rightful overseer of that Sabbath. Then, as a result of evolving values systems, the laws that restricted commerce on Sundays were relaxed and later, children’s organized activities began to be scheduled on Sundays and the work schedules of a majority of Americans stopped being Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and attendance at places of worship began to decline.

As it declined, many people began to believe that they could live their lives without a Sabbath. Over time, family disapproval about not “going to church” lessened and even disappeared in many cases. Organized religion, the bastion of the traditional-Blue Level of Existence (LINK to Spiral Dynamics description) faded as more people moved to the modernist-Orange level where pleasure and self-interest were the values most cherished.

Other institutions, such as government, fraternal organizations, the media and some aspects of big business also began to lose their place in the core value system of our culture and they faded or even disappeared. The reduction in active participation in organized religious activities was due to this shift in values, as well as the excesses that the modernist-Orange value system brought – think of televangelists and the impact of that mode of operation on the general perception of organized religion. As postmodernist-Green emerges, a whole new set of value systems arrive on the scene that also impact how people value and perceive the idea of Sabbath. And there are other levels of existence beyond Green that are emerging as well.

“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

“A new world is upon you and all peoples of the earth. A different tomorrow awaits. Nothing is going to be the way it was before. Not your finances, not your politics, not your work life, not your relationships, not the way you experience your spirituality  – all of it is changing . . . and is going to continue to change. The only question remaining: Will you be part author of those continuing changes, or merely one who is impacted by them?” ~ Neal Donald Walsh

Poster - DaVinci - Everything is Connected

New Thought has not been exempt from these larger cultural evolutionary developments. We have seen our overall identifiable membership stagnate for decades, and many of our spiritual communities have closed their doors. Others have left the organizations for variety of reasons, including the desire to present a more individually-oriented version of New Thought teachings.

When we look to our past for answers to our present challenges and our future way forward, we are increasingly frustrated. Try as we might to reproduce the works of the past or to bring the wisdom of formerly successful ministers into today’s environment, we simply cannot do so sufficiently. In fact, our answers do not lie there. We are finding that what we thought were answers in the past were often untrue. Recent discoveries about the validity of much of the research that has been done over the years has brought a great deal of so-called wisdom and scholarship into doubt. This means that to a large degree, we have been and are acting on bad information in many areas of our lives. The message, as I see it, is to look more and more to inner intuitive wisdom as a primary guide. But this is easier said than done.

 “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

“Life is a richer experience if you don’t try to control or organize it according to outmoded belief systems.” ~ Marc Campbell

Poster - Jung - The Unexpected & Incredible

If we are to thrive going forward, we must learn to effectively approach the world as it is. Successful leadership is not about bringing the past forward any longer (if it ever was). It is about “leading from an emerging future” as C. Otto Scharmer (LINK) has put it in Theory U and other books. It is about learning to go within to the deepest part of self and creating a space of invitation for the emerging collective wisdom to arise within to the level of awareness.

 “We collectively create results that nobody wants because decision-makers are increasingly disconnected from the people affected by their decisions. As a consequence, we are hitting the limits to leadership—that is, the limits to traditional top-down leadership that works through the mechanisms of institutional silos.” ~ C. Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies

“Myth 2: Leadership is about individuals. In fact, leadership is a distributed or collective capacity in a system, not just something that individuals do. Leadership is about the capacity of the whole system to sense and actualize the future that wants to emerge.” ~ C. Otto Scharmer

Poster - The Bridges I Burn

When a leader sees herself as separate from the whole, she loses the capacity to operate as a part of something larger. This shift in awareness, in our sense of beingness, is critical to success in these times where we have no models to follow. We must cultivate our sense of participation in the whole system and create a shift so that we operate in alignment, not as a separate entity. What Scharmer calls “Presencing,” or getting to the “bottom of the U,” we in New Thought would call “accessing our inner Reality” or “tapping into Universal Consciousness.”

The amazing thing, aside from the fact that these concepts are being presented in successful business books, is that these things are what we, as spiritual practitioners, already do. Our challenge now is to learn to integrate these deeply personal spiritual practices into our leadership style – to fully integrate the two and to trust that we have ample access to the wisdom that is seeking to emerge. That wisdom will be our guide through the uncharted waters in which we all find ourselves.

 “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: Learning from the Future as It Emerges

While we do not have models to guide us, as no one has been where we are collectively going, we do have inspirational leaders who can point the way to our own powerful capacities for development. While you will undoubtedly find your own if you look, I will suggest here some of the people that I look to as way showers for me – those who help me to open to my inner wisdom with a focus on the emerging future.

Barbara Marx Hubbard

Don Beck

Cindy Wigglesworth

Jean Houston

Otto Scharmer

Ken Wilber

Carter Phipps

Judi Neal

Gary Simmons

And from the past – those I look to for general wisdom and principles as to how to be the presence that allows my inner wisdom to express as me. There are others, but here are my Big Four:

Ernest Holmes

Carl G. Jung

Joseph Campbell

Emma Curtis Hopkins

How are you seeing your world? Where do you look for guidance? Are you being called or led to seeing things with new eyes? Are you tuned in to your intuitive wisdom?

As always, your comments are deeply appreciated.

A Note: I will be in the Bay Area this coming week – speaking on Sunday 1/10 at the Center for Spiritual Living Santa Rosa (LINK), and doing an afternoon workshop on the Edgewalker Model; then doing a full-day  Spiral Dynamics workshop for spiritual communities on Saturday 1/16 at the Oakland Center for Spiritual Living (LINK); and finally, on Sunday 1/17, I’ll be speaking at the Center for Spiritual Living Fremont (LINK). I would love to connect with any of you while I am in town.

Copyright 2016 – Jim Lockard

Poster - Campbell