Mar2017: From Divisiveness to Wholeness

by Brad on February 28, 2017

I am like everyone; I am like some; I am like no other.   — Henry Murray & Clyde Kluckholn, Personality in Nature, Science and Culture

One of the “communities” of which I’m a part is made up of former associates from my days with Digital Equipment Corporation. Together we explore human consciousness, and how we may inspire thinking that leads us toward greater wholeness in life – individually and globally. A couple of us are locals, but it’s a treat when others can join in person, as was true this week. We devoted a good portion of a day to how we (the inclusive ‘we,’ of all humans on this planet), might shift the level of consciousness to one oriented to learning and acceptance – about ourselves, each other, life, our planet, the cosmos. We delved into the topic of love, and how, through awareness and courage, we could open the possibility of a more loving world, love that derives from the unity we share as travelers in this life and on this planet.

We got stuck, however; for any thought about shifting collective consciousness toward a more loving world must necessarily deal with causes of “not love.” And perhaps more than any time in recent history, a sense of divisiveness permeates our world. So we explored divisiveness, for inside it there must be clues to a path beyond. As an example, we’d need to embrace the idea that we can listen deeply to someone (so as to understand them) without agreeing with them.

I’m reminded of a model I’ve used with clients, that how we think creates an invisible box around us, limiting what’s possible. If we remain unaware of our thinking, we’re thrust unconsciously into a fear/defense/mistrust mode whenever we encounter anything unknown or uncertain. Yet as we become more aware, we see these “edges” … as signals, telling us where we need to stop, inquire into our old, unexamined assumptions and beliefs, and then make new [often courageous] choices to step into the unknown, all based on our willingness to learn and to grow instead of to defend.

We opened some big questions: how do we collectively prepare for the future, a world we cannot even envision today? By this, I don’t mean stocking up on canned goods and bottled water, but rather, how can we open ourselves enough to develop capacities required to greet the uncertain and unknown with confidence, competence and trust? What would it take to inspire this kind of thinking? How might that thinking leave us more loving … individually and planet-wide?

It became clear that living cooperatively in, sharing, and preparing for the world of tomorrow demand a consciousness that can, and does, “inquire into itself” … embracing wholeness, learning, then expanding to fill a space big enough to include the thinking of everyone in it. This means a shift in consciousness – individually and collectively – from “self-defense, judgment and reaction” to “curiosity, discernment and learning” instead. That is a huge challenge, yet to settle for less would seem to leave divisiveness and unresolvable struggle in charge. As for me, if I have any power at all to change the world by changing my world, I’m going to devote myself to understanding my own consciousness, then helping others understand theirs. That’s just where my “thinking about my thinking” leads me. What about you?

Exercise: What do you long for in life? Think deeply about the stories, questions and longings that frame your life; you know, the thoughts you rarely let yourself have while you’re busy doing what everyone else thinks you should be doing. Go there; listen. Get a sense of your inner truth. Ponder how, as noted in this month’s quote, you are at the same time, “like everyone,” “like some,” and “like no other.” To discover how you are like no other opens you to appreciate your uniqueness. To discover how you are like everyone opens you to embracing life’s oneness. Can you do both?

A River Runs Through It [Life lessons from nature]: Nature wouldn’t even understand why this article matters. As most original cultures on this planet always knew (even without ‘rational knowing’), life is unity; all one; as above, so below. Everything exists in reverent and reciprocal relationship with everything else. Feel it yourself; be in nature. The felt experience is an antidote to our obsession with rational knowing, and how it has led us astray from our oneness.

Book of the month Living Deeply, The Art & Science of Transformation in Everyday Life, published by Institute of Noetic Sciences. IONS, founded by astronaut Edgar Mitchell, explores frontiers of human consciousness. The theme of this book: “By fostering curiosity, creativity, and inquiry in your life, you dramatically expand your own potential.” And if you’re on Cape Cod, you’ll find this book at the Market Street Bookshop in Mashpee Commons; 508-539-6985.

Download March 2017 pdf

 

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