Archive for the personal development 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. 

COMMENTS ABOUT THIS??

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

1 DEEP PERSONAL PAIN
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 velocitylearning@gmail.com 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

•    3. 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.

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.

Consciousness, Science and God

Posted in Blogroll, leadership, personal development, theology on July 27, 2009 by velocityvortx

We are pumped about the next module of III:TEXT which is titled Consciousness, Science and God .  

How Ron describes this next module:   

You want to push into the cutting edge of scientific inquiry and it’s overlap into the world of God and consciousness?  Want to engage in dialogue around some topics that will transform your ideas of self, God and the world? 

 

The world of science, once at odds with anything spiritual, has undergone interesting discoveries over the last several decades putting it closer and closer to the tangible though invisible world of spirit.  IIIText has always been about brokering resources that may not be on your radar, and exposing you to the emerging edge of the three texts we are always exploring, biblical text, human text and context. 

 

The .06 installment will be no different, but it will not be for the faint of heart.  If you want everything you have always believed to be confirmed…don’t participate.  If you are looking for safe, simplistic and neat and tidy…don’t sign up.  But if you want to be stretched, if you want to read an noted astrophysicist who started out studying to be in the priesthood, a double Ph.d in mathematics and philosophy who has founded an organization that networks contemplatives, a research professor at Georgetown and former section chief at the National Institute of Mental Health, and a cell biologist who has taught at Stanford Medical School so you can see what their learnings have to do with God, our self understanding and our world, then this might be the perfect IIITEXT for you. 

 

The foregoing may scare you into thinking you can’t understand these sorts of authors.  I assure you we are using resources written for general population readership, they are accessible and insightful, some brand new but all very recent.  But these resources, with just a few exceptions are not trying to synthesize their views with a biblical framework…that is our work in IIIText.  How does the work in science and consciousness provide new lenses on the biblical text and our understanding of God and how does our understanding of God influence our reading of scientific discoveries. 


Pretty intriguing…huh?

For three months we will come together to discuss how science is pointing to God and how we can be in the middle of the conversation as ministry leaders or better yet, as sojourners. There is daily online posting/discussion for these three months. Don’t let that overwhelm you.  The beauty of the chatboard is that you can post/read at any time of day.  In addition to the daily posting we meet online once/month  for a live chat/video conference with Ron and authors of the texts.  After three months of online conversation and monthly conferences, we will meet (most likely in a warm spot) in January for a three day In-Real-Life meeting that alone is worth the price of registration. 

III:TEXT is a unique forum.  We read texts together and interact daily online with our thoughts, questions, and challenges.  This forum really has been a life giving source for all who have entered with a desire to grow and thrive!  

And let’s face it Ron is one of genius thinkers of our day.  He combs through countless texts to resource III:TEXT with the best, both the most recent publications and some obscure.   If this is not enough, this group is typically made of up of a diverse group of ministry leaders from the world bringing experiences and education that combine to create something completly unique and synergistic for growth, for transformation! 

Early registration with it’s discount rate ends on Friday, July 31st  so register this week.  Regular registration ends August 31st CLICK HERE to read more details about the class and/or CLICK HERE to register at the velocity store.

Let It Be

Posted in Blogroll, leadership, personal development on July 2, 2009 by velocityvortx

In assimilation I am squeezing a ‘perceived’ external into my internal world, not changing my structure but most likely pigeon-holing the external. Instead of allowing WHAT IS to BE WHAT IT IS, flourish, and grow, I assimilate it/her/him into the preferred and  controlled categories I have created.  I most likely diminish it/her/him and me. 

In accommodation, my structure, labels, and categories must remain malleable and open to adaptation. While this can be scary to my need for control, it may also lead to the most amazing discoveries, new understandings, and opportunity for transformation.  My observation and impact on ‘others’ will create an environment of an unforced and non-violent synergy between others and myself. I am able to integrate the mystery, the joy, and the pain.  

Jesus seemed to hang out with those who were malleable…those who didn’t project this categorical propensity…with those whose internal world could accommodate itself to the evidence with which it is confronted and  adapt to it.   

There are Christian practices that Ron teaches in the context of Velocity Learning Conversations that help intentionally position us toward allowing  ‘perceived externals”  to be as they are without labeling or categorizing.  So if you are interested in learning these practices, hit me with a mail….velocitylearning@gmail.com and we can schedule a day for you and your team to bring Ron in and practice together.