Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
Layman started a new group on Facebook called Metta-Integral, for exploring issues of compassion, lovingkindness, the cultivation of virtues, etc, from an integral perspective.
On the group, I proposed the following exercise:
Wilber's new "integral mindfulness" work is based on holding each of our prior stages of development -- with their needs and gifts -- in mindfulness, especially learning to 'make object' those structures with which we might still be somewhat identified or merged (leading to different fixations, problematic habits or defenses, etc). Since lovingkindness (metta) meditation is often paired with mindfulness (vipassana) practice, we can imagine a complementary metta practice for each of our stages -- both holding the stage in loving awareness, befriending it, and perhaps also reflecting on the ways that love is expressed through that stage, or supports that stage, as a gift that we might also take into our present. Would you like to do that reflection here?
Yes, that one shows the colors that Wilber is using -- which are not the same colors of SD. As you know, currently he is using the colors of the spectrum to cross-correlate a number of developmental lines, including SD.
From Layman (this one made me smile):
KINDNESS TO MY "AMBER SELF"
Hello, my little patriot. I am in awe of your willingness to suffer the service of the Great Symbols of Our People. I hope your beautiful nation-spirit is healthy. May you leap up in the excitement of mass communion during the Olympics but not trample anyone to death on the Holy Days! May you keep us safe from the regressive barbarian hordes but not mistake freethinking for deviance! May you serve the True King or Queen in all of us. May you hold your Great Book reverently but lightly -- and with natural decency, warmth and humor.
It is so much work and so risky to secure the Folk over the tribes and keep us protected from other Folk when they are distressed or rapacious -- I hope you get a rest, a massage, a friendly hug so that you can keep going. I hope the chaotic messages of mass communication don't dishearten you. I hope you don't take refuge in paranoid and apocalyptic myth but rather step forward into the prophetic dimension of Today.
I hope those who send you into burning buildings keep you safe when you are wheezing with burns and smoke inhalation.
Who created Reason and Enlightenment and Science? It was you! Remember that you are generative. Remember that the People are not an ancient purity but an ongoing effort. We invent our Race, our Language, our Law. The Good we serve is Strong when it adapts and assimilates, weak when it pulls back from the world and dreams of its lost Golden Kingdom.
I promise to embrace you when you cry at weddings, or salute the flag or challenge the alien, or dare the legendary local hot wings. You are bred to risk yourself in a Symbolic Service that has so often been undermined by unhealthy environments and poorly designed "modern systems" that exploit your sympathetic heart and give it enemies it does not need. I promise to use you well, to honor you and give you the rest and secure symbols you need in order to regenerate yourself.
In return, I hope you remember that the wise mutants, innovators, warm provocateurs and reasonable weirdos have always been a natural part of Our Folk.
Yeah, cool on the dreams, Bruce.
I still want to take the time to present more on my memetic and "stage" ownership. Maybe I'll dip into my Beige Diaries :)
Ambo, I appreciated your thoughts - I have felt some similar stirrings, perhaps related to this exercise or perhaps not. Some unusual (and charged) dreams.
Here is my latest offering:
My Amber self, I see both your care and fear. When Red is unbridled, in yourself or others, it can cause unintended harm -- it can negatively impact those who are important to you while pursuing its limited ends. This is a kind of weakness in it that wasn't apparent before, but now you can see it: a folly, a selfishness. There is a refuge in the greater wisdom of the group, a self-insulation which saves you from the impulsive and destructive parts of yourself that you have learned to distrust. But the group itself is also a threat, a threat that is greater than the threats the Red Self can meet on its own. As I recognize my dependence on the group, as I once recognized my emotional difference from and dependence on my mother, I realize a deeper vulnerability: the group, which can protect against the excesses of Red and provide a more stable milieu for my flourishing, can also reject me or exclude me -- physically as well as emotionally. Once "in," I fear the shame and weakness of being "out," the sting of humiliation or rejection. To be "out" is to regress, or so it feels: to be kicked back down to where I was before. Conformity is how you hold on, how you secure this developmental attainment and ensure the deeper nourishment and support the group can provide -- the greater confidence of the We.
My Amber self, may you be well; may you have what you need to thrive and to grow, including the security you need to eventually let go and move beyond the borders that supported and defined you. I honor what those borders provided: an arena in which you could learn to love, to sacrifice, to put self before other, to defer gratification, to practice social reciprocity, and to stabilize a justice beyond Red's vengeance or trials of strength. I accept these each as the gifts that they are. And wherever you quake or freeze in fear of being cast out -- whether in emotional rejection, or social or intellectual humiliation -- I see that and I hold it, without interference, in a love which meets and exceeds the belonging which has defined you. You are not just that We. Welcome.
At moments of self-critique and sometimes in ordinary reflective instances I have felt bored, perhaps, by my strong, tidy, correct rational capacities, by my semi-enlightened pluralistic, relativistic perspectives, and occasionally by my apparent integrative cognitive skills, along with other trailings of recent inner growth. Lately I have, perversely, been self-critical for seeming to have little affinity or manifestation of mythic or magic strands. Given that I have been studying these ‘stages’ of cultural and individual development I have been able to see some very tips of what may be the heads of man’s early unfolding, in myself. Survival instincts are still rowdy within me, but where’s the overt awe of hidden magic, and where’s the authoritarian, the feudalistic, the submissive reverence for mythic figures, I have wondered? I am on the lookout for these vestigial organs of psyche and culture.
I think I was taken by and whirled around in these about an hour ago, and still my interior is mildly aflutter - could be atwitter. I feel in love. I’m almost a wreck.
Driving home from the small quaint town to where I sometimes return, it was as though I were in love. My mind talking to myself effusively. Particular and detailed variations on general questions like, “How did I look? And, “What did she think of me?” “I wish she could have seen the surfboards on my jeep roof and thought I was cool.” Other embarrassing inner dialogue caught me quite by surprise. I thought I was past that sort of awe. I thought I had grown into a personality with apparent poise, social ease, and an available-as-needed touch of gravitas.
For the last hour I have been reminded also of the fullness of heart, feelings, and relatively innocent thoughts that I have experience a few times surfing this week’s dawn patrol, and not infrequently, prior. Such beautifully formed waves and lines, solidly within my skill-set and comfort zone. One after the other. The sun approaching the horizon starting to inform the eyes of color and greater acuity. The emptiness from competitors for the predawn waves. There, on the water, after some vigorously active time, maybe with the build-up and release of endorphins and other intrinsic joy juices, I seem to be overflowing. As I have paddled back from a long sweet ride into the cove, I am probably as reverently irreverent as I get. I am saying things to myself, really, I am - quite loudly in my mind - like, “Holy Shit!” and, “Oh My Fucking God!” I, apparently, am rather ecstatic. I mutter these sorts of sacred extollations to myself for minutes on end, confined within the brain cavity and aloud, after that ride and that return trip to the line-up, the next, and the next. When I get to shore, post-session, I might neaten up some of my language, or exhort more conventional bro-stoke vernacular.
There are sometimes even hours of high and fullness and gratitude that, were I a religious man, I’d likely be saying things like, “God is good.” Surfing’s is a blessing. We are graced. Oh, thank you lord!! Instead, I feel what I feel strongly and I say things in my dude-like and language-playful ways.
Holy fucking shit. Oh my bloody god. We are so frickin lucky!
Well, there was some analogy to that fullness and feeling driving home today, and even as I left the take-out counter with my burrito.
Let me tell this story going backwards.
In front of her, now, I was self-consciously aware of my voice and my engagement with the food-maker as I was asked about “black beans or pintos?”, “everything?”, “cheese?”
She said, looking at me, something like, “Would you like to go in front of us, since you may have just one thing to order? We (meaning the man with her and herself) have six orders.” I didn’t stammer, yes, but with an appropriate hesitation of cordiality and good manners and further effort at cool, said something like, “Sure.”
I stood behind them and vaguely admired her long legs in tight blue jeans, noticing, while appearing not to notice, also her trim light blue utility blouse with some darker blue layer beneath that. I noticed her smooth refined face, short straight blond hair, and somewhat perky manner and easy fast-twitch movements and energy.
As she stood to the side and in front of me waiting for her and their turn at the order counter, inside the tiny storefront, I reached forward with the Christmas card that I was going to send my sister, and lightly and with playful casualness, slapped her on her right deltoid. She may have retreated a little reflexively as if making room in a crowded public place, or it may have been a small muted wince of anxiety to intrusion. It was a minor response to my seemingly confident and friendly presumption to a stranger, as though I were not a stranger. She glanced at me tentatively, I’ll say (as though I can remember all of these details clearly) and then held the visual spacial contact when I asked, “Do you get a lot of, ‘You look a lot likes...?’” There may have been a slight smile with her nod, and a hint of amusement when she answered, "Yes.” I then said, maybe a slight smile on my face, “Is that because you are?” She said, “Yes”, with a modest or self-conscious glancing down and away. I replied with something like, “Too cool!” with maybe a too big and free smile. ”I quickly wondered how big a dork I might have just seemed, but fortunately I wasn’t yet into full mythic thrall mode. Yet. That mode came on me and grew to stoke proportions mostly on the ride home. Holy shit, I was just with her!
As I entered, my eyes took in the tall, steady, youngish woman with clear complexion and the brown bearded man next to her with a few fidgets in his standing. Organically, gradually, I let my vision take in her appearance and followed the accompanying perceptual processing. Hmm, she looks familiar.
The hole in the wall burrito joint was almost shoulder to shoulder, and, uncharacteristically, I decided to enter anyway. I had had a good rich morning with people and within the adventures of my own mind at the coffee shop’s 20th business anniversary, free cake and lively amplified guitar music on tap, stoking the social fires with a fracquaintance, beside the little circular table.
So, I ask you, the reader, would you be gobsmacked and revert to a prior developmental stage, let’s say, if you were to unexpectedly come next to one of your favorite actresses, actors, celebrities, archetype carriers, goddesses or gods? For me, it was Gwyneth Paltrow. “Hi, Gwyneth - hey, how’s it going today?” all casz-like. In my dreams :)
Ambo, thanks for sharing! Well written, and "too cool!"
Reviewing my own brushes with attractive celebrities, I'm reminded of a somewhat similar but not quite the same experience of spending a few short minutes back stage with jazz pianist & vocalist Diana Krall. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005106/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1