Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Applying Patterns of Wisdom to Daily Life

These days our attention turns to the lessons learned over the past year and how to apply them during our next orbit around the sun. Whatever wisdom we have gained, our minds organize it into patterns. We develop systems for action that we believe will produce certain results, "Early to bed, early to rise makes one healthy, wealthy and wise." We focus on tasks that will enhance our food, shelter, clothing and communities while they enrich our bodies, minds and souls. We begin the new year determined to work smarter, try harder and love more. As the months unfurl, our visions of a better life can get lost in the day to day challenges we encounter. So, what is a practical and sustainable way to apply patterns of wisdom to daily life?

For me the answer is depicted in a story I came across more than 40 years ago. I found it in a sidebar of the Whole Earth Catalog and carried it with me for years. I used this tale to open my first book, The Temple in the House. It goes like this: The Japanese tea master Sen no Rikyu built a teahouse on the side of a hill overlooking the sea. He invited three guests to the inaugural tea ceremony. The guests had heard about the beautiful site and expected to find a structure that took advantage of the wonderful view. After arriving at the garden gate, they were perplexed to discover a grove of trees had been planted that obstructed the panorama. Before entering the teahouse, the guests followed the custom of purifying their hands and mouths at the stone basin near the entry. Stooping to draw water with a bamboo ladle, they noticed a small opening had been clipped through the trees. This opening framed a view of the sparkling sea. In that humble position, they awakened to the relationship between the cool liquid in the ladle and the ocean in the distance, between their individuality and the ocean of life.

What I draw from this story is that patterns of wisdom are a means to connect with what is beyond patterns. They are forms that set up the experience of what is beyond form. Patterns of wisdom are physical vessels of life that allow us to drink in the energy and intelligence that animates and guides daily living. We may enact our wisdom by creating a vision board describing our ideal house, car, physique, wardrobe, partner, family, community and world. But, more than these objects, we want the experience of being alive that we believe this object will bring. Because, these forms are hollow if we are not ignited by the sparks of energy rushing through them.

Sitting on the meditation cushion or stretching out on the yoga mat are, therefore, vessels for feeling the life force flowing through our minds and bodies. Eating a healthy meal is a vessel for tasting the life force moving through the world that produced the food. Going shopping is a vessel for embracing the life force animating and connecting your community. Every physical form from a blade of grass to a galaxy is a vessel for accessing the miracle of life energy shimmering through it.

The application of wisdom is not how to get the things we want. It's how to feel the life energy surging through everything we already have. It's not how we can reshape the world into our preconceived patterns; it's how we can open to the vitality and intelligence animating the amazing patterns that are already and always forming and reforming our lives and the world.

As I focus on the year ahead, I think of expectations of the guests as they arrived at the tea ceremony all those years ago. I recall the small opening the tea master clipped through the trees and how that opening pointed to the ocean of life beyond the trees. I feel how the guests sensed the waters of life pouring through the ocean and through them. I'm inspired by the way this pattern of wisdom awakened them to the life force beyond the pattern. I sense how to apply the patterns of wisdom life has shown me, to honor each physical form I encounter as a vessel for the revitalizing life force surging pouring through it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Unbearable Radiance of Change

The word "change" sparks images of new forms, different relationships, other places and alternate times. There's another type of change that one friend after the other is telling me about. It's not a change in appearance or environment. It's not a transformation in healthcare, politics or economics. This change is as close as your breath and enormous enough to shatter the world. Where it's coming from is hard to say. I sense this change doesn't come from a distant star or from the core of the earth. It's not descending from heavenly gods or arising from neurons within the brain.

The best I can determine is that this change is coming from the spaces between atoms, the gaps between heartbeats and the openings between thoughts. It's coming from within any and every crevice in the fabric of creation. It's the big bang of consciousness, erupting from nowhere, anywhere and everywhere all at once.

To our structure-loving minds, this explosion of change from within is unbearable. Our brains toil every waking moment to shape the world into understandable and predictable frameworks. They live to know where things are coming from and where they're going. The change that is radiating from within blows all that. It's not a transformation of structure. It's the dissolving of structure. It's not a new form. It's shedding of form to reveal the radiance animating form.

I experience this change from within the gaps as the bleaching of solid matter and the emergence of the light of consciousness. It's the fading of the veil and the shining forth of the glowing mystery behind the veil. This revolution doesn't produce new leaders, new societies or breakthrough technologies. It blasts everyone with our own light, the luminous energy and wisdom that has been hidden but expanding within our cells for ages.

This change is painful when we follow old patterns of resistance and control. Anais Nin described the transition beautifully in her famous line: "And the day came when the risk to remain in a tight bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
The task-less task is to Release your current form and let the light shine through. It is to trust that the emerging glow that seems to be dissolving you is not destroying you. It's lightening the burden of your solidity and increasing the radiance of your being. It's time to discover the unbearable radiance of change.

More discussions of transformations on your life journey can be found in my new book 24 PATTERNS OF WISDOM. To see a flipbook what's inside, click here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Seeing the World as a Vessel of Consciousness

When we begin a journey we usually have a destination in mind. If we don't move toward a particular place, we travel toward an experience such as adventure, treasure, love or enlightenment. Most of the time we don't arrive exactly where we planned or have the experience we precisely desired. Instead, the path we take often takes us away from our expectations. It reveals places and sensations we didn't know existed. We are shown regions and relationships within ourselves that make wherever we are more beautiful and meaningful.

It's been the same with my life journey. Time and again, I thought I was headed toward one place or experience and have landed, instead, in an unexpected location with a surprising group of people that opened to unanticipated experiences. Over time, a theme has emerged. The settings and sensations life has carried me through have pointed my attention beyond forms and emotions. They have guided me to see the elusive energy and intelligence animating them. My life journey has revealed that this world is a vessel for consciousness.

In this structure of world vessel and animating consciousness, every person and place serves to reveal the countless qualities of the life force that guides and shapes our thoughts, words, actions and achievements. There are no perfect or imperfect vessels. As water flows down any shaped ravine, over any rock and through any channel, consciousness flows through any twist and turn of mind, body and environment. If a stream of consciousness is blocked, the life force, like water, gathers and reveals the qualities of stillness, depth and reflection.

From this perspective, my journey through the world has been a less about discovering the world and more about recognizing the elusive forces working behind the scenes. It's been an adventure of seeing through the characteristics of the vessel and getting to know the possible characters of consciousness. On this journey, the same consciousness that is looking through my eyes at this moment looked through my eyes when I was five years old, twenty and forty. This same awareness sense my childhood home, my school, the work places I have spent my days and the far flung lands to which I've traveled.

Experiencing the world of matter as a vessel for the ocean of consciousness doesn't guarantee the bills will get paid, glowing health will last forever, or love will grace every moment of the day. It does, however, make every environment and encounter come alive. There's never a "been there done that" moment. Every object shimmers with a fresh inflection of consciousness being revealed. Each conversation reveals a deeper relationship with the mysterious forces that create, dissolve and renew the world. Ever step of the way is both a homecoming and an exploration of fresh territory.

Here, now, stop for a moment. Look at the place you occupy and the people inhabiting that place. Look behind the forms to sense what is animating those forms. Allow the consciousness perceiving this place through your eyes to meet the consciousness animating the forms surrounding you. Experience what it is like to see world anew, to perceive it as a vessel of consciousness.

More detailed and thorough knowledge about this experience is described in my new book 24 PATTERNS OF WISDOM. To see a flipbook of what's inside, click here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

John Lennon-Working Class Hero

Today, millions of people will listen to John Lennon sing Imagine. For me, Working Class Hero reveals the man behind Imagine. It also depicts the pain that makes Imagine such a hopeful anthem for humanity. The first lines of the song grab the shattering experience that shaped his life and music—As soon as you're born they make you feel small / By giving you no time instead of it all / Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all. The soul wails. It aches of coming into this world, bright spirited, curious and music-filled and having the wonder of being alive deadened by neglect. John and we feel less than zero. We drown in the confusion of not knowing why our parents brought us into the world only to abandon us.

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school / They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool / Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules. John expresses the pain of not belonging anywhere. Safety is nowhere. Hurt and pain are everywhere. His natural brilliance and playfulness are shunned and disdained. Not able to escape his, or our, own nature and the world's rules drives him and us mad.

When they've tortured and scared you for twenty-odd years / Then they expect you to pick a career / When you really can't function you're so full of fear. When our education in hatred, abuse and dread of the world is complete, we're thrown into the marketplace and expected to fend for ourselves. But we're paralyzed by fear. Despite outer appearances, he and we can't function.

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV / And you think you're so clever and classless and free / But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see. Suffering from the post traumatic stress of being raised in an abusive society John and we medicate ourselves with belief, relationships and entertainment. We buy into our programing and still see ourselves as the small nothings we were when we were born.

There's room at the top they're telling you still / But first you must learn to smile as you kill / If you want to be like folks on the hill. Numb and confused, the society that abused John and us offers a way out. It tells us ti whistle while we do the dirty work of beating out the other guy and polluting the earth. Then we will have our shining house on the hill.

After this dark picture of a tortured soul, the only healthy path to recovering John's and our humanity is to imagine an alternate way. It is to enter a place where no boundary lines separate people, there's no valid reason to murder, no one hoards the wealth. In the face of society's ignorance and brutality, the courageous act is to dream of another way. It is to leave the nightmare of division and hatred and enter the dream of love and unity. John Lennon made this courageous break and showed us an imperfect, human, working class way. Every day I'm grateful he had the heroic heart to dream a new dream and he had the soul to live it in the world. Thanks, John. We love you for it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Blurring Your Belief Grid To Recharge Your Life

Our minds work incessantly to put things in order. We strive to get it right, know what's up and where it's at. Despite our best efforts, life messes with our agendas. No matter how precisely we draw the plans, make the calculations, place the arrangements, or map the stars, we can't fit life into conceptual boxes. Try as we might to harness the forces shaping the world, the primal powers of life refuse to be constrained by our designs. As the saying goes, it's what's happening while we're busy making other plans.

Faced with this reality, what do our minds do? They keep making plans. Our brains are Belief Grid-making machines. Give us a jumble of forces and forms and our minds instantly look for a pattern that will make sense of the situation. As soon as we have developed a solid explanation, however, life quakes, new information emerges and our Belief Grid is shaken. In response, our minds may cry like children who have lost their candy.

A deeper wisdom within us rejoices. It knows that the blurring of our Belief Grids is the way life keeps our plans and methods vibrant. It's not order or chaos that keeps life dynamic, creative and renewed. It's the mixture of order and chaos.

So, the next time your explanation of a situation or roadmap to success doesn't hold or doesn't go the way you expected, take heart. Instead of interpreting it as a failure, engage the disruption as the primal forces of life loosening the tightness of your grip. Open your hands to allow new ways of seeing and experiencing the situation to enter. Stay with the edges where chaos overlaps order and sense the vital energies and information that are being revealed to you. As your mind attempts to solidify it's explanations of what is happening, see through your attachment to having it your way. Receive the wisdom and support of playing it life's way. Let the Blurring of your Belief Grid turn from a barrier to a benefit beyond your imagination.

To learn more about the benefits of Blurring your Belief Grid take a look at my new book 24 PATTERNS OF WISDOM by clicking here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

BELIEF GRID: Tyranny and Freedom

Between you and the world hovers your Belief Grid. It's the veil of concepts through which you locate and define people, places and events. Your Belief Grid is the framework your mind uses to shape the elusive forces of life into the recognizable patterns of home, school, work and play. It maps your coordinates for getting from here to there and back again. It outlines your politics, economics, spirituality, diet, movies preferences and every other thing you like or dislike.

We also use Belief Grids to guard against the Primal Wound inflicted by the duality of living. We employ it to control the raw power surging from the wellsprings of creation. These attempts fail, but we try anyway.

Each of us has a Belief Grid. Our minds are Belief Grid-making machines. Encounters with each other are mostly encounters between our Belief Grids. My framework of concepts I hold to be true crosses paths with your framework of concepts you hold to be true. Instead of connecting human to human, one framework tries to press the other framework into agreeing with it. You can see this everywhere. The stalemates in congress are standoffs between Belief Grids. Clashes between people, organizations and countries are battles between Belief Grids.

In these conflicts, our Belief Grids become solid. They obscure the lives they are trying to serve and protect. When we make our Belief Grids more important than people and the earth, we tyrannize each other and the world. We attempt to suppress life's revitalizing energy and wisdom and make it rigidly conform to self-centered interests. The result is isolation, depression, struggle and worse. If, on the other hand, we see our Beliefs Grids for what they are—devices our minds create to navigate the world—we can use them as tools for exploring life and fostering communication and understanding.

As you go about your day, notice the Belief Grid hovering in the space between you and the world. See if you are making it solid and trying to control people and events. Or, spot the openings where your Belief Grid opens to deeper connection, freedom and delight.

Learn more about the Belief Grid and other shapes of knowledge in my new book 24 PATTERNS OF WISDOM, click here to take a look inside.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Occupy & The Primal Wound

The Occupy movement reveals the Primal Wound, the pattern of the gap that divides us. The chasm between greater and lesser wealth, power, privilege, education, healthcare and more is not just a statistic. It's a gnawing void that aches through the soul of society and every individual in it. The Primal Wound afflicts the 99% and the 1%. No one is immune from its sense of isolation and alienation, its emptiness, diminishment and fear.

Each of us has lost pieces of ourselves in the Primal Wound. We've all felt the sting of trading parts of our soul for money and security. Much of our daily lives are consumed with attempts to retrieve those stolen bits of ourselves and regain our natural wholeness. We've also been injured by the fear of deeper wounding and the resentment that others crash through our lives with little or no awareness of the damaging effects they are having.

Pepper spraying, beatings with batons and other violence perpetuated around the country is also an expression of the Primal Wound. These brutal acts are the equivalent of wounded and cornered animals lashing out to protect their territory. It erupts from the irrational fear that division and hierarchy actually benefit the 1% and those that protect their interests. They belief that living behind fearful walls of separation is better than living in the broader security of a vibrant, healthy society. This is self limiting ignorance and self sabotage disguised as glamor and distancing safety.

As Occupiers enter the public spaces of cities and town, they inhabit the voids in the psyche of society. This movement reveals the tenderness and soreness of the Primal Wound. The immediate reaction of some is to pull away. But, if the Primal Wound is not exposed to healing influences it will only fester. The infected areas will spread and consume the body of society. The healing elixir is consciousness and connection. It is the basis for mending the ignorance and disconnect that injures us.

What's your reaction to the relationship between the Primal Wound of the Occupy Movement? Please leave a comment.

You can learn more about the Primal Wound and its effects in my new book 24 Patterns of Wisdom. Click here to take a peek into the book.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Birthing the Book

The book arrived. It is filled with words. Yet, no words describe this moment. What words could contain the odyssey of desire, doubt, down in the dirt wrestling and radiant sky breakthroughs that produced the material contained in its pages? This object I hold in my hands is sheer mystery. Though I fretted over and caressed every word, I can't tell you how it got here. Yes, I can point to the moment when I cognized how the golden spiral expresses the broadening viewpoint of the human journey. I can mark the day on the calendar when I vowed to write this book. I can recall the countless hours drawing and redrawing the illustrations. I can see the inspirations rising through my mind and pouring onto the page. But I cannot tell you where those inspirations and images came from. The source is without space and without time.

The best I can do is say that life, moving within itself, flowed through me. What is beyond words produced these words. I did what all authors do, act as the midwife to the birth. Now that it's born, I offer this book to you. I hope you receive it and benefit from the fruits of this labor. And, if you do read it, I'd loved to hear your experience with its words and images. You can take a peak inside the flip-book by clicking here. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

THE ARCHETYPE OF SELF & OTHER: Learning to Dance with Dispute

He said/she said... progressive/conservative... rich/poor... friend/foe...like/dislike... opposites make the world go round. At the core of all contraries is the perception that You are separate from Me. Personal squabbles, political battles, economic competitions, holy wars and every other conflict arise from dividing the world into Self and Other. In this separateness, we see both danger and delight—danger that Other will harm Self and delight in the possibility that Self will be enhanced by Other.

These differences, however, do not separate us. Self and Other are intimate partners in each step of living. Every detail is divided into opposites: light has its shadow, good its bad, beauty its ugliness. "You can't have one without the other." Despite the connections between Self and Other, the apparent divisions drive us crazy. The Other just won't cooperate with the Self's agenda for what it believes is right, healthy or loving. So Self enacts all sorts of strategies to pull Other under its control. But every rule, commandment, design and dominating tactic only clarifies the lines appearing to separate Self from Other.

What Self misses is that division is an archetypal pattern. It allows the oneness of consciousness to experience expressed possibilities. Without Self and Other, life would be an amorphous, soup-less soup. The overlapping circles of Self and Other is a primal structure that allows no-thing to breathe as everything. The trouble isn't the framework of Self and Other. Problems stem from seeing their relationship as a personal dispute rather than a cosmic dance. This doesn't mean to get falsely Kumbaya about the differences. It means to stop futile complaints against an essential structure of life and connect with the energy generated from the interaction. It means to discover the strengths the dynamic reveals and act from the field of possibilities broader than personal gains and losses.

So, the next time that irksome Other person, political party, or religion doesn't dance to your particular tune, try stepping through the dispute into the dance of consciousness cavorting with itself. Hear the music to which Self and Other are dancing. Enter the wider, subtler and more intricate symphony to which the archetypal twins are already swaying.

Learn more about the dynamic of Self & Other in my new book 24 PATTERNS OF WISDOM: Navigating the Challenges and Awakenings of the Human Journey by clicking here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Surviving the Flood

If you're not overwhelmed these days, you're not paying attention. Sure, every moment is not a crisis, but tsunamis of information, innovation and interconnectivity are inundating every aspect of life. All things, from food, shelter and clothing to personal relationships, politics, economics, science, entertainment and art, are being dragged by tidal shifts into unknown forms and functions. The big waves are swamping the gridworks of concepts and beliefs that have defined us and our world for thousands of years. Our references points and coordinates for navigating the world are dissolving before our eyes. Even when we accept that this is a time of unprecedented change, the transformations keep coming so quickly and relentlessly that it's easy to feel we're drowning. The bad news is we are.

The good news is that drowning in the flood is an archetypal pattern of wisdom. Whether we like it or not, guard against it or not, our frameworks of dwelling on earth cannot withstand the forces of revitalization that sweep away the old to make way for the new. With all the talk of attuning ourselves to the earth, we ignore nature's essential pattern of renewal and sustainability—to continue, life devours the structures it creates. From starfish to stars, from homelands to homes, every form that is made is overwhelmed by forces that unmake it, opening the way to new life.

In the midst of the flood, we believe it's the end when it is actually somewhere in the unending middle. As we call for change and extol transformation, it's helpful to remember this. On the way to new doings, life will carrying us through our undoing. As natural as it is for the tides to rise and overwhelm us, it is just as natural for them to recede and reveal our new forms and patterns for living. So, let's face it, the floods of change will keep coming. The question is, as the Persian poet Hafez asked, will you go kicking and screaming or go dressed for dancing?

Learn more about The Flood and other structures of knowledge in my new book 24 PATTERNS OF WISDOM: Navigating the Challenges and Awakenings of the Human Journey, click here

Photograph: K.M. Chaudary/AP Illustration: Anthony Lawlor

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Occupy Wall Street - Hidden Patterns of Emerging Power

Beneath the surface of events, hidden patterns guide and shape our thoughts and actions. What appears to be today's news arises from timeless, archetypal stories. When we see and understand the deeper patterns unfolding before us, we are better equipped to utilize the shifting tides of the moment and act effectively for real change.

The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are no exception. The protesters in the street shout "We are the 99%!" "Enough is enough!" "Contribute your share!" Those occupying the towers looming above mutter "Stop complaining." "You are incoherent." "Get a job." In the struggle between the voices of the masses and the fortresses of wealth, each side blames the other for the conflict. Beneath the surface divisions, however, both sides are cooperating to enact the primal pattern of the Lifeboat.

The Lifeboat expresses the tendency to separate ourselves from the uncertainty of the ever-shifting tides of living. To protect ourselves from sinking beneath waves of change, we create a protective structure we believe will keep us above the roiling currents. Yet, armoring ourselves against the sea of living disconnects us from nourishing flows of renewal. We dwell in isolation, fear the world, and contract into alienation and depression. The ocean of consciousness, however, will not let us hide forever. Surges of energy and awareness pound our defensive walls until they soften and we respond to their call.

In the Occupy Wall Street story, the wealthy 1% are doing everything they can to survive as they are, maintaining the Lifeboats separating them from the 99% who are suffering economic uncertainty. But, as Michael Moore observed about the 1%, "They can only build the gates so high." Beneath the surface of the situation, the pattern of the Lifeboat can point the way toward a solution. As long as both sides believe it is "us against them," their problems will continue. As soon as everyone involved sees their roles in the dynamic processes unfolding, methods for revitalizing economic health can be found. When the wealthy 1% acknowledge that their riches, influence and security are interdependent with the labor and wellbeing of the 99% percent, they can use their knowledge and finances to discover new methods for enriching the global economy. When the 99% acknowledge their vast untapped resources and the power of their labor and creativity, they can look into the emerging energies of the digital age and shape them into a new economy that nourishes each individual while strengthening the whole society. The beginning is looking beneath the surface and connecting with the archetypal patterns guiding and shaping the events.

Read more about the Lifeboat and other archetypes shaping your life in my forthcoming book, 24 PATTERNS OF WISDOM; Navigating the challenges and awakenings of the human journey. The ebook is available now from Amazon Kindle. The print edition will be available mid November.

Monday, September 19, 2011

24 Patterns of Wisdom • Introduction

Buy the ebook
Print edition
available in November 2011

24 Patterns of Wisdom is an enormously inspirational book. It combines Anthony Lawlor’s knowledge as an architect with insights gleaned from depth psychology to provide a roadmap to the quest for meaning, purpose, and wisdom.”

PHIL COUSINEAU, author of The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work

"Anthony Lawlor has offered a brilliant and stunningly beautiful mandala of the soul's journey. 24 Patterns of Wisdom takes the reader on an in-depth, experiential journey into the archetypes that underlie our life situations and offers healing as well as meaningful reflection."

RICK JAROW Ph.D., author of The Alchemy of Abundance

"24 Patterns of Wisdom is an inspiring, visionary book. Anthony Lawlor gives us a groundbreaking guide to finding clarity in confusion, harmony in conflict and comfort in chaos. Through wonderful drawings, insights and stories, we learn to see the world with fresh eyes and feel inspired every day of our lives. I love this important and wsie book!"

—MARCI SHIMOFF, New York Times bestselling author of Happy for No Reason


“You cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew.”— Albert Einstein

This book provides openings to “seeing the world anew.” It presents 24 patterns of wisdom that map the road to finding out who you are, why you are here and where you are going. These patterns are visual diagrams of consciousness, illustrations that offer insight about where you are on your human journey and how one stage of experience grows into the others. This sequence of drawings helps free you from any single phase of development. It opens the way to engaging natural tides of change with greater happiness, peace and creativity.

The patterns of wisdom presented here provide essential understanding for navigating the world. To find our way takes all sorts of knowledge. We need varied and specific skills to make money, engage in a relationship, parent a child, cook a meal, write a poem and do the thousand other things that make a life. Through every pursuit, patterns of wisdom help us see what is happening and help us comprehend our connections to our surroundings. In contrast, lack of knowledge contracts us in fear and overwhelms us with confusion. When that happens, all the information in the universe cannot make things better. When we understand patterns of wisdom we feel expanded, peaceful and clear. We are more energized, imaginative and loving.

People throughout time have enhanced their knowledge by sensing the patterns that influence their thoughts and actions. When we understand this wisdom about the workings of life, we are better prepared to deal with each situation that arises. We can see what to avoid, what to embrace and when to remain neutral. Reference points can be found for steering a course through upheavals and down times. If we do not understand the patterns of wisdom shaping ourselves and the world, we become victims of circumstance. We can miss what is happening right in front of us and overlook clues about what is coming our way. Our actions can become mechanical, have limited effect and restrict our satisfaction.

24 Patterns of Wisdom provides tools for finding harmony in conflict, clarity in confusion, and comfort in chaos. By understanding the map of how wisdom transforms our lives, we discover what transforms the world. In random events, we can discern coherent sequences of development. As we are bombarded by swiftly changing information, we can find stability. In the radical reshuffling of society occurring in this century, we can be better prepared to maintain our true natures and stay connected to our authentic purposes.

The patterns of wisdom presented here are not rules for action or ideals for living. Instead, these visual diagrams of knowledge depict the unseen currents shaping who we are, what we do and where we go. Learning how to detect these patterns of wisdom alerts us to unconscious habits that can undermine us and put us in conflict with life. Having greater awareness of our autopilot actions allows us to be less dominated by worn out and rigid ways of thinking. It offers us greater freedom to choose how we want to live. Recognizing the wisdom in these diagrams improves our ability to see through surface appearances to the core of what shapes our lives. It opens the way to perceiving the wellsprings of inspiration at the heart of each situation.

The diagrams of wisdom on the following pages distill knowledge for living that has been developed through centuries of experience. Symbols and stories providing insights about the human journey are at the heart of every spiritual path, scientific discovery, psychological realization and artistic creation. Sacred teachings portray these revelations through the lives of Buddha, Christ and other sages. They depict them with images of the Wheel of Dharma, the Cross, the Star of David and other revered icons. Science describes this knowledge through formulas for gravity, the speed of light and the other forces structuring the universe. Psychologists convey this wisdom through archetypes of personal growth. Artists express this understanding through forms and colors that ignite vitality and inspire awe.

24 Patterns of Wisdom conveys this timeless knowledge in a unique way. It traces the path of growing wisdom through a new sequence of symbols. Each symbol depicts a stage in the process of gaining knowledge without referring to a particular religion or philosophy. Instead, this series of images depicts how our daily experience travels from the limits of the physical world to the freedom of consciousness shimmering through every detail of living.

The symbols illustrated here are archetypes of human experience. Archetypes are like the bones that give our bodies structure. They are essential, but unseen. Archetypes are the organizing principles that support and guide our emotions, actions and achievements. They are patterns that we fill with real-life experiences. Archetypes of life stages such as birth and death, are filled with the real-life experiences of our specific births and deaths. The archetypal roles of the Child, the Mother and the Hero are filled in with the details of our personal childhoods, our specific mothers and the particular heroic acts we encounter on our way. The archetypes of wisdom presented in this book describe essential patterns of experience such as the Circle of the Senses, the Primal Wound, the Belief Grid and Flowering.

Archetypes hover below the surface of every thought, word and action. We do not acquire them the way we acquire the knowledge of driving a car. Like the knowledge of breathing, the wisdom of archetypes is already guiding our lives. Yet, we can be unaware of the archetypes motivating and shaping us. To benefit from their guidance, we must learn to see and feel them. When we can directly experience these archetypes of wisdom and live in harmony with them, we can access the fullness and vitality of life.

Archetypes are not passive structures. They are vital links to the subtle, luminous forces that power our thoughts and gestures. These links are found at the overlaps between matter and energy, the interfaces where energy sparks matter alive. In this sense, archetypes are forms of potential, the readiness for action and achievement. Because archetypes already exist and are always behind everything we do, they are indestructible. Connection with them opens our lives to experience what is beyond change.

By learning to perceive archetypes, we learn the pathways through which consciousness is expressed in us and in our surroundings. Carl Jung, who developed the concept of psychological archetypes, said that whether we understand them or not, we must remain conscious of their influence. Archetypes are vital parts of nature and, therefore, connect us to our roots in the world. If we are cut off from these primordial images of existence, we are cut off from the profound richness of life.

By exploring archetypal wisdom, we not only enhance our personal journeys, we also connect to the rest of humanity. Joseph Campbell beautifully describes this experience in relation to the archetype of the Labyrinth: “Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us; the labyrinth is thoroughly 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.”

24 Patterns of Wisdom provides visual symbols you can use each day to guide and support your unique passage through the world. As you navigate the winding trail of day-to-day challenges, you can bring these images to mind as you would recall inspiring sayings and quotations to strengthen you with uplifting insights and motivating knowledge. By doing so, these 24 symbols become allies for making every step of your way a homecoming to the harmony, joy and abundance of your luminous nature.

Buy the ebook

Print edition
available in November 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011


another ring around the sun
another moment reflecting it all
a circle
a seed
measured in miles and millimeters
counted in days and seasons
opens to what is immeasurable

like the first day
this day
ancient and fresh
known and unknowable
mundane and miraculous

in this body
in this world

mattering humming energy
energy shimmering matter
everything speaking
everything listening
within itself
around an atom
around the sun

dancing these roles
as waves
dancing on an unmoving sea
as clouds
forming and reforming in a silent sky
as human
hoping and fearing within an expanse of love

to have this one day is a gift
to have so many days
so many adventures
so many dark nights dawning in bright mornings
so many encounters opening to friendships
is a blessing beyond measure

This birth of me
the birth of you
the birth of life
within itself

another ring around the sun
another moment reflecting it all
a circle
a seed
measured in miles and millimeters
counted in days and seasons
opens to what is immeasurable

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Enlightenment in All Things

Wisdom is
compassion and connection
not competition and control.
Consciousness, after all,
is One.

As no wave
is closer to water
than another,
no one
is closer to consciousness
than another.

is seeing light
in all things.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In the Hum of Creation

I'm in the hum of creation, writing down to my soul. The currents of the mystery are pulling me down and down. To what, I don't know. But my body and mind are gladly going with them. The ride isn't smooth. Inspirations are crashing into me and I'm banging into them. Preconceived ideas are rattling loose, stripping away what I know, revealing wellspring energies surging into form.

In this hum of creation, I'm diving again and again. Plunging into the unknown, I'm making the crazy attempt to translate what cannot be grasped into words and images that describe the indescribable. I'm swimming toward pearls that prove nothing while opening to everything. Why? This is what I'm called to do, beginning of story.

Within the hum of creation, the world is crashing—nuclear meltdown, revolution, battles for freedom and campaigns to take it away. Everywhere, voices are crying, "Help us." They call me from the depths. I burst through the surface, look around and stare in stunned silence at the scene. "What's the best way to help?" my heart aches. No answers come.

Then the hum of creation pulls me back down. In the currents, I look for ways to see the way through radiation to radiance, through revolution to renewal. Will I find them for myself or anyone else? I dive again, pray what I do will make a drop of difference and remember the lines of the poet:

What we choose to fight is so tiny!
What fights us is so great!
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm,
we would become strong too, and not need names.
When we win it's with small things,
and the triumph itself makes us small.
What is extraordinary and eternal

does not want to be bent by us.
I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:
when the wrestler's sinews
grew long like metal strings,
he felt them under his fingers
like chords of deep music.

Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who often simple declined to fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively
by constantly greater beings.

THE MAN WATCHING by Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Courage of Tenderness

Matisse's chapel in Vence displays the courage it takes to create from tenderness. So much architecture is made from coolness, calculation and brute force. This has its place, but Matisse made a place that welcomes the whispers of the soul. It's a sacred space designed by a wise child. It's the art of a master who explored color and form until everything that wasn't essential was stripped away, leaving only pure, tinted light. In contrast to the dark, womb-chamber cathedrals throughout Europe, this radiant space invites gentleness in to play. The vulnerability, usually hidden in shadowy passages and armored by massive stone walls dances on a raised, glowing altar. Every detail shimmers with innocent openheartedness. This includes the vestments Matisse designed for the clergy here. Instead of the traditional black or brown robes, the artist fashioned ceremonial capes with festive colors and floral motifs reflecting the playful stained glass windows. In a world that celebrates heroic acts of explosive art, the courage to listen to the subtle, yet powerful, murmurs of the heart and the skill to translate that elusive strength into a compelling human sanctuary is astonishing.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Your Treasure Is In The Space Between

Life is in the space between. We focus on words, people, clothes, houses, cars, jobs, food, trees... Mostly, we dwell in pauses; we inhabit the openings between gestures and relationships. In traffic, in line, at the desk, at the table, on the path, we wait; we stare out the window; we muse; we worry; we laugh; we confuse; we clarify; we explore. Most of the time, we ignore the gaps. In our ignorance, we miss a major aspect of life.

If we do acknowledge the space through which our lives travel, it's usually to escape, to find peace, to get away from all the stuff. What we miss is this: the space between is filled with life. But the knowledge, laughter, beauty, practicality and poetry in the intervals cannot be recognized by our minds. It speaks in a language that is not hearable, touches us with caresses that at not tangible, offers us guidance with signs that are invisible.

Acknowledging the space between and allowing yourself to rest within it transforms your life. I'm not talking about retreating to the meditation cushion, the studio space or the forest. Here, now open to the opening... Let it in... A silent explosion rocks the visible world... "Lifeless" objects speak... Being blasts through all becoming... The hidden treasure you've been searching for is revealed.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Facing Change in Your Cave of Beliefs

Light cannot be seen without shadows. The brighter the sunlight the deeper is the shade. After the glow of the holidays and the effulgent hopes for a new year, Monday morning comes. Bright resolutions for a fresh start collide with the old patterns you wanted to leave behind. Yet, the path ahead is surrounded with the attitudes that structure your framework of perception. The new diet, exercise program, goal accomplishing routine or whatever transformational behavior you undertake passes through this cave of beliefs. Wishing it isn't so doesn't dissolve their limiting shadows. No amount of figuring it out or transcendent sidestepping will slip through their grip. Heeding the advice "the only way out is through" couldn't be more relevant.

The existing form of your life cannot be reformed until the solid images defining your world become transparent to the light of the consciousness that gives them substance. This can only be achieved by entering your cave of beliefs, engaging the play of shadows and seeing they are made of withheld light. This may seem spiritually romantic, but its scary as hell. Old limitations are more cherished then we admit. Otherwise, they would slip away like old skin sliding off a snake.

Facing them head on and shining your consciousness into hidden places takes courage beyond the everyday. Wanting to run is natural. Striding into the darkness sets your heart pounding, knees shaking, palms sweating. You know the rest. You've seen the movie heros confronting their demons, wielding their swords, slicing open the illusions of danger, revealing that the feared enemy is a reflection of oneself. Your task is to express those heroic powers on the yoga mat, facing the blank page, making the cold call, responding to soul's song while the mind is screaming its doubts. Then, gazing into your cave of beliefs, you may remember that attitudes are not cast in stone. They are merely forms of consciousness. They were shaped within you and can be reshaped there.