If we wish to overcome the polarization of our time, then we must find new ways of seeing ourselves and one another. And if there is anything we must learn how to see, it is to see beyond our egoic selves and our tribalist tendencies. what prevent human collaboration and connection
The Whole Way is one tool to help bridge these divides.
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
Beyond Us vs Them.
Beyond Me vs You.
People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life... I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive
If we wish to overcome the polarization of our time, then we must find new ways of seeing ourselves and one another. And if there is anything we must learn how to see, it is to see beyond our egoic selves and our tribalist tendencies.
The Whole Way offers one way to approach to this challenge.
Tribes come in all shapes and sizes. Whether its political parties, news networks, nations, religions, or consumer brands, we tend to view the world through the unique filter of our tribes.
But as we think about the global challenges facing humanity in the 21st Century, it's clear that we must learn how to see beyond our tribes and to restore a deeper connection to the broader Whole.
Everybody's gotta start somewhere and if you're a human being, your starting point in life begins with separateness. It begins with birth into a distinct body with a specific name and certain surroundings.
After that, it's a whole lot of learning about how this world works.
One of the first things we learn is that the world is dangerous. We learn that to stay alive, we need to listen to our family and other authority figures who wish to keep us safe. And this binds us to our in-group. After all, who is feeding us ? WHo is keeping us safe from danger? It's our family.
Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.
As we grow up, our minds become conditioned by our culture and surroundings. This is natural. We must learn learn the rules, and ultimately how to keep our spot in the human tribe. This means that when we're young we often fall into a habit of seeking approval from those who ensure our physical survival (i.e. parents and loved ones) and those who ensure our social survival (i.e. our peers).
Once that core need is met, the individual aspires to set their self apart as valuable members within the tribe.
Learning from the world around us, we discover what our tribe believes and values. In turn, we learn what we should aspire to if we wish to be embraced by our tribe.
In our modern context, this means we are always scanning the environment unconsciously for cues that will keep us in the good graces of those around us.
All cultures … have grown out of myths. They are founded on myths. What these myths have given has been inspiration for aspiration. The economic interpretation of history is for the birds. Economics is itself a function of aspiration. It’s what people aspire to that creates the field in which economics works.
Born into an environment of fear, judgment, and appearances we are predisposed to seek out things that will put us on the "right" side of judgment within the tribe. Whether we wish to be admired or respected, we set off on our aspirational journey to acquire what we think will set us apart and make us worthy of acceptance by our peers or by the crowd.
Growing from a mindset rooted in separateness, we tend to treat the world as a field of objects waiting to be procured, acquired, or consumed. Whether it's a prestigious education, a powerful job, or any other status symbol, we are programmed to seek out external proof we have arrived.
In our desire to feel that we belong, we often project our values, our beliefs, or even just a perfect selfie. We do this because we want to signal to our in-group that we are "like them" and
Of course, sometimes we don't have "all the things" we think we need to be enough in the eyes of others. This requires us to "fake it till we make it".
Sometimes we're on our way up the ladder or it's not enough just to acquire all the things and hide them away. As social creatures who are always peering outward to understand the hierarchy of our tribe, it's essential to project our acquisitions outwardly. While finding contentment within ourselves would seem to be the more sane path, at this stage of development we often seek approvaltend to still rely on the perceived approval of others to know how good we have it. Social media provides a perfect window into this. It's one thing to live the life, but it's something else to hear from others how wonderful your life is in case you didn't know it already.
The mind can only offer you a version, a portrait, a portrayal... but a portrait is not you.
I have profound love and care for the transformative potential that is embedded in American culture. It gets calcified, it gets encrusted, it gets occluded and corrupted, but it is there at the center and it feels to me still to be our last best hope which is: “Can we take the commitment to that infinite game, to becoming all that's in us to be, and to taking stands for goodness, truth, and beauty…if we’re going to export anything around the world…let it be that and not beanie babies.”
This sets in motion a conflict within the psyche that The underlying assumption of projection is that once we get the surface just so that all the things we want in life will come to us.
While suffering exists at all levels of the journey, the suffering one experiences after some life event has been actualized is unique. It's unique because, all along we have held inside our mind the belief that our happiness and fulfillment, which we have sought and has eluded us for so long, will finally arrive when we attain our vision and actualize some facet of our self (i.e. the big job, the special someone, etc.).
So, to "arrive" and yet to not feel is a is to confront a fearful proposition: the thing we thought would fill our tank, didn't fill it for very long. Soon, we are unfulfilled and dissatisfied and don't know why. Nothing in our mind prepared us for this possibility, so now we spin. We wonder where we went wrong. We look back on our path for mistakes--as if some individual decision in the past singularly produced this outcome. We look for ways to remedy our discomfort with our fading victory. At this stage, it's very easy to fall back into the spin cycle of culturally conditioned aspiration. But for those who are more discerning, they are likely to notice that the problem is not in seeking the wrong thing. It's that there's a large hole in the bucket which will always empty out. If we wish to plug it, then we must seek TRUTH.
There is sorrow in the world, a global sorrow, and there is also sorrow of your own; they are not two separate sorrows.
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
In my experience, all transformation shares one common trait: it starts from the inside out. It begins with the individual making a conscious decision to stop reacting and start respond with intention and intelligence.
It's this shift, at the individual level, that moves the world forward. And these days, with challenges growing beyond old boundaries, it's more important than ever that more individuals step into their full capacity and give their gifts. The more aligned we become internally, the more we embody our truth outwardly and the more resonant our message becomes. The greater our impact.
a modern map for psycho-spiritual exploration and development synthesizing the core insights of the world's great wisdom traditions, spiritual teachers, psychologists, and thinkers (false self to true Self in 19 Steps)
seeking, success, society
The point here is not that people are sad and deluded, but that we are conditioned into a state of lack. And here i am not speaking about real lack (i.e. food, shelter, safety) but a sense of psychological lack. Of not having enough, not being enough, and needing something "to show for ourselves"
We all operate in our society in relation to a system. Now is the system going to eat you up and relieve you of your humanity or are you going to be able to use the system to human purposes?
To deepen in our search for truth, we must become present. And in becoming present to our current condition and state of mind, we are accruing deeper levels of awareness. Whether practicing mindfulness, meditation, or any other modality, we ultimately are learning compassion for ourselves and creating a healthy relationship toward the egoic voice. Once we find this within ourselves, our relationship to "other" selves fundamentally shifts.
The Presence is deeper than the person.
“The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it
- Carl Jung
As we turn inward in pursuit of truth, the core task before the individual is to build awareness. Primarily this is harnessed through introspection and meditation. It's about getting not just comfortable being alone inside our minds, but curious what's hiding inside them. But rather than letting our thoughts take us on a ride, our goal is to become the observer of our thoughts. Of course, since we've just turned the corner from the "outside" world to the "inside" world, the mind is hardly a hospitable place to be. After all, our mind has been deeply impressed upon and conditioned by our culture and environment; it's full of thoughts, ideas, and all matter of experience. Like a movie theater that runs all night long, there's always a show going on. The challenge before the individual turning within is to learn to sit and watch. This is not to make culture or the world out to be "bad" but if we are seeking to know ourselves more deeply, to uncover the truth of our suffering, and stumble into things like bliss, well, we need to sharpen awareness.
Part of being awake is slowing down enough to notice what we say or do. The more we witness our emotional chain reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain. It becomes a way of life to stay awake, slow down, and notice. – Pema Chodron
At the compassion phase, we bring our growing awareness to all the negativity within our mind. We pay close attention to all the voices and do our best not to get carried away by them. We anchor Awareness and hold space for all our thoughts to arise and pass away. Instead, we pay especially close attention to every time our mind tells us that we "should" do or be something. Should is a dead give away that we are operating out of cultural conditioning and societal programming. In essence, our mind is trying to push us back between the lines of learned acceptability. While this is not to trample on morality (i.e don't kill people) concern for the well-being of others should never be overlooked, it serves no one to hide our true nature. The insidious side of these kinds of "shoulds" is that they threaten to make us into perfect societal drones! After all, if we're always doing what we've been told we should do, it's going to be mighty hard to get beneath this noise and discover what we must do at the level of our soul. So at this stage of the process, the goal is to bring compassion to all our inner tormenters.
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." - Albert Einstein
Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity. - Pema Chodron
Spiritual bypassing occurs when we skip past the integration phase (i.e. Awareness and Compassion) which would
As we deepen in awareness and bring greater compassion to ourselves, inevitably we must confront those sides of ourselves that we would rather ignore. Perhaps there are parts of our life we feel guilt or shame about. Perhaps we are still processing deep grief from losses endured or anger towards others who mistreated us in our lives. At the intregration phase, we are turning our awareness onto our unresolved feelings--to all those things from our past (and our life's story) that have refused to release (or we have unconsciously avoided out of fear). There are a variety of modalities that are available to us to integrate our past traumas and unresolved emotions. These can include therapy, counseling, meditaiton, shamanic healing, or a variety of other modalities. Regardless of which path speaks to us, it's essential that we process what we have been unable to confront. Like a clogged filter, we must seek to tap into these energetic blockages which inhibit our full expression.
As we come to integrate more of our unresolved emotions and find peace with our life's story, we step into Embodiment. Because we have found new levels of peace with ourselves and processed the stuck energy past, our presence enlivens the world. In direct contrast to egoic projection which seeks to put up a facade or front, the embodied individual has less and less interest in putting up any kind of facade as it's much easier and more joyful to simple be who we are. Showing up 100% the world can receive us 100%. Everybody wins.
Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared hu manity. - Pema Chodron
To serve others fully, we must become coherent in who we are. That's why integration and embodiment precede service. While this isn't to say we can't serve the world before we've fully integrated and embodied our deepest truth, it does mean that serving at our deepest and truest level hinges on how well we know ourselves. And that's because we can only give to others what we have within ourselves.
Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared hu manity. - Pema Chodron
Q: How are we to treat others?
A: There are no others.
- Ramana Maha
Of course, freedom isn't done. Freedom is. We can fight for our freedom, but to be free is itself not a doing. It's a state of being. It's an undivided state. (arise and passing away)
“When I was a kid, I was wondering, ‘What's the meaning of life?” And I came to the conclusion that what really matters is trying to understand the right questions to ask…
The more that we can increase the scope and scale of human consciousness the better we are able to ask these questions.
- Elon Musk
When we fear something, we assume it is something other than us. And when we fight against that other, we reinforce the perceived division between us. But if we have found our way to the state of pure consciousness and being, then we know that consciousness is fundamental to our humanity. We know it fundmantal to the humanity of all "others". . against something, we give it more power. We confirm that the world is perpetually in opposition and that we must resist if we wish to exist. And yet the highest expression of humanity is our decision to drop our walls and truly be our fullest selves, and embrace the other as our self and without condition.
Through complete negation, that thing which alone is positive, whic is love, comes into being.
Through complete negation, that thing which alone is the positive, which is love, comes into being.
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
“It is generally believed that love is the highest ideal. This is never discussed, but it should be. Our age is going to demonstrate that love is not the highest ideal - Life is!”
Rather than climbing up a ladder seeking perfection, we are unfolding into wholeness. We are not trying to transcend or vanquish the difficult energies we consider "wrong"--the fear, shame, jealousy, anger. This only creates a shadow that fuels our sense of deficiency. Rather, we are learning to turn around and embrace this life, in all its realness--broken, messy, vivid, alive.
So we've come full circle. We've gone from Separateness to Wholeness and returned to Presence. We've walked the path from our separate individual beings and the larger universal Being that we all fundamentally are. We've acknowledged within ourselves (which is to say beyond or beneath our egoic selves) the presence of a greater Self that is common not just among human beings but to all of creation--to all of reality.
This is what we fundamentally are.
"We as consciousness are cooperating with this delusion. All the power is with you but we hand it to the mind which tyrannizes your spirit, keeps you feeling divided because this is how it rules. You remain the undivided Seer. You are the One who is aware of all this."
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.