- Jon Freeman
Spiritual Intelligence in Syria
Note from RCN: Originally posted in September 2013, this article is a powerful reflection on consciousness in light of recent events.
Like many others I have been paying attention to the debate over a military response to the Syrian calamity and its latest manifestation in the use of nerve gas? And it has prompted a question. What is a spiritually intelligent approach to such an issue? What is the “conscious” response? I suggest that this question may have become suddenly more relevant. Unexpectedly, public opinion is affecting the political debate. What you and I think might matter.
I am not looking to analyse the decision “should the West choose a military response?” Not as such. Rather than talking about WHAT we think about the matter, I am interested in HOW we think about it. What does “raising our consciousness” mean when we are dealing with serious political questions?
One place to begin is with the emotions we encounter. What does Syria bring up for you? How significant are 100,000 deaths and almost 2 million displaced men, women and children to me, or to you? That has been going on for two years now. How significant is the shift from bombing your citizens to gassing them with Sarin? Throughout our emotions may range from grief and horror to anger at “immoral” behaviour, to fear of our apparent powerlessness, to deep upset at any thought of military engagement. Our pacifist inclinations may be at war with our feeling that “something should be done”. Which of these emotions should we regard as most important? Should we give importance to any of them at all?
And what then of our relationship with the world, whether material or spiritual? Is Syria a part of your world or mine? It is a distant country filled with people who are culturally different, speak a different language. And although 10% of them are Christian it may be hard to think of them as “like me.” How responsible am I for their well-being. Where are the boundaries to my own engagement with their problems? After all, the world is full of problems and there is suffering to be found in a city near you. Surely that has to be “someone else’s” problem.
But then we know of two forms of connectedness that run counter to that. We are all one consciousness, linked by our spiritual connection and we are all brothers and sisters in common humanity. In addition we are part of a world that is globally interlinked in more ways than we can comprehend. What weight do we give to the spiritual truth that “what affects them affects me”? Is isolationism even a possibility any more, or have global commerce and global terrorism alike made a nonsense of the very notion?
One aspect that worries me is that this is talked about as a “war”. I suspect that this is not helping. Wars used to be about invading other people, or protecting ourselves against that. Wars used to be things you could win or lose. The West hasn’t had a war like that for 50 years. From the days of Korea and Vietnam military intervention has been about policing actions, fighting on behalf of others, or against perceived expansions that threatened our “interests” more than our actual being. You can’t “win” those kinds of actions and you can’t lose either when you only have to decide that the mission is finished. Even the “war” against terrorism has a quite different quality and greatly clouds the issue of what is “our business” and what is “Afghanistan’s”.
Almost all of the conversations that I have witnessed – the UK parliament, the debates on Radio and TV and the facebook groups alike, are all elicit opinions based on narrow dimensions. Are you in favour of peace or war? That seems to be an absolute question. If you are in favour of peace, apparently, there can be no good reasons for military conflict. That is an honourable position for sure, but it is an absolutist one. Many of the responses in Europe are coloured by anti-Americanism and in the UK by the distaste for our involvement in Iraq. Should we be treating Syria as the same, or looking at it fresh? And beneath all of this we encounter some fundamental issues of trust. Do we trust our governments? Should we trust our governments? According to four-star general and one-time presidential hopeful Wesley Clark*, the agenda for regime change in Syria was laid down ten years ago. Do we even know who is running the show? We attribute decisions to leaders like Obama but he depends on advisors.
So amidst all this complexity and the myriad unknowns, assumptions and potentially slanted communications that inform us, what intelligence do we use to form our opinions on a choice like military intervention in Syria? Potentially this is a flash-point or a domino run. It is the point in a chaotic system where the flap of a butterfly wing shifts the system’s dynamics in ways that may lead to a hurricane. So I am assuming firstly that the choice is an important one and secondly that my opinion, and your opinion matters. It may even mean that those of us who usually avoid politics need to make our voices heard. If the Conscious and Spiritually Intelligent people are not involved, then what consciousness is driving the decisions?
What will it take for a wise decision to emerge? How do we get above the complexity? What is your inner knowing and your attunement to the unseen worlds? Much of the time our view of Spiritual Intelligence concerns how we operate in our local existence with our own choices or our relationships to family, colleagues and friends. That can seem a sufficient challenge. We might meditate or contemplate and find a place where our heart settles into inner knowing and a sense that higher self is making our decisions.
I have the sense that this particular choice is being instinctively sensed by many as somehow more critical than the decision to go into Iraq. That was arguably a mess, but it didn’t feel then or now as if it had the potential to shift the world in one direction or another. What if it’s different this time? What if we are now called upon to apply our knowing and to find the attunement to make a decision that influences the choice our country makes about how and where to pursue a military option? And what if your own thoughts are a butterfly wing in the consciousness that makes this decision?
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. Learn more about Jon here.