I have just completed a new online course aiming to give people an introduction to understanding and working with energetics in large-scale systems. You can either take it on your own self-paced (“Lite”) or together with others and myself with discussion and feedback (“Immersive”). Check it out!
They take your dreams down and stick them in storage
You can have them back son when you’ve paid off your mortgage and loans
“Life’s For The Living” by PASSENGER
[Here’s a piece I wrote about Ubiquity and why I think it’s so important for the world.]
If there is anything humanity needs now, it is for people, in particular our young people, to dream of the future they want and make it happen. At a time where crises seem to follow one another non-stop, it must be hard to stay optimistic if your whole future is still in front of you.
In these early start-up days at Ubiquity, it helps me to remember what we are really about here. As our old systems groan under the strain of challenges they were not designed to meet, the global ecology becomes increasingly turbulent, social tensions are amplified and everything can seem to be descending into the abyss. Where are the leaders who are going to name things for what they are, be bold enough to lay out a vision radically different to the societies we currently live in, and inspire and resource people to make it happen?
Well they won’t come from the existing systems. They can’t, as like a fish in water, they can’t extract themselves from the mindset and practices that they grew up in and are responsible for ensuring the stability of nowadays. It is time for radical R&D from the bottom up. It is for those who feel the dis-ease of the current system and the call of a brighter future to make it happen. Many of us already are. There is an explosion of social innovation and entrepreneurship to parallel the despair and destruction of the old.
Ubiquity is designed to scale the renewal. I see Ubiquity as a new learning and innovation organ of the planet. Remember that ultimately we are all an expression of the Earth – you are the planet reading its own words right now. Ubiquity is one of the planet’s latest experiments to see how to navigate through this transition into the next phase of our being.
It requires a number of things. Firstly, ruthless realism to face what is currently going on and ground ourselves in the full realisation of the present condition, to focus us and release energy to prioritise what really needs to be done. Secondly, a passion-based commitment to play our part in the transition. What area is each of us called to work in? Thirdly, a humility to know that we cannot do it alone and therefore a quest for collaboration. Where are the other people drawn to the same passion who have complementary skills to us? Fourthly, a realisation that this is all bigger than any of us. It is a process of life that includes dynamics at planetary and universe levels. This means we need to trust that ultimately where things end up will be fine from the biggest perspective, not acting from a place of fear, but from a playful curiosity to discover how life is going to make it happen, combined with a clarity of action to take the next natural step with all our being.
Ubiquity’s job is to put in place the conditions for millions of people to be able to do just that – learn and act together aligned behind a shared vision of a world that works for all. If we succeed in that, the resources will follow, and will be distributed to whoever needs them to make their contribution. Humanity will end up playing a role worthy of our greatest potential, enabling life to continue its exploration into conscious co-creation between self-aware beings towards a world of both greater interconnectedness and each individual’s manifestation of their unique Purpose. If we need to be a business and call ourselves a University and platform to do that, so be it. Our form and structure however will always be a means to an end, and never an end in itself. And on our journey, we have already met and are sure still to meet many others with the same impulse, who we embrace as collaboration partners on this most epic of quests.
Here’s 20 mins I extracted from a recent discussion where I explore what it means to see oneself as the Earth.
Wake Humanity Wake
From the slumber of your soul
Re-member who you are
The self-awareness of the Earth herself
Pull yourself together
And rise with all your forces
Like Arthur from under Albion’s green and pleasant hills
Ride the Great Dragon of your wild heart
Into a future worthy of You
Or forever hold your peace.
Here is my PhD dissertation on Volution Theory! I had the oral exam on Friday 29th September and was awarded my PhD immediately afterwards. And here is a video recording of the 2-hour defence of the dissertation.
I will be continuing to develop these ideas at www.volutiontheory.net so keep a track of things there!
One year it was Kate Rusby, another Luke Concannon and another Ed Sheeran. This year it was Joshua Hyslop and his album In Deepest Blue. Every year it has been music that has reconnected me to myself during our summer holiday.
Each time I remember things that I commit to never forgetting again. And yet each year I realize again that I forgot. Things really about the heart. About simple presence, vulnerability, feeling.
On holiday I realize how much I need to decompress. Decompress from the doingness, the digital and the drive. Things I am not aware of being compressed by when I’m in them, like the fish in water.
Things normally crack around day three. This year my insights were in particular around how much it asks of us to be in a bridging role in this Great Transition. Somehow I imagine it must be easier to either unconsciously be in the old system or to be opting fully for a radical alternative outside the current system.
I was realizing and feeling how much pain I hold in that bridging role, around all the compromises we consciously make as we attempt to straddle two worlds, finding a way to channel the energy and attention of a world that is dying into a world that is just being born. Walking round the supermarket I got depressed at humanity’s stupidity as we eat ourselves to an early and often painful death, destroying the ecologies of other species in the process. Sometimes I really wonder if all our efforts aren’t just vain attempts to make ourselves feel good.
I was reminded of the great compassion we need with each other as our shadows are triggered on the paths of our passion. We know we need to heal ourselves to create the healing in the world we so crave. I feel the pain of the world and yet park it in order to focus on building the future. Yet it’s important to take the space to connect regularly to that pain and let it flow through. Otherwise it builds up and becomes increasingly hard to access.
It’s so important to be kind to ourselves and our bodies, as well as to each other. Those of us who are in clear space need to help others who are temporarily out of balance to ground and reconnect. We all go through the cycles and need to learn to support each other as we can – and know that we all have ups and downs.
Fulfilling the promise and potential of our higher selves requires us to move through the pain we hold. The path is indeed the way. We never arrive. We just spiral on through plateaus of relative flow and uncomfortable rapids of transformation. If we can remember that of ourselves and others, we’ll have a greater chance of more gracefully birthing the world we’re working for.
- A few years ago I wrote a book called The Pain and the Promise which went into this process in detail. I never had the bandwidth to get it published but I do have a recent draft with comments from the potential publisher (Russ Volckmann actually who just passed away, which is a great loss), and would be happy to send it to anyone interested.
- I’m also really enjoying a great book by Penny Kelly called Getting Well Again, Naturally, which is a strong reminder of the the discipline we need to have in making the lifestyle choices we make – with some surprising but very resonant advice.
Driven to despair by how my smart and sensitive eldest son was suffering from increasing stress and depression by the mind-numbing rote-learning and non-step testing regime at his apparently top secondary school in the Netherlands, I googled in Dutch “education without tests”. Up popped the page of a tv documentary about a school in Roermond called Niekee where they had been experimenting with an approach called Agora. As I read the interview with one of the co-founders, Sjef Drummen, my eyes filled with tears as I recognised the secondary education of the future that truly honours and liberates the wholeness and potential of our children. The old system is broken and it’s breaking our kids. I was determined to do what I could to bring it to my home town and so earlier this week I visited Sjef and his amazing school. I feel immensive gratitude for the vision and courage he and his team have shown in actually manifesting a working example of how it could be done differently. As he repeated a number of times to me, “what we care about is what is good for the development of the child”. Below is some more information about Agora that I have translated from various Dutch sources, and some photos of the children’s working spaces (that they get to design themselves).
[Note – this article references the Spiral Dynamics model – see http://spiraldynamicsintegral.nl/en/ for more background].
Trump was always going to beat Hillary. His energy (strong Spiral Dynamics Red Power Gods wrapped in successful Orange Achiever-self) resonates with the US population much more fundamentally than hers (Spiral Dynamics Orange-Green smart political correctness). Now Bernie would have given Trump a run for his money, due to his access to the more fundamental value systems. But the democratic leadership was blind to that reality. It is also part of a trend – disillusion with a cognitive elite that has lost touch with people’s need for simplicity, identity and deeper meaning.
Before a system makes a major leap, it often has to regress in order to gather more fundamental energy from the past that it has left behind, split with or repressed. Think of bending your legs before you jump. In the Netherlands that happened a number of years ago when following political murders, the country regressed to an order-driven party (Spiral Dynamics Blue) and Prime Minister (Christian Democrats with Jan-Peter Balkenende). He got in on a return to core values. The Netherlands is a more feminine we-centered nation than the US. The US is more masculine, individualistic and expansionist, so a regression in the US was far more likely to express itself through an “express-self” value system (e.g. Red Power Gods) than a “sacrifice-self” value system (such as Blue Order). Hence Donald Trump.
The good news is that the Netherlands then went on to elect the most Integral Prime Minister in their history, Mark Rutte. Having re-stabilised and integrated the earlier Blue order-driven value system (which had been largely suppressed by Green egalitarianism), it had the energy to push beyond Green in Yellow Integral. Whether that is the promise in the US remains to be seen, but it might help to see it in this perspective.
From a volutionary perspective (www.volutiontheory.net), what we are seeing is indeed “regress to progress”. This will amplify the polarities. When you stretch the poles, it increases the flow of energy in between. The implications are that we can expect increased instability and turbulence, but that means increased energy in the system that can create more fundamental change. It also brings more risk of course. Will the system be able to hold it and ultimately channel it constructively? Will decisions on for example climate change taken by a republican-dominated US led by Donald Trump damage our ecosystem to an extent that massive human conflict and suffering become unavoidable?
We will see. Life will continue its quest for a dynamic balance and general directionality of increasing differentiation and interconnection. We are a resilient expression of life. Let’s stay as centered, clear and compassionate as we can, and keep taking the next natural step towards the kind of future that sings in our hearts. Life will take care of the rest.
This is a section that I wrote as part of my PhD on volution that had been brewing in me for a while. I was puzzled why in the world of energetics some people talked about nature spirits, devas, angels etc, others about energetic functions, and others about their inner experience of energy in clairvoyance / clairsentience. It dawned on me that it had to do with three fundamental perspectives – I, We and It. (See here for the references.)
From a volutionary perspective, between the undifferentiated oneness and the personified I-ness, or the wholeness and the “partness” of a system, there is a large range of dynamics that go on in the relative space. People use many different languages to describe the work they do and the theories that underpin it. To help clarify the relationships between these different practices and frameworks, I will refer to three main perspectives that end up creating different languages and cultures in this area, so we have a code for deciphering the various ways of describing the same context. These perspectives are based on the three persons – 1st person, 2nd person and 3rd person. The 1st person is the “I” and is the subjective experience and perspective. The 2nd person I will refer to as “We” (in the tradition of Ken Wilber 1995), because it is really about the interaction between “I” and “You” in a “We” space. The 3rd person is the “It” and the apparently objective perspective on something.
Here are some examples of the way these show up in theories and practices around energy and information. In a third person perspective one would talk about energetic functions, the way information and energy works, similar to the way I have described volution above. It is all seen as a system with different elements and processes that interconnect. Richard Leviton (2005, 2007) describes the various functions that he encounters at specific physical sites on the planet – such as connecting different sites and functions to each other, channelling information into matter, protecting certain areas, providing access to certain informational realms. Hans Andeweg (2009, 2011) describes specific parameters of a system, such as orgone (life energy), oranur (stressed energy), dor (blocked energy) – these last three coming from the work of Wilhelm Reich – grounding, bovis (integration of concept and realization) and POA (Percentage of Organization and Adaptation). In Andeweg’s ECOintention practice, these parameters are measured and used to influence the kind interventions that are made. The third person perspective tends to focus on making pro-active interventions – such as healing a place in Leviton’s work or balancing an organization in Andeweg’s work.
In a second person perspective, one would talk not about functions but about other entities or beings that one interacts with – nature spirits, angels and devas, for example. Leviton (2005, 2007) links the functions he describes to certain entities, such as gnomes, angels and dragons which you engage with when looking to activate certain functions (Merry 2011b). Small Wright (1997) describes ways to work with devas, nature spirits and angels to help co-create a reality that connects your intentions with what is best for life as a whole. She also assigns certain functions to the different entities. The second person perspective tends to focus more on co-creativity with other beings and aspects of life.
In a first person perspective one would talk more about the inner experience one is having. This is seen more often in receptive practices where the task is to pick up information intuitively from various channels. In Leviton’s workshops, for example, he has people focus on certain locations and report what they feel. Although people may use slightly different language, there is usually a common theme. Gnomes for example create quite a different felt experience than fairies or sylphs. Andeweg also has people feel different energetic qualities and then compare notes inter-subjectively, as part of his four year vocational training in ECOintention. The first person perspective tends to focus more on receptive practices.
Different people and different schools tend to have different preferences for the three perspectives. One will talk in more “objective” third person terms about the functions of an energetic system, and may get irritated by “new-age waffle” about angels and fairies. Others may feel more comfortable with a second person perspective in the realms of beings and entities, and find the third person too cool, heady and disconnected. Still others may say it’s all subjective anyway and you just have to feel it in your own body-mind, a first person perspective. More often than not, people and schools combine these perspectives to some extent, as we have seen in the examples above. However, it is important to be able to see them as different yet complementary perspectives on the same reality, and it is in that spirit that I will go into more detail on some practices below that are exploring how to access a fuller spectrum of the volutionary process.
The First Person “I” – Receptivity, deepening ourselves, acting on ourselves
“Can you coax your mind from its wandering / and keep to the original oneness?” the Tao te Ching asks (Lao Tzu, 1999). This points to the place of inner stillness from which we can access field intelligence. The field is a field of information and potential energy, as described in quantum physics. The moment that we observe this “quantum” field with our cognitive mind, the potential wave form becomes a coherent wave form, meaning that we can never actually access the quantum potential state with our cognition (Talbot 1991). This is why we need to still our analytical mind and light up our more intuitive senses to be able to access this field (Andeweg 2009). When our attention is focused on the world of things around us, we are paying attention to the disorder and amplifying it in our experience. To generate more order in our experience we need to go inside and pay attention to the generative reality. Greater presence creates greater order, allowing life to close the loops of the cycles between order and disorder more quickly, integrating action and awareness, or doing and being, in more rapid feedback loops. The Tao te Ching is essentially a guide to accessing that inner state of being present.
This concept has been popularised in the world of organisational development in recent years by the work of Joseph Jaworski, Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer and Betty Sue Flowers, as what they call “presencing” (Senge et al, 2004). It is what Scharmer calls the “blind spot of leadership”, that ability to find inner stillness and deep knowing that guides us to take wise and better informed decisions.
In Ervin Laszlo’s understanding of what he calls the Akashic Field (Laszlo 2004), there is a field that holds all the information that has ever existed and information of the dynamic potentiality of future possibilities. We can access any knowledge we want by attuning ourselves to this field and asking clearly what we want to know. To do this however requires that we activate our intuitive dimension and quiet our rational mind.
The rational mind does have a role in working with information gathered from an energetic field. Information from a field can come to us in many different forms. Sometimes in words, but also in images, feelings or other sensations. Each individual needs to work out what their intuitive language is, and what different sensations actually tell us. This is where the rational mind comes in. Energy has many different qualities and functions, and to be able to interpret, communicate about and work with energy, we need to be able to discern those diverse qualities. Working with a shared conceptual framework of energetic terms, such as that developed by Hans Andeweg in his ECOintention practice (Andeweg 2009), enables us to work together in the energetic domain, exchanging our experiences and drawing conclusions.
It is important first to access the sensation through intuition and only after that engage the analytical mind to discern, translate and communicate the experience. This was one of the main lessons learned by Dr Robert Jahn and Brenda Dunne in their 28 years of Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (Jahn & Dunne 2005). They emphasised how important it was to apply their analytical filters only after all the subjective intuitive data had been completely relayed.
Serena Roney-Dougal (2010) lists out the conditions she discovered in her research that enhanced people’s success in accessing information fields. They include:
- Quieting of the analytical mind
- Openness (don’t sensor any impression that comes in)
These are first-person qualities that create the conditions for someone to be able to receive information more accurately from the informational fields. There are many practices in the realm of personal development that help people to develop these qualities, most of which involve some level of directing your attention to your inner experience and noticing and accepting the busyness of the mind and the world outside while not getting caught up in it.
The Second Person “We” – Co-creativity, en-acting with others
Working with attention and intention is one of the main ways people can co-create with life. The first part of this section explores how that can look when working with other people, and the second explores more examples of co-creating with other entities.
The formative force of life, the force that shapes our material reality, comes out of a process of giving something attention from the heart and bringing in creative intention from the higher mind (Andeweg 2009). If a leader is sensing well from the field, then they have an intuition about which general direction the community is destined to go in its journey to contributing the piece of the puzzle that it holds. With that general direction in mind, it is possible to co-create with life to bring it into form, through the conscious use of intention. In this sense, “leadership” is very much grounded in a perspective of co-creation, a continual cycle of sensing and acting.
In his most recent work, The Universe Loves a Happy Ending (Andeweg 2016, 207-215), Hans Andeweg names ten principles for leading an organisation or looking after a piece of land in resonance with the energetic architecture of that system:
1. Check whether your conviction is free and independent – are you really the steward of the entity you lead or are you dependent on others?
2. Develop inner tranquility
3. Become conscious of the whole – having your awareness on all the different parts of the system that you are leading
4. Have a sense of what is happening – a heart-felt connection to the experiences of the people and other life forms in your system
5. Put your wheel in the spotlight and practice Tonglen – a practice of holding your system in the light of love in your heart, including any pain that may be present
6. Affirm and visualise your goals – paying regular attention to your goals, and visualising their realisation
7. Use knowledge and expertise – knowing about the content of what is being worked on in your system
8. Go with the flow – understanding and working with energetic time (such as that described in sacred calendars like that of the Maya, or other fractal systems such as the Elliott timewave)
9. Transform your burdened past – being aware of what traumas from the past may be holding the system back from manifesting its purpose and releasing the energy that is held there
10. Be here now, consciously and with joy – don’t take yourself too seriously…
An important area to explore in the co-creative qualities is that of working with tensions and seeming polarities. The information fields often show themselves to us through creative tensions. As the intention that we hold as leaders for our system meets the current reality, tensions emerge that invite us towards greater wholeness and coherence. Those tensions can be in the field of relationships between the people in our systems, or around material issues. I like to think of these three architectures in our living systems:
As we start to align ourselves with the informational and energetic fields, our relational and material architectures are called to come into resonance with them. That is likely to create tensions in our organisational systems which we need to learn to work creatively with. Practices such as Holacracy’s Integrative Decision Making (Robertson 2015) is one example of how people in organisations can treat tensions as information from the field, and work with that information in such a way that it can be of greatest service to the organisational entity that they are leading. The ability for a leader and community to be able to work creatively with tensions is critical, particularly in the increasingly complex and challenging times we live in. In holding a tension open, we keep the probability waves open, and invite in information and insights from the informational fields to literally in-form how we transcend them.
The remainder of this section of the second person “We” looks at co-creation with non-human elements of life. The best example I have encountered of this is Machaelle Small Wright’s work on “Co-creative Science” (Small Wright 1997). Small Wright has developed a practice that she trialled with a garden, inspired by work at the Findhorn eco-village in Scotland, that involves explicit collaboration with entities in the angelic, devic and nature spirit realms.
I described the Perelandra process in the previous Section. In the co-creative process, different players have different roles. The humans set the intention and vision. This is related to the longer-term human transformation process that is held by an angelic family she calls the White Brotherhood. Together, the humans and the White Brotherhood are focused on holding an intention for the future so that life moves in that general direction, the e-volutionary process. On the other hand, there are the devas who hold the blueprint of how to implement such an intention in this reality for the greatest benefit of all life, and Pan and the nature spirits who are responsible for pulling all the pieces together – the in-volutionary process. Small Wright developed a set of protocols for interacting with these partners to help develop a physical garden or an organisational project (a “soil-less garden”), as well as to support healing processes (the Medical Assistance Program).
The Third Person “It” – Active, acting on third-party systems
This perspective is maybe the one most popularised due to people’s natural tendency in the scientific-rational mindset to orient through the third person. Although the framing of the examples of practices below is in the third person, as we shall see, they include first person and second person practices.
The practice that I am most familiar with is that of ECOintention, developed by Hans Andeweg and Rijk Bols (Andeweg 2009, 2016). This practice was originally known as ECOtherapy and grew out of resonance therapy, which itself emerged from radionics, that was developed in the 1920s at Stanford University in California. All three methods use treatments (or “balancing”) at a distance through a map or photograph. I choose this one to focus on not only due to my experience of it, but also due to the 20 years of application and the related research they have done around it. From the various practices I am aware of, it is one of the most developed and researched in terms of impact on larger scale systems such as natural parks and organizations. Towards the end of the section I will mention some other practices in this area.
The different methods that developed into ECOintention have become increasingly less technical with each step. In radionics only radionic equipment was used. In resonance therapy symbols and fractals (mathematical images and formulae) were added. An ECOintention practitioner doesn’t use radionic equipment at all, but has a self-assembled energetic toolkit with colours, crystals, homeopathic treatments, Bach flower remedies, symbols and an orgone beamer. What is also important in ECOintention is that the owner, manager or guardian of the project is intensely involved in the balancing process. That is neither the case in radionics nor in resonance therapy. [The PhD goes into more detail on ECOintention in this section]. Other practices with similar intentions are well documented by Currivan (2005, 2017), Hardy (2008), Radin (2013) and Roney-Dougal (2010).
It occurs to me
That the mind
Is like an exhaust pipe
Spewing out gaseous thoughts
Formed by past events.
Unless used consciously
In which case the mind
Is like a sculptor
Crafting exquisite probabilities
From the endless possibility plasma.