MILLENNIALS IN NEW THOUGHT – AN UPDATE – PART 1

Having blogged about New Thought Millennials before (LINK) (LINK), I thought it was time for an update. I reached out to two key leaders in the Centers for Spiritual Living Millennial population, Rev. Savanna Noelle Riker, and Rev. Abigail Schairer, with some questions about what’s up with Millennials in general, and with Centers for Spiritual Living’s (CSL) Young Adults in particular. This post is devoted to Savanna’s responses. Abigail’s will appear in a future post. Welcome guest bloggers!

Savanna

Rev. Savanna Noel Riker

NTE BLOG: What is happening in the Centers for Spiritual Living Young Adult Movement these days?

Rev. Savanna: The CSL Young Adult movement is growing! In the 18 years I have grown up as a youth and young adult in this teaching, I have always talked about and have wanted to see the progress and inspiration to lead our organization into a completely new paradigm, to feel the kind of energy exhibited from these young people who make you want to get out of bed in the morning! I’m finally seeing it unfold before my eyes, and it is so moving. The energy of the young adult movement is palpable, joy-filled, exciting and deeply passionate about a world that works for everyone (#aworldthatworksforeveryone). It is taking our mission and vision to a whole other level, through action and compassionate being. Young adults interested in our teaching are sprouting up all over the nation.

CSL Next Gen Retreat 1

Rev. Abigail at NextGen Retreat.

The young adult movement is always seeking more events and ways to connect because often, they are the only one or part of a small group of 3-5 at any given spiritual community miles from each other. We realize that CSL will not survive with the current paradigm alone. The NextGen Retreat hosted by Center for Spiritual Living Peninsula is a retreat for late 20/early 30-somethings, gathered together in the northern California mountains, where we come together in spiritual practice, silence, rejuvenation, process, community, sharing our talents and ideas of how we actively want to make this world better.

CSL Next Gen Retreat 3

This retreat was awe inspiring to me to hear the topics of interest from these young adults. Even my own call for ministry was deepened and ignited in a bigger way because of the power of this event and all those attending. There is this great need for connection, unconditional love, education, the freedom to express as you are, and a commitment to personal self-growth and collective change for the better. We left the retreat as a huge family. I continue to hear even now after all these years, “Where are the other young adults in CSL? We want to attract more young people into our community.” And here I am thinking… “You’re preaching to the choir…. It is SO much better than it once was 20 years ago.” But we can still do better – we are rethinking the models of “church,” and outreach and that is super exciting.

NTE Blog: What are people in their 20’s & 30’s looking for in a spiritual community?

Rev. Savanna: Young adults long for deep listening and to be heard, seek connection, authentic, vulnerable leaders, education, personal development, and tools that are relevant to their lives and the world they live in.

NTE Blog: How does this teaching apply to my life in the world I live in?

Rev. Savanna: What came through the most at our retreat was not just a spiritual community where we practice but where we take action in the community and in the world. Spirituality is tied directly to a cause, development, a mission or purpose to most our CSL young adults. They are interested in topics like: sustainable living, clean energy and being good stewards to the planet, social justice, human rights issues, impoverished and disenfranchised communities, LGBTQ rights, cross-cultural immersion, travel, spirituality and sacred sexuality just to name a few.

NTE Blog: How have New Thought principles helped you in your own life?

Rev. Savanna: New Thought principles have deepened my own relationship with myself and the Divine. They have continually reminded me of the innate power that is within me to transform myself and the world. My spiritual practice has guided and directed my path, and ministry has surely given me MANY opportunities to challenge my faith and my beliefs. I have the powerit isn’t something outside of me. It has helped me manifest amazing opportunities, resources, jobs, support, abundance, love, and just what I needed when I asked for it. This teaching has given me the tools to navigate my life from an empowered conscious place, trusting that Life is for me. I just have to get out of my own way. 🙂

NTE Blog: Thank you, Savanna!

What we are seeing is an echoing of what this blog has been reporting for several years – we are in changing times; New Thought organizations and spiritual communities need to be responsive to these changes. Our Young Adults, from the past decade, who by the way are not so young – Millennials can be in their late 30’s – are demanding different approaches to spiritual community, now and in the future. What is going to be the response?

CSL Next Gen Retreat 2

Masando Hiroaka, Savanna, and Elisha Christopher Hayden-Berrios at NextGen

As always, your comments are encouraged – see below! And feel free to share this post with others who may be interested.

Copyright 2018 – Jim Lockard

 

DIVINE DISCONTENT – WHAT MOVES US TO CHANGE

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

~ Elizabeth Gilbert

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

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

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

~ C.G. Jung, Man and His Symbols

bird-in-the-rain1

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

I’m restless.

Things are calling me away.

My hair is being pulled by the stars again.

~ Anaïs Nin 

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

discontent

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

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

~ James Hollis, Jungian analyst

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

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

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

~ Stanislav Grof, Shift Magazine, June-August 2004

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

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

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

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

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

~ Walter Brueggemann

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

 Dali-2 - Egg

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

 

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

IS NEW THOUGHT 2ND TIER?

“If you realize that all things change,

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

~ Lao Tzu

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

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

~ Ernest Holmes,

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

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

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

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

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

Poster - Toffler Quote

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

~ C. Otto Scharmer

 

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

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

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

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

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

~ Austin Kleon

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

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

Poster - Troward - Principle 2

The past cannot be our primary guide any longer.

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

~ Joseph Campbell

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

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

~ Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind

Spiral Kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always, your comments are welcomed – encouraged even!

 

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

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

 

 

DEEP CALLS UNTO DEEP – WHAT THEY DON’T TELL YOU AT SUNDAY SERVICES, PART 2

Spiritually Mature Subject Matter

“I would be remiss if I did not sound a warning concerning the dangers associated with a radical change of consciousness.”

~ June Singer, Jungian Analyst

 This series is looking at bringing greater depth to spiritual teachings in New Thought. I realize that not only will some have no interest in this topic, some may even find it superfluous. But such is life.

The journey to spiritual realization is one made over time. There are no short cuts – not in the sense that permanent transformation (deep change) can come easily. Time is an essential ingredient. Even when we have some cathartic experience, whether an “AHA moment” or a major life event, the resulting changes must be integrated deeply into the psyche over time in a mellowing process. The deeply conditioned self is very stable – it does not change easily or quickly. We may feel changed at depth after a powerful workshop, but how often does that change translate into a truly new direction in life?

“It’s hard to leave any deeply routine life, even if you hate it.”

~ John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Those of us who are students and teachers of New Thought ought to be especially cognizant of this – we are in it for the long haul, not the quick fix. Ask any long-time spiritual leader what percentage of her students have evidenced deep, lasting, transformative change in their lives. The numbers will be small. “Many are called, but few are chosen.”

How many have done serious shadow work; how many have examined the depths of their psyches even to the point of recognizing their own destructive subconscious patterns? How many have proven this by showing a mastery of even the basics of living a life? How many exist in a space where all their energies must go toward physical, financial, and social survival? How many have little or no energy left for the pursuit of the inner life of the mystical domains, where spiritual realization must be cultivated? How many have even developed consistent patterns of positive thought and emotion, regardless of in what circumstances they find themselves?

“To find your own way is to follow your bliss. This involves analysis, watching yourself and seeing where real deep bliss is – not the quick little excitement, but the real deep, life-filling bliss.”

~ Joseph Campbell

Secret Teachings Image

Every great spiritual teaching has elements that are inaccessible to the average consciousness. As a single example, the opening of the Gospel of Thomas (LINK) refers to what follows as the secret teachings, which are only to be made available to those who are ready to hear them. The danger in exposing an unprepared mind to great spiritual teachings is that they will be misunderstood and misused. It was a duty of a spiritual teacher in these traditions to determine what the student was ready to receive, and to give him or her only that much. Spiritual awareness is a process, and everyone isn’t at the same level of readiness at any given point. When we fail to include this truth in designing and teaching spiritual curricula, we set people up for failure – or, at minimum, place unintended obstacles in their path to spiritual realization.

Our inner integrity is always there, fully intact, in our deepest self. We have buried it, to one degree or another, through the accretion of false and limited beliefs over our lives. Spiritual development involves the gradual removal of this layer, the false ideas of self, and the revealing of that buried inner integrity with the goal of bringing it fully into our lives. We remember who we really are over time when we do the work of spiritual realization with rigor and determination. But at the beginning, we are ignorant, we think that our false and limited beliefs are the truth, and we fail to thrive. We seek what does not serve us, we dwell in anger and depression, we resist our teachers (and good teachers are essential in this process) and deny our true nature.

“The ego wants containment and control. It is only the soul that wants meaning and mystery. In fact, that is how I can know whether it is my ego that is leading me or the ‘brightness and the Holy Spirit.’ If I have not found a way to hear and allow that deeper level of soul, I will use all my roles, my relationships, and even my religion to fortify my ego and my private agenda.”

~ Richard Rohr, Dancing Standing Still

We begin our spiritual journey directed by our ego – the self-created aspect of the psyche which supports our current belief system. The ego is not a bad thing – think of it as the skeleton of the psyche, it will support whatever our dominant beliefs are. Our work is not to eliminate or destroy the ego, but to create a belief system or consciousness that is enlightened. We need to learn how to delve into the deep subconscious and eliminate the fear-based beliefs, replacing them with Truth. Our spiritual teacher(s) must have mastered this in her own life, and mastered how to teach it – two different things. And there is the fact that most people are not really interested in this level of spiritual growth – those who will go deep are few in number.

“Very few people ever mature. It is enough if they flower and re-seed. That is all that nature requires of them. But sometimes in a man or a woman awareness takes place — not very often and always inexplainable (sic). There are no words for it because there is no one ever to tell. This is a secret not kept a secret, but locked in wordlessness.”

~ John Steinbeck

If we are not changing, actually transforming over time, we are staying in place, maintaining the same belief systems while simply adding some spiritual-growth jargon to our vocabulary. The question of this blog post is – are New Thought organizations and spiritual leaders aiding and abetting this kind of spiritual malpractice? Or are they doing everything in their power to create environments where transformation of consciousness is not only likely, but expected? Or are they sacrificing serious students of deep change to serve a larger group interested only in surface change?

Chart - Comfort Zone

Spiritual leadership of spiritual communities is a complex undertaking. One must be concerned with any number of aspects of operation of a community organization. However, there must be a focus on developing core deep spiritual principles within those students who are willing to do the work. This not only perpetuates the teaching at a high level, but provides a significant spiritual influence on the entire community. Where mastery is taught, and emphasized, all benefit.

In Part 3 of this series, I will address how this shows up on the spiral (LINK), and give some guidance as to how to encourage a deeper approach to spiritual education (and in my book (LINK), I thoroughly examine this); but for now, let’s just say that currently we in New Thought tend to take a very egalitarian approach to our spiritual education – there is little, if any, rigor with regard to determining readiness for advanced materials, and, for the most part, our “professional-leveleducation has drifted more toward job preparation than to the development of significant levels of spiritual realization and psychological health. It may be time to expand our conversation.

Beautiful Flower Lotus

 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)

INTRODUCING “CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS”

SD Online Class Web Flyer 2017 - full

I am very pleased to introduce CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS, a series of online seminars designed to bring the concepts in the book alive and to give spiritual leaders the tools to thrive in these times of rapid change.

We will begin with my popular Introduction to Spiral Dynamics™ a look into the most useful model of cultural evolution and human development available today. In four 2-hour sessions, you will learn the basics of the model and how to use it effectively. There will also be a focus on how to use the Spiral Dynamics Model to help people understand the dynamics of the current politics of the U.S. and Europe. I am a certified presenter of Spiral Dynamics, and have conducted dozens of in-person and online training sessions.

For an investment of just $69, this is a real bargain. And that includes a SPIRAL DYNAMICS BOOKLET in PDF format for each registrant, plus additional handout materials.

Dates and times:

APRIL 10, 13, 17, & 20

4:30pm – 6:30pm Pacific Time/7:30pm – 9:30pm Eastern Time

I recommend that you consider having your entire leadership team take the online class, so that you can make use of the materials more quickly and effectively in your organization. As an organization, you can receive one free registration for every four paid registrations.

All sessions will be recorded, and registered participants can access the recordings for 30 days after the seminar concludes.

To register for this teleseminar, email me at

JimLockardTravels@yahoo.com

You will receive an invoice to pay the $69 seminar fee. Once you have paid, you will receive a link to the first session via email. We will use Zoom.us technology for the teleseminar, or you can join by telephone.

If you have not yet read CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY: A Handbook for Spiritual Leadership, you can get your copy by clicking on the link below:

Here is where you can get CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY:

A Handbook for Spiritual Leadership,

in paperback or Kindle editions

(LINK TO AMAZON.COM)

The book will be available soon from Devorss.com (LINK).

cover

Future teleseminars will include topics such as:

  • Theory U
  • Spiritual and Emotional Intelligence
  • Steps to Creating The Beloved Community
  • Spiral Dynamics™ Part 2

If you have any questions, email me at JimLockardTravels@yahoo.com.

The deadline for registrations is April 9, 2017.

Spiral - Burn Your Old Ways of Thinking

 

HOW TO BE EFFECTIVE AT ENGAGED SPIRITUALITY, PART 4

“Cautious, careful people always casting about to preserve their reputation or social standards never can bring about reform. Those who are really in earnest are willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathies with despised ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.”

~ Susan B. Anthony

Engaged spirituality requires a strong consciousness. When those engaged in activism have not done their personal psychological and spiritual work to a sufficient degree, they can do more harm than good. They lose their poise, fail to act from a compassionate heart, and are swept away by the energy of events. Only when one has been trained with some degree of rigor in spiritual principles and practices, and has applied themselves to regular practice over sufficient time is one likely to be capable of acting from such a consciousness.

“You can’t be a wimp when you’re doing justice work.”

~ Bishop Yvette Flunder

The Postmodernist-Green values system now dominates New Thought organizations and many local spiritual communities. If, as we evolve along the spiral, we do not bring forward the healthy aspects of the Traditionalist-Blue and Modernist-Orange levels (transcend & include), then Green will become unhealthy, because the values at the Green level do not support what organizations need to thrive. Green is, in part, a transitional stage between 1st and 2nd Tiers of the spiral – between levels of complexity and their value systems. Many of the values (both healthy and unhealthy) essential to the Blue/Orange organizational structure can be abandoned with the movement into Green.

Green vMEME

Green sees consensus as the ultimate form of decision making and shared leadership as the vehicle for generating consensus. But while consensus is laudable, it is rarely achievable unless everyone at the table is operating at or beyond the Green Level of Existence. Someone at Orange or below on the spiral will not value consensus and will feel forced into compliance, even though that may not be the intention of leadership.

“Consensus comes with another flaw. It dilutes responsibility.” 

~ Frederic Laloux, REINVENTING ORGANIZATIONS

In fact, Green is where the Blue/Orange form of organization goes to die. Die so that it can be re-born at the 2nd Tier level, as the caterpillar goes into the chrysalis to die as the caterpillar and be re-born as the butterfly. The caterpillar has no knowledge of what is coming, a huge transformation; the butterfly has no knowledge of where it came from. Organizations entering the chrysalis of Green, without awareness of the dynamics involved, are like the caterpillar – they are blind to what is coming, what is beginning to emerge from within them. And while in the caterpillar to butterfly transformation, nature knows what to do, in organizational transformation, we must depend on the collective wisdom of the group.

Green is where we begin to shed the old forms of fear-based structure, of centralization and hierarchical authority, of mistrust of people at every level. We have some insight into Integral-Yellow level organizations thanks to the work of Frederic Laloux (LINK to REINVENTING ORGANIZATIONS) and others. What we see emerging at 2nd Tier levels are things like self-organizing teams where full authority is moved to those who actually do the work.

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

~ Ernest Holmes, Sermon By The Sea- Asilomar, Saturday, August 15, 1959

This requires 2nd Tier leadership at the top of the flattened organization, as leaders centered in the 1st Tier generally lack the degree of trust and vision needed to actualize the Yellow organization. In fact, most of the structures in Blue/Orange organizations arose out of a lack of trust in people. However, Laloux give us a glimpse into what can be. We see the beginnings of this with the increasing decentralization of authority in Centers for Spiritual Living and Unity. But this is only the beginning of the movement into 2nd Tier, and Green values often  limit the functioning of the organization or spiritual community while it is still in its First Tier structure. This makes the transition more difficult, even treacherous, than it need be.

“Nothing is more curious than the self-satisfied dogmatism with which mankind at each period of its history cherishes the delusion of the finality of its existing modes of knowledge. Advance in detail is admitted: fundamental novelty is barred. This dogmatic common sense is the death of philosophical adventure.” 

~ Alfred North Whitehead

Where in our New Thought organizations, with their predominance of Green leadership, is there the vision and the power for change? Where is the authority held in organizations to require ANYTHING of leadership in local spiritual communities? It has dissipated like the morning fog as we have moved into new cultural evolutionary ways of being. Leaders who try to exercise authority are ignored or shouted down, sometimes lovingly, but they surely are hampered in their ability to lead.

This shows up in many ways – one is when ministers who teach accredited classes in CSL (I cannot speak for Unity here) freely replace significant content from the accredited curriculum and yet see no ethical issues in signing off on certificates of completion from CSL which say that the student has completed the required curriculum. If CSL leadership questions this practice, they are rebuffed with a “how dare you question me?” attitude. And the leaders tend to back down, because what else can they do without upsetting someone?

Why does this matter? Shouldn’t ministers have the freedom to teach what they want?

I think it matters because the  CSL organization and local spiritual communities had an original intention – a Prime Directive if you will – to teach the Science of Mind philosophy. If every community does that differently (and, let’s be honest, not every unique way of teaching the material is equally effective), where is any sense of uniformity within our movement about our basic reason for being and our spiritual principles?

Simply put – New Thought leaders need to up-level cultural evolutionary awareness, as in Spiral Dynamics™, Theory U, and the work of Frederic Laloux.

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My reason for bringing this issue up here is to give some context to the issue of whether to engage in social activism, or any form of engaged spirituality. If we are drifting away, however unintentionally, from our core reason for being, how can we engage in this important conversation from a common set of principles and values?

There are two steps to effective engaged spirituality:

  1. Realization and actualization of the spiritual principles of the teaching.

  2. Engagement with the outer world that is consistent with those principles by people who have developed #1.

In my opinion, before (or at least, as) we decide what forms of engaged spirituality we will take, we need to decide to become a unified body teaching the same basic spiritual principles in an atmosphere of love, compassion, and full accountability. This means that, at minimum, every student who takes classes in the Science of Mind at any CSL center will learn the same principles and practices. There will be a common understanding of these and a common vocabulary. We all recognize the importance of bringing the highest possible consciousness to what we do; so why should involvement in engaged spirituality be any different? 2nd Tier organizations may self-organize and decentralize decision making, but they do so in an atmosphere of adherence to the basic principles and values of the organization.

This blog series, I hope, will lead to some serious consideration about how we go forward as New Thought organizations and spiritual communities. To do so, we must understand where we are developmentally on the spiral, and bring the best of those values systems present forward in our visioning and decision making.

“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

As always, your comments are appreciated.

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY: A Handbook for Spiritual Leadership,

By Jim Lockard

Available in paperback or Kindle editions

(LINK TO AMAZON.COM)

 

DOES PROGRESSIVE SPIRITUALITY MEAN PROGRESSIVE POLITICS? Part 1

This past week saw the convergence of The Women’s March (LINK) in 600+ cities around the world and the presentation of Sunday lessons on Spiritual Living, the basic values of the Science of Mind, drawn from the organizations values statements in hundreds of Centers for Spiritual Living (LINK). I am sure that there are similar dynamics unfolding in Unity (LINK) and other New Thought denominations.

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Many in CSL participated in the women’s marches and rallies, some with groups from their spiritual communities; others felt that such participation, while okay for individuals, was an inappropriate political event in which an organization or center to participate. Some feel that our ministers should encourage members to do prayer-treatment work for the good of our nation and nothing further. For some, this position was based on their interpretations of the Science of Mind teachings; for others, it appeared to arise from their conservative political leanings.

I have recently had several conversations with a colleagues where the question “Why aren’t there more (political) conservatives in our movement?” came up.  Some who have conservative leanings say that they are not made welcome and felt that many, including ministers, speak too much about progressive politics and causes in spiritual community activities, making those with conservative viewpoints feel that their values are not honored. This is the very reason that some spiritual leaders refrain from any comments that may be seen as politically biased.

My response would be that New Thought spirituality, which does not condemn people for being different and does not believe in Hell as a reality, might be more likely to attract progressives than conservatives. The balance in much of New Thought, uneven as it clearly is, has to do with a lack of dogma and other absolutist and authoritarian positions that are found in more traditional religions. We can see in more fundamentalist denominations, there are very few progressives.

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After giving this matter quite a bit of thought throughout our long political season that led to the election of Donald Trump (and blogging about it along the way [LINK]), I thought I would speak to the issue of New Thought and the idea of engagement in politics. This is not to change any minds, but to bring some much-needed clarity to the conversation, which I am sure will be ongoing. My intention is not to convince anyone of anything, but to contribute to an important ongoing conversation in the New Thought Movement.

“In our time we have come to the stage where the real work of humanity begins. It is the time where we partner Creation in the creation of ourselves, in the restoration of the biosphere, the regenesis of society and in the assuming of a new type of culture; the culture of Kindness. Herein, we live daily life reconnected and recharged by the Source, so as to become liberated and engaged in the world and in our tasks.”

~ Jean Houston

I will begin with some definitions, which, hopefully, will add some clarity to the discussion. New Thought, in all of its forms, is a truly progressive spiritual philosophy. It is progressive in the sense that it takes the notion of ongoing change as a given, it brings forth the concept of Oneness as the basis of all existence, and it sees the seat of agency as the individual mind, which is an aspect of a Universal Mind. It also recognizes that human consciousness is evolving toward greater capacities for realization, and that we must remain open to new ways of understanding and living Principle.

Progressive politics are, in their purest form, about the common good – about the idea that each of us is in part responsible for all of us, and that society is best served by a government which works to create a better life for all. To my mind, progressive politics combines the best elements of what we know as liberalism with what we know as conservatism. By that I mean that it attempts to strike a balance between the rights of the individual and the well-being of the collective. Conservatism seeks to conserve the values and practices that bind a society. Liberalism seeks to expand the well-being of the collective (known as the common good) while encouraging the creativity of the individual.

Therefore, Conservatism is not the opposite of progressive politics; its opposite is regressive politics. Progressives recognize that the future involves change and greater complexity; regressives want to return to an often idealized past set of values and practices – in other words, they want to retreat to a non-existent or partially remembered past.

Neither of the two political parties in the United States today are truly progressive, truly liberal, or truly conservative. They have been driven to corrupted versions of these ideals, largely due to what we call special interests – narrowly focused groups and businesses to get their own interests met using government, usually by using money as an influencer; little pure political philosophy has survived this process.

“Patriotism is a beautiful thing; it is well for me to love my country, but why should I love my country more than I love all others? If I love my own and hate others, I then show my limitations, and my patriotism will stand the test not even for my own. If I love my country and in the same way love all other countries then I show the largeness of my nature, and a patriotism of this kind is noble and always to be relied upon.”

~ Ralph Waldo Trine, 1897

trine-ralph-waldoThis quote by the great Ralph Waldo Trine speaks to a global consciousness – something that is more compatible with a progressive mindset. The true progressive expands her consciousness to allow greater engagement with the world around her. She understands that cultures evolve, new ways of being emerge, and greater complexity is a result. She seeks to understand and thrive within a changing environment.

“Once a new social stage appears in a culture, it will spread its instructional codes and life-priority messages throughout that culture’s surface-level expressions: religion, economic and political arrangements, psychological and anthropological theories, and views of human nature, our future destiny, globalization, and even architectural patterns and sports preferences. We all live in flow states; there is always new wine, always old wineskins. We, indeed, find ourselves pursuing a neverending quest.”

~ Don Edward Beck

When we understand the nature of cultural evolution and the dynamics involved, we see that the evolutionary impulse of humanity cannot be altered to suit a desire for a return to the past. Regressivism is a dead-end generated by fear of change. Conservatism, on the other hand, along with true liberalism, are essential elements in the overall political atmosphere of any society.

“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

~ Krishnamurti

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?

“But faith without works is dead. We should not only pray, we should act, each contributing the best he has to the common purpose, each willing to make any sacrifice necessary…one in a certain sense, a selfish one, for we all desire self-preservation, but the other in the greater sense that there can be no individual self-preservation without the preservation of all… .”

~ Ernest Holmes, The Essential Ernest 179.3

In Part 2 of this series, I will examine the spiritual principles which apply to how we act in the world as practitioners of a progressive spirituality.

Your comments are welcomed.

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

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Here is where you can get CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY: A Handbook for Spiritual Leadership, in paperback or Kindle editions(LINK TO AMAZON.COM)

IT’S 2017 – TIME TO UP YOUR GAME

“Grassroots spirituality involves a vaguely panentheistic ultimate that is indwelling, sometimes bodily, as the deepest self and accessed through not-strictly-rational means of self-transformation and group process that becomes the holistic organization for all of life”

~ Robert K. Forman

There are many who say that the founders of the New Thought Movement left us lessons to deal with any eventuality. While there is a huge treasure trove of wisdom in the writings and teachings of the Fillmores, Ernest Holmes, Mary Baker Eddy, Emma Curtis Hopkins, the Brooks sisters, and many others, it is no longer sufficient as a knowledge base in the 21st Century.

I’ll give you a minute to process that statement.

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Okay, regardless of your reaction/response to the statement, here is why I make it: human knowledge and experience has expanded greatly since the bulk of New Thought literature was published in the late 19th and first half of the 20th Century. We now know much more about human psychology than the founders did; we know more about science, especially neuroscience, as well. And, perhaps most importantly, our culture has shifted. The concept of evolution has been expanded beyond the field of biology to many other areas of cultural development. We even talk today of cultural evolution in several fields of study.

Ernest Holmes himself alluded to this idea late in his life:

“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. He is a leader, he is a thinker. He is one who introduces new things to the world.”

~ Ernest Holmes, The Beverly Hills Lectures

Dr. Holmes had a limited understanding of evolution, one consistent with the understanding of that dynamic during his lifetime. But evolutionary understanding has expanded greatly in the nearly 60 years since his death. But still, we have problems with it. One reason, the way we are culturally conditioned to see new things and ideas.

“Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.”

~ Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

We all tend to want to see the world as we knew it yesterday. Even though we may be excited about new developments and technologies, we will tend to view them through our old mindsets.

“Evolution is in part a self-transcending process.” ~ Ken Wilber

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The increasing pace of change in our world is calling forth in us new ways of being and of seeing. We must consciously work to transcend our old, and even our current, ways of thinking and being, to encourage the new to emerge within us. There is no longer time to let this unfolding occur in a leisurely fashion; the world around us is speeding up too fast to allow that to work. In fact, we have seen a huge rejection of evolutionary thought in the recent elections in the U.S. and Great Britain. People want to return to an idealized concept of the past because they have not adapted to the emerging future. The problem with that view is this: the emerging future does not care about our comfort, it will continue to emerge and we must adapt. The irony is that this speeding up is our own doing; the planet itself is not getting more complex – human society is.

But the future will not wait for those who have not adapted to catch up; and attempts to take regressive actions by our nations will surely inhibit our ability to thrive in this rapidly changing, globally connected world in which we find ourselves. Those capable of evolutionary thought will need to step up and engage in society in the coming years.

Our wonderful heritage of New Thought wisdom must grow and, yes, even change to accommodate the increasing knowledge about ourselves and the world around us. The teachings of the founders must be supplemented by more up-to-date and comprehensive knowledge from the fields that I have mentioned above, and from other emerging fields of awareness. In short, we need to become leading-edge evolutionary thinkers in a modern context. We must do this both as individuals and in spiritual community.

If we pay attention, we can see that New Thought entered a time of stagnation some decades ago. We stopped developing the teachings beyond the expansion that occurred within the founders’ lifetimes – and we stopped being on the leading edge. It has taken half a century or more for that to really catch up with us in the form of so many struggling spiritual communities, but that is where we are. What used to work is no longer working – it is time to think and act differently. It is calling forth something new from us.

Will we heed that call?

 New Years - Past and Future

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

The next MINISTERIAL COACHING PROGRAM begins this month. It is open to all ministers and ministers-in-training. We have a maximum of 12 spaces and a few are already spoken for. Go to the website (LINK) for more information and to join our upcoming informational calls on January 13 and 17, 2017.

MINISTERIAL COACHING PROGRAM – 2017 SESSION LAUNCHES IN JANUARY!

Our Ministerial Coaching Program has helped dozens of ministers gain a greater sense of self-awareness and professional direction since we began in 2014. Our 2017 edition is improved and will begin in January – with no increase in price from our 2016 program.

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Here is one testimonial:

“This program is very valuable for personal enrichment as a spiritual leader. It’s always great to get outside your comfort zone, to gain new perspectives, to have support and focus on a direction for personal development, and connecting with others interested in growing their spiritual leadership. As Nike would say, ‘Just do it!’” 

~ Rev. Kathy Fernandes

There are a maximum of 12 positions in the upcoming program, which consists of two monthly calls: a group video call on Zoom.us and an individual call with Jim or Dorianne.

You can get the information and register at this link:

Ministerial Coaching Program

There will be two informational calls prior to the program start. Mark your calendar for the call that works for your schedule. Call #1 will be recorded.

Call #1: Friday, January 13, 2017 at 9:30am PT/ 12:30pm ET

Zoom.us Link: https://zoom.us/j/585410160

Or via Telephone (US): 408 638 0968 (US Toll) or 646 558 8656 (US Toll)

via Telephone International: Link to International Telephone Numbers

Meeting ID: 585 410 160

 

Call #2: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 9:30am PT/ 12:30pm ET

Zoom.us Link: https://zoom.us/j/334958715

Or via Telephone (US): 408 638 0968 (US Toll) or 646 558 8656 (US Toll)

via Telephone International: Link to International Telephone Numbers

Meeting ID: 334 958 715

The Ministerial Coaching Program is designed to support New Thought ministers who are, or plan to be, at any leadership level in a spiritual center, or church, or in a special focus ministry or other type of ministry. Ministerial students are also welcome. The program provides a systematic review of the skills, traits, and the consciousness of ministry needed in a rapidly changing world. It is about YOU as a minister, rather than about programs in your ministry. Timed with the release of my new book, Creating the Beloved Community: A Handbook for Spiritual Leaders, this session will focus on effective ministry in a changing world.

Center boards may want to consider covering the cost for their minister(s) to attend the program. Or this may be a wonderful gift to give yourself – to get 2017 off to the best start possible.

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If you have additional questions, please private message me at DrJim-Lockard@att.net, or via Facebook Messenger (Jim Lockard).

In the meantime, knowing a joyous and fulfilling 2017 for all!

Love and Light,

Jim

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard