New Site, New Posts, New Offerings.

Posted in Uncategorized on November 19, 2009 by velocityvortx

Gang all good things should be built upon and improved.  So…. the last couple months we have been working a full overhaul of the the velocity site

This new site is now the location of ALL velocityculture information, including this blog.

While this site and all it’s content will remain.  This is the last new post you will find here.


Do we Awaken Possibility?

Posted in Uncategorized on October 23, 2009 by velocityvortx

I am intrigued by the fact that Jesus, with consistency and regularity, called forth possibility in people.  In fisherman, tax collectors, prostitutes, blind people and that is just for starters, Jesus called people on to a different way of being and a different sort of life. 

Inherent within Jesus’ possibility posture was his sense that people are made in the image of God.  Contrary to so much wrongheaded emphasis on original sin, Jesus seems clear that the image of God in us is more original it is the starting point.  It was in Genesis and it was with Jesus.  That there is a place from which we can operate where ego can be laid down and our bipolar, binary, splitting, fracturing way of seeing each other and much of life can be released.  This is part of metanoia, the waking up to a wider reality Jesus is inviting.  I have been a fan of Benjamin Zander for some time.  I read his book 7 years ago and it was engergizing and powerful.  This talk is the same.  And while the goal of his talk has nothing to do with Jesus perse I think it does have something to do with Jesus. Enjoy!  And if you don’t have 20 minutes right now wait till you do you need to see the whole thing.

Insight Mediation….Witness Awareness

Posted in Uncategorized on October 16, 2009 by velocityvortx

One of the great tools in ATTENTION/AWARENESS development (and this is very vertical) is what is called insight meditation or witness awareness.  This is essentially being able to watch yourself and your thoughts arising with nonjudgmental viewing.  Non judgmental because judgment causes us to push stuff we need to be aware of into our shadow egoic selves.  We hide this from our view because we don’t like what we see and when that happens our ability to attend to it ceases. We have not done much in the Christian world to address this issue of shadow.

To use more Pauline biblical language, we have to learn to observe the patterns of the flesh, to step outside of ourselves with enough consistency we can observe the ways we are responding to the world around us.  Formation of this sort starts in our heads…to be transformed by our minds being renewed (Romans 12.1-2).  This IS NOT an injunction by Paul to go read a bunch of bible verses contrary to how this is often preached.  This could not be what Paul had in mind.  The individual believers in Rome didn’t have a pocket or nightstand copy of the bible for individual usage. He had to mean something more like becoming aware of what is going on inside your head space.  

A lack of intention and attention to the stories we are telling ourselves is exactly and precisely how we end up molded by the world (Rom 12.1 again); meaning  we will be pulled toward the greatest sensation of the moment.  THIS IS THE VERY ESSENCE of reaction. 

My action is in response to the greatest stimulus in my environment at the moment.  Again to use Pauline language, to keep pace with the Spirit and to marshal and direct our energies wisely (The Message translation of egkrateia usually translated self control) requires astute and keen awareness.  That is the point of insight meditation….more on how to do that in a couple days.

Attention the Other Co-Conspirator

Posted in culture, personal development, theology on October 4, 2009 by velocityvortx

Intention is critical to practice (see two posts ago) 

But there is a second…. ATTENTION.

We have talked about a key shift in transformative practice is a shift in perspective.

A shift in what you pay attention to.  An ability to realize you have a head talk going on. Call it ego, the old man, the flesh.   An ability to realize your self conversation defines your reality far more than you circumstances is critical to transformation.  What does Jesus say…

Matt. 6.22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.

What we see is what creates head space egoic talk.  That is what in turn defines how we view the world.  We live into these stories whether we realize it or not.  Think about it…we start telling ourselves stories about tomorrow’s meeting, concern, conflict situation.  We then head into that the situation with the scenario rehearsed.  Our brain then helps us recreate that scenario and then we have a self fulfilling prophecy and don’t know why.

What we see and what we see with our minds eye is key to our formation.  This is why Paul prayed for our enlightenment (that the eyes of your hear might be enlightened Eph.1) and that we not be conformed by what we see in the world but be transformed by telling ourself a different head space story (Romans 12)

Attention is all about what you pay attention to… if you pay attention at all.

I think this is the big learning for me.  I have never until recently really placed my attention or intended my attention to do anything.  It was all 100% autopilot.

moving  from blindness to seeing,

from autopilot to intentional

from sleeping to awake

from hypnotized to aware.

I have quoted to you from Charles Tart the psychologist before but allow me to do it again

· The path that interests me most, personally and professionally is what you might call the path of awareness.  It’s based on the assumption that in ordinary consciousness a great deal of what happens is automatized.  Ordinary consciousness is only sort or semi-consciousness, and there is a mechanical nature to it.  Whereas if you being to apply to it various kinds of mindfulness practices that give you insights into the way the mind functions as well as certain concentrative abilities—this can speed insights and enable you to focus your attention in a particular direction.

In this regard when we are talking about attention we are really talking about awareness.

Intention and attention … intention purpose and focus with awareness and sensitivity these are the first two keys to us moving into the arena of transformation.

Intention and Attention are really about living more fully more deeply.

If you really bring your intention and attention to larger blocks of your day you can’t help but have a richer, fuller, more somatically aware, emotionally nuanced, day. 


I am reminded…

Posted in culture, personal development, theology on September 15, 2009 by velocityvortx

I am more convinced than ever that the deepest changes in how Christianity does it’s work will center around a new type of spirituality.  We haven’t done a good job at helping people see how change and formation happen.  And my personal hunch is we have defined the problem wrong.  We seem to be sin-centric instead of imago dei-centric.  Problem solving and holiness fixing, rather than freedom granting and life giving. 

I spoke at a spirituality congress in South Africa where quite honestly I was a spiritual peon amongst giants.  Willem Nichol, Trevor Hudson, Johan Geyser, Gys Du Plessis and Stephan Joubert all my elders and all more deeply experienced, were the docket of speakers at this conversation on the what and how of spirituality.

More than ever I am convinced apophatic spirituality, Cloud of Unknowing type of stuff is part of the missing pattern in our formation.  We are clueless how to do Psalm 46.10 spirituality and instead of learning to be still (an interior condition) I think we have confused it with sitting still (an exterior posture). 

The most dramatic thing I am reminded of on a nearly daily basis is just how modern, textual and  information our spirituality is.  Interestingly this is not where Bonaventure sat (think Soul’s Journey to God), or St Teresa of Avila (Interior Castle) or San Juan de La Cruz (St. John of the Cross)  or earlier still John Cassian’s Conferences.  I was reminded by these great mentors I shared the platform with just how rare the work is on interior silence is where we can watch the constructed egoic self in action.  Where we take insight from what arises in our awareness and how to move toward the letting go of a centering practice (the main point of my talk Silence is the First Language of God {a quote from St John of the Cross})

We must must must move beyond the textual addiction of modernity and move toward the place of quiet. Only there can we see the judger gene, the real issue raised in the Genesis 1-3 narrative, and learn the letting go work that needs to be done for us to be deeply formed. 

Intention part Deux

Posted in Uncategorized on August 31, 2009 by velocityvortx

Definition – TRANSFORMATIVE PRACTICE – is any set of activities (internal or external) you engage in  with the intention of fostering long lasting shifts in the way you experience and relate to yourself, others and the rest of the world.

Essential #1 for Effective Practice – INTENTION


Many spiritual directors point out that practice is primarily something you do for it’s own sake.  But aren’t you practicing in order to get some where?  Like happier or healthier?  That of course is how many of us start into a practice, a prayer pattern, a devotional reading pattern.

This is one of the great paradox that many of world’s greatest practitioners site.

•    While you may begin a transformative practice with a goal in a seemingly contradictory way most spiritual directors will tell us that we have to stop striving to get some where or accomplish something for the practice to actually do something

Listen to what one spiritual director says…

•    We practice to practice.   A good deal of our practice is seeing that this is it. This is my life, just like this.  Once we actually realize that, then we begin to take care of this life more carefully.  We being to appreciate this life as it is and not look outside for something else, but actually give some attention to this life as it is.

So this is what we mean when we say we need to bring a strong pure intention to practice.  To mediation, centering prayer.  To letting go practice to focus practice.

We have to have the intention that practice is for practice and the benefits are right there in that phrase.

Do you see how this is very different than how we have often conceived of prayer in the many of our Christian traditions? 

•    Prayer isn’t a posture toward all of life…. Pray without ceasing give thanks in all things… That is not the crazy mantra it is a posture of the heart.  It is an outlook.


Australian Psychiatrist W. Beran Wolfe who lived only to the age of 35 wrote a book that went on to become a national bestseller in 1932…

•    if you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writin a symphony, education his son, growing double dahlias in his garden.  He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a gold button that has tolled under the cupboard.  He will have become aware that he is happy in the course of living 24 crowded hours of the day. (P.32)

So intention the first key to practice…

Intention is One of the Great Co-Conspirators

Posted in Uncategorized on August 24, 2009 by velocityvortx

So as I am defining it here practice is for the purpose of vertical development.  Not HORIZONTAL BANDWIDTH ACQUISITION.

Let me review a metaphor we used in the human development series

the move from conventional to postconventional understanding

•    knower and known create the knowing event.
•    understanding of the world IS my world not THE world
•    my understanding of the world is ONE view of the world and by definition is therefore perspectival, incomplete and maybe even inaccurate.
•    Hence the need for multiple perspectives, that are genuinely valuable (I don’t simply act like they are valuable.)

Watching an accident on 4 different street corners// FOUR GOSPELS

Essential #1 for Effective Practice – INTENTION

Have to be intentional, want to change, growth, shift and have to have the motivation to act in a certain way. 

Do you hold the intention to be open to transformation in and through any circumstances at any time?

Opportunities to experience transformation present themselves daily, do we use them or shun them?  Remember deep pain is the first portal to transformation because it jars us out of autopilot.

Studies indicate real transformation, as we are talking about it here is something that last forever, it is integrated into your new, ever expanding matrix and mindset. 

This is vertical development

Holding the intention to be open to transformative moments at any time is part of the imago dei in us calling out for the next step in our evolution into the image of Jesus.

You have to be open to what is calling you on

Another way of saying it is…


Nugget Review

Posted in culture, personal development, theology on August 17, 2009 by velocityvortx

Let’s do a quick overview of where we have been for a number of posts.

Portals to Transformation

Because we come to realize we have been on autopilot with some assumptions…and those assumptions always determine how we understand the self.  The WHO AM I question. 

2.  Noetic Experiences…

These would be moments we move beyond ordinary awareness to spiritual awareness which should be ordinary but isn’t.

3. The Right Resources, teacher, situations come on the scene that help us find our way

We then have choices that cultivate…

Choices that Cultivate Possible Transformative Moments

1. Gardeners accommodate new experiences and resist assimilating them.
•    Zebra assimilated to a horse.  Eventually the child will come realize
Looking at and thinking about our thinking.  Observing what we are observing and thinking about.
2. Gardeners also have the capacity for equanimity – an evenness of mind or a state of inner unshakability in the face of all the highs and lows of our various experiences. 
•    Why is this important?  This is what can make pain transformative instead of traumatic and debilitating

3.Gardeners have the capacity for CURIOSITY AND INQUIRY

I know some people, and most of them are Christians that are suspicious of anything new, new information, new ways of seeing the bible, new understandings of spiritual practice.

Practicing and Practices that Position Us Long Term for Transformation

DEFINITION- transformation means a change in how you see the world and a shift in how you see yourself. Not just a shift in your point of view but a whole different perception what of what is possible.

Noun or verb
Practice is a form of training.  Like going to ball practice or dance practice.  Practice is a routinized pattern that is engaged so that we can accomplish through the training was previously impossible through simply trying

Every religion has forms of practice or ritual ancient or more modern that are thought to bring a certain amount of transformation.

Praying the rosary every day for the catholic
Having a quiet time for the evangelical

Daily Chanting the psalms by the eastern orthodox
Daily chanting of a mantra by Tibeten Buddhists

Practices are varied do various things.

My goal in this series is not to lay out all the different practice possibilities.  There are scores of them, none of them sacred from the standpoint of magical.  All practice is dependent upon our readiness level and how they intersect our situation in life.

So what is the definition we are using here?  TRANSFORMATIVE PRACTICE – is any set of activities (internal or external) you engage in  with the intention of fostering long lasting shifts in the way you experience and relate to yourself, others and the rest of the world.

The Gaze of God

Posted in Blogroll, culture, leadership, personal development, theology on August 13, 2009 by velocityvortx

If we extract 1 Corinthians 6:18 from the Bible we read

So run away from sexual sin. Every other sin people do is outside their bodies, but those who sin sexually sin against their own bodies. 

Conceptual truth be told, sometimes it sounds like running is the best that living a “Christian’ life has to offer.  Really?

Is there a tendency to spend A LOT of  time describing the God story with cautions/warnings of morality/immorality?  How much time is spent identifying behavioral issues with surface solutions and/or anecdotes, leaving us unchanged and uninspired?   Are we running out of breath, constantly bombarded with the  do / don’t  list as we run from sin?  It begins to become difficult to grasp with amazement that every breath is a gift of grace from  God, that we are created imago dei , AND we are invited to live into His GREAT BIG story.  

I’m not implying that there isn’t a place for challenging our unhealthy relationships or behaviors but what a compelling  STORY we have been given and yet are seemingly comfortable with relegating it to a narrow framework of laws.  Our view of the Grand narrative reduced to a list…really?   We have this STORY of a loving God pursuing his children to bring restoration… God who invites us into this Story of adventure, justice, joy, weeping, mercy, and moment by moment embrace reduced to a story of moral certitude and survival.  No wonder we have a difficult time believing that Jesus came that we might have abundant life…a life of seeing, of oneness,  OMNIPRESENCE, a life where we can experience and live into the Gaze of God.  Last week at Spiritual Explorations Ron said


Jesus brings the biblical tradition to a climax when we defines truth itself as persona rather than conceptualI am the way, the truth , and the life…

John 14.6                Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Right after this statement Jesus goes on to talk of the onesness with the father…

A deep inner experience of oneness of word, thought and action… the very thing he invites us into.

If you can learn to receive the perfect Gaze of God, that is come to really believe what God says and thinks about you, then the voices of the human crowd, no matter how negative or nasty, will have no power to hurt or derail you. 

Standing before the Gaze of God as the mystics say it, unites the psyche…we are made whole. Second guessing, believing the old tapes, caring about the opinions of others becomes distant in importance.

Read the last two paragraphs again and let it sink in. 

At Spiritual Explorations Live we are exploring the (R)evolutionary Spirituality of Scripture, discussing the Story that God invites, rereading the text with it’s form, content and context and learning what living into this Story means. 

Hope you will consider joining us this month.  Email and request login information.  Here are additional details on the front page at velocity. 

Curiosity as Another Door to Open-ness

Posted in culture, personal development, theology on August 10, 2009 by velocityvortx

We ended last week saying…

The antidote to situations where we start to feel out or control and agitated is to cultivate a compassionate frame for the circumstances.

Instead of reacting to our reactions we looks at our reactions and decide to love instead. 

So we have
•    1.  assimilation versus accommodation
•    2  equanimity

these two components can bring a deep sense of transformation to all sorts of circumstances in life.

We also have


I know some people, and most of them are Christians that are suspicious of anything new; new information, new ways of seeing the bible, new understandings of spiritual practice.

I just had two back to back interviews for my latest book that illustrates this point.

Interview #1 in Atlanta was so blown away by the new ideas in the book that the seasoned veteran pastor of 68 years wished he had the book 30 years ago.  They asked on a commercial break if the 30 minute interview could be extended to 90 minutes.

Interview #2 in Detroit was with a guy who really didn’t ask many questions about the book but wanted to ask me about my relationship to some of the endorsers of the book in hopes of trying to label me and invalidate the message.  When our 30 minute interview ended and I hung up this guy went on a rampage for 15 more minutes labeling the new ideas heretical, dangerous and non biblical.  Interestingly he never talked to me about the ideas. 

Curiosity is a statement you are still learning, might not have it all figured out and are willing to try on new ideas.

This is sometimes referred to as the quality of openness.

Leonardo Da Vinci cultivated openness by always carrying around a notebook whereever he went and writing down questions, things that stuck him as odd, physical abnormalities or things he had never noticed before.

This was his ever present mental trigger to look for possibilities.

Every invention or discovery of Da Vinci first started in his notebook of curious inquiry.

Some call this the move to a second naiveté…the move back to where the world is re-enchanted again.

This is what we have called in the past the beginners mind .

In Zen they say “ In the beginners mind there are many possibilities in the expert’s mind there are few”

You can’t learn something new, you can’t have expereicnes of life be transformative if you already know everything.

Jesus says you must become as a little child

We need to pay attention and appreciate the multiple ways we can “know” in a situation.

For example.- raised in materialistic goal oriented context your ability to see beyond materialistic goals may have been shut down intentionally.  But by exercising curiosity you can understand better what lies beneath the surface, and can gain better insights about your own spiritual being.

You end up creating a dynamic between your inner and outer worlds. 

This sort of curiosity and inquiry requires a toleration of uncertainty instead of the immediate rushing to safe habitual beliefs and interpretations….this is one of the primary lubricants of transformative experience.