What’s NOW About? Making a “Momentous Leap”
I want to focus on the “NOW” aspect of “raising consciousness now.” I imagine that you may be feeling and experiencing like so many others I know, that 2012 really is different. Everything seems more intense, more volatile, more chaotic. You don’t need to know anything about Spiral Dynamics or Integral to understand this blog, but I am writing fresh on my return to the UK from a vibrant SDi Confab in Dallas, Texas, which frames what I say here.
It is almost 40 years since Clare W. Graves, who formulated the theory that became SDi, made a prediction. He said that his theory told him that there would be a time when the level of complexity in our world, the global scale and the interaction between different human viewpoints at both global and local levels, would place unprecedented pressure on human existence. This got tagged “the momentous leap” because it said that in order to adapt to these conditions, the human collective would have to make a shift in its way of being that is greater than any other in our human history.
We don’t need the detail of SDi or Integral here, just a distinction that is used between “first tier” ways of thinking, which are the various choices to date, and “second tier” which is what lies the other side of the leap. What are we leaping from, and to what? And most significantly, what does that shift call for? Here’s a few “from what” characteristics that you might recognise.
First tier systems have greater emotionality – existential fear, desire for power, security in rules and fixed codes, greed and competitiveness. As we move towards second tier we increase our emotional and spiritual intelligence; we don’t cease to have emotions but we are less driven by them.
First tier systems are more linear. We can relate causes to effects and make decisions analytically that “if we do this – then that happens.” We think in terms of answers that may be stable for a time, or even rules that we can encode. Second tier systems are non-linear, fractal, emergent and complex. We have high levels of unpredictability and we need flexible flow-systems so that we can respond to the changes in real time. It’s like surfing the wave rather than predicting how it will behave.
As we approach the shift, conditions will become turbulent. We will see high criticality in old systems and feel as if we are living on the edge. You only have to look at the vulnerability of our financial systems, our climate, our resource issues, ecological sustainability and our global tensions to see the evidence for urgency on the large scale. You may also be feeling that your individual part in existence has become more multi-layered, complex and strained.
The first is that we will have to do more letting go than we have ever imagined. I don’t just mean letting go of old emotions, shadow work and all that good personal development stuff. It’s more than that. We can’t make the leap with a suitcase in each hand.
The “to what” is largely unknown. We know that we will have to manage these problems. We know that the old systems which reflect old forms of thinking are in need of upgrade. We need Capitalism v2.0 and new ways of sourcing energy. We might need new government systems to enable such things; how well is the two-party, either-or, polarized, adversarial system working for you? We have elements of the answers but right now these are fragmentary glimpses rather than coherent responses. What is being called for? How does this affect you and me, and the choices that we make?
Here’s some thoughts. The first is that we will have to do more letting go than we have ever imagined. I don’t just mean letting go of old emotions, shadow work and all that good personal development stuff. It’s more than that. We can’t make the leap with a suitcase in each hand. We may be called upon to have significantly different perceptions. Our relationships with money, with science, with community, with education, with personal partnerships/sexual expression, with nationhood, with health, even with the nature of the Divine; these are just some of the individual areas that may call for fundamental shifts. Much is said about “conscious evolution,” but evolution is a continuum not a leap. We may be talking about a revolution in human thinking, affecting all of these areas. We may need to think differently about life. We may need to live in a very new way.
The second suggestion, hinted at earlier, is that when systems are linear you can look for “answers” within a framework where you make a judgement about what is good or bad, right or wrong. But answers can imprison us. When you know the answer you reduce the realm of possibility. You also take your mindset into a habit of judgement. You can’t make a right or wrong one out of the choice to inhale or exhale and there isn’t an answer. Likewise, many other aspects of existence are about managing the balance between two desirable aspects of reality such as freedom and accountability or local and global needs/management.
Our future will call upon us to live in the questions and the processes so that today’s solution is not an answer but rather a choice for now. Depending on context and surrounding events a new choice may be called for tomorrow, or next week, or next month. Our systems of social order will need to be based on principles, not on prescribed rules. At the personal level we will need to be responsive to changes in ourselves, in the life conditions and in each other. Since we have all been brought up in a world of “right and wrong” this loss of certainties may bring insecurity with it. e will need to deal with that discomfort. As we do, we will (must) grow our ability to respond from the integrated heart-mind nexus, to have both right and left-brains engaged. We will almost certainly need more courage and more trust in ourselves, in each other and in the unfolding of the universe.
How fast can we learn to move? How flexible and agile can we be? How good can we get at responding from an infinity of beingness, knowing that what is not good for you cannot be good for me or the planet? How rapidly can we let go of judgement (of self or others) in order to move into centred choice, arising from the ground of our being and our intuitive connectedness with the movement of the Universe. Up to a point we can each prepare for this but at some point it is all in the doing. Nike has been saying it for us and we need the spirit of Olympians and Paralympians. To hell with our limitations and our woundings.
I feel as if I need to speak in tongues, because the language of the new space will be discontinuous from the old. Many of us have moved towards second tier and built some of the new capacities we will need, but I am calling on myself to shift further and faster. You need to do whatever you need to do. It’s not for me to prescribe, and we are maybe all still peeling away the onion-layers of our personal histories and ancestral voices. Even so what I urge on us all is not to constrain our vision and not to put limits on what is possible. You are more than you have yet imagined yourself to be. Together we have potentials that we have glimpsed only in fragments, if we have seen them at all.
Our individual self-actualisation is at the root of our collective actualisation. At the same time the external realities, finance systems, governments etc, are reflections of human consciousness, made in our image. We need to be loosening the external constraints so that there is readiness for new systems which reflect who we are to become. As we do so, we will create greater freedom of movement for our personal and collective internal shifts. It’s an interdependent circle of being and doing, interior and exterior?
Everyday, I put out the thought into the universe “What else is possible?” yet it is a question which doesn’t seek an answer. Rather it is an invitation to you, to the Divine, to the cosmic mind and to my highest knowing to draw possibility towards me. “Look before you leap,” says the old proverb. I don’t know about you, but I have done a lot of looking. You can watch the wave forever, but you can’t have the thrill of the ride until you jump on the board. And then you adjust your balance, sensing the movement instant by instant. That’s my image of where we are headed. Surf’s up! Leap!
About the Author
Jon is a visionary with a passion for propelling the change in thinking that will support us through the major transitions currently facing humanity. He has extensive knowledge of alternative health and personal development practices and a deep understanding of how human body-minds work. He is among the world’s leading trainers and practitioners in Spiral Dynamics Integral and a founding director of the UK Centre for Human Emergence. Jon’s greatest passion lies in cracking open our view of reality, replacing the matter-oriented scientific orthodoxy with a blended system of understanding which acknowledges the importance of Consciousness in determining the form that all creation takes. He views this aspect of consciousness-raising as a key to humanity’s future. Read more about Jon.