I wrote this as part of my post-paper for a Wisdom University course on Living in Mastery in 2012 – and just found it again as I review all my papers for my PhD dissertation. Not sure what I think of it but was told to not make that choice for others – so here it is :-).
There is not much
One can say about
As really it is
from Old English meaning “rest”.
Eye at the center.
I at the center.
The center at I.
I as the center.
The center as I.
I as that.
That as I.
I thou it we you its.
With it all.
In the stillness
Or is stirred.
Still. Stir. Still. Stir.
Stir Stir. Still.
Stir Stir Stir. Still.
What’s that stirring?
Something is stirring.
The first awake seems to stir others.
And old others.
New constellation though.
Something is forming.
Still is safe.
I know still.
I watch the strange stirring.
Start to draw me in.
I feel excitement.
Something is growing in me.
It’s me growing!
An explosion of stirring
Like the crazed whisking of a spoon in a teacup
Sloshes tea all over the place
Yet is held together by the stirring
At the center.
Then I see.
The harder is stirred,
The emptier the spiral at the center
The fuller the tea all around.
Presence holds resonance
As a new form is born.
Bring on the tea!
As I see
Myself in the strange
My whole being
Sings a new tune.
To dervish dancer
Whipping the world into its orbit.
I look up.
Things look different.
They look strange
And I recognise
New me, new world.
And stillness fills the movement.
And movement fills the stillness.
And my mind asks:
But what changed?
I see the same world
But feel it is different.
It responds differently.
I act differently.
But physically it’s all the same.
My life is different.
Or so it feels.
What is that out there
If it so malleable
By this in here?
How can I impact that
When there is so much of it?
What’s the difference
Between my experience of reality
And reality itself?
Is there a difference?
What if someone else
Changes their experience of reality
Does that change mine?
And if it’s all moving together,
Then who’s doing the moving?
That’s a conversation killer.
I feel the resonance
And am the coherence
And that’s all I know
I have just started up a new website for people to be able to follow my thinking about volution – www.volutiontheory.net. Initially I will be posting the elements of my PhD dissertation as it emerges and would love your comments and suggestions. Eventually I hope it will become a home for reflections and stories about volution and its implications.
This blog will continue to host other reflections and merry-making.
Mike Kauschke and team did a great job of this article in evolve, exploring my journey through integral evolutionary leadership into leading from the field. Nice to be in the good company of old friend Meg Wheatley and Frederic Laloux.
Here’s the pdf of the article (in German).
Intro note: I actually wrote this back in 2000 when we were establishing Engage! InterAct. I came across it just now and was struck by how relevant it is to the work I am now doing with Ubiquity – nearly 15 years on! Gosh I was smart back then – I wonder what happened…
Open Source Learning
A Key to Multiculturalism, Citizenship, and the Knowledge Society
Exploring the Problems and Challenges
- Multiculturalism, Diversity and Difference
- Citizenship, Participation and Motivation
- The Knowledge Society
The Foundations of Open Source Learning
- Skills, Qualities and Values
- Beyond Certainty and Control
- Systems Thinking
- Think Subtly, Act Simply
- Love your Enemy
Open Source Learning in Practice
- Critical Thinking for Conscious Action
- The Role of the Educator
- Structures and Methods
- Why “Open Source Learning” ?
The coo of the wood pigeon
Transports me back
To the early-morning sunlight
On the dew-laden lawn
As I peek out of the bedroom window
At my grandparents’ house in deepest Devon.
Time and space collapse.
Below is an audio recording of Dan Brown’s talk in Amsterdam today, including questions and answers. Also a transcript of the question I asked him and his response (at 01hr 01min 01 sec on recording 🙂 ).
It was lightweight talk. He’s very friendly and refreshing. He talked much about his parents influence on the Religion – Science tension (mother was a church organist, father was a mathematician). He did dwell for a short while on the importance of the mystical traditions, but not for long. Also talk on the writing process and book to film process. If I hadn’t asked the question, I think the whole evening would have gone by without serious mention of the major global issues he raises in Inferno. When he did speak about it in response, he was authentic and powerful – but then lightened the atmosphere at the end again with a joke. Hard for him to hold the tension of what he actually knows and writes about.
Peter Merry: I’d like to ask about the relationship between two themes in your Langdon series. Firstly the relationship between ancient wisdom traditions and new science, which you identified earlier as having interconnectedness as common ground. Secondly the state of the world and an interlocking cascade of crises that you focus on in Inferno. It’s my sense that our ability to integrate the insights of ancient wisdom and new science in our thinking and practice will directly impact our ability to navigate the unprecedented turbulence ahead of us. What’s your opinion?
Dan Brown: You’re absolutely correct and let’s hope we have time. … In the case of Dante and making it relevant to the world, was putting overpopulation in the novel as a driving force. The idea that Dante’s Inferno is not history. It’s a prophecy that we’re headed for a very ugly future, if we’re not careful. In the last 80 years the population on planet earth has tripled. Some people say that the rate of population growth is slowing. Well, I’d say it’s like getting in your car, and driving 100 mph towards a cliff, and about 5 feet before the cliff you break a little bit. It’s a little too late. So you’re absolutely right. We’re going to have to navigate some very turbulent times. And I’m not talking 100 years from now. Turbulent times in the next decades. And let’s hope that our spirituality and philosophy can keep pace with our technology. Or else we’re in a whole lot of trouble.
I recently received two emails that triggered some reflection in me. One was from my Ubiquity colleague Dr. Will Taegel, Dean of the Wisdom School, who carries deep indigenous knowing as well as modern scientific perspectives. The other was from an Irish woman Anne Marie who had listened to this interview I gave about my upcoming book called The Pain and the Promise.
Will wrote to us about his perspective on the US Thanksgiving celebration. Here are some of his words:
I will follow the lead of the United American Indians of New England who in 1970 reframed this holiday to include a Day of Mourning. I will utilize Saturday as a day of fasting and mourning for the policy of extermination directed toward American Indians by the United States government. Over 600 formal treaties were broken along the trail of tears and dashed USA integrity. To this day we harbor a terrible national secret of systematic extermination, a denial that grinds at our innards. Until we face this secret our nation will continue as dysfunctional.
When I read it first it resonated with me as I recognized his perspective but it didn’t move me beyond that. A couple of days later I received the mail from Anne Marie. Here is an extract:
I have pondered today about why I was so stuck with my pain and come to the possibility that it is because, with access to racial memory, I am indigenous in my Ancestral lineage back to Neolithic times, colonised and then post modern. The colonised journey in the middle annihilated the indigenous self belief and the trust in what had gone before, and even with those parts restored the interface with the post modern is terrifying. A stranger in a strange land.
I worked with Joanna Macey 13 years ago at Findhorn in a Deep time workshop. We did the Truth Circle accessing the power where the pain is and that is when I was opened to it. Joanna moved on to an evening of celebration and lifting of spirits afterwards. I and two others could not lift. We were all three, women and the other two were South American Indian and Australian part aborigine. I am Irish.
[After listening to your interview] I feel healed just because another human being knows it too and can face the pain of the split and it’s consequences. It feels a joy now to go on and release it. Do you mind if I say thanks in Irish; Go raibh mile maith agut – just because it means there are a thousand goodnesses with you.
Her mail touched something deep in me. As I contemplated my reaction, I began to get a sense of where it was coming from. As primarily an Englishman (I also have ⅛ Irish and ⅛ Scottish blood), I have had to deal with what it means to embrace the identity of a nation that has created much suffering for others in the past – the colonial violence overseas as well as the oppression closer to home in Scotland and Ireland. I worked through much of this with my Irish friend Gavan and during my MSc in Human Ecology in Edinburgh many years back. In that period I found my peace by identifying with those movements in England that had resisted the enclosures and disempowerment – such as the Levellers, Quakers and Diggers – and by my commitment to work for a just and sustainable world today.
So what was touching me in Anne Marie’s mail? As I probed, I found that what moved me most was her words of thanks in Irish. It felt like something systemic was being healed in me through that. That set off a thought process.
The thought that started to form was the following: could it be that peoples who damage other peoples’ relationship to their land, their collective identity and core sense of belonging also have their own foundational belonging-system repressed which in turn is what enables them to continue to undermine that of others? (This relates to the “purple” energy dynamic, for other Spiral Dynamics geeks).
You see how this relates to Will’s points now. The implications would be that the oppressor nations are so damaged in their foundational energetic of belonging, which is what provides rest and relaxation in the embrace of the Mother, that they flee into a restless ungrounded pursuit to fill a deep hole in their own sense of themselves. That pursuit involves the ruthless exploitation of the external world around them in a desperate quest to quench a thirst that ultimately can only be satisfied through a healing of their own internal collective cultural trauma, in relationship with the place which is their natural home. Anne Marie, in a follow-up mail, wrote “That is what made them so frightening, there were no natural limits to what they would or could do. They were not in their bodies and their hearts were frozen.”
I have seen this reciprocal dynamic demonstrated explicitly at individual level during one of Lynne McTaggart’s events. She had a Russian scientist with her who was able to show the energy fields of two people on screens. When one person got angry at the other you saw the anger energy leave one person and hit the other, shaking their energy bodies. At the same time you saw how the same negative effect took place in the fields of the person expressing the anger. You literally do to yourself what you do to the other.
It is the “great” nations that have built empires and repressed native peoples in the process (e.g. England-Ireland, USA-native Americans, China-Tibet) who seem to have most lost touch with nature and the basic principles of life and are fueling our collective planetary demise. These nations and peoples – and there are many more than I have mentioned – need to acknowledge our past oppressive roles, apologize, and ask what we can do to heal any pain. At the same time we need to reconnect to the land that hosts us and ask for support in our own collective healing. For by harming others at their roots we have been made rootless and restless ourselves – a numbness that has allowed us to wreak the havoc that we have on this planet that is our home. Now we need to heal our relationship to those we oppressed and to that we repressed in ourselves, to be able to navigate our uncertain future with dignity, integrity and grace.
Books that helped me on this journey: The World Turned Upside Down, by Christopher Hill; The Progressive Patriot, by Billy Bragg
Here is a recording of an interview that Barbara Marx Hubbard did with me for her Shift Network course on Generation One. It was lots of fun and great to have Barbara asking the questions and holding space.