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.

Equanamity and Transformation

Posted in Uncategorized on August 3, 2009 by velocityvortx

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

QUICK ILLUSTRATION.

PLEASE STAND UP IN FRONT OF THE COMPUTER AND STAND ON ONE LEG.  FIND THE BALANCE POINT. DO YOU NOTICE THAT THERE IS A LOT OF MOVEMENT IN YOUR FOOT MUSCELES AND BONES AS YOU ARE TRYING TO BALANCE?  DO YOU ALSO NOTICE THAT WHEN YOU FIND THE BALANCE POINT EVEN IF IT IS ONLY FOR A FEW SECONDS YOU WILL EXPERIENCE A CALM YOU CAN FEEL IN YOUR WHOLE BODY?  THAT CALM IS THE EQUANAMITY WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.

Equanimity means understanding how we perceive and how our perceptions are colored and swayed by hidden meanings.

Equanimity is a profound quality of mindfulness that cultivates the ability to let go.  Or another way of saying it is an unshakable balance of mind that is rooted in insight.

In the Christian tradition we might look at the fruit of the spirit like self control or gentleness. 

Looking at the world around us, and looking into our own heart, we see clearly how difficult it is to attain and maintain balance of mind.

We have a couple options as life events hit us.
•    Suppression – bottle it up, push it down, manage the exterior,
•    Identification – emotions hit and hijack and we are out of control.  We then justify to ourselves and others why we “can’t help it” or “you would respond just the same”  but identification is the problem.

In between suppression and identification is the balance point.

Looking into life we notice how it continually moves between contrasts: rise and fall, success and failure, loss and gain, honour and blame. We feel how our heart responds to all this happiness and sorrow, delight and despair, disappointment and satisfaction, hope and fear. These waves of emotion carry us up and fling us down; and no sooner do we find rest, than we are in the power of a new wave again.

Happiness and sadness are fleeting right?

We say all the time “sleep on it” “it will look different in the morning”  “this too will pass” 

These are all sayings about nonattachment.  Don’t get too attached because it will feel different and be different later.

I must lose my life to find it Jesus said.

But the kind of equanimity required has to be based on vigilant presence of mind, not on indifferent dullness. It has to be the result of hard, deliberate training, not the casual outcome of a passing mood.

True equanimity, however, should be able to meet all tests and to regenerate its strength from sources within. It will possess this power of resistance and self-renewal only if it is rooted in insight.

Exercise in equanimity.

Come into your body.  Follow your breath.

Identify a person, or situation that in the past has created emotional imbalance for you. Something that in the past would throw you into a reactive postures.

Now picture that situation/person.  Enter into the emotions of it.  Become curious about what is happening in your body.

Notice there are two things going on.  You are experiencing the situation AND you are observing what is happening to you in the situation.

Now fully embrace those feelings.  Terror, fear, anger, frustration.

Now realize you can experience those feeling but also not act on them in any significant way.  You can choose a non reactive path.

Now go and repeat the exact same scenario.  This time realizing that the movie you are currently playing is the same way you will respond this week to the situation.  You are PRACTICING!

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.

Preparing the Soil for Further Transformation

Posted in Blogroll, leadership, personal development on June 29, 2009 by velocityvortx

So we have been talking about transformation and the experiences surrounding them.  But how do you actually prepare the soil to enter into them.  Can you create these ah ha moments?  Can you provoke those noetic experiences that are often high impact?

I want you to think of Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in chapter 1…he prayed that they would be enlightened….that the eyes of their heart would be enlightened.

•    Eph. 1.15        For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,  16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,  19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,

Remember I keep saying spirituality is seeing…but there it is again in Paul’s prayer.

Another way of asking the above questions is can you position yourself in such a way that you increase the incidence of bumping into God enlightening you mind. 

Elijah…Elisha…John the Baptist…Peter James and John…  Paul.  They all experienced this.

So let’s go to the garden as a powerful metaphor for transformation. Gardeners don’t grow anything but create the conditions in which things can grow.

The first thing the developmentalists talk about it is something we mentioned in a couple posts months ago…

1. Gardeners accommodate new experiences and resist assimilating them.

•    Zebra assimilated to a horse.  Eventually the child will come realize that there is an animal that looks similar to a horse called a zebra but that they are not the same.  When that happens we are moving into accommodation.

This is how we stretch and revise our mental models (the way we think the world IS).  And this is probably how we are to account for profound shifts in consciousness.  So here is the million dollar question how do we increase our ability to accommodate and not assimilate?

Two psychologists who have specialized in studying awe and wonder propose two essential elements to awe…

•    1. Perceived vastness
•    2. Accommodation

In other words it may be that some experiences are so vast, so profound so far beyond what we have previously perceived that they in effect demand that we transform our worldview in order to accommodate them. 

Sheer vastness forces accommodation because we simply have no category for the ZEBRA.

So why do some experiences challenge our belief systems resulting in positive transformations while others don’t?

Keltner and Haidt, these two psychs, say it is your ability to take in the vastness of the experience without assimilation that moves it toward the pole of transformation.

Louise Sundararajun a psychologist and religious historian argues  that only after failed attempts to assimilate will we allow accommodation and new mental structures to be formed.

This sort of shift is what leads to different brain wiring and a more spacious way of BEING.  Notice these experience don’t usually bring new knowledge in the sense of facts and figures but new knowledge of being-ness or vastness or of how things are.

She further argues that the only way to insure our ability to accommodate is to step back and look at our process of thinking and judgment this is what is typically call metacognition. 

•    Looking at and thinking about our thinking.  Observing what we are observing and thinking about it.

More on gardening next week.