The mystic’s paradox: if everything is okay, how come it looks so messed up?

Does the world need to be saved?

Julian of Norwich is fabled for saying, “All is well, and all manner of things be well.”

I’m sure she’d be delighted to know that I agree. On some cosmic level everything is magnificent, amazing, and just peachy keen.

And yet…

And yet the heart aches–and should–when children go hungry. The soul lurches and heaves and cries, “No! No! No!” when another person of color is killed in the name of law enforcement.

There is no shortage of injustice, damage, and suffering in this world of form.

Somehow we need to hold both: awareness of the perfect whole and a here-and-now response-ability to the problems around us.

Looking for leverage

I’ve sat with that paradox for many years. As my own sense of wellbeing has expanded and deepened, I’ve wondered about my responsibility (response-ability) for the wellbeing of my fellow beings.

I’ve been listening. Looking. Wondering. And I’ve been wondering about what this means for my work as well.

In a way, I think I’ve been looking for leverage, for the place where the kind of critter I am can make the greatest contribution.

And it’s looking to me like I can contribute by coaching men and women who are working on large scale world problems ranging from climate change to hunger to terrorism, helping them to tap into the creativity, resilience, courage, and wisdom they need to continue to innovate and to keep up the good work without burnout.

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, I’m committed to helping us all be the change we want to see.

Being the change we want to see calls for a “new type of thinking”

You’ve doubtless seen variations on a statement attributed to Albert Einstein that we cannot solve a problem from the same level of consciousness that gave rise to it.

What he actually said was this:

“Our world faces a crisis as yet unperceived by those possessing power to make great decisions for good or evil. The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe. We scientists who released this immense power have an overwhelming responsibility in this world life-and-death struggle to harness the atom for the benefit of mankind and not for humanity’s destruction. We need two hundred thousand dollars at once for a nation-wide campaign to let people know that a new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels. ” (Source: New York Times – May 25 1946, p.13 – “Atomic Education Urged by Einstein”)

I believe that new type of thinking is already available, that it’s built in to the human operating system, and that learning to notice and access it is part of the creative evolutionary process.

I’m headed to Oslo to advance that process

From May 27-29 I’ll be at the One Solution Conference in Oslo Norway, at which speakers will boldly assert a single solution to the world’s challenges.

Our assertion is that the problems of humanity–-war, poverty, cultural and political conflict, terrorism, the environment, corruption, drug trafficking, gender inequality, to name just a few–derive from a single source.

What’s more, that single source can be successfully addressed with a single solution, a simple understanding of the mind.

You can get a taste of the conference at the free Wholeness Hangout on Friday

My guests for the May Wholeness Hangout, Friday, May 6, are Eirik Grunde-Olsen and Linda Pransky, two of the organizers of the One Solution Conference.

We will look at how what happens on a personal level also happens on a global level and what that implies for solving world problems. We will make the case for how insight into how the human experience is created moment to moment is the solution for producing true sustainable change.

I hope you will bring your questions and vision to the conversation.

Call and response

I don’t believe that the world needs saving so much as I sense that each of us is called to participate in the creative evolutionary process in a unique way. And this new type of thinking helps us notice how we are called and then respond in the ways that make sense for the kinds of critters we are.

I have a friend who is organizing a community based electrical power supply system. Who knew that such a thing was possible, let alone feasible? But she is doing it.

Another friend has founded a museum to foster and feature the work of regional artists.

A third friend is deeply involved in the presidential primaries, moving heaven and earth to get out the vote.

These friends are making bold, visible moves, but that’s not the only way we contribute to the unfolding process.

The most important conversation in the world

My friend Bill Cumming, founder of The Boothby Institute (another bold, visible move), is fond of saying that we can never know when the most important conversation in the world is taking place.

We may never know how the effects of a kind word, a helping hand, or even a harshly uttered course correction ripple through space and time. Small changes in initial conditions can have massive consequences.

In other words, if it moves you, do something about it. Don’t worry about how big or small it is.

I hope you can join us for Friday’s Hangout (details below). If you can’t, then I invite you to watch the replay, which will be on the same page by the following day.

Meanwhile, have a wonderful, wonder-filled week, and please let me know what’s in your heart by sharing it in the comments.

Love,

mollysig125

Early bird deadline: The Art of Living

mud-70783

This is a heads up that the early bird discount (save $100) for The Art of Living ends tomorrow, April 19, 2016, at 5pm Pacific time.

The Art of Living: Creating Magic and Meaning in Life and Work is the culmination of years of seeking, learning, and experimentation. It’s a way of coming home to yourself and engaging with your own deepest, wisest ways of knowing.

During this 12-week program you will rest in the deeper intelligence available to every human being, an intelligence that will guide you in the creation of what you want in life, whether you think it is possible at the outset or not.

Click here to learn more and sign up for The Art of Living.

Do not let money be a barrier

heart-700141_1920There’s a contact form on the web page in case you have any questions. I’ve kept the price of the program quite modest compared to other offers of this nature. If the cost  happens nonetheless to be an obstacle, you can use the form to request an adjustment. If you want to do this work, I will work with you to make it possible.

What do you say? Shall we make some artful living together?

Living heARTfully and the problem of weaponized insight

sling_shot_weaponized_insight_girl-1153564_640

Watch where you point that thing! The problem of weaponized insight

A participant in the Come Alive and Do the Thing! Mastermind has a brilliant term for the use of a supposedly wise observation to critique or diminish another person: weaponized insight.

Don’t you love it?

At first it was thrilling to me just to have a term for this phenomenon, but as I sat with it, I started to see some important implications.

A weaponized insight is a weapon, not an insight

The moment an insight becomes weaponized, it stops being an insight and becomes a weapon.

This goes a long way to explaining what’s going on when we use our own insights against ourselves.

Insights and weapons are inherently different

An insight produces a shift in awareness. It tends to expand awareness, deepen connection, and elevate consciousness.

A weapon has the opposite effect. It shrinks awareness as the person against whom it is being used goes into fight or flight.

It breaks the connection between the one who wields the weapon and the one against whom it is wielded.

And it tends to lower one’s level of consciousness to the realms of competition and survival.

When we use insight to assess, judge, and berate ourselves, it stops being insight

Weaponized insights aren’t always wielded by others. Some of the most pernicious are the ones we wield against ourselves.

How often have you argued with yourself about why you aren’t using your hard-won insights or following your wisdom in some area of your life?

I don’t know about you, but that has confused the hell out of me. How can I be so incredibly smart (just saying) and so incredibly stuck at the same time?

It’s because I’m confusing self flagellation with insight.

There is nothing insightful about any attack on your inherent okayness

Any so-called insight that calls into question your inherent okayness has been weaponized.

Since there is nothing wrong with you, any insight wrapped in the message that there is, is false.

Something that points at how you are (presumably) broken takes you in the wrong direction–but only entirely.

Put down the weapon first

I used to try to pry the insight apart from the weapon. My logic went something like this.

If I could only get the message of the insight, the weaponized message would not longer apply or hurt.

That didn’t work.

The weapon didn’t stop being a weapon until I simply put it down, even at the risk of dropping a seemingly good insight.

I began to see that wholeness is key

As I dropped my weaponized insights, I began to see the vital importance of beginning with the premise that every human being is created whole and deserving.

I saw how our relentless compulsions to judge, evaluate, and improve ourselves actually block access to deeper impulses toward goodness and creativity.

And I saw how authentic insight points us toward our underlying wholeness and connects us to those deeper impulses.

Here’s to freedom

Weaponized insights wound and diminish.

Authentic insight heals and expands. It can sting, but the sting is bracing and enlivening.

That distinction is liberating. Play with it. Take it for a test drive. And let me know what you discover.

Have a wonderful, wonder-filled week, and please share your thoughts and questions in the comments on my blog.

Love,

mollysig125

Images by Pixabay.com

You are the man behind the curtain: An invitation to see the magic in your life

One of the many memorable scenes in “The Wizard of Oz” shows Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion finally standing before the Great and Powerful Oz. They have come to present him with the broom belonging to the Wicked Witch of the West after having conquered her with a bucket of water. Oz thunders at them mightily and tries to put them off, but as he blusters and blasts, Toto, Dorothy’s tiny dog, pulls back a curtain and reveals that the wizard is just an ordinary man pulling levers in a magic show.

There’s always a man behind the curtain

The same thing happens whenever we see through the illusion created moment to moment by our thinking. One minute we are gripped by the certainty that the feelings and perceptions before us are real, and in the next, we see that they are projections of our amazing power of thought. One morning last week I had a realization about a long-standing story I sometimes live about not being a good-enough sister or friend or neighbor. I noticed how I’ve resisted and resented and avoided that story, and how that sets up a tug-of-war inside of me, an internal argument about being kind. I took out my notebook and made a simple list of related stories that came to mind.

  • They need me.
  • I should do more.
  • I am not thoughtful.
  • Etc.

I burned the list. It was funny. The paper in that particular notebook must have a special coating. It resisted burning. On top of that, it was a windy day. I used up half a book of matches failing to burn the list on our burn pile. Finally I got a ceramic bowl and found a place by the front door relatively sheltered from the wind. It still took at lot of matches, but that sucker is burned.

Back to the Wizard

In the movie, after the curtain is pulled back, the phony wizard is able to endow each of the characters with his or her wish. How does a phony wizard pull that off? He does it by revealing to each of them that they already had what they sought. The Scarecrow may have thought that brains lived in the diploma, which the Wizard granted him, but we know that his intelligence was there all along. The Tin Man’s heart was apparent throughout the movie, long before the Wizard gave him a heart-shaped clock. And the courage of the beloved Cowardly Lion shone through repeatedly as he shivered and shook, but stayed the course in spite of his fears. Clearly his courage was not the result of receiving a medal. And Dorothy? Dorothy wanted to go home. Home, a place that lived right there inside of her.

The magic worked by the Wizard is ours every minute of every day

You could say that the magic of the Wizard was to show each person that they themselves were the power behind the illusions they had been living, and that they had equal power to see through those illusions and come home to their wholeness and wellbeing. We have that same magic at our disposal. Whenever we see through our thoughts to the intelligence and wellbeing of which we are made, we come home. We encounter our intelligence, our compassion, and our courage.

What I noticed after burning those stories

After burning my stories about not being nice or compassionate or caring enough, I continued to reflect on those qualities. After all, I do want to be kind, compassionate, and caring. I noticed that thoughts about care and compassion can come from many sources. When it comes from an identity that is attached to being good enough, an identity that wants to be liked, or any other identity projected from a sense of insufficiency or incompleteness, thoughts about care and compassion are rooted in those things. But there are other times when those thoughts seem to stem from a different identity, one that is resourced in lovingkindness and that is not afraid or attached to outcomes.

Our hearts can always tell which identity is at work behind the curtain

Our personal thinking can get very confused about this, but our hearts can tell in an instant when we are operating from lovingkindness, which is another way of saying that we are connected with our true nature. It was good to see that what seemed to be the same drives or intentions can be generated from quite different sources. I don’t know about you, but there have been times when I have been trapped in my stories because I was afraid of losing something, like the will to be kind. How lovely to see the difference between the root of kindness, which can never be lost, and my stories about kindness, which can sometimes be quite distorted.

Burning didn’t dispel my stories

I burned my stories as a physical expression of an inner knowing: that the stories that I live are made of smoke and mirrors. It was satisfying to witness their return to smoke, but in no way necessary. The freedom we seek from our stories is ours as soon as we see that we are always the man behind the curtain. Have a wonderful, wonder-filled week, and please let me know what you’re discovering by sharing it in the comments.

Love,

Click here to learn about my newest program, The Art of Living: Creating Magic and Meaning in Life and Work. Save $100 when you sign up before April 21, 2016.

Video credit: The Critical Commons

Pin It on Pinterest