Archive for the culture Category

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. 

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.


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

I’m quite grateful really. Every day of the week I recall something Ron said or some question that emerged from that week’s Spiritual Explorations Live conversation on Sunday evening. 

Maybe I should have started this by identifying that this is Nancy, not Ron. But you knew that already…I’m sure he would have written something insightful by paragraph two.  Hang with me.

Back to my SEL recall …

Last Sunday evening at Spiritual Explorations Live Ron asked the question…

How Do We Read a Text Largely Written From the Mythic Perspective when we live in a World that is more Rational or Integral? 

I often, as an unseminaried reader of Scripture  (I may have made that word up…I am getting a red line from the spellcheck), have wondered about what seems to be a very different perspective of God written in the Old and New Testament, about a predominant interpretation of Paul’s doctrine of “inspiration” referring to letters of Scripture not yet written, why we choose to mimic practices and discard others, why if God meant for the Bible to be a manual of dos and don’ts then why is this grand narrative available? Some of the answers you hear…I won’t go there.  Let’s just say less than coherent and sometimes downright insulting to the intelligence. We speak of a Living Word but sometimes prefer Scripture not challenge ‘our’ way of thinking.  Was that harsh?  I’m confessing here, not indicting. People are thinking these things you know, scared to ask because they feel their ‘faith’ will be brought into question. These conversations have such a potential for spiritual communitarian growth.  Luckily, we get to talk about these kinds of questions at SEL.   More accurately, intentionally we come together to enter these questions with a desire to grow in our relationship with God and with each other, aware that how we approach the Biblical text forms our being. 

More  from last Sunday night at SEL….

Jesus came and moved us away from sacred places (temple or mountain) sacred action (rituals like washing or eating) and sacred systems (Sabbath rules etc…) as the main point and moved us to sacred time… I AM…with you till the very end of the age.

The theater of God’s activity is every moment thought often hidden from visible eyesight.


Once you agree to experience your experiences.  Once you agree your life is and always has been the theater of God’s operation then  you have to also accept that so called “negative” experience and positive experience are key to the unfolding of inner experience.

So THIS  moment is important, and THIS moment is sacred, and THIS moment is full of God and THIS moment is filled with the opportunity for surprise, mystery, and possibility.  God IS always present and  unchanging.  It is I who am unaware /absent and I who have the opportunity to transform.  How compelling is a space like SEL that enhances an awareness that every moment IS a God moment…not contrived, not forced, amazingly IS.  How do we know this?   Scripture teaches us about how the characters of the bible saw God in every day events and how we can as well. 

Ron said

The text edges forward and backward, just as humans do.  It doesn’t just give conclusions it creates a set of patterns and a tangent.  And it is up to us to connect the dots forward and backward.

Connection at many levels for us at SEL.

Ron is leading us to engage the question

What if the bible is meant to give us windows into two things

  • 1. The big fat storyline.  A narrative that directly confronts and reshapes the narratives that have molded and shaped our lives.  Truth Speaking to Power as an example…. Exodus narrative and the Prophets are good examples.
  • 2.  Windows on how he has acted in the past so we come to our relationship with him open to surprise, mystery and possibility… like the possibility of IMPROVISATION 


So if you are interested in joining this group of people from all over the world to dialogue The (R)evolutionary Spirituality of Scripture, join us Sunday, June  7th  at 6:00pm EDT when Ron will lead us in a discussion about “Original Blessing Instead of Original Sin”.  Click here for the webpage that explains how to get connected to SEL.  You can also hit me at and  with any questions you have.

It Just Clicks

Posted in culture, leadership, personal development, theology on May 28, 2009 by velocityvortx

The contemplative mind finds itself in the present, in the now.  Sometimes the only way to understand and experience what this contemplative mind is, what this nonduality is, is to acknowledge the moment when you have come out of this sense, this feeling, this experience of the present.  Sometimes it’s easier to describe what this presentness is by describing what it is not.  You know that there is a oneness experienced in the now because you have experienced a different space…if only for a moment.  Something just emerges…something just clicks.  You long for this way of being. 


Sometimes it’s the same when you have come out of a conversation where a group meets and something almost indescribable has happened. Something in the space just ‘clicked’.  You know what you have experienced only later, when you begin to reflect on the discussion or the conversation.  You realize the space that was created in that conversation was special.  Everyone came together, slowed down, allowed the other to BE , to talk without an agenda,  with a deep desire to grow.   There was a guide that led the conversation that seemed to practice a presence that leaked into the room and allowed for group to come to together. What emerged was transformational.   


Velocity Learning Conversations allow for just this type of experience…a space created where something indescribable happens…it just clicks.  You are forever changed.  People in a church, in the community, and/or even in the region come together for a day of conversation with Ron to engage questions of culture, leadership, evangelism, theology, human development, and/or spiritual formation.  Transformation happens in this forum.


Will you consider bringing Ron to your area for a Velocity Learning Conversation.  You can host a day with Ron in your community, allowing leaders in your area to register for a day that goes beyond conference highs to deep dialogue. You can offer your area an opportunity that will not require individuals to absorb flight or gas costs, hotel accommodations, meals, etc., the costs of traveling.  The really sweet part of hosting…if you get enough registrants, the day pays for itself.  Hosting a VLC promote church collaboration in your area.  You can partner with churches in your area and schedule this day with relative ease. 


Here is a look at the many conversations that are offered and contact us at or  if you are interested in additional details.