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Developing Authentic Power: If We Are a Wave, Are We Willing To Know We Are The Ocean? The Path to Survival. Pt. 6

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"True self is non-self, the awareness that the self is made only of non-self-elements. There's no separation between self and other, and everything is interconnected. Once you are aware of that, you are no longer caught in the idea that you are a separate entity."

"Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice... No one can prevent you from being aware of each step you take or each breath in and breath out."

"We need enlightenment, not just individually but collectively, to save the planet. We need to awaken ourselves. We need to practice mindfulness if we want to have a future, if we want to save ourselves and the planet."

Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master, Poet, Peace Activist

Introduction

The past 5 essays have dealt our potential for an expanded consciousness. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh shares the following analogy: as a unique individual we are like a wave; simultaneously, we are an expression of the ocean. We are the ocean. Imagine that the ocean is Divinity - universal consciousness.

We can notice that the wave was never separate from the ocean. Rather, it is a momentary form that the ocean has taken. A person who is "enlightened" has realized - in body, mind, emotions and spirit -that they are both wave and ocean. The liberated being, while living as an individual in our world, simultaneously experiences the Whole - or the infinite "Ground of Being."

What would it be like to realize a Self that transcended the birth and death of our limited empirical being (as a wave)?... to realize a Self that is actually the Great Ocean" or in another image, as "the Great Fertile Void" - out of which everything arose, and which has been called "your true face before your mother and father were born?"

What would it be like to perceive and welcome God or Ultimate Reality in every other being and ourselves? The great majority of us do not have this perception; the Hindu word to describe our usual condition is maya - illusion; the Buddhist word is avidya - ignore(ance). With some effort we can realize (make real) our birthright. This is called being "liberated." Liberated from what? From the egocentrism, sociocentrism, and ethnocentrism into which we've been conditioned. Attachment to our "wave-ness."

Humanity is now faced with a choice. A combination of compulsion and opportunity may contribute to growth in consciousness and push us to create a new world.

This will entail growing beyond (while including) the secular scientific materialist paradigm in which we've been embedded for the past 300 years.

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I work as a psychotherapist with an emphasis on transformational learning - a blend of psychoanalytic and transpersonal approaches, and am the author of Self Actualization and Unselfish Love and co-author of Families Helping Families: (more...)
 

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Blair Gelbond

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""to face mortality is to face suffering and the full precariousness of loss, and to accept love is to accept the possibility of those things. It seems easier to refuse the terms of reality. Narcissism is this refusal"

"Aging narcissists, which is what we are ruled by, are very dangerous people. As death approaches, their hunger for power and to prove their immortality gets more and more hysterical. They are willing to sacrifice more and more people on the altar of their own vanity. It is frightening to look at the majority of politicians and businessmen who rule the world because they are so clearly terrified.

"Their terror of losing power, and death makes them engines of destruction. Through this denial, they are even willing to institutionalize the death of the environment. This is the final paradox of narcissism, that it is willing to go on engineering total destruction in order to keep going and not have to face the shock and pain of truth; [that] it will press the atomic button to keep alive its fiction of invincibility. It is as mad as that."

Andrew Harvey, Dialogues with a Modern Mystic

Submitted on Friday, Mar 26, 2021 at 8:49:16 AM

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Sorry, Blair, but I had to stop reading this latest chapter when I read, "Our emergence from the animal kingdom lasted millions of years...."

Yes, I'm particularly picky about word choice and phrasing, and "proper" spelling, punctuation and grammar. But what stops me here is the subtle propaganda effect of clauses such as that I've quoted above.

The truth is that we humans have never, and never shall "emerge from the animal kingdom," in terrestrial biological terms. We ARE evolving -- but not "from" the animal kingdom (in which and with which we are evolving, in dynamic resonance -- "deep ecology" -- with all "kingdoms").

I believe that you know this, but it's just this kind of subtle reinforcement of "separation" that keeps us anthropocentric and distrustful humans in defense against the nature that we are, and the interdependence we deny.

Submitted on Friday, Mar 26, 2021 at 9:24:20 PM

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Blair Gelbond

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Reply to Jim-el Moore:   New Content

My answer would be that there was a qualitative difference in awareness between pre-human and (dare I call us human?). The Homo Sapiens sapiens has "double wisdom" - a capacity to stand back and reflect on its inner and outer life (even though we're not yet making use of that, through mindfulness) that I do not believe a cat has. Yet cats have an integration and wisdom we don't....

We, of course, are animals; however, consciousness has continued to evolve - and if we are very, very lucky - will continue to the next phase. Gebser has shown this. I worry that your mind keeps tripping you up without your knowledge.

Submitted on Friday, Mar 26, 2021 at 10:21:08 PM

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Blair Gelbond

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Reply to Jim-el Moore:   New Content

Jim,

We might say that cats have "single wisdom": they are certainly conscious and can be be quite concentrated. As far as we know, they don't have the capacity (brain is smaller) to witness and contemplate their inner life. The "double wisdom" of humans is still in its embryonic stages. Or let's say that we are by no means using this capacity to its full potential. As I understand it, that's what "mindfulness practice" is about.

Re- your other point, it seems that you create a form of indignation (and separation) when you encounter a word or idea that sets you off. When you "stop reading" in response, it's possible that you cut yourself off from gaining further knowledge and a larger picture (such as I was trying to convey in this piece), without questioning the initial presumptions that cut you off at the knees.

This might be little like focusing on the mote in your associates eye, without seeing the plank in your own.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 27, 2021 at 3:32:56 PM

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My cat says "hello" to me in the morning (though her feline accent makes it sound like "aa-wo" to my anthro-ear. When she's hungry, she asserts "Right now!" in very clear diction. I've been unable to teach her the proper manner, to add "Please" to that demand ....

I tend to listen to my cat more than I read authors who rouse my indignation.

Submitted on Thursday, Apr 1, 2021 at 9:48:44 PM

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Blair Gelbond

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Sounds wise.

No need to get stirred up unnecessarily.

And your cat won't have any COCKAMAMIE IDEAS.

Submitted on Thursday, Apr 1, 2021 at 10:58:49 PM

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I wouldn't know about that, and the cat is wise enough not to say ....

Submitted on Thursday, Apr 1, 2021 at 11:17:46 PM

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Aldous Huxley:

People will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him the walls of his prison are invisible and he believes himself to be free.

The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives, that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society.

This Power Elite directly employs several millions of the country´s working force in its factories, offices and stores, controls many millions more by lending them the money to buy its products, and, through its ownership of the media of mass communication, influences the thoughts, the feelings and the actions of virtually everybody. To parody the words of W. Churchill, never have so many been manipulated so much by few.


Submitted on Sunday, Mar 28, 2021 at 9:18:37 PM

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Aldous Huxley:

"During his long career as an agitator, Hitler had studied the effects of herd-poison and had learned how to exploit them for his own purposes. He had discovered that the orator can appeal to those 'hidden forces' which motivate men's actions, much more effec­tively than can the writer.

"Reading is a private, not a collective activity. The writer speaks only to indi­viduals, sitting by themselves in a state of normal sobriety. The orator speaks to masses of individuals, already well primed with herd-poison. They are at his mercy and, if he knows his business, he can do what he likes with them."

***

'All effective propaganda', Hitler wrote, 'must be expressed in a few stereotyped formulas. The stereotyped formulas must be constantly repeated for only constant repetition will finally succeed in im- printing an idea upon the memory of a crowd.'

"Philosophy teaches us to feel uncertain about the things that seems to us self-evident. Propaganda, on the other hand, teaches us to accept as self-evident matters about which it would be reasonable to suspend our judgement or to feel doubt."

Submitted on Monday, Mar 29, 2021 at 5:20:08 PM

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Paul Levy:

How does anyone express in words the state of collective madness that humanity has fallen into at this time in our history?

What modern-day humanity is confronted with, to quote the noted author and Trappist monk Thomas Merton, is "a crisis of sanity first of all." We are living through a time of collective psychosis of Titanic proportions where instead of dealing with the roots of the crisis - which is to be found within the psyche - we are re-arranging the deck chairs.

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 31, 2021 at 2:51:17 PM

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Paul Levy:

Humanity is currently confronting the most important question in our history - whether human life will survive on this planet...

"We are living in a time where nothing is more important than clear vision, and yet, as if...having fallen under s spell, we have become blind. This blindness is fourfold: we don't realize we are blind (we are blind to our blindness); we are blind to our shadow and our complicity in the darkness that is operating in the world; we are blind to the light of our true nature; and we are blind to recognizing that what is playing out in our world encodes a hidden revelation that can wake us up.

"We each carry within us undreamed of creative power at our disposal, but because most of us are unconscious of our own agency, our creative genius boomerangs against us in a way that is potentially destroying us."

Submitted on Wednesday, Mar 31, 2021 at 3:17:04 PM

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As the great doctor of the soul C.G. Jung writes:

"We are a blind and deluded race." Our collective madness is so overwhelming - and by now so familiar and normalized - that most of us, its sufferers, have no idea how to even think about it, let alone how to deal with it. Not knowing what to do, many of us inwardly dissociate - which only exacerbates the collective madness - and in our fragmented and disempowered state go about our lives in a numbed-out trance, making the best of a bad situation...

"We are living through a world-transforming evolutionary crisis - a planetary rite of passage - in which modern industrial and technological civilization is collapsing upon itself. We are truly at a choice-point of human evolution. We can either continue to deny the reality of what is happening - and in a self-generated feedback loop, deny that we are in denial - or snap of our denial and open our eyes and look at the collective nightmare that we are unknowingly creating."

Paul Levy

Submitted on Thursday, Apr 1, 2021 at 3:03:30 PM

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Reply to Blair Gelbond:   New Content

Your comment makes it unclear whether this is a statement by C.G. Jung or Paul Levy. Whatever the case, it seems to me that we are both particle and wave; neither particle nor wave -- context is the criterion, and we can't know that, because we simply don't have the capacity. We crave understanding, and if we can't have that, then control ....

Submitted on Thursday, Apr 1, 2021 at 9:31:16 PM

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Blair Gelbond

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Reply to Jim-el Moore:   New Content

Jim,

Yes, that was my oversight. The statement comes from Paul Levy.

Submitted on Friday, Apr 2, 2021 at 7:10:28 PM

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John Hawkins

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"All, all except Phineas, constructed at infinite cost to themselves this Maginot Line against this enemy they thought they saw across the frontier, this enemy that never attacked that way--if he ever attacked at all. If indeed he was the enemy."
       -- John Knowles

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Good stuff, Blair. Metempsychosis, but you gotta watch the black cat crossing effect when you are dying, such as that depicted in the film, Fallen. The devil's in the details.

I'm a phenomenologist from way back. We're atoms and waves. Maybe in the future, if there is one for Man, we'll enjoy the transformation you describe in the quantum era ahead -- being subject and object, ourselves and others, at the same time.

But I worry that such wisdom will be lost as the population climbs through the friggin roof. In short, I've always wondered about the translatability of macro wisdom to the twee; Socrates said f*ck it, I'm out of here, they know not what they think; it's hopeless -- give me the fuckin hemlock.

Maybe sadly wonderful ways of seeing are fated to be relegated to sad-eyed cliques living in wise isolation. Did you ever read Herman Hesse's Magister Ludi? That kind of thing. Something smart, Jungian, and transcendental. I'm there.

Thanks for the read, man.

Submitted on Thursday, Apr 1, 2021 at 7:55:08 PM

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Reply to John Hawkins:   New Content

Thanks for reading and your comment. Yes I did read Magister Ludi, a very long time ago. Andrew Harvey and Carolyn Baker have written a masterful book on our current human predicament called - Radical Regeneration: Birthing the New Human in the Age of Extinction (also see Duane Elgin's Choosing Earth).

We've really painted ourselves into a corner - and we ain't seen nothin' yet. It looks like we would be wise to get ready for the ride of our lives (and/or deaths). A new species of human may be born from this probable massive death of people and the Biosphere. Above all, we needs to open our hearts and allow our compassion and wisdom to flower for the coming rite of passage.

Submitted on Thursday, Apr 1, 2021 at 9:31:32 PM

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Carmine Gorga, Ph.D.

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"Women are not irrational; they are relational."
       -- Carmine Gorga

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How to express my appreciation for such a rich, meaty series of articles?

Kudos to Blair Gelbond. He has offered us a comprehensive analysis of the process of cultural evolution from the early appearance of thinking humans on earth to the present.

This is a gargantuan endeavor, especially considering that our evolution has taken place within the limits of changing paradigms -- of whose presence we are not completely aware.

Mr. Gelbond makes it clear that we are now in the process of passing from the old "dominion" paradigm to the new "love" paradigm: love for self, for other human beings, and for the sacred ONENESS of existence.

Our survival is in the balance.

Submitted on Friday, Apr 2, 2021 at 12:27:03 PM

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Reply to Carmine Gorga, Ph.D.:   New Content

Thanks so much for your comments, Carmine. I feel gratified and honored that you received what the articles had to say.

My understanding is that once an initial awakening has occurred, there can be an unstoppable urge to share this awareness with others. In Buddhism it is sometimes called Bodhicitta - the desire to become fully enlightened for the sake of all beings.

Let's all keep on doing our small part!

Submitted on Friday, Apr 2, 2021 at 2:56:58 PM

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Reply to Carmine Gorga, Ph.D.:   New Content

Carmine,

Once again, thank you for your acknowledgement.

I'd like to recommend a few books you may find of use.

I drew from Duane Elgin's Awakening Earth, Joanna Macy's, Active Compassion, and Meg Wheatley's, Who Do We Choose to Be? in this series. All were sobering and full of useful insights. I have also recently discovered Andrew Harvey and Carolyn Baker's book: Radical Regeneration: Birthing the New Human in the Age of Extinction. I can't think of a more informative and very sobering book.

Submitted on Friday, Apr 2, 2021 at 4:01:20 PM

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