Collective Intimations of the Future: A Recent Inquiry

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freedomBr. Chris has been on an evolutionary roll recently with the future in his recent epic interview with Thomas Hubl on Downloading the Future and then his extensive follow-up reflection, Logging onto the Cosmic Internet. Reading those pieces, the need to continue to lean in and push this larger conversation further became suddenly apparent to me. Then I thought of Br. Bruce Sanguin's earlier catalytic piece God as the Future. I couldn't resist putting out an invite to Thomas and Bruce for an exploratory inquiry around this subject of the future and its pressing significance at this point in time.

The text of our conversation & inquiry follows below, but first I want to share some of the impetus that inspired it..

Logging on to Beams a moment ago, I am greeted with Chris's Sermon: The Real Meaning and Practice of the Apocalypse. At some point in his reflections on Charles Eisenstein's vision of a more beautiful world, everything stops.

After a little while, it starts to slowly become apparent to me that there's a world we're all trying to let in right now. A world that humanity is starting to find some significant leverage points and process in—collectively—in co-articulating what this coming transformation needs to look and feel like on the street, in our institutions and most importantly in our heart of hearts.

In the growing quiet of this subtle ecstasy is a gentle arising impulse—call it the future. Listening closer, I can feel it, though it feels more like a her, starting me up again, moving my eyes down the page to riff further through Chris's brilliant transmission and then down into the comments through Phillip's jolting intuition of JC's teachings, followed by Bruce's comment on the sermon feeling like gospel and then Trevor leaning in with the urgency to hold it all wide open. Kind of like how I imagine the raison d'etre of Beams and Struts sometimes, as a basecamp and bridge to this newly emerging culture that beckons and whispers from a place that compels the heart and imagination home.

gazeBut it doesn't stop there, down the rabbit hole further and through the comments to the link of Occupy Love where Ian MacKenzie has penned a brilliant piece, We Come From the Future, reminding us so lucidly of what's at stake and what's being asked of those of us who hear this call like a distant melody in our bones right now.

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing."

Something is changing. We're not as alone in our efforts any more—or at least it feels that way. And as a culture coming to recognize who and what it is, we're learning how to hear her breathe. In this quiet ecstasy, as we're lead by the undulations and contours of her breath, there's this growing concern for her well being and how to co-enact conditions for her to flourish and become more actualized in us and our world. To give more of ourselves over in ways beyond what we had imagined, in whatever form and expression feels most right to the needs of this shared undertaking.

Retracing back to my original intent, this piece is offered up as a furtherance in this greater collective effort to strengthen our collective capacity to love the future into existence through us and out of this agonizing concern, to heed the call of the emerging not-yet-formed path. The path that is being revealed by an intimate indwelling and listening with her breathing in and through us, giving us real cause for a long awaited basis for shared purpose and direction. Something our human family has been longing for for a very, very long time. In some way I suppose, as far back as we can remember...



Our Inquiry:

Olen: I want to begin by saying first of all it's a real pleasure and honour to be having this call here with you guys today. So thank you for joining me. If its okay with you both, as most of the beams community knows your work, I'm going to skip the intros and get right to the heart of why we are here together. If that's okay, I'll jump in with a couple of points. Does that sound good for you guys?

Thomas and Bruce: That's fine.

Olen: Okay great, as I've shared with you both over email recently, my intent is to explore the bigger conversation around "the future." The three of us have acknowledged in our work as well as online through Beams this more recent resurgence of interest in the topic. It has come up around a lot of different extended conversations in the community recently. There's a collective interest emerging around this conversation. I'm really curious what would it be like for the three of us to look into this a bit more deeply and to clarify and articulate what is compelling our fascination and interest in this topic. I wanted to frame the conversation as an inquiry into that, less of an interview. Process-wise as I've been exploring over email, I was thinking that we open a conversation here in terms of letting the ideas come to us. Does that sound like a plan? Are you guys up for it?

So when we contemplate this subject of the future in our quieter private moments, what do we discover there? What is compelling our interest or what aspect of the future holds our attention in a way that is perhaps a bit distinct than something we've been doing a few months or even a few years ago? I wanted to put that out as a loose invitation to the conversation before we presence into the space together.

A Minute of silence.


Olen: I invite us into an easeful process around that and feel free for someone to lead in.

Thomas: What I am interested in this discussion is to look what we mean when we say the future because I think most people who would use the word in a different sense. If I look at the future, I would look closer at the possibility that would say the future is not what is happening tomorrow but the future is a potential we can develop into and that tomorrow is different than today. Some people would see tomorrow as a continuation of the same life patterns as today. To me this is not the future but it is just a repetition and if we look at the possibility of the future. People generally run away from their lives because they don't like it and they are dreaming of a possibility that might never happen. If we access when we are so present, so alive in participating, our intensity rises up with this feeling we have today. So we touch this fruit from an unknown territory and then we might come back. The future that makes us more unpresent because we dream about it, but its not the intensity that is being lived, which allows us to touch something that we didn't see before and both points I'd love to have more discussion about.

Bruce: Just to build on that a little bit, I agree with what you're saying Thomas and if I can be personal here for a moment, I've gone back through some therapeutic work doing some early attachment stuff to compensate for some deficits which I experienced at a very early time in my life. When I am in the presence of an unconditional love something happens to me where I make contact with a deep promise that I have a sense of intuitively that has showed up for in this life. There is a profound ecstasy and bliss—a deep YES. This is in a sense what is promised to me. So what is the nature of that promise? And the other thing that happened to me quite spontaneously though I am in this so-called regressed state. By deeply inhabiting that present moment where I'm feeling the implicit promise of the universe as love, bliss and joy I realized in a sense my future. I gained a sense of what my mission was. It was just obvious. I didn't go into a 3 day workshop to find the purpose of my life. It was just given to me. I knew I would spend my life enacting this future that was present in because of deeply I was inhabiting the present moment if you like. So it's that paradox of the future being more present the more deeply we can inhabit this moment.

Olen: This is really beautiful gentleman. Maybe I'll speak to Bruce's sharing and dovetail back to Thomas's. Your sharing brings up a clarified realization of my own in the sense that there's a way in which, by this deep abiding in the present we make contact with the seeds or possible aspects of who we are that maybe initially feel a little unfamiliar or a little bit surprising but there's some kind of coherent voice or self-sense that resides in those deeper realms of who we are. So it's a fascinating point around how through therapy you were able to reconnect with this tacit or deeper part of yourself and in the process of doing that, reclaiming that voice or that earlier part of you opened up the future. It was fascinating to hear how you found the future through a reclamation of your past in a sense. And then what I'm hearing in Thomas is this really important distinction around how we need to become more refined in our awareness concerning how we think about the future. Conventionally how people relate to the future isn't really at all what we're talking about as this conditioned momentum of our past experience that continues to project itself through us. I think people more superficially who are not tuned into this deep present are not in different ways in contact with this potentiality of the future. So it's really interesting to me how what you both shared there connects us around this question of the nature of what the future is and how we access it.


Thomas: Right, because I think some people when they hear we are talking about the future, they would take it as how to avoid one's life here. And if we clarify this from the beginning, its actually an invitation to be so present that we literally--in this therapeutic moment or any other moment--that we fully participate that there is a level of transcendence that starts to happen by the intensity of life. I think the future is then really interesting. If it's not an avoidance of my life, its actually bearing the fruits of living my life fully and by embracing this mission or core intelligence. The second point is that when we look at the past, I believe that the past is only consisting of the past influence of moments. It is just consisting out of the unfulfilled energy that has been created but didn't find its way home.

Bruce: I love that Thomas because there certainly is a bias in the modern era and even postmodernity I think to buy into the belief of historical causality. Certainly science and a lot of scientific materialists would say that's the only possibility but my own experience in life tells me that when I deeply abide in the present moment there are future possibilities that are shaping and informing my freedom if I'm not simply acting out of the habitual past.

Olen: It's almost as though there needs to be some kind of fundamental differentiation in time around this question of who we are. I'm thinking in terms of the conditions that bring about people's personal or collective realization around who we are in this historical moment or in a spiritual sense. But there seems to be a need for more attention given to the role of time here. Particularly in terms of how the self experiences itself. Thomas, your point earlier around this notion of coming home, I think there is a connect or an opportunity to reconnect with this notion of the future as part of the process of coming home. I'm not sure how that shifts our cosmology or what the implications of this are in terms of living more fully. It's an interesting piece. Your comment around how there is this undigested past—that something in us hasn't sufficiently gained consciousness yet and so until it does, we continue to perpetuate this kind of conditioning and so coming home then is a nice metaphor for a central aspect of this lived process. I like that.

Thomas: Yes and the beauty is that thousands of years of evolution have led us to this point in time of thinking and feeling and reacting is that if we don't see it as so unique, but that the uniqueness comes with a more awake consciousness that really flows into this moment that is structured like this. So what makes our lives unique is actually the higher realization to this structure that we sit in. The second thing which is also interesting is that when we watch a movie, all the unintegrated stuff that is still asking for integration which we call the past is actually like an advertisement movie on the main movie constantly. So you watch a movie and then you see two or three advertisements on top of the movie and so we don't see reality really fully as it is because a lot of this unintegrated energy is asking to be integrated constantly and so feelings and thoughts and body sensations are not connected to what we are experiencing right now. The more awake we become the more we look through these advertisements movies (trailers) to see the main movie. I think this changes a bit the notion of how we look at shadow material. Every shadow contraction or disassociated energy that is in in our energy field is actually circular, unintegrated evolutionary drive that wants to fulfil its movement and by this we see how shadow work is equally important than what we normally understand or what Andrew Cohen describes as evolutionary work, which means looking towards the evolutionary impulse. By looking into the parts of the shadow that are looking for integration, this is equally evolutionary work.

Bruce: I love that Thomas. Looking at shadow work not so much in dealing with past unresolved issues but in service of energies that in a sense needed to find resolution so that they can be in service of this cosmic impulse to evolve towards greater expressions of truth, beauty, goodness, joy, love whatever you want to call it—that's profound. Also when you mentioned movies, I was thinking about how I recently saw Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. I don't know if that was the first serious attempt to integrate the great epic of evolution, that great drama and set within it, this small drama of a Texan family set in the 1950s and to see that smaller drama in the context of this epic of evolution, so that we could in a sense get a transcendent view of the dynamics of that family as an expression of the creative impulse in the 1950s. What possibilities could emerge out of that if your looking at in the context of this great epic? I think there is that historical story of evolution and to expand into in essence, becoming that creative process, not this story of this small self that creates all kinds of dramas but rather we are the presence of that which is wanting to emerge in as and through us. To the extent to which we can stabilize in that big self or that cosmic self and be present in this moment, then there is a sense in which the future and find expression through us I think more readily. We become more transparent vessels for that.


Olen: I think we also need to become more ontologically sensitive to it. It's a piece I've been working with more recently in terms of how do we accommodate the future or how do we accommodate this emergence in terms of our way of being in the world? We've talked about finding or accessing the future through the deep present or as Bruce you were sharing earlier about your therapeutic realization and healing and we could probably open it up further in terms of finding this elusive quality of the future. I think too at some level our language is failing us around what it is or what is this essential quality? The future from a modern perspective is more of a thing and less of a process, which is more a postmodern understanding. The future is now a part of an interior process if we look at it from a certain perspective around creativity or how we experience this phenomena. Its now an individual interior but also collectively interior process that implicates our ontology or way of being in the world. If we start to allow this phenomena to be itself and gain that sensitivity together and alone, through our own passionate pursuits, start to accommodate it as a part of who we are and as a part of a dynamic or alive dimension of our existence in a way that was not maybe as tangible to us. Its hard to comment on the tangibility of it historically as I imagine artists, great thinkers, visionaries and other contributors with a more evolved consciousness probably to a different degree were in touch with this through their own state work and so on, but a new inflection seems to be arising around how our way of being, sense of self and identity needs to consider this aspect of the future as fundamentally apart of who we are.

Thomas: Right, Right. It actually shows us when we reintroduce spiritual intelligence in the way we see life also, even in the academic world, I think after the emergence of the scientific age that abandoned the traditional spiritual values, so we need to reintroduce some kind of spiritual development. I think if we can show this inherent creativity is also a spiritual competency that we can practice and take care of the right circumstances and ingredients in our lives that support this process, then I think we have at least one beautiful ability that this kind of intelligence can give us. There are within the wisdom traditions, 1000s of years of mystical knowledge—a lot of material about how to open oneself into the not knowing that allows future knowing to come in, which would lead to the mastery of the competence. I think that this mystical mastery has two parts of a practice: the competence of silence and the deep unformed realization and the competence of movement or the deep participation in the creative process and if we master the creative process it would mean that we would walk in an unknowing but have access to all the information that we need or that arises in our reality and I think then that access to the future is an ability. To look for a way in our society for the spiritual line of development to be reintroduced with new potentials that would make our children, students and adults very happy. I see in my groups many people that didn't have access to practices, but when they find it now they are excited saying this is what I was looking for many years but my school system and university didn't offer me this so I thought that this part was not valid.

Bruce: I'm a part of a practice group that is working with your transparent communication practice with Chris and Chloe [Dierkes] in Vancouver. I'm feeling like a bit of a rookie with that spiritual practice, but I appreciate that you're developing spiritual practices that are congruent with what we're talking about here today. It is interesting to think about in my lineage, which is the Judeo-Christian tradition that Jesus came along and had this metaphor of the Kingdom of God as already present and not yet manifest. And he was the one who would say to people, "If you want to see where this divine realm is a present reality, then look at my life." So he stepped into that and was so transparent to this field of infinite possibility and actually was the presence of that. He was this divine realm. This is what the early church claimed about him and how they experienced him so I think in a sense a guy like Jesus anticipated the possibility of inhabiting the present so deeply that people could see in him this actual possibility of the future. That this is what it could look like; this is how love could show up in relationship and community. This is what our social, economic and political system could look like. He was an exemplar of that here and now. Why his presence was so compelling, in the gospels I always thought it was hyperbole when they tell these stories about these disciples dropping everything immediately and following him but in truth whenever we come into the presence of the one who is the presence of the promise of the future, our soul awakens. We go yeah, I showed up for that! It's alive in this dude. I will drop everything. This is what my life is for. I think this partly explains what speaks to the power of Thomas's presence. I think a lot of people find you have that kind of presence that is that promise.

Olen: Just to build on that Bruce, thank you, this promise of the future as its being embodied through Christ—again a very beautiful articulation of that—really helps. I think there needs to be some kind of restoration work around Christ's story and his teachings so that more of the secular world can understand this better because its really refreshing how you framed that. I'm wondering also and this connects a bit with my work around collective intelligence, and in seeing what has been emerging in the last twenty, twenty-five years but more in the last five or so around groups and collectives starting to come into an experience of that promise of the future as a co-embodiment as something that everybody who is present in that space is receiving.


So its not Christ in the centre of the circle, although I'm sure some groups wouldn't have a problem with that, but what is interesting is the field itself becomes this intangible, tangible dimension of the group that I know you both have experienced and Thomas I know this is central to your work as well. The significant point here is that the field itself becomes the teacher in this new post-postmodern context, which is really interesting because we're not used to that historically. That's not a typical way that a teacher shows up. I mean, how do you introduce the teacher? 

This connects to an interesting inquiry that's starting to come out of these we-spaces or collective emergence. Mainly in the larger integral spiritual community with upcoming events this year (i.e. Integral Community Seminar, Celebrate Life Festival, etc) and evolutionary groups (including your work Thomas, as well as Craig Hamilton, Patricia Albere & Jeff Carreira, Terry Patten, Andrew Cohen, among others). It is spreading and has been picking up momentum more recently. Otto Scharmer has been a popularizer in business contexts with his work on Theory U, which has heavily influenced my thinking and research building on his work in the context of communications and collective leadership. There are others from related fields such as dialogue that have been evolving different methods. So it's a really interesting development when we start to contemplate the teacher in this intangible tangible way as something that is apart of our innate ability, innate identity and sense of self and possibility within a group context. Such groups open up a space for this future to become more tangible.

Bruce: I will just briefly comment that within the Judeo Christian lineage, that field can be imagined what the Jewish folks talk about as the divine feminine principle of wisdom or Sophia so that its possible and that I'm sure you both have experienced and which you described so well Olen, for wisdom to be imagined as that field of infinite possibilities and that if you go through a process of grounding people in meditation deeply in the present and then allowing them to speak not about wisdom but as the presence of wisdom as the personalized presence of the field if you like, then its quite astounding in my experience what comes, what happens in the conversation? It is as if we have given a voice to the future and I'm starting to develop that practice within my particular lineage. And I know your doing that work Thomas.

Thomas: Right. I also think that what I have experienced in the groups in recent years is that there are some very beneficial ingredients for this new emergence. And one is what we practice in this transparent communication where we stop talking about things but we literally learn to talk from them. How can I live my life where I don't talk about you Bruce or you Olen, but if I'm speaking, how can I talk from you, from your energy and information? And not just my interpretation of what I see in you or in you and if I take this really serious, I start aligning then I start aligning with this kind of process that leads to this manifestation we see here as Bruce, Thomas or Olen. I think this is a very interesting process for I in a way suspend my interpretation in my own separate bubble and my images that I create from reality and more and more look to align with the energy that becomes these forms or people that I see. I found this is a very interesting ingredient because it helps us to transcend partly our separate self and to access bigger spaciousness. It also implies that there needs to be some kind of transpersonal insight. And then by this intensity that we build, I cannot go back to my separate bubble of self, because life needs me more intensely. Then suddenly in this group context there is so much intensity as we are all practicing this at the same time. It's a kind of contemplation and meditation in communication. And suddenly in this intensity, this new level of we emerges. I see this in groups, when the group hits a certain level of vibration, there is an intensity where something starts to happen that wasn't there before—like a new level of human intelligence that we cannot see. It just arises from a certain vibration or resonance. I am also interested in the research around this. If this new level of evolution is actually an emergence, at a certain level of probability. If the probability is high enough then this will become a more manifest reality and if the probability drops, it will disappear again. I think this is what many people describe in groups when the energy rises and then they have an experience of this, but then go back to their old value systems, their old reality constructs and then it seems to disappear. I think this is a very interesting process to research where we can learn how evolution emerges and how it is connected with the mystical knowledge of our past.

Bruce: I appreciate bringing in the possibility of research. What are the factors and strategies that are most likely to help a group to experience evolution in action? That's very exciting.

Olen: I agree Thomas. Can you clarify your approach again?

Thomas: What we train is to attune ourselves to one another, tune in in order to not speak about the form I see but speak out of the energy that manifests itself. Actually I tune in with higher and higher levels of creativity that lead to the reality we call "you" "me" or "Bruce." I want to tune into that which is before we see this reality. I want to be connected with this underlying intelligence and then my words become a mediator of this intelligence that speaks, it is not anymore my separate mind that speaks about it. Then we will enter a phase where we will not think so much in objective, consecutive thoughts but more that we learn to think in fields that contain much more information than this reflective thoughts about reality. I'm interested in this field thinking. In groups we expand this thought process to contain you and your life as a full process, not just parts and bits. How can I think and feel you as a field? Not just as a personality but all of your life at once? Is there a possibility of this and how can we expand our thinking into this field thinking in a company or institution, a global process, a group, whatever.

Bruce: Thomas, I'm wondering if the goal of that if we can think in terms of goals would be to help that person jump out of their separate self-sense into their expanded identity as a part of the presence of the creative process itself.


Olen: It's interesting to me around the distinctions of where and how you are placing your attention. There's definitely a juicy conversation here. I have some thoughts as well. For example, when you make the emphasis on the person or if I understand you correctly, it is through the relational contact with one another that these deeper fields are accessed. That particular focus you bring to your work, would it be fair to say that through this deeper relationality, you begin to access a more coherent intersubjective field of experience?

Thomas: Yes, let me see. First of all through a certain transmission, we introduce the possibility of spaciousness so that the unformed needs to be experienced, because we need this transpersonal anchor. What we start with is relational exercises because most of the time people feel a bit separate like they are in two bubbles. Two bubbles that meet. In these two bubbles there are two images inside our bubble, which we interpret according to our whole past knowledge most of the time, but when we tune in deeper, we arise above this and we learn to speak from the information that is there and I always say, if we can train this then I can look through your eyes and see how you see it and vice-versa.

Olen: To that point, do you ever have people giving resistance around that or any objections. I'm trying to anticipate someone's response. I can imagine some people might be thinking that's a little invasive or a little bit too personally framed and I'm wondering if you've ever encountered that. Can you appreciate where I'm going with this?

Thomas: Ya totally. I experience this sometimes but I'm not focusing on this, I'm saying listen, let's look at this very simply, when we learn these tools of communication, then one thing that we really learn is that we totally appreciate and respect when people say no. So if I tune in with you and you say "no" at a certain level of your being to this process then I will just enhance my skill to respect this. I'm not creating this tool to bring about disrespect. If you go into a meeting with others with a certain aliveness and you come out feeling more drained, exhausted, then you missed something in the meeting. What we often miss is that people say no energetically and nonverbally to something but they don't say it verbally. If I continue talking to you even just one word and your energy field says no and I continue speaking, then I am actually creating a pressure in you and me. Then the energy goes down. So if this creates an unconscious pattern between us and I am not aware of this, my energy will also drop. And yours as well. So if we see this, therapists, people who work with people, teachers, whoever, this happens more often during the day and then you go home and feel a bit tired from your day but this does not need to happen if we have the right competence of communication. Which means I will respect your no even more because I will learn to see it even if you don't say it.

Olen: Right, it brings to mind some of Wilber's thinking around agency and communion in terms of those two primal drives. The yes happens in the communion but then there is a boundary out of which we encounter the other persons agency or independence. When I originally heard your framing of this, I was questioning what I was hearing. It sounds like a process that invites a deep kind of intimacy where we are softening or relaxing some of our accustomed boundaries of self as a way of accessing this field or a deeper communion through which we access this field.

Gentlemen, as a meta-process piece, we've gone over our time. So maybe we can close for now and reschedule later on for another call at some point? To be continued?

Thomas and Bruce: Great, sounds good!

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  • Comment Link Bonnitta Roy Wednesday, 01 February 2012 12:59 posted by Bonnitta Roy

    Olen, Thomas, Bruce, and Beams Family,
    I am really enjoying watching the development of this notion of presencing the future in the space of the now, leaning into the next adjacent moment is like mining a greater choice field, tuning into a larger purpose, intuiting a greater freedom ... but I am frequently left wondering how this human project fits into the wider expanse -- the web of life and the constellations of stars in a continual process of birthing and passing... how do these narratives/practices engage the non-human elements and beings in this inquiry? Why are they so often absent from the idea of evolutionary spirituality? There is a false sense that suggests that now that we have "human culture" it can exist and evolve as a separate bubble in and of itself. But that's not where the boundary of our bubble ends, is it? How are the ways that the life-force/spirit interpenetrates within/without all entities, elements and beings? in a way that neither prejudices the subjective or objective way of knowing? These would be my questions. I hope you find them valuable and can help carry them forward. Offered with respect and light,


  • Comment Link Bruce Sanguin Wednesday, 01 February 2012 17:08 posted by Bruce Sanguin

    Great point, Bonnitta.

    St. Paul had this amazing intuition that all of creation was "waiting for the arrival of the sons and daughters of G_d." Yearning in fact, for us to show up, and to do, on behalf of all creation.

    Because I know myself to be a concentrated amalgam of the entire cosmological, biological, social, cultural, spiritual evolutionary process, there is a very real sense (not a romantic ideal) that as I engage my life authentically, I do so all all of That.

    Teilhard had this sense decades ago when he performed the eucharist as a cosmological feast, one that lifted up all of creation, that is divinized, or christified, all of creation. This is why I think that all of our liturgies need to be "cosmologically correct", that is updated, to recognize that no thing and no body is excluded from our sacred rituals.

    The more we inhabit this expanded/unified sense of self, the greater the likelihood that we will include other-than-human reality in how we live our life, shape our policies, etc. The shift in identity, to a unitive consciousness (that includes diversity) is critical

  • Comment Link Bonnitta Roy Thursday, 02 February 2012 12:29 posted by Bonnitta Roy

    Bruce, yes this is a very real sense, not an ideal. When Thomas speaks to living in the moment that intuits the future, I see this as intimate with all of creation in a moment-to-moment arising and perishing. I can feel with each moment arising to forward itself into the new, the space of choice, that it uptakes all of creation -- the history of the stars and the galaxies, becoming earth, sky, water, life, man, me -- all of it swooped up into the presencing of the now, completely whole and yet provocating a new experience that has never been before, myself and the whole, transformed, and then expanding into perishing, letting go... into the infinite and timeless, and just then, vanish... and just then, a new uptaking of all of creation... so I don't see it so much as we have a responsibility to creation, I see this as we are within creation *and* creation is within us. There is a distinction that process philosophy makes. We are "in" creation ontologically -- the arrow of time from past to future as in evolution. But also (and this is the piece I feel is missing) creation is "in" us onto-genetically -- the process that arises *as* I-am, moment to moment, encapsulates all that is, was, and is to be, in its own moment-to-moment arising. So there is a deep, personal, mystical aspect of creation that is within this moment of discovery of the possibility of the new. And for me, that is why it all of it is equally sacred, divine... As all of creation comes *through me* and *eye* witness myself as the open (living center)ness of possibilities aligned with the source of creation's (divine) trajectory -- this is the future I step into as always already becoming a new creation, which once again courses through...

  • Comment Link Bonnitta Roy Thursday, 02 February 2012 13:44 posted by Bonnitta Roy

    The issue being, that the richness of that upswelling which informs the en-forming moment, is predicated on the richness, health, trajectory of all of creation -- how much life is there, if the structures generate from processes that live, from the energies of love or are they contracted from lack of love, stangled off from living processes? - and so what is co-created with and within creation in this moment, will become what is again uptaken in the next, the immanent ground of the creative act arisen from the vanishing a moment before.

  • Comment Link Bruce Sanguin Thursday, 02 February 2012 14:24 posted by Bruce Sanguin

    I'm with ya 100%. Still, I think it's interesting to imagine that the Creative Process itself, showing up in such incredible diversity, is rooting for us to show up with deep integrity, and in consciousness of the ontological connection. In fact, it's my sense (and basically my book Darwin, Divinity, and the Dance of the Cosmos was an extended reflection on this), that until we collectively undergo this shift in consciousness - that we are the presence of the universe in human form evolving enjoying an intimate, geological, biological kinship will the whole of it—our ecological efforts to repair Earth won't have the psychic energy and depth required.

    This mystic identification with the Great Emergence confers a Cosmic Identity that contextualizes the small/early self. My intuition is that humanity is now awakening to this identity shift. It feels to me like you are on the leading edge of that shift.

    Thanks for showing up this way, Bonnitta

  • Comment Link Bonnitta Roy Thursday, 02 February 2012 14:42 posted by Bonnitta Roy

    Yes, Richness(health, creative energy)
    = diversity x depth.

  • Comment Link Bonnitta Roy Thursday, 02 February 2012 15:33 posted by Bonnitta Roy

    Bruce, I have to admit, I am really curious about your bird.

  • Comment Link Ria Baeck Thursday, 02 February 2012 21:36 posted by Ria Baeck

    Thanks all: Olen, Thomas, Bruce, Bonnita for your words and intentions. Next to all that is said and written here, there is more to this collective aspect that I'm in the process of articulating and writing about. My sense is that collectives of people, who can live, resonate and speak from this being-in-mutual-process-with-all-of-life will be the next step in evolution: a complexification of the human form.
    I know these are big words, but that is how it looks to me from experience.

  • Comment Link Bruce Sanguin Friday, 03 February 2012 15:59 posted by Bruce Sanguin


    Well, it's actually a wild King Parrot.
    We were on the Ocean Road in Australia (Melbourne, and highly recommended), got out of the car, and I guess these beautiful creatures are accustomed to tourists/being fed. Landed on my shoulder and was gracious enough to stay long enough for a photo!

  • Comment Link Olen Gunnlaugson Friday, 03 February 2012 19:53 posted by Olen Gunnlaugson

    To my thinking, part of the work of presencing the future involves discovering and embodying a core latent dimension of ourselves as this creative-emergent spiritual process. So I would definitely agree with you Bonnitta, Bruce and Ria that a reclaiming of the deeper dimensions of our humanity necessarily at some point in the inquiry requires a reconnect with this much vaster context.

    I think future work in the we-space needs to open up to this vastness on multiple levels: "intrasubjectively" through a fundamental re-orientation of purpose, identity, and aliveness interiorly, "intersubjectively" within group fields (where emergent capacities and abilities are developed), in our workplaces and organizations where serious untapped potential lies suppressed in wait, but then also in our spiritual communities and beyond. Through a reconnect with this vast ultimate context, each of these micro levels are then brought back to Life in us.

    My sense is there needs to be a visceral re-connect though, for otherwise the ancient faculties generally would rather remain asleep. Its almost as though they are waiting for the right conditions to appear. Much as you pointed out Bruce with St. Paul’s intuition that all of creation is yearning for us to get this realization, having waited very patiently for us since time immemorial.

    Thomas Berry’s discussion of the Ecozoic era, as an emerging period where humans are present on earth in a way that is mutually enhancing of both the human and more-than-human dimensions of life comes to mind here.

    But to actually move into this period, we need to experience the larger context and bigger story by getting out into nature more regularly for more intentional experiences of reconnecting with the senses. In other words, making those night walks a priority, re-directing our awareness into this deeper realm of relationality, where we find our connect within this larger sacred web of life.

    What’s coming to me as I write here is that we need to resuscitate a cosmological felt-sense, or a felt-sense that brings us an experience Bonnitta as you put it, of being in-creation ontologically.

    That is actually, mystically in terms of the contexts we access creatively in this work. So yes, Bruce and Bonnitta, I’m definitely resonating with your conversation here around the need for a felt expansion of our most immediate inter-subjective horizons of “otherness” to include each other, but also to deepen and expand into this sensibility so that we become capable of communing with the more-than-human dimensions of nature and ultimately the cosmos that holds and makes all of this Life possible.

    Bonnita, your articulation of this ontological participatory experience of being in creation was a nice 1st person vignette that brought back memories of being a kid all wide eyed in grade four science class and first learning a lesson on the water cycle with the evaporation, condensation of clouds into precipitation that comes down as rain or snow, which then becomes water in our lakes and oceans only to then evaporate from the sun and form into clouds again.

    This whole process typically described in third-person language, while it likely captivated most of our imaginations at the time, did not connect us to our role in our larger participatory place within the All—processes that our pre-modern wisdom traditions and ancestors were thoroughly steeped in and something much of our present post-modern culture has failed to re-integrate, though we’re fortunately seeing signs of this changing. Interestingly when you were sharing your inside view from process philosophy Bonnitta, I couldn’t help but wonder:

    First of all, what developments and discoveries await those groups who begin to develop a receptivity and methodology for re-embodying and re-engaging this more-than-human cosmological dimension of their lives?

    And secondly, what happens to the field dynamics of groups when they access this greater collective intelligence phenomena by also accessing the deeper cosmological source that is animating all life currently and since the beginning of time?

  • Comment Link Terry Patten Sunday, 05 February 2012 21:13 posted by Terry Patten

    Thank you, Olen, Thomas, Bruce, Bonnita & Ria, for initiating and performing a very interesting experiment here. (And thanks also, Juma, for pointing this out to me.)

    What I seem to be seeing (and now participating in):

    The enhanced capacities of a higher form of intersubjectivity are reflected upon by 3 people in a real-time telephone conversation, in which each of you opens up in the present, awake to the past, welcoming the emergence of future potentials and letting that larger awareness presence itself through each of you.

    Then, the transcription of that process is posted and we read it and enter into a different kind of virtual asynchronous intersubjective space, in which Bonnita enriches the conversation, in part by presencing the larger conscious community of the more-than-human world that informs and potentially channels itself into expression through us if we are sufficiently transparent, and she and Bruce take it forward into new territory. And Olen acknowledges and appreciates that and helps us become even more self-aware in and as the field dynamics of that more complex expression — and then he poses a rich new set of questions...

    Historically, experiments in new forms of intersubjective fields had to find form, and, let's see, I can locate a few categories of those experiments: (1) religious & spiritual congregations in which group practices of prayer and worship opened a larger field (the Quaker meeting being one of the best known) but, (2) religious, spiritual, or philosophically-oriented land-based intentional communities that attempted to extend the brief worship period into a whole way of life, (3) scholarly, intellectual communities-of-the-adequate, including salons, where lit-up discussion became the vehicle, (4) artistic scenes, where musicians improvise together, (5) scientific & technological scenes like MIT's Innovation Lab, Xerox Parc, Silicon Valley, etc. etc.

    With telephone, television & the Internet inventing virtual communities and with the Integral age converging a larger non-local community-of-the-adequate around the very topic of social innovation and social practices catalyzing the evolution of individual consciousness—AND with the kind of discussion embodied in this very post and thread "making subject object" — it seems that something altogether new is pressing itself forward as if wanting to emerge through us and through this dialog.

    It suggests the ongoing morphing of this kind of discussion, convening in in-person contexts, waxing and waning and morphing and advancing virtually, and then expressing new emergents in its next in-person expressions, maybe even instantiating itself eventually in some of the "older" forms, such as higher-level worship communities, intentional communities, etc.

    And through that perhaps sometimes chaotic process, creative emergents will appear, and the potentials of positive futures may be able to be co-intuited and expressed and refined, and a larger field of intelligent co-conjuring may gather momentum and strength.

    And for this to proceed in a healthy way, certain care-and-feeding, best-practices and no-no's ("yamas & niyamas", or "observances and restraints") will probably show themselves. I'm curious as to how much of this is immediately obvious to any of the rest of you...

    Thanks again for a rich offering here!

  • Comment Link Olen Gunnlaugson Monday, 06 February 2012 00:06 posted by Olen Gunnlaugson

    Great to have you join us Terry. I appreciate your reflections and observations here. You pointed out how this is a different kind of virtual asynchronous intersubjective space and its true. Or at least its trying to be!

    Yet it looks the same as any other comment space, which can be a bit misleading. Who knows, maybe a future Beams comment space will glow red, flicker or go under a different title than “Join the Discussion” to signal a different form of conversation at play—one where posters are presencing together, making a sincere effort to access a more subtle field of inspiration, emerging knowledge and learning together.

    Structurally, there is a kind of virtual fishbowl dialogue format here, actually a double fishbowl (fishbowl is where there is a larger group with a few people having a conversation in the middle that is observed by everyone in the room). So there’s the initial transcribed conversation touching on a number of different points, followed by the current open discussion developing with new threads.

    At this junction, I’m wondering what’s the take-away here for other readers who haven’t posted? What is this conversation waking up in you?

    An interesting point that comes up in the integral world is do the injunction or practice before participating. In the context of this piece, this means try to read each of the related pieces I linked in above if you want a full dose of inspiration on this subject!

  • Comment Link Olen Gunnlaugson Friday, 10 February 2012 18:09 posted by Olen Gunnlaugson

    Another perspective to bring into the mix here from Alexander Laszlo's, "Re-Branding Our Species: A Leadership Challenge For All Of Us:

    "As our species finally breaches the carrying capacity of the planet we call home, we come face to face with that perennial challenge: evolve or die. But now the challenge is both global and immediate. We have explored and exhausted the brand Homo sapiens. It is time to re-brand, to evolve beyond the strategically wise, the rationally refined, the intellectually erudite and the technologically talented. Our patterns of being and becoming now need to align with the brand identity of nature and the cosmos at large – with patterns and processes that continually create conditions conducive to life."

    "To do this, we first have to abandon our ego-centric conceptions of self. We can no longer look out at the world through the eyes of strident individual self-interest. And above all, we must be ready to repudiate our gladiatorial existence and learn how to be communal beings. To commune with ourselves, with each other, with nature, with past and future possibilities."

  • Comment Link Ava Kar (Anna Vakar) Monday, 27 February 2012 06:29 posted by Ava Kar (Anna Vakar)

    Comments by Ava Kar [Anna Vakar] suddenly inspired by some sentences in “God as the Future” by Bruce Sanguin in p:// Ava’s (my:) comments in italics. Hmm I see italics don't work here.I'll put Bruce's words in as quotes.
    - hope that makes it clear. I'm old and technologically challenged

    Middle of page 4 he says: "All religious and spiritual lineages throughout the ages have affirmed that the higher order cannot emerge from the lower." Is this because they’ve all been received or conceived by inspired Patriarchs?…for whom Woman was “the lower”, as in‘ just a piece of Adam’ or ‘the weaker sex’ or‘the devil incarnate’? "Again, what scientists call the “spontaneous” emergence of higher order from the lower is merely descriptive. If science introduces the idea of “information” to explain this mystery, then theology is certainly within its rights to use this analogy to describe how God influences the world without being an interfering presence. Indeed, Paul talks about how God’s power is made manifest in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), and how God empties Godself of power as force" [sic A. 'force' was italicized] "in order to be present as the alluring power of Love (Philippians 2:1-8)." This sounds like the penis in action: weak, then full of ejecting force, as ‘the alluring power of Love'. "John Caputo is developing a theology based on the weakness of God (6). God is the Something that is present as the influential no-thing" [i.e. the penis. One could elaborate on different male views, and on female views of that matter; please do A.]"for those who have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts that are open. God empties Godself of power" [creative semen] "as force [sic italicized again, A.], "precisely by withdrawing into the future that is always coming toward us with new possibilities for higher order, new ways of being—more aligned with Love Itself." It is good when the male can see this “force” as not yet generally aligned with “Love Itself”. And why think of new ways To Be as always having to be Above or Higher or Out There Somewhere? This keeps happening even as we talk of the need to investigate the unconscious territory, widely known to be In Here – ‘somewhere’.

  • Comment Link Bruce Sanguin Tuesday, 28 February 2012 23:26 posted by Bruce Sanguin

    Hi Ava,

    I'll assume that your questions are real, and not veiled accusations that I am an unconscious, patriarchal Christian sexist male.

    "The higher cannot emerge from the lower" is an affirmation of G_d as Source, as Creative Milieu, out of which/whom a universe is born. It is a way of refuting a metaphysic of scientific materialism which assumes no Originating Matrix, and that mind arises spontaneously and accidentally out of matter. My theology of emergence (birth) employs feminine imagery.

    I have no idea how you got a flaccid penis growing strong and spraying semen from "God's power is made manifest in weakness" and a self-emptying God. Again, how is a penis associated with an "influential no-thing" or the non-coercive power of Love? My theology is based on a reframing of divine power as love, as opposed to patriarchal models of coercive power.

    I'm saying that God's power is present as Love, and not force, but you seem to be seeing penetration, penises, and semen flying off in all directions. What do you have against penises and ejaculation?

    I didn't talk about God being "up above". In this piece (no sexual allusion there), I play with the notion of G_d being out in front, not up above, as the future order of love informing the present.

    I use the metaphor of "higher" in reference to the process of evolution, i.e. holarchical development by envelopment. In the evolution of consciousness this holarchical development issues in an increased capacity for perspective taking, by making what was subjective and hidden an object of conscious awareness. There is a difference between natural, organic hierarchy (holarchy) and unnatural oppressive hierarchy. And yes, the church has historically perpetuated the latter. But it has also been at the forefront of dismantling patriarchy (at least in my particular tradition).

    I'm happy to use metaphors of depth and interiority as well, in terms of inhabiting Mystery, the unknowable, ineffable Source.

  • Comment Link Chris Sunday, 18 March 2012 03:39 posted by Chris

    Great piece guys. Are you aware of the work done by the teachers and students at the Australian Foresight Institute? (Masters course) A wide range of published and publicly released online papers emerged from the various cohorts... many explicitly focused on incorporating multiple integral views on embodied foresight. Might hold some leads for you...

  • Comment Link Olen Gunnlaugson Friday, 23 March 2012 21:58 posted by Olen Gunnlaugson

    Chris, I checked out the programs--noticed the Masters of Management in Strategic Foresight.

    These programs sound highly relevant and related to an aspect of my work and the MBA courses I teach. Are you a student or faculty?

    Please don't hesitate to contact me to continue this conversation--connect through the link on my profile on this site for my email through my homepage at the university.

    cheers! Olen

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