Introducing the Center for World Spirituality’s new blog with a global vision based on Integral principles

An Enlightenment of Fullness for the rising dawn of the 21st century

Joe Perez and Stuart Davis in Dialogue, Part 1: The Future of Art and Integral

Stuart DavisBy Joe Perez

Last month, I engaged in dialogue with Stuart Davis, a contemporary American musician, actor, and stand-up comic. With over 10 full-length music albums to his credit, including the brand new Music for Mortals, Davis has bravely brought depth and spirituality into popular culture — including the topics of God, sex and death — crafting them into lyrical and memorable pop songs.

This is the first of a three-part series of posts. In this section of the interview, I speak with Stuart about the topics of the future of Integral, spirituality, celebrities and popular culture.

Part 1: The Future of Art and Integral

(or: What if Kim Kardashian Endorsed World Spirituality Tomorrow?)

Joe Perez: As an introduction to this interview, let me say that I did a board retreat for the Center for World Spirituality last month [February] and met a couple of dozen of people contributing to World Spirituality in different fields working in this area that nobody even knows about. The more I am exposed to that, I think, there really seems to be something bubbling up in the world right now. And then there is the article by Terri [Patten] and Marco [Morelli], “Occupy  Integral!” that people are talking about… Did you read that?

Stuart Davis: I think I did read that, a couple weeks ago.

Joe: Their basic idea being that there is something about Integral that hasn’t completely entered the cultural consciousness yet, and so there’s a discussion around what needs to happen, where are we at, what is this moment, and how can we best rise to the potential of the moment. What’s your take on all that, Stuart?

Stuart: I couldn’t agree more for starters. To go back to the initial, for me when this first started, the passion about integral entering the public consciousness at large, however you want to frame that, let’s say crossing over the threshold into something that’s bigger than our own private club, whatever that means in different domains. When I first encountered Integral, I encountered something that many people probably do, and I didn’t realize what it was. But when you get that initial hit of Integral and you begin to crackle alive in that regard, you have this sense, almost tactile, not just an idea or a promise, but you can feel it in your gut. And that promise is Integral taking its place and inhabiting its portion of the body of humanity, growing, being a truly emergent, novel dimension coming to life. And we all sense that.

SESAnd what I think has been interesting to navigate and process is that when I first felt that, I felt it was just a few years away. I felt it was just a few years away. It was 1998. When I first read Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality and first met Ken [Wilber]. I just had this certitude that it was pregnant, that we were giving birth, and it felt to me that the baby was crowning. Right, so I began, much in the fashion that people who think the apocalypse is coming, and that’s been going on for centuries, I began to prepare and anticipate and behave and conduct myself as though that promise was emergent and it wouldn’t be long, it would be just a few years, that you could turn on the NBC, or feel it coming from the White House, that it was going to enter into every domain.

I was really intoxicated for many years, and I was really wrong about a lot of timelines. I’ve felt the same certitude that I felt back then. It’s either inevitable because we’re talking about human development here. Either this is coming down the pipeline… or there won’t be humans around. Because we’ve never seen humans not develop. But on the other hand I will fully admit that I was really wrong about the timeline, what it was going to take, and specifically in the realm I can speak most precisely from, which is entertainment, because where I work is movies and film, television and books. I felt an immediacy that has turned out to be much more difficult. This inevitable process occurring I way underestimated in the people that I work with. I would say the way that I feel about it is that: Yes, I read that article and I have felt ever since day one that it’s occurring and I would qualify it by saying I’ve also been wrong about the timeline and how hard it would be. “Hard” in quotes. It’s a beautiful difficulty. It’s tough.

Joe: I was reading an article recently about youth today – specifically 18-to-19-year-olds. They’re less political, less concerned about the environment, and they’re turned off by organized religion, thinking it’s become very judgmental. But what’s most interesting in what I noticed is in what they ARE engaged with. If young people are to be recruited into politics, they said, it will be from selective use of entertainment media, celebrities, Facebook, Twitter and mobile technologies with forms of participation limited in their duration, sophistication, and intensity. You’re closer to this than I am. Do you think entertainment, celebrities, and social media can help to reengage youth into a developmental path?

TrendingStuart: What a great question. That brings to mind the pop song. That has been my experience with the pop song since day one. The greatest triggers and invitations I have experienced have come through these brief, concise, but potent pop song type piece of pop art. Some of them literally pop songs.  I have had moments of mystical insights that were unrivaled, more effective than anything I learned in church … Does that mean that pop songs are more effective, or is it just my typology, or something about how I’m put together? I do think that there is in a deeper place, my conviction is that art existed before organized and conventional religion, and it will exist after.

To me, art and the creative impulse and the way that it comes alive in us is primary and more enduring than some of the structures that will come and go. I don’t think religion is on the way out in the next century or two. Maybe a few millennia if we’re still around. I believe art will always endure. I personally find art much — even if it’s a three-minute pop song — I find it to be a more gratifying and effective channel for me to connect with the Mystery and with the Spirit. So definitely pop music is my Church. … So that’s my yes to that kind of thing. Yes, kids, three-minute pop-songs, stand-up comedy, television shows, movies. I have always felt personally that they’re more effective, meaningful on the whole than sitting in a pew for an hour and a half or whatever than the things that kids think are antiquated…

But the other half of this is that… I have miscalculated many times. I have predicted and anticipated that there would be some sweeping movement that would come up through these artistic domains (television and film and music), and I have seen a tension – not a contradiction — that it something I don’t know how it’s going to solve itself. I know on the one hand people like you and Saul Williams, I know so many creative, deeply insightful, awakened people working and making amazing profound work that has transformed my life. I feel that going on in the culture. It’s coming to life. It’s got a very significant presence. I believe it will exponentially increase. But on the other hand, getting it to the mainstream, a larger populace, has not occurred. And I don’t know why.

Music for MortalsIt’s very curious to me especially as someone who sits in meetings with television networks and film studios and who has worked for years in Hollywood working passionately to cultivate this in a larger audience and it hasn’t happened yet. The reasons it hasn’t happened have been fascinating to me. I’m still learning about that. It’s a tough one. Sometimes I’m left…  I had a bit of a dark night of the soul actually last year, which is partly what about when my album came out of. I’m divided about it. What those kids seem to be saying, I sign on with that. I think a couple thousand years from now art and creativity will be a bigger part of the body of spirituality and religion than sitting in buildings, the way things are today … but it’s very mysterious how things unfold. The culture doesn’t know about these artists yet. You can’t even test and determine —

One of the things I keep coming up against in television: executives are capable of perceiving that there are tens of millions of people who are hungry for things they’re not getting. I know I’m one of them. I wish there were more movies that came from a depth and a span and were more entertaining from a place of substance and mystery. I feel that about television, film, and music. I want more of that. If they make more, I will buy it. People look at that and know it exists. And then they look to the creative side, and when people come to them with those projects, they get very paranoid about putting them into development and actually making them because the risk to their job, the unpredictability of betting on something that doesn’t exist, that hurdle is one that is very difficult to get over. Not just for me. The abortion rate of those projects in those industries is multiples higher than the average death rate.

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian

Joe: Still on the same topic… A couple of months ago I heard about this young guy, 28 years old, his name is Mastin Kipp. He has a new age, daily positive thinking Facebook page and Twitter. He had next to nothing. And then he somehow got a celebrity, Kim Kardashian, to tweet about him, and the next day he had 10,000 readers, and pretty soon that turned into 50,000 and 100,000, and so forth, and a couple of years later he finds himself listed on a list of the 100 most spiritually influential people in the world. I’m sure it took a ton of hard work on his part, but it all started with a tweet by Kim Kardashian.

This is the world we live in. Lady Gaga just hit 49,531,259 Facebook likes. One endorsement from a celebrity like Lady Gaga to her fans related to the Integral world – it’s going to be mocked by those people who think the scene is all about chasing celebrities all because some celebrities gave interviews with Ken Wilber a couple of years ago (there’s always those people out there who will say you’re not serious if you’re dealing with pop culture). But let’s push that aside. What’s the possibility of getting that attention? It ought to be exciting to people. It ought to be able to generate some juice. Don’t you think?

Stuart: I think that’s such a great point. Not only will it get mocked, but it will be derided and set this avalanche into play. The haters will come in, etc. But the truth about is: you know this as a creative person who has anchored your work in depth and substance is that you can’t do anything. There’s nothing you can do, even a celebrity on reality TV, and people will attack you for that. Or you can be Ken Wilber. Pick anyone who made anything and put themselves out there and they’re attacked. That’s inevitable; it doesn’t have anything to do with Integral. It has to do with making something in the world. When you get Julia Ormond or Sharon Stone or Larry Wachowski, the celebrities who have come into Integral and worked with Ken, that has triggered this allergy. But it’s not unique with integral. I have seen over and over again artists or figures who have worked with great loyalty to the Mystery for years and years, loyal to the creative impulse. Nothing has changed about that work, but it becomes successful, and the people who supported them now resent them.

HollywoodI think people want to keep the party small, they don’t want it to be popular. It’s not cool anymore. It’s a sndyndrome. What I’ve always loved about Integral, is its impulse to include and inhabit more. As long as this is our private tree club up in the mountain, it’s irrelevant.  If Love is what we’re really loyal to, there’s no way in good conscience we can withhold our work and our presence from trying to enter into the largest part of humanity. If your loyalty is to Love, not only can you not withhold that, you have to pursue that with the greatest diligence.

That being said, I think it is difficult. It is my experience every day that it’s confusing and problematic waking up knowing that (a) under the loyalty to Love and that principle, you have to dedicate yourself to try to introduce and engage with as many humans as possible – television and film in my case — and (b) trying to not to get sticky, desperate, or nedy or greedy about that. It’s very tough. The ambition and drive to bring your Dharma to life in this lifetime will always comingle and magnetize the negative inversions which are greed, neediness, stickiness. I’ve never figured out a way to cleanly divide those and cleanly divided and separated. Every morning I wake up and go through it again. I address those questions a dozen times a day. I don’t anticipate it will ever go away. But it doesn’t mean you can stop working for Love.

I think celebrities… When I see Sharon Stone or a Larry Wachowski or whoever and I hear people deriding that, implying that it’s going to be the death of Integral or the death of our integrity, it’s really confusing to me. I don’t know Sharon Stone from a hole in the ground, but I know she showed up in our community and wanted to focus attention on that work, that’s all I really know. And that’s fucking incredible.  … and that’s beautiful. And we need so much more of that.


Stay tuned for more… in Part 2 (coming soon), Stuart and Joe discuss the topic of “beautiful people” and more.

The Daily Wisdom: The Perception of Love

Lao Tzu

“Lao Tzu” by Jane Small, an artist on Fine Art America | Available for purchase at http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/jane-small.html

From The Mystery of Love:

For some passages in the Zohar, the mysteries of the cherubs are virtually a synonym for unity consciousness. The Zohar understands the union of the cherubs as symbolic of the union of all opposites. This is what mystic Abraham Kook means when he writes, “While all qualities have their opposite, good and evil, life and death, and even holy and profane–there is no opposite to the Holy of Holies.” The Holy of Holies is the place that overwhelms all distinctions. That which unites opposites, writes Kook, is love. It is love–the perception of the infinite Divine in all of reality–that allows us to embrace both paris in the opposition as glimmerings of the one.

The Chinese master Lao-tzu saw this clearly when he said all opposites arise simultaneously and mutually:

Is there a difference between yes and no?
Is there a difference between good and evil?
Must I fear what others fear? What nonsense.
Having and not having arise together
Difficult and easy complement each other.

To suggest otherwise, writes Chuang Tzu, is not “to apprehend the great principles of the universe or the nature of creation.”

What does all this mean? Ultimately reality is a unity of opposites. What that means is that there are no real boundaries. True wisdom is the sweetness of integration and union. Ultimately the world of two does not exist in the deepest reality. To love is to reach for the radical divine presence in all that is. To love is to know that ultimately there are no boundaries. And yet the road to the circle in which everything is on the inside is through the line. Ethics is the Hebrew mystic’s path to eros.

Researchers probe relationship between analytical thinking and religiosity

The Thinker

According to a story in The Raw Story, a group of Canadian psychologists has concluded that directing test subjects to think “analytically” lowers their level of religious belief. Their research was published in this week’s issue of Science. A look at the study’s methodology, however, reveals misguided assumptions.

Test subjects were given a problem-solving test, shown a picture of Rodin’s famous sculpture “The Thinker,” and given a questionnaire asking participants how much they agreed with statements such as “I believe in God.” When these subjects were compared to control subjects not given problem-solving tasks, and presumably not shown a picture of “The Thinker,” the group subjected to the problem-solving tests were less likely to admit to having religious beliefs.

The Raw Story says:

Psychologists have long believed that humans rely on two different cognitive systems, one “intuitive” and the other “analytical,” and previous research has pointed to a link between intuitive thinking and religious belief.

“Our findings suggest that activating the ‘analytic’ cognitive system in the brain can undermine the ‘intuitive’ support for religious belief, at least temporarily,” study co-author Ara Norenzayan explained.

Philip Ball, Ph.D., a freelance science writer, responds in Nature, noting that the study uses an inadequate definition of religion. Ball:

The authors state that they “focused primarily on belief in and commitment to religiously endorsed supernatural agents” — they examined beliefs in God, the devil and angels. That, of course, already assumes a Judaeo-Christian context, but there are plenty of devout believers who have no need of angels or the devil, and some who perhaps have no need of a belief in God in a traditional or Christian sense (Max Planck was one such example).

This hints at the key problem, which is (or ought to be) as much a quandary for religion itself as for scientific studies of it. Almost all of the questions in Gervais and Norenzayan’s study related to religion as a literalist folk tradition — an aspect of lifestyle. This is how it manifests in most cultures, but that barely touches on religion as articulated by its leading intellectuals: for Christianity, say, philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas, David Hume, Immanuel Kant and George Berkeley. The idea that the beliefs of those individuals would have vanished had they been more analytical is, if nothing else, amusing. Gervais and Norenzayan’s findings should help to combat religion as an indolent obstacle to better explanations of the natural world. But it can’t really engage with the rich tradition of religious thought.

Ball’s point is a good one, though from a wider perspective even his objections don’t fully identify the limitations of the study. For starters, there is not only the problem that belief in God is a “Judeo-Christian” belief as opposed to, say, Buddhists; there is the issue that there are many different levels of belief in God, or many different stations of life in which belief in God expresses itself. There are child-like forms of religious belief, mature and immature adult forms. Ball notes that religion is filled with intellectuals with highly refined analytical skills (he doesn’t take this a step further to note that there are different structure-stages of religious expression that ought to be considered separately).

Another issue with the study is that while the authors may only publish narrow findings about the difference between analytical and intuitive psychological types, their study is likely to be interpreted narrowly as a test of whether religious people are stupider than non-religious people, and to reinforce the idea that spirituality is dumb. I’m not quite sure why this study is considered non-offensive when a study examining whether people of different races or socio-economic statuses are more analytical or intuitive.

Spirituality expresses itself in a myriad of ways, and an Integral perspective includes both intuitive and analytical types, and has room for believers with a philosophical or non-philosophical bent. Tests seemingly designed to show that spiritual people are dumb are insulting.

The Daily Wisdom: Your Unique YES

Mountain Flower

By Marc Gafni

Reprinted from Your Unique Self (forthcoming, Integral Publishers).

Love is a perception of the infinite specialness, the full uniqueness, of the beloved. To love another is to say Yes to their Unique Presence, to their Unique Being and Unique Becoming The greatest of love affairs begins with a simple imprint of Yes.

Remember, we come into this world trailing clouds of glory with core knowledge of our omnipotence, beauty, infinite power, and infinite potential. And then we hear a chorus of voices for the first ten years of our lives, and the only word they seem to be saying is No, No, No. We gradually come to associate maturity with saying No. When an idea or new direction comes up, our first response is why it can’t work. We are brilliant at it. Even the most simpleminded person becomes a genius when it comes to saying No. We can think up twenty reasons why it will not work before we can think up two reasons why it could. We have all become Dr. No with advanced degrees. But somewhere deep inside, the Yes remains, an eternal child of your Unique Self. We know on the inside of the inside that Yes is the answer.

One of the great literary masterpieces of the twentieth century is James Joyce’s Ulysses. Joyce spends reams of pages portraying the No reality encountered in the streets of Dublin by the main character, Leopold Bloom. Joyce masterfully maps the life of the archetypal human as a series of unnecessary losses. The death of Bloom’s son and father, his daughter’s leaving, the passing of his youth, and finally the adultery of his wife. Yet in the last scene of the book, Bloom returns home to his sleeping wife. Nevermind it is a recently desecrated bed. Nevermind he sleeps with his feet at her head. It is still home, the erotic haven of the inside. The book ends with a crescendo of Yes. As his wife feigns sleeping, we float along in her stream of consciousness, finally concluding with reminiscences of the early ecstatic hours of her and Leopold’s love. It is a definitive return to Yes:

And then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes

The Yes here is sexual. The sexual in this passage models the eros of life. The overwhelming perfume of this sexual Yessing signifies hope, promise, and possibility in the most expanded erotic sense. For the sexual is the full ecstatic urgency of the urge to merge and the urge to emerge throbbing inside of us. This final Yes has magically transformed the seven-hundred-plus pages of modern existentialist Nos. It was James Joyce who reminded us that Yes is a feminine word that signifies the end of all resistance.

The high priests entering the Holy of Holies once a year say Yes with every step. The cherubs murmur to each other, “Yes, yes.” The Temples of God and Man are built with Yes stones. The Presence of God is a great green light that says, “Yes, you are gorgeous. Yes, I need you.” The Uni-verse is an open entryway, crowned by a neon Yes sign. To be lived as love is to know that—as Wallace Stevens reminds us.

After the final No comes a Yes. In those heart-opening moments when truth suddenly bursts through your everyday routines, you know that the purpose of your life is to uniquely incarnate in the story of your life the love-intelligence that governs the Uni-verse. Are you willing to utter a sacred “Yes!” to your conscious participation in the evolution of consciousness?

To awaken and say Yes to the unique invitation, delight, and obligation of your life is the reason you were born. It is the only authentic source of joy and meaning in your life. When you slumber and say No, your loneliness, fear, and contraction live in you, through you, and as you. When you awaken and say Yes, you are living as Source. When you awaken and say Yes, Source lives in you, through you, and as you.

Photo Credit: josef.stuefer

The Daily Wisdom: Creation stories

Path in Woods
By Marc Gafni

From The Mystery of Love:

The trees are part of the Goddess’s erotic manifestation. The central symbol of much of the ancient pagan cult in biblical Canaan was the Ashera tree. The Ashera is the feminine earth goddess erotically expressed in the image of the Ashera tree. In a wonderful phrase of Keats, “Even as the trees that whisper round the temple become soon as dear as the temple self.” For the pagan, the hills were literally alive with the sound of music. Nature is the music of divinity undressed to the human ear. Every hill, brook, tree, and blade of grass was invested with its own divine muse.

On the Omnologist’s Manifesto of Howard Bloom

Sovereignty

By Joe Perez

Here’s one manifesto, The Omnologist’s (see below), that I can wholeheartedly sign aboard. Were I to defer on a particular, it would be over the manifesto’s emphasis on thinking over doing, words over deeds, science over art.

Not sure about the ending of the word “omniologist,” either. Dictionary.com tells us who the -ists are:

The -ist is a suffix of nouns, often corresponding to verbs ending in -ize or nouns ending in -ism, that denote a person who practices or is concerned with something, or holds certain principles, doctrines, etc.: apologist; dramatist; machinist; novelist; realist; socialist; Thomist.

The one -ist I wholeheartedly embrace is To Exist. It is not the self that studies the omni; it is the Self which is Existence which does what it does, looks around and through itself, writing every manifesto before tearing it down and building it again. It is the True Self of the Omni which is that which I embrace, as it is logically linked and physically embodied in each particular self, uniquely.

I embrace the manifesto with appreciation. As I see it, the Ommnologist’s Manifesto is a look through the Eye of Spirit, the King of Existence telling the story of its own Sovereignty.

* * *

Howard Bloom is the author of The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History and Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From The Big Bang to the 21st Century. In “The Roots of Omnology,” published on Entelechyjournal.com, he proclaims:

The Omnologist Manifesto

We are blessed with a richness of specializations, but cursed with a paucity of panoptic disciplines—categories of knowledge that concentrate on seeing the pattern that emerges when one views all the sciences at once. Hence we need a field dedicated to the panoramic, an academic base for the promiscuously curious, a discipline whose mandate is best summed up in a paraphrase of the poet Andrew Marvel: “Let us roll all our strength and all Our knowledge up into one ball, And tear our visions with rough strife Thorough the iron gates of life.”

Omnology is a science, but one dedicated to the biggest picture conceivable by the minds of its practitioners. Omnology will use every conceptual tool available — and some not yet invented but inventible — to leapfrog over disciplinary barriers, stitching together the patchwork quilt of science and all the rest that humans can yet know. If one omnologist is able to perceive the relationship between pop songs, ancient Egyptian graffiti, Shirley MacLaine’s mysticism, neurobiology, and the origins of the cosmos, so be it. If another uses mathematics to probe traffic patterns, the behavior of insect colonies, and the manner in which galaxies cluster in swarms, wonderful. And if another uses introspection to uncover hidden passions and relate them to research in chemistry, anthropology, psychology, history, and the arts, she, too, has a treasured place on the wild frontiers of scientific truth — the terra incognita in the heartland of omnology.

Let me close with the words of yet another poet, William Blake, on the ultimate goal of omnology:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

Photo Credit: xalamay

You can’t become powerful. You can only realize you already are powerful.

When I was on the US Ski Team as a mogul specialist, I noticed when my peers where in the gate for a competition — a mere second before they pushed off they all abruptly clacked their poles together. Every single one of them did this! So being no dummy, I tried it too.

Clack! And off I went. I’ll be damned if something in me didn’t shift.

It seems most pro athletes have a ritual; the prayer, the nose rub, a tap tap tap on the leg. I know a football player who would tie and untie his shoes 15 times before every game. What the heck are they all doing anyway?

They’re shifting from one form of consciousness into another. They’re shifting into focus, in an instant. Just like us mogul skiers, without any effort.

Imagine you’re standing on the left track of a railroad track, but you want to be on the right track. Same when you’re in one form of consciousness (the normal, unconscious self), but you want to be in another (say, the powerful, athlete self). How do you get there?

Most look up and see it appears the two tracks meet up waaay off in the distance. Hurrah! So they start walking down the left track, hoping with enough effort, time and commitment they will eventually get to the other track. Some will even run, thinking this extra effort will get them closer, faster! But how long will you have to effort down that left track before you’d meet up with the right?

Forever. And the longer you effort down that track the more invested you’ll be with your process, and unwilling then to try anything new.

Stop now. What great athletes know how to do, and most of them don’t even realize they’re doing it, is with just a little pause or ritual, they jump track. In an instant. Into focus. Into the right mindset. It is indeed as simple as walking into a grocery store or lifting up a book. You don’t think about it, you just do it, without the need to understand.

You can’t become powerful, the only thing you can do is realize you already are powerful.

And suddenly like Bruce Lee, you’ll know: “The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”


Want to experience this shifting in person? Come to a camp with Kristen Ulmer this year. Find the consciousness that works best for you, and jump track again and again. The more you practice it, the more easy and familiar it becomes.

Photo Credit: draculina_ak

What is Somatics?

Somatics

Originally published on iEvolve on February 1, 2012.

By Mary Ann Gray Voorhies

Somatics, in the tradition of Thomas Hanna, is a powerful new discipline in the field of health care.  Somatics (also called Clinical Somatic Education) gives us the technology and the tools that enable us to learn to control our own physiology. Now, arguably for the first time in history, we have the POWER to change our own bodies in relatively rapid ways — ways that can dramatically improve our health and well being. Now, thanks to Thomas Hanna, we have at our disposal simple ways to become victorious over the negative effects of accumulated stress or trauma on the human body.

Through the use of this “new” discovery and the employment of simple movement techniques, we can harness innate powers of self-sensing, self-regulating and self-healing. Through the discovery and the utilization of these innate powers we have “set foot on a new continent as far as health care is concerned” as Hanna said. This discovery is a giant leap for humankind — a paradigm which its proponents say significantly advances our embodied understanding as well as our ability to transform our own bodies through leading edge somatic technologies.  It is evident to practitioners that the practice of somatics enables us to create fast, direct, long-lasting changes in our movements, range of motion, postural alignment, coordination, pain relief, youthful appearance, and body efficiency.

The practice of this type of somatics (which reprograms the neuromuscular system through simple movements) can place in one’s hand the wonderful key that that can powerfully and easily change the brain/body wholistically and systemically from within. The practice of this slow, gentle non-invasive movement technique relatively quickly brings the body back into balance and alignment and can naturally and effectively clear up (and prevent) up to 80 percent of all functional bodily complaints, pain and diseases.

According to Thomas Hanna, through the proper use of human consciousness (by directing our intention and attention inward) and by performing specific easy slow movements, we can easily overcome physiological limitations in heretofore unheard of ways. According to Hanna, our bodies are not THINGS or objects to be manipulated from the outside. We are somas whose minds and bodies are one. In fact, CONSCIOUSNESS is a powerful and causative force that can reshape our whole system. Somatics is based on a thorough understanding of neurophysiology and how we can harness innate powers of self-balancing, self-healing and self -ejuvenation.

In his book “Somatics,” Hanna quotes a physician who attended one of his classes, saying, “This is the missing link in health care. What I have learned (from Hanna) has as much potential for understanding the mind-body relationship as Einstein’s theory of relativity had for physics.”

How Does Somatics Work?

Many diseases have as their root cause a “disconnect” between the sensory motor cortex and the muscles or muscle groups. To put it simply, the practice of somatics restores that connection. The disconnection (which occurs because of accumulated stress or accident, i.e. physical trauma) results in chronic muscular holding patterns that can wreak havoc on one’s health and comfort. When the muscles or muscle groups become chronically contracted — what we call sensory motor amnesia — the posture is pulled out of balance, often causing pain or discomfort and can contribute to many complaints and diseases. The chronically shortened and contracted muscles can impinge on and pull on nerves, bones, organs and joints and other bodily structures causing a myriad of common and painful complaints. Among these are bursitis, some types of arthritis, bulging discs, scoliosis, knee problems, back pain, hip problems, bent over posture, fibromyalgia, avoiding surgery, impotence, some forms of high blood pressure, and much more.

Sensory motor amnesia can also be a cause of breathing problems and the root cause of many of the major health problems (such as heart disease). Sensory motor amnesia is also widely mistaken for old age. Clearly aging is a healthy process of the body which  the body can gracefully experience with enormous beauty and  dignity.  Yet so much of what we feel is inevitable and label as “old age” is really not that all. Much of the decrepitude of old age is what Hanna refers to as myth. In fact it is the result of sensory motor amnesia and can be fully overcome through somatic learning and practice.

Through the practice of somatics, the signs and symptoms —so much of  the creakiness, decrepitude, poor posture, aches, pains and discomforts of aging can now be prevented, alleviated or even at times, reversed! All of this is possible because the brain controls the body. And, we can learn to reprogram our brains! Aspects of Hanna’s leading edge work has since been confirmed by multiple studies in the nature of neuroplasticity, and ongoing research continues to contribute to the scholarship around somatics and holistic health to this day.

Sensory Motor Amnesia

A more detailed scientific explanation of sensory motor amnesia is that it is a loss or distortion of freedom of movement, of control of muscular tension, and of the body-sense. It’s a maladaptation that occurs in the brain — in the person’s internal self-sense, and in their capacity for activity.  Here’s how it happens:

Commonly, with long-term stress or injury, the memory of stress or bodily trauma displaces the memory of healthy movement and feeling. Memory takes place according to contemporary neuroscience, primarily in the sensory motor cortex which is right behind the frontal lobe of the brain and it is the part of the brain that controls all movement and motor actives.  The person forgets what free and balanced movement feels like and how to move freely. (That’s the “amnesia” part.) Involuntary muscular tension and, often, pain sets in.  The person starts limiting their life to avoid pain. So, the effects are both physiological and psychological (right and left sides of the AQAL matrix of Integral Theory).

The practice of clinical somatic education frees a person from the grip of memories of stress and/or trauma and develops healthy memory patterns in the brain of sensation and movement that, in turn, restores healthy movement, a healthier self-sense, and healthier physiological homeostasis among all systems of the body, with corresponding psychological effects. Since the brain controls the muscles the brain transmits these new memories into the muscular system and this in turn produces healthier movement patterns.

Hanna found that through the skillful employment of the pandicular response (an innate action pattern), one could easily, effectively, rapidly and powerfully:

  1. Dispel the “controlling charge” of memories of stress and trauma,
  2. Develop healthy patterns of function,
  3. Cause large, durable improvements in one’s health and self-awareness.

As a mind-body learning process, the practice of somatics develops new neural pathways in the brain (which is why it is called education). And, since the mind and body are the “inner” and “outer” sides of the same thing (“soma”), not only is the “body” affected, but the whole human being (inner and outer) is affected in very positive ways — in energy level, self-awareness and capacity for participation in life. In fact, as part of an integral life practice, somatics can assist powerfully in spiritual transformation.

Hanna says that “the human species, possessed with a brain whose genius is unlimited learning and adaptation, is a species that is genetically designed to age by GROWING. (Not by declining.) Not to expect to grow (physically and psychologically) is to misunderstand what it means to be human. Not to do so is to fail in the God-given task of living a fully human life.”

This marvelous discovery  — that we can somatically learn our way back to restored vigor, health and wholeness in a relatively easy and rapid fashion (through somatic learning) is tantamount to saying that we are now is in possession of an amazing powerful evolutionary technology and knowing, which teaches us how to  easily care for ourselves in marvelous, effective and wonderful ways. Somatics gives us valuable tools and practices that  have the power to literally transform our bodies, and shift inexorably the experience of aging, in ways that were never before thought possible before in the history of humankind. We now have the know-how and the God-given ability to become autonomous, self-determining, self-balancing and self-healing which, in turn, can lead to human freedom — and optimal health and well being. No longer do we have to be helpless victims of negative circumstances and many physically painful situations.

In his book Somatics, Hanna says, “Somatic exercises can change how we live our lives, how we believe that our bodies and minds interrelate, how powerful we think we are in controlling our lives and how responsible we should be in taking care of our total beings” …  “This new discipline in health care realizes that sensory motor amnesia describes a category of health problems that has not been recognized until now. Sensory motor amnesia (which can wreak havoc on one’s health and comfort) is a somatic pathology that requires not treatment but somatic movement education.” He goes on to say that ”we must break the bonds that limit us, so that the growth and evolution of the human species may continue toward that greater destiny which now, with increasing impatience awaits us.”

Thomas Hanna’s Vision

As put forth in many of his books, writings and teachings, Thomas Hanna was concerned not only with Clinical Somatic Education (the education of the sensory motor system) but he also had a larger concern about the somatic education of the entire human being. He was very concerned with the more philosophical and psychological aspects of somatic education. He was also concerned with alleviating psychological and emotional suffering (in the thinking mind). As a trained academic philosopher himself, he focused his study on the figures that he referred to as somatic psychologists and somatic philosophers. These included the likes of William James, Kierkegaard, and key teachers of Eastern philosophies. In this sense somatic meant for Hanna embodied  experiencing from within. For Hanna the somatic experiencing which lies at the core of his system was already to be found in nascent forms in the teaching of many of the great traditions.  For Hanna there was not split at all between body, mind and heart all of which came together to form the wholeness of the human soma. Hanna had a deep and thorough understanding of how spiritual teachings and practices can be somatically life giving and transformative.  For Hanna it is empirically clear that consciousness can be directed also to change attitudes, interpretations, negative beliefs and values and by doing so can actually change brain chemistry and reshape the system.

In Body of Life, Hanna says, “What the neurophysiological research of the last several decades tells us is that the kinds of thoughts we think determines the quality and effectiveness of our lives. It has been found the thoughts are sensory motor events and thinking can tense and activate muscles (causing contractions that can negatively affect our health).” He goes on to say that when we repeatedly think thoughts and memories of hurt, despair, anger, revenge or fear, we are physically injuring ourselves — we are engaging in self destruction. You can be sure that the weight of neurological evidence is massively on the side of those who advise us to think positive thoughts rather than negative ones when at all possible. Hanna said that what he was teaching was NOT just a manipulative technique (not just “body work” — heaven forbid), but a wholistic science of total transformation that would include all aspects of our beings and that “mind” and “body” are “one.” He called this learning process Somatology — the wholistic science of human experience and behavior.

We must “shine a light,” not only on our unconscious maladaptive memory patterns in the sensory motor parts of our brains (which keep us stuck, suffering and unfree) — but we must also “shine a light” on our unconscious maladaptive psychological and behavioral memory “habit” patterns, as well.

According to Hanna this is done by unlearning the maladaptive patterns that keep us stuck and enslaved to our own conditioning, like puppets on a string. We must enact more empowering patterns, which will liberate us to relate in a more loving and whole way  to ourselves and others. To be liberated from these patterns of “suffering” in our total beings —both physiological AND psychological — is  to be truly free. To be free in both of these ways is what Hanna called “The Fair State.”

Who Was Thomas Hanna?

Thomas Hanna ­ — born 1928, died 1990 — was a philosopher who through years of study, research and practice, developed Clinical Somatic Education, also known as Hanna Somatic Education. Hanna spent his life searching for ways for human beings to become free — intellectually, psychologically and physically.

After receiving a Ph.D. in philosophy and Divinity from the University of Chicago in 1958, Hanna began a successful teaching career at several colleges. He also had the fortune to teach, conduct research and write in Paris, Brussels and Mainz, Germany. In 1965, Hanna became chairman of the Philosophy department at the University of Florida. While there he studied neurophysiology at the medical school. His experiences in studying divinity, philosophy and the neurosciences led him to the idea that all life experiences lead to certain physical “patterns” in the body. He coined the word somatics (with an s). To him, soma did not mean only body (like the old Greek meaning) but soma means the entirety of who you and I are, wholistically. He contended that we as somas are always wanting life and wanting life more abundantly. He believed that we can, through certain somatic practices, both “bodily” and “psychologically,” we can achieve what he called the “Fair State,” — optimal mental and physical health. In other words, human beings have the capacity to FREE themselves from suffering on all levels, wholistically … body, mind, spirit.

In 1973, Hanna moved to San Francisco, where he became the director of the graduate school at the Humanistic Psychology Institute. There, he discovered Functional Integration, which was developed by Moshe Feldenkrais. Hanna founded and directed the first Feldenkrais training program in the United States in 1975.
From the previous experience, education, research and background, plus the experience he gained from his studies with Feldenkrais, Hanna developed his own very powerful way of dealing with mysterious symptoms with his clients who had seen many doctors without relief. Hanna was able to relieve and eliminate the pain and suffering quickly with his new technique. During the 1980s Hanna continued his work and research calling himself “a philosopher who works with his hands.” During that time Hanna helped many people overcome what were thought by the medical community to be hopeless cases.

In 1990, Hanna began his own training program. Tragically, though, he was only able to complete the first summer of a three-summer training period. Thankfully for us, he was able to transmit the core of his teachings and practices.  Thomas Hanna died in the summer of 1990 in a car accident.

Thomas Hanna’s Vision and Dream

Thomas Hanna was engaged not only with helping individuals, but he was passionately concerned with the collective well being of the human race  in a larger cultural and societal context. He was interested in educating people in how we as a society could learn to understand how to prevent suffering from happening in the first place. In his book Body of Life he wrote that “all somatic distortion (and suffering) reflect problems that are simultaneously problems in the person`s lifestyle. A somatic understanding of ourselves allows us to understand, to a larger degree, what is happening to us and why our THOUGHTS , our culture and our individual ways of living affect us in emotional and physiological ways. By understanding ourselves and the fuller aspects of our functioning, we are empowered to help ourselves. We can learn healthier ways to process our experience. Our total beings can be transformed by our daily experience and what we focus our consciousness on. We know now that our sensory-motor systems are just as capable of positive life-giving transformations as of negative ones. Quite apart from society and culture, we can redeem ourselves and take control of our own sensory-motor growth just as easily as we can abandon ourselves and lose control. We simply need to know how. It is a question of somatic LEARNING — learning those patterns that are more efficient and unlearning patterns that are painful and inefficient.”

Above all else, Thomas Hanna was concerned with the evolution of  the human race as a whole. And, he envisioned that a somatic understanding would lead us there. He also had a traditional yet evolutionary spiritual understanding of who we are as humans. He believed that we have a destiny to fulfill. In his book The End of Tyranny, he wrote, “As humans move toward the possession of themselves and our brotherhood, there is only one thing that stays our hand and holds us back — the uncanny inward voice that tells us that is really not possible — that the control of one’s destiny is naive, unrealistic and foolishly utopian. It is the taunting pessimistic voice that says — you will fail — you will fail.” He goes on to say that we CAN transform the world by transforming ourselves into “free humans” (though  inner experiential somatic education — body, mind, spirit.)

In the conclusion of The End of Tyranny, Thomas Hanna anticipates the potential emergence of a World Spirituality rooted in love. He writes:

“Our religious traditions are correct, mankind does stand in need of forgiveness, and we need to forgive one another. The prophetic injunction to love one another always seemed to be a promised destiny and a forceful necessity. We must LOVE or DIE! Learning to love other human beings and achieving the happiness of creating positive community bonds with others is a crucial need of us all. Only human LOVE and the realization that we are all ‘one’ can save us from ourselves (our ego driven madness) and heal our social fragmentation. We can create conditions that can create superior human beings.”

So, in my opinion, Thomas Hanna would be delighted and thrilled that his work has become a part of World Spirituality because his mission is our mission, as well — nothing less than the positive evolution of consciousness of the human race. In his book Bodies in Revolt, written in the seventies, Hanna talks about the Evolution Revolution. It the energy of this evolution revolution which drew me to support and participate in the Center for World Spirituality.


The Daily Wisdom: Before God…

Stone Circles

By Marc Gafni

From The Mystery of Love:

Before God…

To be in Temple consciousness is to be in God–eros pure and simple.  This shift in consciousness is hidden within the folds of biblical myth text itself.

We have already seen that the biblical term Lifnei Hashem, which is usually translated as “before God,” can be more fruitfully understood as “on the inside of God’s face.”  This allusion plants the seed for the much more radical move made by the mystic Isaac Luria in the sixteenth century.  In Luria’s graphic and daring vision the world is not formed by a forward-thrusting male movement that creates outside itself.  Quite the contrary–Divinity creates within itself the sacred void in the form of a circle.  The creation not of the line masculine God but of the Goddess, of the Shechina!  This is the Great Circle of Creation.  The circle, unlike in the original biblical image, is within the Goddess.  It is an act of love that moves the Goddess to withdraw and make room for the other–paradoxically within God.

Photo Credit: Jos van Wunnik

The Nightly View: Thorny questions about reincarnation. The status of women in Pakistan.

Pakistani Women

A few cosmetic changes tonight: I’ve updated the name for this column to The Nightly View and removed numbers from this and The Daily Wisdom columns.

Thorny questions about reincarnation

The worst thing to be reincarnated into is an animal, because you can’t learn, says a past-life specialist who ponders questions such as the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler. Andrea Chalupa interviews Dr. DeBell, a specialist in past-life regression therapy, on the Big Think blog:

Since death isn’t the final liberator, according to Dr. DeBell, the ticket out is living life unflinchingly by the Golden Rule—treat everyone else as you would want to be treated. Working out your “golden rule” muscle makes it stronger over time.

“I am not surprised,” he says, “that given the complexity of trust or humility or applying the golden rule and the amount of progress I see myself and others making in one lifetime, that it takes many lifetimes to master them.”

One of his most useful regressions, he says, was finding himself a cave man suddenly killed by an animal attack, and was surprised that he was still alive. “I experienced,” he says, “that early phase of my soul’s development in a way that helped me come to terms with the very slow pace of development.”

After growing up in a religious Protestant household, he stopped believing in God at the age of 21. Two decades later, after spending most of his career as a psychiatrist in community clinics in New York City’s poorest neighborhoods, he met a spirit guide while practicing self-hypnosis. His exploration in soul self-knowledge reminded him of a feeling he had when he was around eight-years-old, and reading an article in National Geographic about reincarnation. Back then, “Something inside of me reverberated, and I knew it to be the truth.”

This level of self-searching, DeBell says, took him “a couple of years to learn, because I’m scientifically oriented.”

Fifteen years later, he would return to that childhood conviction by founding his own private practice, with his wife, Susan DeBell, where they walk patients through the lessons they’re still working out over lives. For anyone interested in past-life regression therapy, DeBell advises to focus on questions that feel important and have a curiosity about yourself. An open mind is necessary to silence the mental chatter. For those eager to graduate, DeBell recommends, “focus on the process instead of the goal. Any goal can limit us.”

So what happens to the Hitlers, Stalins, al-Assads, Jong-ils, Cheneys?

“God didn’t create Hitler,” says DeBell, “but he certainly created the situation for a Hitler. That is what free will is about.” As for the world’s “bad guys,” they are souls who simply flunked. “It’s like somebody who is put back a grade,” he says. “You find yourself as the big kid in kindergarten. That’s rather humiliating.”

In regards to, say, former Vice President Dick Cheney, America’s very own Mr. Potter of It’s a Wonderful Life, who drove us into war in Iraq and Afghanistan and profited from it, DeBell’s answer, “Dick Cheney could be a very young soul. His soul was dropped into power, and couldn’t handle it.” He added, “It’s not up to us to judge.”

What’s the ultimate punishment? “Coming back as animals is a punishment,” he says, surprisingly, “because you can’t learn. Being unable to learn is the ultimate punishment. It’s like being frozen, you’re trapped. Hitler could have been a lab rat thousands of times.”

As much as my own experience lends support to the belief in reincarnation, I can’t speak to any particular knowledge of the nature of reincarnation as an animal. I find it curious that DeBell doesn’t think animals can learn. The more we learn about animal communication and knowledge, the more it seems we are surprised to find them more human-like than we previously imagined.

The status of women in Pakistan (and beyond)

Mona Eltahawy, the New York-based award-winning columnist and an international public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues, and Zara Jamal, a Canadian writer, received notice today on the Genealogy of Religion blog by Cris. The most vehement and strongly worded statement comes from Eltahy, who is quoted as saying:

Name me an Arab country, and I’ll recite a litany of abuses fueled by a toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend. When more than 90 percent of ever-married women in Egypt — including my mother and all but one of her six sisters — have had their genitals cut in the name of modesty, then surely we must all blaspheme. When Egyptian women are subjected to humiliating “virginity tests” merely for speaking out, it’s no time for silence. When an article in the Egyptian criminal code says that if a woman has been beaten by her husband “with good intentions” no punitive damages can be obtained, then to hell with political correctness. And what, pray tell, are “good intentions”? They are legally deemed to include any beating that is “not severe” or “directed at the face.”

What all this means is that when it comes to the status of women in the Middle East, it’s not better than you think. It’s much, much worse. Even after these “revolutions,” all is more or less considered well with the world as long as women are covered up, anchored to the home, denied the simple mobility of getting into their own cars, forced to get permission from men to travel, and unable to marry without a male guardian’s blessing — or divorce either.

Chris also looks to Pakistan, where Zara Jamal reports things aren’t any better. In [Zara Jamal’s] To Be a Woman in Pakistan: Six Stories of Abuse, Shame, and Survival, we glimpse a small world of suffering. Jamal prefaces the six stories with this odd observation:

Westerners usually associate the plight of Pakistani women with religious oppression, but the reality is far more complicated. A certain mentality is deeply ingrained in strictly patriarchal societies like Pakistan. Poor and uneducated women must struggle daily for basic rights, recognition, and respect. They must live in a culture that defines them by the male figures in their lives, even though these women are often the breadwinners for their families.

Chris writes:

Is Jamal suggesting that the abuse of these women is a byproduct of free-floating or traditional patriarchy? If so, my questions to her would be how did this patriarchy develop and how is it maintained? It surely isn’t by vague obeisance to tradition or patriarchy. The “mentality” and “culture” that Jamal mentions are anchored in and justified by a particular reading of Islam, even if she wants to minimize or not.

The challenge for World Spirituality to help to bring smart, rich spiritual perspectives into the trenches of the oppression of women in many parts of the world. I think the beginning of such a response must not happen merely in blogs such as this one, but by the people closest to the scene. What of the women and men who are co-creating complex lives in the midst of oppressive traditional patriarchal structures? What wisdom do they have about how to find additional measures of security, freedom, love, and joy? Let’s hear straight from them.

Surely we know that an ideology which simply tells us that a class of persons such as Middle East women are dupes of oppression is overly simple and disempowering of them. The question, “Why do they hate us so much?” which Mona Eltahawy voices, is but a moment of anger in a more complex discourse which includes moments of love and forgiveness and wisdom. We must listen to all their voices, and the voices of the men in their lives, and hear ways in which new openings are emerging for liberative changes. The call of evolution, the power of God in history, is none other than the force of liberation, and our answer of that call is the nature of justice.

Photo Credit: Photosenses

Enlightenment is not loss of identity but a reclaiming of your true identity

Oak TreeBy Marc Gafni

One of the simplest definitions of sanity used in the psychological literature is knowing who you are. To be sane is know your identity, to recognize your name.

For example if I tell you that my name is Ken Wilber when my name is really Marc Gafni and I insist on being called Ken Wilber there is a fairly good chance that I am a bit insane. Or more than a bit. Because I am claiming a name not my own and I do not know my true identity. But the distance between the identity of Marc and Ken is relatively small, actually almost negligible, when compared with the vast distance between my separate self and true self.

The distance between belief that I am but a skin encapsulated, merely Marc, and the knowing which literally blows my mind, that I am True Self, and that the total number of true selves is one- is literally infinite. To be sane is to know that I am not merely a separate self but true self. From the place of true self I am able to access not only my limited power, knowing, creativity and love, but rather all of the power, knowing, creativity and love in the universe flows through me.

From the place of true self there is no reason for me to be jealous of you, to lash out at your or to do anything other then love you as myself. Because in some sense you are myself. The pathological competition, grasping, and abuses produced by the contraction are deconstructed in the emergent glory of True Self. You access a spacious sense of peace, joy and harmonious equilibrium with all other expressions of being and becoming on the planet. The world literally becomes a different place. These are the goods of what has classically been called enlightenment.

So here is the great question. If enlightenment is sooo good, why isn’t everyone doing it? If enlightenment is the answer and it actually delivers on all of its wildly amazing promises — which it does — why is the world not flocking to Center for World Spirituality and other contemporary enlightenment schools, for intensive enlightenment studies? The enlightenment teachers for the most part explain that this is because of the clever brilliance of the ego which does everything in its power to avoid its own death. The ego does not want to die so it attaches you to a narrow identity of small self. Other teachers say that the work of practice required to liberate into True Self beyond ego is simply to demanding for most people. Still other teachers blame the blandishments of culture and society as being so seductive with their pseudo comforts that is hard to free yourself from the game.

All of these explanations certainly carry some weight. But the deeper truth is that the problem is not with the seekers of enlightenment who are in all of the explanations considered in some sense deficient. Rather there is a core defect in the teaching of classical enlightenment itself. You see the teaching of classical enlightenment is boring, dislocating and alienating at its very core.

It is dislocating because the seeker, student, asks rightfully, If I give up my separate self –ego identity, then where am I? The seeker asks correctly, “but what about me”? The enlightenment teacher responds by saying this is just the voice of the ego. The price for enlightenment is, “ die to separate self”. Well that is true but also partial. The seeker senses that “I will disappear into the undifferentiated oneness of True Self — which while blissfully seductive – at some deep level feels not only terrifying but wrong. It feels like a violation of the sacred dignity of the individual.

But not only that, it is also boring. The sense of creative edge, vitality and becoming seems lost in the being-ness of it all. In this case it is the students of enlightenment not the teachers who are holding the higher intuition. The classical teaching of True Self enlightenment is counter intuitive and our intuitive and are intuitions are. It is the Unique Self enlightenment that liberates enlightenment and reclaims its vital energy of transformation as a genuine and necessary option. Enlightenment is not a loss of identity but a reclaiming of your true identity.

Rather enlightenment is the move beyond your separate self to True Self, which is the ground for the awakening of your Unique Self. You correctly sense that the source of your dignity and value is your irreducible uniqueness. What Unique Self teaches is that enlightenment is not a loss of individuality. Rather it is the reclaiming of your infnite individualty as the unique expression of essence that lives as you. To be enlightened means to your realize your True Nature as an utterly unique perspective and manifestation of consciousness. This is not boring. Rather it is the energized edge of your evolutionary creativity and becoming that is both indivisibly part of the greater one and ecstatically You. This is sanity. This is what it means to live in a larger context as an evolutionary lover. This is enlightenment.

Photo Credit: Tie Guy II

Kenneth’s mystical diary

Geometry

By Kenneth Daviknes Hansen

Originally published Dec. 24, 2011, on iEvolve.org.

This entry was written by my student and friend Kenneth Daviknes Hansen. Kenneth is not a native English writer or speaker but I think his core intent is clear in this long journal entry. To be read by mystics only! — MG

This is a text that conveys a visual view of enlightenment – the awakening from ego identification as seen through my own eyes. It is a free flow of consciousness written by Kenneth in his diary and not a formal essay. The first half of the essay was edited after the initial diary entry and the second half was not.

First there are the perspectives and the clarification:

We are talking about the 1st-person awakening to the enlightened view of reality. This is the 1st-person view of both inside and outside when they awaken and realize their true nature. When talking about this experience in the language of perspectives, this is a first-person experience as well as 3rd-person experience of the 1st-person. One realizes that one is something more than ego.

When one has the realization of oneness with what you see — the expression of this in terms of how to understand it will express itself through various cues that will make the understanding and indeed possibility for realizing oneself that there is in fact naught any distance whatsoever in what comes to be the relationship between the one observing (the 1st person) and the one/that which is being seen by the observer. Here the distinction between 1st person and 3rd person will be crucial because we are all observing from the 1st-person while within this 1st-person what we see is the third person, and the observer is what we call 1st-person. So to be clear we are always seeing from within the 1st-person.

There are five expressions of what we can term the 1st-person realization of oneness with what you see. Before I proceed for the sake of full disclosure I want to share that I am writing based on my own first-person experience interpreted through 3rd-person categories of enlightenment thinking.

When you have a realization of oneness it often expresses itself through various cues. These cues point to the understanding and make possible the realization that in fact at the essential level there is no distance whatsoever between the observer (1st-person) and that which is being observed (3rd person). We are all observing through first-person and that which is observed to the extent that it can be communicated becomes available to a broader population as a third person reality. However all third-person reality is paradoxically seen differently by every first person. At the same time in the awakened or enlightened experience there is not any distance between the one observing and the one /that which is being seen by the observer. There are five expressions of what we might term the first person realization of oneness with the visual field.

One:

First as George Bishop* has also pointed out, length is perceivable as a line. When we willfully turn the line towards the eye, we can only see the end of the line. The distance becomes depth and cannot be seen.

Two:

When we wondrously examine the definition of distance we realize that distance requires two points to be present so as to be perceived. However when one is relating to an external object the requirement of having two visible points cannot be met. One can only see one of the two points necessary for the visual distance to arise, which is the object of observation.   The person that is seeing cannot see the eyes themselves and therefore is no distance perceived.

Secondly when we are wondrously examining the definition of distance the necessary requisites are that two points will be present so as to be perceived. However when one is relating to an external object – in one sense you are not seeing distance – as two visible points are not available – as one can only see one of the two points necessary for the visual distance to arise which is the object of observation. The person that is seeing cannot see the eyes themselves and therefore is no distance perceived.

[Read more…]