You have me extremely excited about the upcoming Junaluska conference: the fresh visions of possibility, the hoped for results, and the excitement and energy generated by all of you. I wish you well in every respect. I cannot attend, but will follow your planning with great anticipations. Listed below are contextual recommendations I humbly and respectfully submit to all of you on List Serve.
First: Honor all that has brought us to this point
Celebrate and honor yourself and all you have done and are still doing.
Pick out symbolically a few items to indicate the whole of your work, such as the curriculum development that which helped fuel the religious and cultural development of the twentieth century; the structural renewal and development of society symbolized by Fifth City and Human Development Projects around the world; the designing of a life together model and rule of disciple and spiritual practices that was a practical and symbolic cohesive of common life together across racial, sexual orientation and religious and cultural boundaries; and the designing and implementing of a global spirit movement across the globe. (Maybe you could squeeze in "Life is a Cabaret' happenings we had several times.)
Celebrate and honor those who nurtured you and guided you throughout, your colleagues and fellow travelers who from time to time aided as well as discouraged you, and all those who have harmed you and those who you have harmed you in the past, for without all of these experiences you would not be the greatness that you are.
Second: Assess the New Time we are in
Now take a deep breath. Forget it all. Drop it. It is all vanity of vanities. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. When we face the incomprehensible mystery there is nothing to hang on to. All our great deeds, services, thoughts, creeds, beliefs, hopes and dreams are emptiness, nothingness.......... But miracle of miracles we are free to accept ourselves as we are, and the world as it is. Thus we are free let go of the forms of the past to face the future. It is wide open, no guilt or strings tied to it. It is all Good.
The heart of planning is to start at the same point. You are dumb-founded. You have been struck deaf, dumb, and blind before the incomprehensible mystery to which one can only point to as emptiness, stillness, silence. Our only response to such a strike, which we later called Grace, is accepting our acceptance.
Wonder of wonders, this nothingness, this emptiness is the originating point of all form. In letting go of all the past and facing the future we see the bursting into becoming the form of the whole universe in all its majesty, it aliveness and vibrancy. It is all good, we are free. !!Halleluiah!!
Thus planning is a time of singing, dancing, enjoying ourselves and our task. Junaluska can be a 'lark', a time of great fun and awe.
The 21st Century is as different from the Twentieth as it was from the Nineteenth if not greatly more so. If we try to pour new wine of 21st Century articulation of the gospel and radical renewal into the wine skins of the Twentieth we are playing to the past. The world we live in today, the world the Incomprehensible Mystery has given us, is as it is, like it or not. It is here and now where we stand, live and respond with articulation and forms that must meet the deep longings of the heart as well of deep skepticism of anything that doesn't meet the reality of the world that people innately know they live in.
Third: Tools for Response
Tools for response. (Not beliefs, ideologies, etc. to agree with or not, but model building tools that enable a genuine response in the 21st Century.
Ours is a time of radical revolution of consciousness. You can see it everywhere in every discipline and all walks of life. Never in history has such acceleration taken place. Many have picked upon this and have used tools of the great traditions to announce that an apex in this revolution will take place in year 2012. Of course perversions also occur such as the rapture of the second coming. Such perversions are seen in many publications such as "Left Behind" etc. I am not referring to any of these, but want to point to the revolution of transcendent spirit in each of us and the awareness of such an accelerating taking place. What the response of the world's activities will be is exciting, however, and I look forward to watching the proposed culmination in the next six years.
Now back to the revolution of the transcendent spirit. All of us are familiar with this when we experienced the Christ happening grounded in accepting our acceptance. It catalyzed us out of the old being into the new. This is a once and for all happening, but takes place over and over again. In other words, transcendence takes place again and again. As this accelerates we began to be aware that every moment is a new transcendence, a new beginning. (This sometimes was called the Second Coming. In other words the second coming is always taking place again and again in very moment. We saw new expressions of this in the early 20th century theologians who named the second coming as "realized eschatology").
Traditionally this awareness of the progression of transcendence was named 'body, mind and spirit', and sometimes expressed as body, mind, soul and spirit. Each of these has subdivisions. Expanding it to body, mind, subtle, casual, spirit makes it is easier to see the arising of the tool of awareness or witnessing consciousness at the Subtle level as well as giving us tools for understanding the Casual and Extra Casual level. Most of us are at the subtle level if not beyond. We began to be aware of our awareness, conscious of our consciousness. We began to see reality as inner and outer, subjective and objective. Worldview wise we are pluralistic and globally oriented.
Please note the two attached 'PDF' depicting the stages of this awareness. The first is "Figure 14. Some Major Development Lines" in the book by Ken Wilber entitled, The Integral Vision. Kindly note the far right division of Tiers. The second to note is the upper left quadrant on inside of the back page titled "The Four Quadrant in Human Beings" from a booklet "Introducing The AQAL Framework" A guide to integral Theory and Practice" by Ken Wilber. I would say most of us already are at the jumping off point from the 'First Tier' to the 'Second Tier' in our awareness or have already taken the leap. Or again, we are at a point where continued transcendence of awareness can take place each moment, as our consciousness expands unto uncharted territory of evolutionary wholeness. Another way of articulating it is that we have moved toward being the Christ happening constantly.
As mentioned, we are in a time of radical revolution of consciousness. The following are three organizations who are or at the edge of articulating this revolution. There are, of course, many more that are worthy to be included. Each of these three offer weekly online presentation of edge materials, and offer additional publications of various varieties for a starter of $10.00 per month.
1. Integral Institute, 11701 East 53rd Ave., Denver, CO 80239; Telep. 866-663-9456; email, www.integralinstitute.org. Highlight: Monday morning ½ hour dialogue with Ken Wilber or staff and some cutting edge figure. Publications, online teleseminars and CD's are available.
2. Enlightenment Next and its premier quarterly publication "What Is Enlightenment?" (WIE), PO Box 9010 Maple Shade, NJ 08052-9710; Telep. 800-376-3210; email, www.wie.org. This publication takes some major issue and comes at it from many different perspectives. Also, there are many weekly email specialties.
3. Institute of Noetic Sciences, 101 San Antonio Rd., Petaluma, CA 9952; Telep. 877-769-4667, and its 'Shift in Action', www.shiftinaction.com. An annual report summarizing major 'shifts' in evolutionary thought and action; weekly emails offering online teleseminars and complementary gifts of books and CDs.
I think the following two books can give much needed contextual orientation for planning.
1. The first is "Big Mind - Big Heart: Finding your Way" by Zen Master Denis Genpo Merzel. Genpo Roshi had an awakening 1971 within the Zen tradition. He went on to become a Zen Master. He could see that Zen was a way to access this awareness. The traditional training just seemed to take forever, and yet Zen is known as the 'Sudden School' of Buddhism. He said that there had to be a direct and sudden way to awaken this Big Mind which is to finally realize who we truly are. Then around the turn of the century he had a series of breakthroughs that achieved the goals of his long journey. This book is the culmination of that journey.
I greatly sympathize with him. I began meditation in 1979. Although it was a hit & miss type of journey I stayed with it off and on, but it was not until the last 10 years that I have been able to accomplish what he has laid out. Today such a journey is available right now. This is clearly laid out the CD accompanying the book in his taking a person who has not had formal training by going through the process in a sort length of time to arrive at Big Mind.
Go through the book with first priority of experientially going through the process. Intellectual awareness will accompany this. If you just sit down to read it without the former then you are in danger of what is derogatorily regarded as the cit chat of intellectual enlightenment. Going through this process my be supplemented by the getting the DVD or going to a three day seminar.
This leaves almost every one without excuse to dwell behind in the evolution in consciousness today. If a person is already at the Big Mind level, however he got there, that is fine. No need to be the elder brother. Be glad for a fellow traveler.
2. The second book is "Integral Vision" by Ken Wilber. This small book is packed with integral wisdom. Don't let its thoroughness overwhelm you. Go at it slowly and get the big picture as you would any book. Read it over and over. Wilber's thesis is inclusiveness for all data and its evolution. He continually says 'transcend and include'. Everything has a role or place. Notice the relation of religion to spiritual. You will find it exciting.
Ours is a time of a postmodern world, a self-conscious global world, and an information revolution that results in ambiguity even in the smallest of contextual decisions. In what way do we observe, judge, weigh-up and decide today? This is an almost overwhelming task. This book can be a great help in seeing what to consider in charting new roadmaps and plans for uncharted fields.
The last tool for planning is deciding on where and how to make stands, draw a line in the sand, or throw down the gauntlet so to speak.
Here is a beginning attempt:
Honor all people where they are and who they are. This is true no matter how despicable their actions may seem. This would include the worst of enemies, terrorists or political figures. In other words, honor the person not necessarily their actions. Love your enemies.
a) Honor all forms of creation and the interrelatedness of all life.
b) Honor all races, sexes, cultural and political forms of social life.
c) Stand with and support the harmed, disadvantaged, poor, lonely, uneducated, etc.
d) Oppose all forms of injustice and oppression.
e) Oppose all forms of fundamentalism: biblical, cultural, intellectual .any type of -ism.
f) Oppose biblical literalism. Scriptures are not about historical facts, but how to respond to the mysteries and ambiguities of life. Treat them as art forms.
g) Oppose anything that demeans life no matter how small.
(Illustration: One time in the Order days I was taking to woman colleague about her work. She interrupted me and said, "Don't speak to me in that tone of voice." I was bowled over. I didn't even realize what I was doing.) Say 'No!' to 'put downs' whether verbal, facial expressions or other body language. When you cuss people out for what they are doing, watch that you don't demean them as a person. (You may for other purposes not say anything if you are attacked or left out.)
Lastly keep your eye on the goal. You are moving from the first to second tier and into the third tier in your continuous transformation of consciousness. This is an explosion into new awareness of love that the incomprehensible mystery has for all its creation. (The genius of Genpo Roshi's book is his movement from the Big Mind to the Big Heart. Many older expressions end at the point of the Big Mind.) You see Love now continuously in everything that is happening. Transformation is not dry theology or attempts of articulating or acting, but awareness of being loved in every aspect of life and death that creation gives to you. This is the 'New Heaven'. Your response in being that awareness is the building of the 'New Earth'. There is a fine 1 min. Video in Shift where Marianne Williamson articulates that only 11% of society is needed for such change to take effect.)
Joseph A. Slicker
November 21, 2007