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/ 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