The past two months have taken me to the U.S. and Mexico before coming back to France. Dorianne and I vacationed in Puerto Vallarta, stayed with friends and visited family in Southern California, and attended to some elder care issues for family members. I traveled to Washington DC to visit my daughter and Maryland to visit my aunt and uncle, now in their 90’s. I did a men’s retreat at CSL Simi Valley (LINK) and spoke at the Global Truth Center LA (LINK); later I spend a weekend with the leadership team at CSL Salt Lake City (LINK) and spoke at their Sunday service. While I was doing that, Dorianne was teaching courses in Mindful Leadership and more to students in Health Care Management in San Diego and Houston.
It was an exhilarating and exhausting trip, book-ended by long travel days, but all of it was our choice, which made it a bit more exhilarating and a bit less exhausting. Of course, during this time, climate change continued on its inexorable pace, the impeachment of the US President moved to the Senate for a “trial,” the Coronavirus (LINK) became news, and the usual litany of humanity’s agonies was discussed on regular and social media. What a time to be alive!
It is a great time to be alive, first because we are alive, and that is pretty great; but also, we get to live at a time which is calling forth great strides in human development. While this is often painful, chaotic, confusing, frustrating, and challenging, it is also filled with the opportunity to actualize potential at levels never seen in human history. Nothing short of this kind of growth in consciousness will take us to a sustainable future.
“Most people with an ear to the ground understand to some extent that the collective behavior of our species is unsustainable. Where they differ in opinion is on what should be done to address this problem. Where they unify in opinion is on the assumption that the solution will look like their own personal ideology winning out over all the others. Capitalists believe that capitalism will provide technological solutions to the problems that capitalism has created, and that this will happen more quickly and efficiently if the fetters on capitalism are removed. Socialists believe that socialism will solve the problems that socialism has been powerless to provide this entire time, if only this consistent pattern of socialism’s inability to obtain dominance is magically deviated from somehow. And so on.”
~ Caitlin Johnstone (LINK)
Driving around Los Angeles, I was struck by the magnitude of the challenge to shift away from fossil fuels in this car-dominated megaplex. What combination of technological advances and cultural willingness to change is required to shift to a more sustainable existence here? Where will the resources come from? Who will lead in influencing so many diverse people to make such a shift?
Our stuckness in our own ideologies is an enemy of collective progress. We are called to rise beyond political, religious, and philosophical differences and to contribute to a new collective wisdom. Being humbly unattached to our certainties and willing to explore different and new ideas is now an essential reality. As Alvin Toffler wrote in the last century, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Our answers lie not in our past, nor in what we know presently, but in our ability to merge our current wisdom with new thinking while releasing what no longer works.
“. . . if there is to be any deviation from our species’ self-destructive trajectory, the cause of that deviation will come completely out of left field. No one will expect it, because it won’t come from a direction that we have been conditioned through our experience to look. Our unpatterning will necessarily come from a completely un-patterned direction. A collective movement in an unprecedented direction will necessarily have an unprecedented antecedent.”
~ Caitlin Johnstone
“The problem isn’t whether or not, as I find myself being asked lately ‘we have a future’, but that we do, absolutely, have a future.”
~ William Gibson
Given that we are faced with a future which arises out of our present, there are questions I must face. Am I in a place where I can shift deeply held aspects of my beliefs and behaviors quickly enough to embrace something radically new? If not, is it something I can be working toward – the ability and a greater willingness to shift? How many of my comforts am I willing to do without?
“An epochal shift is taking place in the contemporary psyche, a reconciliation between the two great polarities, a union of opposites: a sacred marriage between the long-dominant but now alienated masculine and the long-suppressed but now ascending feminine.”
~ Richard Tarnas
At the men’s retreat on the healthy masculine (LINKS to past blog posts on this topic), we talked about such issues – coming to terms with our conditioning to abandon our feminine side and how to re-connect in a healthy way. We were confronted with the significant challenge to heal what we often did not realize was wounded, as we are so conditioned in society’s view of what it means to be a man. Women, along with men and everyone on the spectrum of gender have their own work to do in this regard, because only healthy masculine and feminine aspects (not genders – all genders contain masculine and feminine) can allow us the creativity to move forward.
Only through deeper spiritual and psychological exploration and practices will we be able to tap into the reservoir of genius within ourselves. This is what we are called to do by the world as it is today – to deepen our practices and be the drivers of the next leap of evolution as humanity. The alternative is to be driven by conditions produced by a collective consciousness of fear and ignorance.
“Our blind spot, from a person or people point of view, keeps us from seeing that we do indeed have greatly enhanced direct access to the deeper sources of creativity and commitment, both as individuals and as communities. It is one of our most hopeful sources of confidence because we can access a deeper presence, power, and purpose from within. From a structural point of view, the societal blind spot deals with the lack of these cross-sector action groups that intentionally operate from a future that wants to emerge. Instead, we see only special interest groups and three types of fundamentalism, each trying to solve our current mess in a single-minded way.”
~ C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U (LINK)
Going beyond our settled notions of what works and what doesn’t is essential. Only by breaking through to new developmental levels and to new ways of seeing at every level will we move forward with a minimum of suffering and loss. Yes, it is that serious; the effects of our past ignorance and greed are rising up as the planet’s immune system seeks to rid itself of the disease called fear-based humanity. We are the disease, not in our highest potential, but in our collective actions up until now.
“So what you can do on a personal level is let go of your attachment to the known. Sell off all stocks you’ve invested in your conditioned mental patterning and begin doing the hard inner work necessary to embrace the unknown and unknowable. Begin surprising yourself, and opening doors to allow life to surprise you. Take chances on new and unpredictable situations instead of taking refuge in the known and the familiar. Give less and less interest and attention to your conditioned, looping mental narratives and more and more to the uncontrollable present moment in which literally anything can be born.”
~ Caitlin Johnstone
I do not see my inner work as hard in itself; inner work is a joy. What is hard is peeling back the layers of the onion of my fears, limitations, entrenched beliefs, and biases. So I engage in my inner work, my daily practices, not a labor but as exploration in a field of love. My fears, limitations, entrenched beliefs, and biases are not held against me. They simply disappear when I replace them with a higher order of thinking and being. Our work together is serious and has huge consequences; it is too important to be left to chance. However, we must approach our individual work lightly, lovingly, with self-compassion and higher expectations. I know of no better way forward.
“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. I was so preposterously serious in those days… Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me…So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling…”
~ Aldous Huxley, Island
Copyright 2020 – Jim Lockard
I will be at the Centers for Spiritual Living Convention in Denver in February (CSL.org); also, I will be speaking at the Foothills Center for Spiritual Living Evergreen (LINK) on Sunday, February 16th and conducting a special interview with CSL Spiritual Leader, Dr. Kenn Gordon later that day at the Grand Hyatt Denver LINK to info – join us if you can!