JOSEPH CAMPBELL – THE HERO’S JOURNEY, PART 1 – THE CALL

The mythological motif called The Hero’s Journey represents a significant passage in human consciousness and experience – from one place to another; from one way of being to another; from one sense of self to another. In his classic book THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES (LINK) (LINK to PDF) Joseph Campbell (LINK) describes this almost universal motif across several of the world’s mythic traditions.

It is always an inner journey, and often as outer one as well. Hero’s Journeys can last a lifetime or a weekend. There are a number of stages to the journey, represented in this graphic:

Heroes Journey Graphic

The Call is the first step – we are enticed, encouraged, coerced, even kidnapped into a new experience. In some cases, we have no choice, in others we can accept or deny the call. When we deny the call, we also deny the treasure – the form of higher consciousness – which awaits us when we are successful in moving through the journey. We are called away from our comfort zone and deeper within to realize something that has not been called forth from within us before. It may be a whisper from within that it’s time for a new job or to alter a relationship; it may be leaving home for the first time to attend college or for a job; it may be being conscripted into the military or getting a diagnosis of cancer. There are many versions of The Call to the Hero’s Journey. We may be involved in several at once. Campbell writes of The Call as the moment of choice when the gods call us forward to a greater expression of ourselves. “Yes” means we begin the journey, “no” means that we stagnate, and perhaps putrefy.

“The hero’s journey has been compared to a birth: it starts with being warm and snug in a safe place; then comes a signal, growing more insistent, that it is time to leave. To stay beyond your time is to putrefy. Without the blood & tearing and pain, there is no new life.”

~ Joseph Campbell

 

“The usual hero adventure begins with someone from whom something has been taken, or who feels there is something lacking in the normal experience available or permitted to the members of society. The person then takes off on a series of adventures beyond the ordinary, either to recover what has been lost or to discover some life-giving elixir. It’s usually a cycle, a coming and a returning.” 

~ Joseph Campbell 

 

“If a person has had the sense of ‘the Call’ – the feeling that there’s an adventure for him — and if he doesn’t follow that but remains in the society because it’s safe and secure, then life dries up. And then he comes to a condition in late middle age: he’s gotten to the top of the ladder and found that it’s against the wrong wall.
If you have the guts to follow the risk, however, life opens, opens, opens up all along the line. I’m not superstitious, but I do believe in spiritual magic, you might say. If one follows what I call one’s bliss — the thing that really gets you deep in your gut and that you feel is your life – doors will open up. They do!”

~ Joseph Campbell

The Call is frightening at first. After we have been through the cycle a few times, we may come to welcome The Call, but it always signals a time of trial and deep learning. Our egos fear this process, as the role of the ego is to support the current worldview, the current consciousness. When we announce that we are changing, or are thrown into change, we upset the ego which resists the change process. How we deal with this resistance is a sign of our emotional and spiritual intelligence.

“Resistance blooms naturally in the presence of change. You will encounter resistance in attempts at ascendance, physical or spiritual. … Remember, though, that resistance is also a good omen. It means you’re close to something important, something vital for your soul’s work here, something worthy of you. … The degree of resistance … is probably proportionate to the amount of power waiting to be unleashed and the satisfaction to be experienced once the ‘no’ breaks through to ‘yes’ and the call is followed.”

~ Gregg Levoy

 The Hero’s Journey, when completed, is nothing short of transformational. The ego is right to fear it, for comfort and security are going to be set aside for exploration and the chance of personal growth and deep realization. There are any number of places along the way where you might choose to leave the pathway, the most critical being with the first step, The Call. Fear is the edge of your known reality, so taking leave of that reality is going to be scary and disturbing, even terrifying.

“In becoming a hero or heroine, we undertake the extraordinary task of dying to our current, local selves and being reborn to our eternal selves. And then we continue to travel deeper still until we reach the eternal place of sourcing and resourcing.
“There are two great works for heroes and heroines to perform. The first is to withdraw from everyday life and open ourselves to the inner creative life through which lie our only means of reaching the Source. The second work is to return to everyday life, carrying the knowledge we have gained in the depths and putting it to use to redeem time and society.”

~ Jean Houston

 

When we open to the journey, we align with the forces – the gods – seeking to drive us forward in our development. Our soul wants to experience the fullness of life, to be fulfilled in terms of experience and meaning in our lives. It is this inner urge which calls forth the Hero’s Journey, often unconsciously until the moment that The Call comes to our awareness. The motif of the journey will constantly arise in your life – in fact, the trajectory of your entire life can be seen as a Hero’s Journey. When we come into awareness and alignment with the dynamics of this motif, our pathways to self-development open to us. Saying “YES” begins the journey.

In Part 2, we will explore the second major leg of the journey – The Wasteland – Challenges & Temptations.

“Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us, the labyrinth is fully known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path.
And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.” 

~ Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

heros-journey girl

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

 

Copyright – Jim Lockard 2019

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THIS IS NOT A TEST: BECOMING A SPIRITUAL ADULT

“The universe is never testing you, it’s simply giving you an opportunity to practice all that you say you are.”

~ Maryam Hasnaa

The United States and much of the western (developed) world is in the midst of a temper tantrum. The last two times there were big temper tantrums, we had World Wars I&II, so this is serious business. There is a backlash from many who have been left behind by the increasingly rapid rate of cultural change unfolding across humanity. It is not all that surprising for those who are centered lower on the spiral to be reacting in an immature fashion, but we also have many centered higher on the spiral who are also behaving badly.

VMEMEs Simplified

The temper tantrum of the present has been elected into governments across the west, and more mature voices have been loudly criticized. Social media provides a platform for much of this behavior – the treatment of Senator John McCain and his family as he nears death is a good example. Immature and disdainful comments come from across social media and within the White House and no one there tries to silence them. We are institutionalizing immaturity.

To a significant degree this trend in our politics comes as an angry backlash to two things: the failure of political leaders to affect either the rapid rate of change or to find ways for those who do not adapt to that change to feel better about themselves (both impossible tasks); and, more pointedly, the clear disdain shown by many higher on the spiral for those who are centered at lower levels (“Deplorables” anyone?). When immaturity reigns across the spectrum, we cannot fulfill our potential. Maturity is staying balanced, focused, and, above all, compassionate despite the dissonance around you.

“What was overwhelming to the child can be borne by the adult if he or she has grown in consciousness.”

~ James Hollis, Jungian analyst

A critically important part of the process of learning and applying New Thought principles in one’s life is the realization of a more spiritually mature self. As Cindy Wigglesworth (LINK) and others have shown, spiritual maturity is built upon emotional maturity. Both are essential to heal human systems, whether at the national political level or at the spiritual community level.

SQ21 Intelligences Pyramid

From DEEPCHANGE.com

Spiritual maturity reveals itself at each developmental (spiral) level, but always includes a capacity for kindness and an acceptance of ambiguity. As James Hollis says:

“The test of a psychologically mature person, and therefore spiritually mature, will be found in his or her capacity to handle what one might call the Triple A’s: anxiety, ambiguity and ambivalence.”

~ James Hollis

This “test” is not an exam from the universe – it is simply the out-picturing of one’s consciousness – we are either in the range of spiritual maturity or we have not yet reached it. A spiritually mature person can face the realities of being human, which include anxiety, ambiguity, and ambivalence, while staying in balance. Perhaps spiritual maturity/intelligence is in part the capacity to experience sadness without turning it into resentment.

We are not, by ourselves, going to heal humanity or fix the world – we can, however, learn how to live in this world in a spiritually mature way and by doing that, ripples of influence are generated and added to the overall consciousness of humanity. We can become positive influencers by cultivating a presence of love, kindness, compassion, and personal accountability.

“If you’re looking at the world and not grieving…then you’re not Conscious. But if you’re looking at the world and not rejoicing in the miraculous possibilities for healing it…then you’re Spiritually Immature.”

~ Marianne Williamson

compassionate-heart-cloud

The spiritually mature person does not see life as a test, nor the world as a classroom, nor Spirit as some divine test proctor. Our lives are our reality, and we are designed to naturally learn and grow toward a fuller realization of our human capacities. These capacities are significant, and it takes a level of maturity to govern and express them with wisdom and compassion. New Thought principles are the best guides I have ever found for this journey of life, but we must practice them in increasingly expansive ways, for we are expansive beings. Our potential for growth is unending.

We are at choice in every moment – including every moment watching the news or scrolling through our social media feeds. How to receive information and how to respond are both choices which require some workvisualizing, affirming, meditating – to create our consciousness of being from which our reaction come. I want my reactions to be from the highest level of emotional and spiritual maturity which I can manage. Don’t you?

The only choice we have as we mature
is how we inhabit our vulnerability,
how we become larger and more courageous
and more compassionate
through our intimacy with disappearance.

~ David Whyte

Beautiful Beginnings

Until we can look upon our fellow humans (and ourselves) through eyes of love, compassion, and acceptance, we are not spiritually mature. If we make them “other” we lose our awareness of connection, and with it, our capacity for compassion. Seeing oneness means being exposed to sadness, but also to a mature version of hope – one which resonates heart to heart and mind to mind.

I am reflected in you and you in me. We share a universe which is beyond our capacity to know fully. May we bring the best of ourselves to each interaction, to every thought, action, and reaction. May Peace prevail on earth. #TheBelovedCommunity

‎”You are a child of innocence, born to wonder all your days. Do not believe it to be a gift that you lost somewhere along the way, as if the hurts you have done or that were done to you could steal its light from the center of your soul. Innocence is not the absence of pain, but the ability to face truth as an adult while still seeing with the eyes of a child. Innocence is hope. It is vision. It is love. God grant that each of us, for all the darkness we have endured, will always have the grace of innocence: the belief that what is to come will be better than what has been.”

~ Bishop Steven Charleston 

Your comments are appreciated. Thank you for reading. If you know of someone else who may find value in this post, or others on this blog, please feel free to share it with them.

Copyright 2018 – Jim Lockard

 

WHEN SPIRITUAL BYPASS BECOMES SPIRITUAL MALPRACTICE, PART 2

“Racism and spiritual bypassing are harmful in and of themselves, and their combination compounds the harm. Add gaslighting (LINK), and you’ve got an exponentially toxic brew. In this case, the manipulative elements and dizzying doublespeak were staggering. There were acknowledgements that racism had in fact occurred, followed by denials that it did, round and round. There were fauxpologies followed by defending, round and round. There were expressions of caring for those who had been hurt, immediately followed by not-so-subtle digs at them, round and round.”

~ Camille Williams,

When Spiritual Bypassing Meets Racism Meets Gaslighting (LINK)

GASLIGHT - American Poster 6

The term GASLIGHTING comes from this film.

In Part 1 of this series (LINK), we explored the phenomenon of spiritual bypassing and its effect on individuals and groups. I referenced the article by Robert Augustus Masters, PhDSpiritual Bypassing: Avoidance in Holy Drag (LINK). I encourage you to read Part 1 and the Masters’ article before reading this post, which follows up on ideas already presented.

The focus of my book, CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY (LINK), and of much of this blog, is to promote healthy spiritual leadership in New Thought (and other) spiritual communities, in part by writing about the difficult, often overlooked areas which deeply affect how spiritual leaders operate, and how followers perceive leadership. For a spiritual community to be in alignment with the creation of #TheBelovedCommunity, it must have both healthy leadership and healthy followership.

The second article referenced in Part 1 is a powerful one by Camille Williams, a blogger and essayist. In When Spiritual Bypassing Meets Racism Meets Gaslighting (LINK), she takes a dive into some of the most difficult places in spiritual communityracism and Gaslighting, as affected by spiritual bypassing. Her article focuses on an online exchange on spirituality, but one can easily see the same dynamics in a spiritual community of any denomination. Note that all of these negative issues arise from a lack of emotional and spiritual intelligence in one or more of the parties involved. Healing is needed and involves deep personal work, both individually and within the community.

“Willingness to push past our discomfort in these situations (spiritual bypassing & racism) is literally the rock bottom least of our responsibilities, considering the risks, abuses and indignities black and brown people and other marginalized groups live with on a daily basis. I think it helps to give some thought beforehand to different ways we might respond, so that when it happens we can think on our feet and not freeze in deer-in-the-headlights fashion.”

~ Camille Williams

When you read Ms. Williams article, note the many resources at the bottom. She also writes:

“If spirituality is an important part of your life (as it is for me), and/or if you place a high value on positive thinking, and especially if you’re a Law of Attraction enthusiast, please read about spiritual bypassing beyond the paragraph definition. . .. We need to understand the nature of this thing so we can actively avoid it, especially if the thing being bypassed, denied or oversimplified is the reality of systemic oppression and how it impacts people from marginalized groups. Side benefit: understanding this can help us deal with everything else in our own lives more skillfully, too”

~ Camille Williams

Those of us in New Thought can be particularly susceptible to spiritual bypassing for a few reasons.

  1. Our emphasis on positive thinking and how our thoughts create our experience of reality can lead us to fail to recognize unhealthy behaviors and attitudes. It’s easy to live in denial by saying things like “It’s ALL Good!
  2. Our unconscious biases can easily overlook the experience of those outside our race, gender, or class. Privilege exists in the unconscious and often manifests in New Thought as a failure to take into consideration anything beyond one’s thoughts as cause to their experience. Instead of, or in addition to, the common question, “What about a baby born with a disease?” we might also ask, “What about someone born as an oppressed person, or into a subculture with no access to New Thought principles?” To fail to consider this is to diminish the experience of many people, triggering feelings of guilt and shame and perhaps “otherness.” It might help to explain why New Thought is less diverse than it could be.
  3. In New Thought curricula (as far as I have experienced) we do not teach opposing points of view, except perhaps to denigrate them. A prescient post by Harriet Hawkins speaks to this (LINK). Unlike, say, the Jesuits, we are not taught to be critical thinkers regarding our teaching(s) as they relate to other worldviews. This can lead us to become unquestioning and refuse to see the limits of some aspects of our philosophy.
  4. We want everyone to feel good all the time, so we often refuse to acknowledge issues and experiences which do not reflect that desire. We tend to have a high tolerance for dysfunction and a low tolerance for ambivalence and we tend to want to see all worldviews as equally valid, even when there is evidence to the contrary.

None of this is to say that all spiritual bypassing leads to serious dysfunction, although it is produced by dysfunction. But, serious dysfunction will rarely occur in an atmosphere of spiritual authenticity. The reasons above make many of us more open to spiritual bypassing to avoid what is unpleasant or difficult. It can also reinforce our unconscious biases, leading to behaviors which marginalize othersracism, sexism, or “otherness.” These are very often major factors when spiritual communities go into crisis or decline.

“All great spirituality is about what we do with our pain. If we do not transform our pain, we will transmit it to those around us.”

~ Richard Rohr

 

“One way of measuring ego-strength and maturity of personality is to assess a person’s capacity to tolerate ambivalence. This capacity is closely related to the ability to feel empathy. It is all about tolerating otherness.”

~ Heidi M. Kolb

All of this comes together as a self-perpetuating system of unconscious behaviors, limiting our ability to really see ourselves and others, to feel empathy and express compassion, to be deeply present for others in our spiritual community and elsewhere.

SHADOW – PROJECTION – DENIAL – SPIRITUAL BYPASSING – NEED FOR CERTAINTY – EXCLUSION OF OTHERS – DENIAL – SHADOW – PROJECTION – DENIAL . . .  THE CYCLE CONTINUES.

Until we interrupt it.

While this must begin within each person, it is also a systemic issue – our culture is weighted with limited thinking and spiritual bypassing. It is time to face this and begin the process of leaving this particular set of limitations behind us. We will never be perfect at this, but we will get better at it. We know that we have no fear of a greater Truth being revealed – we welcome the healing potential of spiritual disruption!

As always, your comments are welcomed below. Please feel free to share this post with others who may be interested. If you like, you can sign up to follow the blog above and receive an email whenever a new post is published.

 

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 NOTE: I referred to an article by Robert Augustus Masters, and to several quotes from that article in Part 1 of this series in this post. At the time, I was generally unfamiliar with his work, other than an article on spiritual bypassing. I have since learned that he has admitted to abuse of students and members of a group which he led. I will not be referring to him or to his work again. – Jim Lockard October 2018

TOWARD A NEW POLITICAL PARADIGM – OUR HERO’S JOURNEY, PART 1

“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

We are being carried forward by tectonic cultural evolutionary dynamics, leaving old systems and solutions behind and needing to evolve and adapt so that we might create new systems and solutions for a newly emerging world. As we are seeing across the globe, the Star Trek admonition, “Resistance is futile,” is being experienced by those who cannot or will not adapt to changing Life Conditions. We are being called, in other words, into heroic action – where we may resist change but must accept change and adapt.

“Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves.”

~ Carol Pearson

 

Poster - Campbell Quote - Hero Journey

As we move through these times, it is increasingly clear that our current political models based on competition, conflict, and persuasion are increasingly corrupt and obsolete. We need new models, a new paradigm of how we govern ourselves. It is important that we see this and act to further its emergence, or we will drown in obsolete values systems and practices which are not sufficient to take on the complex challenges of our time. The time for using violence and the threat of violence to get our way is past its sell-by date. The time for seeing ourselves in competition with others (people, companies, nations) is past its sell-by date. The time for persuading others via marketing to mindlessly consume what they do not need as a basis for our economy is not only past its sell-by date, it is harmful and not sustainable. We are called to a new paradigm.

“There is no term in our culture for our infection by violence. There is no ‘violence-ism’ parallel to racism, anti-Semitism, sexism etc. Neither can there be. Because violence is at the source of them all. As Girard says, it is humanly generative. It’s the working of generative violence that bears its ill fruit in an ‘ism.’ Until we realize this we will not understand that our whole culture is in the grip of a ‘constitutional’ crisis of violence itself. And only an intention to deal with this root crisis, via reconciliation, peace-making, a program of disarmament, a politics that lifts up the poor, only this can make headway in our current situation.”

~ Anthony Bartlett

Peace - world

We must generate peace. We must find our authentic identity is Spirit and bring it forth, transforming our fears into empowerment and compassion. We must make sustainable living a priority – economically and politically. The times demand emotionally healthy, well-informed citizens working toward the creation of The Beloved Community – where resources are allocated fairly and there are no rewards for hoarding wealth or anything else. We must move beyond our concepts of race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, tribe, etc. and unite in the recognition that we are truly interdependent in our relationship with the earth and with one another. There is no other sustainable choice.

“Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with the people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can stand by, tickets you can run on. Intelligent humans make those choices with their brain and hearts and they make them alone. The world does not deliver meaning to you. You have to make it meaningful…and decide what you want and need and must do. It’s a tough, unimaginably lonely and complicated way to be in the world. But that’s the deal: you have to live; you can’t live by slogans, dead ideas, clichés, or national flags. Finding an identity is easy. It’s the easy way out.”

~ Zadie Smith

The meaning that we in New Thought bring to our lives is informed by our relationship in an Infinite Intelligence, or Spirit. This makes it natural for us to see compassion as a high functioning state for human beings. We can be for something and against nothing, as Ernest Holmes called us to do – but ONLY when we have done our spiritual practices and developed a high level of emotional and spiritual intelligence, so we are no longer drawn into drama, anger, or fear. And we are no longer concerned about whether others support us in our actions and beliefs. Some will, some will not.

Poster - Uncertainty

Also, we learn to live with the uncertainty of a near-term future for which there are no established maps. We must co-create it as we go, and this means that we must be at our best so that our mental energy is directed toward a positive and progressive expression of humanity. Along our path, there will be things which need to be hospiced, and we must recognize that there is a grieving process involved.

“Do we have the courage to hold the grief that comes with the end of a story? You can only hold the beginning if you are prepared to also hold the grief for what is over, otherwise a certain maturity is lacking. At this time, we are called upon to recognize the bigger story—which is not the story of supermarkets, not the story of politicians, not even the story of religious fanatics—but the story of the earth at this time.”

~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

As the quote at the top of the post by Neal Donald Walsh says, “Nothing is going to be the way it was before,” and we must be prepared for that eventuality, which, in fact, is already upon us. Change is uneven, both in time and space, and elements of the new are already manifest, while others have yet to emerge. The new world is coming at us from all directions very quickly. We do not have the luxury of wallowing in nostalgia or refusing this call to our heroic selves.

Finding Joe

“In becoming a hero or heroine, we undertake the extraordinary task of dying to our current, local selves and being reborn to our eternal selves. And then we continue to travel deeper still until we reach the eternal place of sourcing and resourcing. There are two great works for heroes and heroines to perform. The first is to withdraw from everyday life and open ourselves to the inner creative life through which lie our only means of reaching the Source. The second work is to return to everyday life, carrying the knowledge we have gained in the depths and putting it to use to redeem time and society.”

~ Jean Houston

In Part 2, I will explore more about the Hero’s Journey as it relates to a new paradigm for politics. As always, your comments are welcomed!

 

Copyright 2018 – Jim Lockard

 

 

CONSENSUS AND THE EVOLUTION OF PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS, PART 1

“You must constantly transcend your present positions, indeed, even perhaps contradict them altogether.”

~ Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Consensus (LINK) is a form of decision-making used in a number of New Thought organizations and spiritual communities. This series of posts is designed to explore the evolutionary nature of consensus and its pros and cons.

I believe that people and organizations (which are people in groups) evolve by design. That is, they change over time in a developmental manner, moving through generally understood stages of growth. Individuals and organizations evolve physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. They evolve toward greater complexity, an evolutionary process driven by the increasing complexity of the world around them. If they fail to adapt (evolve) to the external level of complexity (living conditions), they suffer to one degree or another, since they are unable to fully engage with the world in which they find themselves. If they get too far behind, their suffering is more serious.

Cartoon - Evolution - More Steps

In the individual, this evolutionary process involves many factors, as mentioned above – our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual natures are all evolving at different rates. It is important to understand concepts and models such as emotional intelligence (LINK), spiritual intelligence (LINK), Presencing (LINK), and Spiral Dynamics(LINK). We are at different places along the developmental measures of these various models and instruments; so, in effect, each of us has a different “evolutionary code”; we are unique in that way.

This, of course, makes groups and organizations even more complex mixtures of individuals and their developmental levels. I have explored a number of these factors in this blog over time, and in my book, CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY (LINK). Spiritual Leaders lacking an understanding of the dynamics involved will be at a loss to guide their communities forward through times of rapid external change. Decision making processes, the topic of this post, emerge like other elements of organizational behavior, as spiritual communities move on the spiral (see Spiral Dynamics LINK). We may think that we are having new ideas, but they are more a reflection of what is newly emerging within us as we adapt (or fail to) to increasing external complexity.

“Evolution has not shaped an all-knowing computer, but rather a modular computer for making different decisions based on different contexts.”

~ Jason Collins

Which brings me back to the Green Level of Existence, Values System, or vMEME (LINK) (LINK). Each level or vMEME on the spiral will have decision-making processes which align with the vMEME values of that level. For example, at Traditionalist-Blue, something resembling a monarchy with a form of bureaucracy is a likely decision model; at Modernist-Orange, we get democratic forms – people vote, and we get autocratic leadership in many settings.

Green vMEME

At Postmodernist-Green, where values include egalitarianism, relativism (one belief is no better nor worse than another), every voice must be heard, a bias against hierarchy, and a high regard for feelings, consensus is often the decision-making process that is favored. Before I go into the pros and cons of consensus decision-making in Part 2 of this series, I need to point something out. Those centered at Green strive to be non-judgmental and they seek intimacy in groups and spiritual community. This arises due to the immense complexity of thought at the Green level. It creates a broader and deeper view of possibility, and widens the field of choice, but at a cost. I’ll let philosopher Ken Wilber point out an issue with Green’s tendency toward no judgements:

“It’s the calamity you’ve discussed, the calamity of our generation, that we’ve come to think that you’re morally good if you don’t make judgments. But that’s exactly wrong. You’re morally good if you make the right kind of judgments. And you have to learn how to make wise judgments in order to make moral decisions. But what we do, because we understandably don’t want to marginalize anyone or unfairly judge, is to say, therefore, don’t judge at all. And so we stand back with no moral compass, no judgments, no discriminating wisdom, and basically the whole show goes to hell because of that. So in the midst of saying that nothing is better or worse than anything else, even on a relative plane, if you then have an experience of satori or kensho or oneness, it reinforces your broken moral compass. And this broken moral compass, combined with your realization, is what you call spirituality.”

~ Ken Wilbur

When it comes to making decisions, holding people accountable, and dealing with conflict, spiritual leaders who are centered at Green often find themselves unable to act clearly and forcefully. Green tends to have a high tolerance for dysfunction due, in part, to the value of not upsetting people. Green-centered leadership will often let disruptive behavior go on for some time without speaking up about it, as being non-judgmental becomes more important than accountability. This creates real problems for the spiritual community, who must operate in a sub-optimal atmosphere. Also, the fact that Green is the level where spiritual communities are often moving toward a possible transition to 2nd Tier (LINK), the absence of strong leadership can be devastating.

In Part 2, I will look at the pros and cons of decision-making by consensus, and why that form of decision-making works only at the Green Level of Existence.

As always, your comments are encouraged! Please consider following this blog and sharing the link with your friends.

Photo Jul 04, 1 26 08 PM.jpg

My view this week in Connemara, Ireland

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

 

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CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY:

A Handbook for Spiritual Leadership,At

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And at DEVORSS.COM

THE PARIS ACCORDS: WHERE IS OUR GOOD?

I am so tired of waiting,
Aren’t you
For the world to become good
And beautiful and kind?

~ Langston Hughes 

Beautiful Earth 3

Every New Thought philosophy has in common the idea that we create our own experience by means of our conscious thoughts and feelings and that whether we are feeling empowered or in fear, that feeling tends to become realized in our experience. When we perceive that we are in danger or in crisis, we naturally have a fear response, however, whether we remain in fear is our decision.

Since the U.S. election, there has been a great deal of uncertainty and fear among many, especially those who prefer that progressive policies come out of the government. Fear about global warming is in great evidence as President Trump announced that he was taking the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

I have been taught to ask a question whenever I perceive something that generates fear within me – Where is my good?

Where is my good in the actions of the current U.S. administration?

Where is my good in the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Agreement?

Where is my good in global warming?

The answer is always – My Good is within me, right now.

The Law of Mind is working perfectly, in me, around me, and through me. When I bring my thoughts and feelings into alignment with this Truth, I am able to bring my inner wisdom and compassion to bear. When I am in fear, these qualities are more difficult to access; the fear clouds my inner consciousness and denies me access. My access to Spirit within is diminished.

“Be careful to differentiate between the Law of Mind and the Spirit. The Law of Mind is a mathematical and impersonal force operating upon your thought images. This Law is like other laws of nature and should be thought of in this light. Life Itself is a spiritual Presence in the universe – the Infinite Person back of all personality. It is warm, colorful and responsive. It is the essence of love, beauty and wisdom. If we live close to nature we shall always be using the Law of Mind constructively and only good can follow.”

~ Ernest Holmes, The Art of Life 

I use The Law of Mind to guide me to Spirit within, or Spirit-As-Me. This is where my wisdom and compassion lie. Fear clouds my vision and appears to block my good like the clouds in the sky appear to block the sun. When fear arises in me, I lose my ability to discern clearly what my true inner dynamics are and how I can bring them to bear on my experience of the outer world.

My Good is in my elevated response to the world around me.

However many holy words you read,
However many you speak,
What good will they do you
if you do not act upon them?
~ Buddha

The greater good from the U.S. withdrawal is already unfolding – for one thing, more people are stepping into positive action. There is a growing realization that progressive action must come from us – the collective “we” who seek a healthy planet to live on and to pass on to future generations. Something has been unleashed, or if you will, awakened. Something that represents a greater good. The world is seeing that a healthy planet is not automatically theirs and that large institutions cannot be expected to work toward this goal if it does not increase their bottom line or meet their political goals. People from state and local politicians to individual citizens are beginning to step forward. Awakening to reality is part of our good.

“Do all the good you can.

By all means you can.

In all the ways you can.

In all the places you can.

At all the times you can.

To all the people you can.

As long as you ever can.”

~ John Wesley

It is my view that those of us in New Thought have an additional responsibility beyond taking action. And within that responsibility is our greatest opportunity. That responsibility is to act wisely and compassionately, from a deep sense of spiritual realization; the opportunity is to have the experience of that spiritual realization. We must move beyond the fear of humanity’s demise and stand in a greater revealed Truth. We utilize the challenges of life as keys to unlock ever greater levels of wisdom and compassion within ourselves, and we bring these to bear on those challenges. We do so with humility, emotional and spiritual intelligence, and from the realization that the essence of who and what we are is eternal.

 “We believe that when the human mind, individually and collectively, needs a new truth, out of the necessity of the desire comes the truth it needs. Everything we know in philosophy and science proves it. Out of the desire for a greater good come ways and means for creating the greater good; and if every person made a demand upon Intelligence for the solution to the present world problems, through the minds of those people who are our national leaders would come an adequate and happy solution. That is in line with what we know about the way Life works.”  

~ Ernest Holmes

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)

And at DEVORSS.COM

cbccoverkindle

DEEP CALLS UNTO DEEP – WHAT THEY DON’T TELL YOU AT SUNDAY SERVICES, PART 4

How to Create a Welcoming Atmosphere for Deep Spirituality in a Spiritual Community

 Spiritually Mature Subject Matter

“The best place to start on these complex initiatives is to get to the bottom, to the deepest tectonic plates that grind and gravitate from the past, shape and structure the present, and extend their stress fractures well into the future. All this happens in spite of our very best efforts on the surface. Until we go deep with major repair and realignment technologies, each succeeding generation will sing: ‘All we are say-ing is give peace a chance.’”

~ Phyllis Philomena Blees, President, Peace Through Commerce, Inc.

If you have read this series of posts (LINK), and agree there is value in having depth of spiritual awareness, practices, and realization in your spiritual community, you might be asking, how do I promote this? That is the subject of this final post in the series.

FIRST, LEADERSHIP

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

~ Parker Palmer

 Spiritual Leadership is the essential element in the development of the atmosphere of a spiritual community. Leader(s) do this in a variety of ways. First and foremost, by being an example of the consciousness of sacred calling and personal mastery. This does not mean having no issues or knowing how to do everything. It means that one has clearly prepared in consciousness for the role; that one is a living example of the application of the teaching.

A second very important element is the setting of expectations. Are attendees encouraged to engage in deep spirituality? Are they consciously directed toward attending spiritual classes, engaging in spiritual conversations, and doing rigorous daily spiritual practices? This may seem elemental, and yet, I have seen many spiritual communities where little or nothing is expected of those who attend. Instead, there is a constant begging for donations, volunteering, class attendance, etc.

I swear, if I hear one more Sunday announcement like this, I will SCREAM:

This Wednesday’s Midweek Service features Rev. (not the spiritual leader) speaking on “Your Inner Power.” Please come out and support Rev. (not the spiritual leader).

How about Rev. (not the spiritual leader) supporting those who attend?

How about Rev. (not the spiritual leader) being known for delivering such amazing talks that you can’t keep the crowds small even if you charge admission and have a dress code? How about Rev. (not the spiritual leader) being known for such great depth and gravitas that she or he draws those who seek deep spirituality with ease? How about we stop apologizing, in effect, for letting this person speak, and find someone who has something to say? Spiritual Leader – why are you allowing this to happen in your spiritual community? Rant over.

SECOND, LEADERSHIP MUST BE EVOLUTIONARY

‎”I am personally convinced that one person can be a Change Catalyst, a ‘Transformer’ in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a Transforming Leader.”

~ Stephen Covey

Leadership is the key to the atmosphere and experience of spiritual community – not 100% of it, but the most significant part. And leadership in today’s world of spirituality needs to be evolutionary. That means that the leader(s) understands psychological and cultural development; recognizes that there are several developmental levels present in any group and that everyone is on a developmental pathwayemotionally, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. It also means that leaders are constantly in the business of developing leadership qualities in their students.

If this is so (and it is), is the process of teaching students in your spiritual community based upon the evolutionary developmental nature of learning? Or is everyone treated the same in every class; anyone can take any class at any point in their personal development? Is curriculum design and structure based on past, limited understanding of personal and cultural development? Or is there a deep understanding of the evolutionary nature of emergence?

“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

Naturally, this need to have an evolutionary consciousness is in addition to having the talent to speak, teach, counsel, organize, manage, and lead. It is in addition to financial savvy, conducting great meetings, doing some conflict management, knowing how to dress and to be on time. All of this is necessary as well. However, if the leader is not coming from a deep understanding of evolutionary and developmental perspectives, and has not done her own deep work, the following will be true:

“An elemental law of psychology confirms that what is not faced in the developmental tasks of the parent will be visited upon the child. So it is true that what is not faced by corporate or collective leadership will be carried as a problem by the employees or members.”

~ James Hollis, Jungian Analyst

I strongly suggest that competent evolutionary leadership is the key to successful spiritual community in the post-postmodern world in which we currently live. Although it is NOT a substitute for competencies in other areas of spiritual leadership.

Leadership woman

That said, we also need to recognize that some come into spiritual leadership unprepared or needing greater emotional and spiritual maturity, or who experience setbacks or burnout (LINK). While this is not the topic of this post (see my book LINK for more on this), it is something which both local spiritual communities and spiritual organizations need to give serious attention.

THIRD, A PATH TO DEEP SPIRITUALITY.

Does your spiritual community have a clear pathway for those who desire to study, practice, and live their spirituality deeply? Those centered in the Postmodernist-Green Level of Existence (LINK) on the spiral, may see this as elitism or labeling – remember the high value that Green places on egalitarianism. We need to see that everyone will not be interested in or have the aptitude for deep spiritual study, practice, and realization; and if we do not serve those who are, the entire spiritual community will suffer – it will have no core of deeply spiritual members to positively affect the vibration of the whole community. I think you know what I mean by that.

Deep spirituality from a developmental standpoint, helps one develop empathy – the capacity to experience a true sense of Oneness with others. Empathy is realized through an evolutionary process of awakening within each person, which must include deep psychological and spiritual work. Empathy is the important attribute to harmony in spiritual community. When empathy exists, truth can be spoken into a field of emotionally and spiritually intelligent receptivity. Things are not taken personally because the sense of feeling diminished has been healed.

“You have to do the work to develop real empathy. There’s a cost to evolving: if you want your soul to cross the line, there’s no way around emotional work. Face that deep pain, and you gain tremendous compassion for yourself. You feel compassion for those who have hurt you because they were hurt themselves. To really make yourself available to consciously create a new future, you have to do that work.”

~ Bruce Sanguin

New Thought spiritual leaders are in the business of developing spiritually realized beings. In the center where I took classes, the dividing line of sorts was practitioner class. One did not have to desire to become a licensed practitioner to take that class, but one did have an in-depth interview with the spiritual leader to get into the class. Those who indicated a strong desire to deepen their spiritual awareness and practices, and who already had a regular spiritual practice and worked with a practitioner were allowed into the class. Many of those dropped out as the class went along, due to the rigor of high expectations (there were other classes for them to take). But it was a breeding ground, if you will, for deep spiritual realization. And it worked pretty well.

 Baby reading Deepak

 

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

HOW TO BE EFFECTIVE AT ENGAGED SPIRITUALITY, PART 1

“Never forget that social justice is what love looks like in public” 

~ Cornel West

The debate in New Thought circles about whether, or to what extent, to engage in spiritually motivated social activism focused on social justice is an active and controversial one. Those on the Centers for Spiritual Living Ministers’ List Serve are well aware that this topic surfaces again and again.

I think that the best term I’ve heard for such involvement is Engaged Spirituality. What is often omitted from the conversation is the idea that engaged spirituality in support of social justice is best viewed as a moral action, not a partisan action; and therefore is a principled activity – and any spiritual community choosing to so engage must make that clear in word and deed.

1a Activism

A concern of some spiritual leaders is that should a spiritual community or a spiritual organization take a position or take action in some area that there may be those who do not support such actions, or who find it offensive to their own political beliefs. The choice, however, is not merely whether to engage with the world outside the walls of the spiritual community, for all action, and all inaction, are forms of engagement.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”  

~ Bishop Desmond TuTu

The choice is more about how to presence oneself in engagement – how to show up in terms of deep spiritual development and realization. Spiritual leaders cannot hide from the moral and human issues of the day.This is true whether the choice is to remain silent or to speak out on any given issue. In either case, it is important to realize the need to be prepared to enter the arena of engaged spirituality. It is a demanding way of life.

“There is a pervasive form of modern violence to which the idealist…most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence.

“To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence.

The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his (or her) work… It destroys the fruitfulness of his (or her)…work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”

~ Thomas Merton

beloved-community-i-have-a-dream

When we are unprepared, spiritually and psychologically, for the world of engaged spirituality, we commonly fail to bring the change we desire. We are more likely to militarize than to be compassionate, more likely to distance others from our point of view than to change minds. We project our own fears and inadequacies onto others and we lose ground rather than gain it. Before we decide to engage in activism of any kind, we need to make sure that we are spiritually and psychologically prepared to make that decision wisely with a compassionate heart.

“Our unwillingness to see our own faults and the projection of them onto others is the source of most quarrels, and the strongest guarantee that injustice, animosity, and persecution will not easily die out.”

~ C.G. Jung, Depth Psychology and Self-Knowledge

As I note in my book, CREATING THE BELOVED COMMUNITY: A HANDBOOK FOR SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP (LINK), a first step in engaged spirituality is to do your own spiritual and psychological work. A high degree of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) are essential. Spiritual Leaders must be doing their own work, and ensuring that those whom they teach are adequately prepared to engage in any form of social action.

“I cleanse the windows of my mind, that I may become a mirror reflecting inspiration from the Most High.”

~ Ernest Holmes

Here, Dr. Holmes gives us clear guidance as to what it is we seek – to be clear as Spirit AS us. We must go past our shadow selves and heal our woundedness to be clear in our decisions and actions. Nothing less will do. Clarity must reign over confusion.

“Most people do not see their beliefs. Instead, their beliefs tell them what they see. This is the simple difference between clarity and confusion.”

~ Matt Kahn

spiritual-latest

Our first step is to begin an ongoing process – Do our spiritual practices regularly and deeply to build the consciousness of clarity needed to make wise and loving choices. Until we are in a place of personal dominion over our thoughts and feelings, we are ill-equipped to enter any contentious arena. And the area of engaged spirituality is such a place.

“(One’s) mind should swing from inspiration to action, from contemplation to accomplishment, from prayer to performance.”

~ Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind

In Part 2, we will explore the elements of the decision for those in New Thought to engage in spiritually motivated activism, both individually and in community.

Copyright 2017 – Jim Lockard

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.

photo-1-coaching-program

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