No Really—Change DOES Begin with You

by Terry Patten

Witt19rcLast Sunday, I was joined by Integral clinical psychologist, teacher, author, and commentator Keith Witt for a dialogue entitled, “We Are the Catastrophe, We Are the Salvation.”

There’s much that I appreciate about Keith Witt—the combination of his wide-ranging intelligence with his empathic warmth; his extensive knowledge of developmental and evolutionary psychology and the insights these disciplines shine on the everyday issues of human relationships; and his skillful use of Integral theory to contextualize and expand on the implications of those insights— always in a fun, bright, and spontaneous way that makes a real human connection to whomever he’s with. (And he’s conducted an astonishing fifty-three thousand therapy sessions!)

I wanted to dialogue with Keith about the fundamental tension that underlies the whole premise of Beyond Awakening having to do with imperfect humans asking the big questions about how we can “be the change” that truly addresses our world crisis. Over the years, listeners have asked me serious, thoughtful questions on this theme: Don’t we need to first clean up our own acts? Isn’t self-change foundational to humanity’s transformational “sea change”?

Others point out that if we step aside to focus on ourselves, we risk abandoning the public sphere to people who lack the integrity to begin with the personal work. I often think of the song from the musical Hair with the lyrics: How can people be so heartless? How can people be so cruel? It’s easy to be hard, which is a reference to the archetype of the social activist who is a jerk.

And yet, if we cleave only to the therapeutic agenda, which is of necessity self-involved, we risk detracting from the energy available for relationship and civic engagement. I think that we need to do the personal work but not stop at the personal work. We also need to do the interpersonal work where we rise into a field of love and care together, but also press into the edges of what is possible and evolve the “We” field, so that we are actively being evolution in action in all the quadrants. That’s my agenda with this series, the “adjacent possible.”

Keith was ready to go right into this territory with me. Even though he works as a psychotherapist, he doesn’t expect that work to be the limits of how and what people engage in life. He pointed to the interface between public action and personal experience and growth, noting that we already have what we need for peace and prosperity on the planet. What’s missing, he observed, is the collective will and consciousness to enact those solutions. Integral theory implies that if you neglect your personal development on any developmental line (interpersonal, self, psycho-sexual), it will interfere with your ability to contribute your gifts to the world. In this way, psychotherapy is a crucial part of healing the world.

We also spoke about the function of shame, which I’ve explored in my own work and teaching, and the way in which it functions as the membrane of the repression barrier. Often the real shifts necessary for growth are outside of people’s consciousness because they are ashamed.

Keith says that regarding shame only in negative terms is part of the way that “we are the catastrophe.” It is one of our evolutionary drives, powered by the evolutionary impulse, and a necessary capacity for mammalian social transmission of knowledge and social structure. Keith quipped, “humans take all the drives, no matter what they are, and turn them into complex art.” The nervous system recoils from the physiological experience of shame, transmuting it into projection or denial. This can trigger acts of violence against ourselves, others, and the planet. But with awareness, shame can become a spiritual guide. Keith suggests that if you are feeling shame, it’s wise to try to find the value you’re violating; then, either refine the value or follow the implications of holding the value with integrity.

I resonated with what Keith had to say about the interface between public action and personal experience and growth, but thought it was important to bring in a challenge that has been directed at therapy in the past. I referred to the title of James Hillman’s book, We’ve Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy—and the World’s Getting Worse, and observed that there are systemic dynamics that are pretty retrogressive and may not be sufficiently addressed simply by one person/one heart at a time. Don’t we need to ponder these system dynamics and be active as an expression of our care, working with what we can most easily grok at the human scale; and at the same time be planetary citizens in a way that has a broader level of dynamism?

Keith agreed that the human and planetary concerns are not mutually exclusive. But he added that the more we grow and develop, the more we find ourselves wanting to contribute to these other things, and being curious about them, and about what is beautiful, good, and true.

I asked Keith to draw the big picture of what, in the end, is most important for all of us— imperfect, vulnerable human beings that we are, alive in a moment when we’re being asked a great deal, for a sea change, to turn a larger corner.

Keith’s big picture summary was “It’s all relationships, all the time.” To ourselves, to others and to the world — holarchies, all the way up and all the way down. Anytime we feel disconnected, it’s an illusion. Within that connection, we are either being true to our inner voices or not. If we’re not being true, we suffer and do violence. The more sensitive we become to these nuances of feeling – of violence, of compassion, of being true to our deepest voices, the more effective, engaged and clear we become.

Keith also shared some wonderful practices from his course “Loving Completely: Five Ways Relationships Work…or Don’t.” One practice relates to finding a romantic partner. Keith suggests that you train yourself to ask five questions whenever you feel the pull of “erotic polarity” toward someone (listen almost to the end of our interview and you’ll find out exactly what that means!)

1)    Is there erotic polarity, a spark of attraction, between me and another person?

2)    Does this person maintain their physical and psychological health?

3)    If I was in relationship with this person and there was conflict, would he or she be able and willing to do what it takes to get back to love?

4)    How does this person show up as a parent or family member?

5)    Does this person have deep soul’s purpose, and would they appreciate what’s meaningful for me?

Keith says to pay attention to whether or not these are showing up in other people. After a while, you’ll start noticing whether or not they are showing up in you. And if your assessment of your prospective partner leads to positive answers, Keith says it’s likely a healthy match. Go for it!

Keith also offered a nuanced and practical attunement exercise in which you find your way to acceptance & caring intent towards your sensations, emotions, thoughts, judgments and desires. He also offered a simple but powerful shadow practice in which you mine your daydreams for information about what lies at the edge of awareness in shadow. I invite you to listen in!

 

We Are the Catastrophe, We Are the Salvation with Keith Witt

by Terry Patten

Keith WittThis Sunday, Dec. 14th at 10am Pacific, I will be joined by Keith Witt for a conversation we’ve titled “We Are the Catastrophe, We Are the Salvation.

Keith Witt is a truly integral clinical psychologist, teacher, author, and commentator. He has a private practice, but also publicly shares his rich and unique insights into human psychology, physiology, and relationships in a series of books, online courses, talks, and in his role as a regular guest on The Daily Evolver with Jeff Salzman.

On Sunday, Keith and I will be looking at how to best foster the commitment and will needed to address humanity’s crisis and move beyond being the catastrophe to being the salvation, starting at the local level where Keith’s therapy and teaching work has mostly been—working with individuals, couples, families, and graduate/post-graduate psychotherapy students to support more love and less violence; to having influence at the global level, social level, and policy level.

Keith sees most psychotherapy and change work as operating on the local level to deepen consciousness. He says that there are critical thresholds of expanded consciousness that need to be reached for our global will to reach a tipping point where we can resolve the crises that surround us. While there have been five great extinctions since life appeared on earth, humanity is the first cause of a great extinction that has a conscience. Humanity’s collective conscience gains power as consciousness expands person-by-person, family-by-family, and group-by-group. The wealth, power, and technology to provide solutions to all the world’s most pressing problems exist already and are constantly being expanded and refined.

In our discussions leading up to this dialogue, Keith observed that “everything is relationships” within ourselves, with others, with nature, and with the past/present/future. All relationships manifest in holarchies. Keith will walk us through what fractals (where the whole is repeated on multiple levels on different time and size scales) have to do relationships and holarchies, and unpack how greater complexity in humans is biased towards deeper consciousness and increasing compassion.

Keith also says that as part of this great “extinction with a conscience” every individual human is also contributing to the salvation on some level, even if it’s only to heed the faint voices of our genetic predispositions to share, care, and be fair.  I hope you’ll tune in!

About Keith Witt

Dr. Keith Witt is a licensed psychologist, teacher, and author who has lived and worked in Santa Barbara, Ca. for over forty years. He is the founder of The School of Love, where he offers his “School of Love Lecture Series,” “Therapist in the Wild” web series, and “Integral Conversations,” a collection of audios and videos on health, love, relationships, sexuality, spirituality, and development-related topics. Integral Life recently launched an online course by Keith called “Loving Completely: Five Ways Relationships Work…or Don’t.”

Keith has written five books (Integral Mindfulness, Waking Up, Sessions, The Attuned Family, and The Gift of Shame), and given three TEDx talks. He  lectures and teaches classes across the U.S. Waking Up and its companion volume, Sessions, are two of the first texts on Integrally Informed Psychotherapy.

Keith has conducted over fifty-three thousand therapy sessions, led many groups, and been a contributor to Integral Life and the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice. In his well-received presentations at the What Next and the Integral Theory Conferences, and in his ongoing series, “The Shrink and the Pundit” with Jeff Salzman, Keith has explored love, intra and interpersonal relationships, and child and adult development from multiple perspectives, weaving neuroscience, Integral theory, wisdom traditions, and numerous forms of psychotherapy into a coherent cosmology of love and development.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

Sunday, December 14th at 10:00am Pacific; 11:00am Mountain; 12:00pm Central; 1:00pm Eastern

*Find Your Local Time

Please Note: There will be a limited number of lines available on the live conference call, so we encourage you to listen online if possible. To make sure you can get through by phone, we encourage you to dial in early.

ACCESS INSTRUCTIONS

  • To listen live by phone, dial: 425-440-5100  (alternate #: 501-707-0312)
  • Then, enter Access Code: 272072#
  • To listen live online go to: http://instantteleseminar.com/?eventid=63348672
  • To download the audio after the teleseminar is complete go to the Beyond Awakening Audio Page

Join the Dialogue: About one hour into the dialogue, we’ll open up the lines and you’ll have the opportunity to interact with us directly over the phone or via instant message. Here’s what to do:

To interact live by voice, dial into the conference line number and wait until we ask for a question from someone in your region, or

Send us your question via instant message in the teleseminar window on your computer

Send us your questions and comments before or during the live dialogue by posting them on our Beyond Awakening Community Facebook page

We look forward to your attendance!

Sincerely,
The Beyond Awakening Team

Don Beck’s 2nd Emancipation Proclamation

by Terry Patten

DON_BE1-e1414965450302This past Sunday, I had a conversation with Don Beck entitled  “Hard Truths and a Fresh Start: Facilitating the Flow after the 2014 Midterms.” Don’s work as the co-author of Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership & Change played a major role in the formation of the Integral Movement and many of his theoretical ideas, language, and real world applications were adopted by Ken Wilber and other Integral leaders and have become an important part of the fabric of Integral theoretical thought.

Initially, we were going to focus on the state of the Middle East and the rise of the Islamic State, as I’d recently read two powerfully prescient articles by Don—Hard Truths & Fresh Start: A Bold, Comprehensive, & Integral Strategy for the Middle East, and The Global Great Divide: An Integral Initiative. (Though written a decade ago, they are well worth reading and you can find them here.)

But when we realized we would be talking less than a week after the American mid-term elections, we felt that we should focus on the design of a political and economic pathway forward in the United States following the November 4th election results.

Don said he sees the outcome of the midterms as a lightning bolt illuminating the political and cultural landscape of the US. He says it shines a light on what he is most concerned about in American politics — how our value systems are tending to become rigid, ego-involved, and polarized. When people are polarized, the more contact they have with each other, the more extreme they become. It’s entirely predictable. However, if people are not ego-involved, and highly-partisan, you can’t predict their responses. There is more room for creativity.

He wrote his PhD dissertation on the 1860 presidential election, and how issues were then becoming polarized between North and South regarding Unionism and Slavery. Growing polarization led to the violence and war. In his fantasy, he would like to sit down with Abraham Lincoln and talk about where the country was heading. Not only was it devastating to the country in that time, with 500,000 men and women dying, but it left a legacy of trauma; we’re still dealing with civil war issues.

Don is currently excited about an initiative that asks how we can put racial issues in the rear-view mirror. It’s called the Second Emancipation Proclamation. It’s focused on liberating African Americans from the victimization programming of certain extremist black leaders and white liberals. He feels that blacks have been left behind by a lack of jobs, but primarily by their own leadership. He feels that a whole new sense of semantics is needed to purge our language of the kind of distortions that create our great racial divides and undermine cultural evolution. Many blacks, including athletes, are charged with “acting white” by other more polarized blacks. They are sometimes attacked and accused of being “white” just for academic excellence, for getting “A”s. Something’s wrong there!

Don decried the partisan anger and bitterness that he sees on Facebook and called for putting our memes on the table. He described what he calls a “master code” as the solution for depolarizing cultural or political gridlock. This code recognizes 1) that people have a right to be who they are, and 2) that they don’t have a right to disturb the whole human “tent” under which we all live.

Many listeners wanted to know how all this could be applied and how it could result in real change. Don spoke about how change can come from giving a gentle “nudge” in a healthy direction, not trying to get people to evolve into higher levels, values or vMemes, but helping them change the way they interpret those values. He gave the example of Arab men who would not shake Elza Maalouf’s hand because she’s a woman. (Don’s worked closely with Elza on the Middle East conflict). When Don addressed the meaning of this refusal to shake hands with the men, they expressed the core value of “being a man” in the traditional sense of their culture and religion. It was expressed in other ways too, such as “I won’t be a real man until I get back the key to my grandfather’s house that was seized by the Jews in 1948.” Don didn’t argue with them over the value of “being a real man”; he instead made a “nudge” offering, framing it in this way, “What if you helped create a better educational system for your kids? That’s being a real man.”

Don reemphasized that change doesn’t have to be about drastically changing value systems. It can be changing the beliefs and behaviors related to those value systems. He also pointed to his work with Nelson Mandela and the South African rugby team (dramatized in the film “Invictus” with Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon) as a practical example of using sport to integrate differences around a common goal or value.

You can listen to the full dialog here.

 

Hard Truths and a Fresh Start: Facilitating the Flow after the 2014 Midterms with Don Beck

by Terry Patten

DON_BE1This Sunday, November 9th at 10am Pacific I’ll be joined by Dr. Don Beck, the creator of Spiral Dynamics, for a conversation we’ve titled  “Hard Truths and a Fresh Start: Facilitating the Flow after the 2014 Midterms.”

Contemplating the meltdown in the Middle East and the rise of the Islamic State, I recently read two articles by Don Beck, Hard Truths & Fresh Start: A Bold, Comprehensive, & Integral Strategy for the Middle East, and The Global Great Divide: An Integral Initiative. I was struck by the power and prescience in them. They were written about a decade ago, but much of them reads as if penned yesterday. I invite you to read these two papers here.

I soon reached out to Don to suggest a conversation on Beyond Awakening. Initially, we were going to focus primarily on the state of the Middle East, but when we realized we would be talking less than a week after the American mid-term elections, we decided to focus especially on the design of a political and economic pathway forward in the United States following the November 4th election results.

Don is widely known as the co-author of Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership & Change which is seen as an extension of the work of his mentor and colleague, Clare W. Graves. It is less known that he was also a student and colleague of the social psychologist Muzafer Sherif, and his work defining what he calls “assimilation contrast effects.”

While a graduate student, studying under Dr. Sherif in the early 1960s at the University of Oklahoma, Don wrote his PhD dissertation on the l860 presidential campaign and the election of Abraham Lincoln, which led to the Civil War.

The assimilation-contrast effect offers deep insight into how attitudinal intensity is the strong filter that generates the inability to grasp new ideas. It explains why options for resolution close down, and what can be done to prevent that from happening. Timing is crucial, and if we catch polarization patterns early enough, we can avoid the move toward radicalization and demonization that inevitably results in violence.

Don regards this aspect of his work as offering fresh and field-tested processes for reducing polarization and enriching collaboration at local, national, and global levels, with special relevance to our unique moment in history. He quotes the Kenny Rogers song, “You gotta know when to hold ‘em…know when to fold ‘em.” Claire Graves used to caution him about the criticality of knowing when it is useful to intervene and when it is not. But Don sees this moment as wide-open to opportunity.

Interestingly, Don is emphatic that now is the time to act.

In addition to this discussion of the midterm elections, Don promised to announce a new initiative he’s working on in Texas around the Second Emancipation Proclamation. The intention of this initiative is to find a way to put America’s deep cultural shadow — racial attitudes and divides — in the rearview mirror.

Don asked me to convey his promise that you will hear fresh and imaginative thinking regarding large-scale solutions to growing complexity within what he calls “zones of functionality.” This is in contrast to thinking that is subtly framed by ideologies, private agendas, or historical beliefs. A new emergence of rising possibilities offers hope for new and powerful solutions to ancient conflicts and cycles of violence.

About Don Beck

Don Edward Beck, Ph.D., is a teacher, geopolitical advisor, and theorist focusing on applications of large-scale psychology, including social psychology, evolutionary psychology, organizational psychology and their effect on human sociocultural systems. He is co-founder of The National Values Center in Denton, Texas; and President and CEO of The Spiral Dynamics Group, Inc., a global enterprise. He is a member of The American Psychological Association; The World Future Society; The International Paleopsychology Project; and the “Cadre-of-Experts on Ethnopolitical Violence,” named by the American and Canadian Psychological Associations.

Dr. Beck is also a Fellow of the George Gallup Institute at Princeton. He co-authored The Crucible: Forging South Africa’s Future (with Graham Linscott, l991) and Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership & Change (with Christopher Cowan, l996). He wrote a Sports Values column for the Dallas Morning News for seven years and appears often in the media regarding issues related to values, sports and racial divides. He has adapted the “assimilation contrast effects” described by social psychologist Muzafer Sherif and applied it internationally, in dozens of countries.

He played a major role in the formation of the Integral Movement and many of his theoretical ideas, language, and real world applications have been widely adopted by Ken Wilber and other Integral leaders and have become an important part of the fabric of Integral theoretical thought. His work with Professor Clare Graves, that created the Spiral Dynamics model, was a very important early effort to popularize the levels of consciousness emergence and was primarily responsible for bringing the Graves Paradigm to a global audience. He has taught at the Adzes Graduate School for fifteen years and his series of courses and initiatives remain at the cutting edge of this technology. He has been active on all five continents and has spoken in at least a dozen countries and cultures. His MeshWorks Solutions was the first process to address issues at the large-scale, including whole countries and complex cultures, and major transformational projects. He remains active in South Africa and, along with Elza Maalouf, he has found fresh approaches to resolving the historic Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

Sunday, November 9th at 10:00am Pacific; 11:00am Mountain; 12:00pm Central; 1:00pm Eastern

*Find Your Local Time

Please Note: There will be a limited number of lines available on the live conference call, so we encourage you to listen online if possible. To make sure you can get through by phone, we encourage you to dial in early.

ACCESS INSTRUCTIONS

  • To listen live by phone, dial: 425-440-5100  (alternate #: 501-707-0312)
  • Then, enter Access Code: 272072#
  • To listen live online go to: http://instantteleseminar.com/?eventid=61958703
  • To download the audio after the teleseminar is complete go to the Beyond Awakening Audio Page

Join the Dialogue: About one hour into the dialogue, we’ll open up the lines and you’ll have the opportunity to interact with us directly over the phone or via instant message. Here’s what to do:

To interact live by voice, dial into the conference line number and wait until we ask for a question from someone in your region, or

Send us your question via instant message in the teleseminar window on your computer

Send us your questions and comments before or during the live dialogue by posting them on our Beyond Awakening Community Facebook page

We look forward to your attendance!

Sincerely,
The Beyond Awakening Team

A Higher We, Real Evolutionary Awakening, and a Trail of Blood and Tears

by Terry Patten

tom-steiningerLast week, on October 15th, Tom Steininger and I held a follow up conversation to our October 5th Beyond Awakening dialogue, “My Guru Experiment: Twenty Years with Andrew Cohen”. We discussed what did and didn’t happen during that first dialogue and went into a deeper exploration of the intricate paradoxes surrounding the evolutionary experiments in the community of students of Andrew Cohen.

Tom requested this follow up because he wanted to share more of his own story and offer a more personal account of his experience during his twenty years with Andrew.

In addition to telling us how he had been served by the white-hot intense demands that produced some extraordinary advancements in consciousness, he also said there were four times when he had decided to leave Andrew and EnlightenNext. He described two of those occasions. He decided to leave once because of what he perceived as “inhuman” ways of being with each other in the community in Cologne, and another time during the Iraq war, when he was repulsed what he felt was a kind of group-think in support of the war from Andrew and the Foxhollow community.

Some people had asked for an explanation of the vague word “abuse” so I explained that Andrew’s own awakening had been dramatic and radical, and that it had given him a sense of zeal for transcendence, and for the unqualified commitment it required, and that he had trusted this absolutely. So he became impatient, even scornful with whatever stood in the way. And he saw that powerful insights and breakthroughs were sometimes catalyzed by intense demands. So he leaned in to create transformational crises. He even articulated a principle of his work that spiritual progress is served by “evolutionary tension” which he embraced to the point of a general failure of empathy for human limitations, even gradual time-anchored change. When people resisted, Andrew almost always ignored their anguish and turned up the heat.

And at times he took this to extremes. This occurred especially during one particular period leading up to July 30, 2001, when a collective crisis had led to a collective breakthrough among many students, expressed by a “volcanic surge of spiritual illumination” among a whole group that many regard as one of the crowning achievements of his teaching innovations regarding collective consciousness and evolutionary spirituality.

Andrew stood unmoving for his demands, and he got results, but he didn’t listen to people’s cries of pain. Many students left (and many stayed) after seemingly cruel, cultic, even bizarre forms of pressure. And since then, students have shared their stories in blogs and books, and have charged him with a long list of misbehaviors, including physical abuse, financial exploitation, interference with family and personal relationships, violation of sexual and reproductive rights and privacy, emotional and psychological abuse and ostracizing students, and denying and discouraging students’ freedom to leave the community.

Tom acknowledged all this, and he admitted he agreed with some of this critique, even though he is still committed to the utopian purposes behind all the extremes.

Importantly, he clarified that, counter-intuitively, the “abuse” was not what had caused the collapse of the worldwide EnlightenNext community. In his view, the collapse had been caused because of the key way in which Andrew’s work had succeeded. His senior students had awakened together enough to become his peers, but he was unable to receive feedback and submit to the higher collective intersubjective awakening he had helped to catalyze. And the leadership couldn’t come together to wrest control of EnlightenNext from him and correct for his mistakes.

We also considered an important question about the fact that Andrew contrasted the authentic self with the ego in a binary, black and white, “either or” fashion. Was this false dichotomy at the root of the harm, abuse, and dehumanization of people? Acknowledging that this was indeed a key factor, Tom also pointed out that it was also a source of some of the tremendous value in the EnlightenNext experiment — the transformative power of directly facing the challenge to choose real changes. I agreed with the key points made by both the questioner and Tom, and suggested that perhaps there’s a greater “both/and” that includes both sides of this enduring polarity.

We managed to address a number of the comments and questions that came in subsequent to the first dialogue. There has been quite a lot of passion, energy, and thoughtful exchange generated around both dialogues.

And during our discussion, comments continued to arrrive. I felt it was important to address comments that Tom seemed emotionally removed from the ways in which he had supported something that was hurting people. People seemed to be wanting to hear a more embodied, emotional response, not just an intellectual acknowledgement of mistakes. I tried to make it more vivid for Tom by saying “If there is a real trail of blood and you have some of it on your hands, I think some people are wanting to see some tears.”

Tom responded honestly, acknowledging his typological difficulty in speaking emotionally on a public call— and he spoke about how he feels implicated in the patterns of abuse, while at the same time feeling a necessity to stand strongly in his commitment to the positive evolutionary, utopian core that EnlightenNext’s work was about.

I also thought it important to expose my own process of self-questioning with regard to Andrew. In the past, I’ve publicly defended Andrew’s students and community because I believed (and still do) that there was tremendous psycho-spiritual capital invested that became coherent around him, and that his students became a fierce and important cultural force, a counterforce to the apathy, mediocrity, abstraction, and other limiting attitudes and assumptions that pervade conventional culture (the “Consensus Trance”) and even much of spiritual and integral culture. And yet it is clear to me now that there was a more critical failure of compassion on the part of Andrew and the whole EnlightenNext community than I had realized. And it must be understood, processed, and purified.

A great deal can be learned and taken forward from the EnlightenNext experiment, but that progress requires going beyond both rigid ideals and deconstructive cynicism. It ultimately requires love more than anything else, love from a fully broken heart, perhaps in a way that Andrew hasn’t yet been able to completely embody. Still, as the experiment has shown, the bottom line is love. In my opinion, that love has to extend to everyone who cares about evolutionary spirituality and collective awakening, to everyone who gave their lives and energy to EnlightenNext, to everyone who feels damaged, and even to Andrew himself.

And yet, it was important for me to acknowledge that I can’t claim to have clean hands, that my defense of Andrew’s evolutionary innovations may have influenced some individuals to get into or remain in a dynamic with unhealthy dimensions that might have adversely impacted them. And I confessed that I’ve been taking that to heart.

Another listener’s question we addressed was around which aspects of Tom’s experience with Andrew had been retained, and which had been discarded. Tom stated that the core of what he retains is the principle of higher intersubjectivity. Dialogue is at the core of his current work, including collaboration with individuals committed to dharmas and practices that differ from his own. But he’s still valuing the need to aspire to a “utopian” ideal, as EnlightenNext aspired to that “Higher We” in order to most fully advance and develop, all the while holding respectful space for the world as it is, and people as they are.

Believe it or not, there was much, much more. This blog post just touches on a few highlights of the conversation.

I hope you’ll listen to the recording to access the depth of this discussion and consider this contribution to what is really just one step in an extended process of healing and ever deepening levels of understanding.