Evolutionary Professional Blog

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Wherein I Explain the Cycle of My Social Media Status Updates

"I am a mouth for a process that many of us are going though. The more intimately I deal with how it is for me, the more intimately I am sharing how it is for you." -Ram Dass

Some have asked about my updates. The are sexual/primal. And then emotive [poetry shares] and then cognitive/political and then spiritual/ethereal/transcendent. Huh. Yeah. Weird, huh?

What's up with this guy? Where is The.McClain comin' from?

As I have written before, it is not transcend and deny, it is not transcend and suppress. Rather transcend and *include*.

I assert being fully alive is to be sexual and primal. To be emotive and love. To be cognitive and mentally sharp and discerning AND yes, of course to be Spiritual/transcendent/ethereal. ALL of it. ALL fully flowing ::: ALL channels open. All channels awake. All channels channeling.

I have also found that the more I give voice to the darker more primal drives, the more comfortably my students and clients are willing to share and examine those places within themselves -- the more they are able to feel safe. AND within that, they can accelerate the dissolution of those aspects to the degree that it is appropriate. For them. For the very process of evolution. The evolution of conscious evolution.

And it all begins by shining the light on the "shadow" aspects of ourselves. The unspoken [and "inappropriate" aspects of ourselves. The politically incorrect. The lecherous. The murderous. The rageful. The ... well you get it. Consciousness, when it is at full, is *all* of it.

It is all, of course, part of the human experience.

So expect to see me cycle through those drives, levels, energetic centers, stages, etc. [consciously and intentionally]. So yes, you will see me talk [or quote] of fucking and eating/indulging. Of feeling and loving ::: epically. AND calling our leaders to task--not based on partisanship, but on results--regardless of who is "in power", while pointing to guiding lights I myself am moving toward and hoping we all move toward.

Pre-rational ::: Rational ::: Trans-rational

...and then repeating again.

In service of the very nature of the upward Spiral itself.

But know that you may not understand my choices, and you may not agree with them ::: and they may not be wise [heh] ::: BUT - most of the time - they are incredibly intentional and conscious.

-Intrinsic McClain-Ness™

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So You Just Celebreated a Win? Good. Begin Again ...

A great quote about footballgreat quote about football, but it applies to any business:

"It's kind of like the questions that have been asked about what it's like right after being world champions," Coughlin said. "We go to the parade, we come back from the parade, and the next day we're grading players, we're ranking players. The business just goes on. Enjoy it while you can, because you've got the next hurdle, and in order to get back on schedule, you've got to deal with these kinds of things [immediately]."

What do you do right after you complete XYZ? Begin again and go on the next thing/level.

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Depth and Its Value | Spiral Dynamics | Integral

All perspectives have equal validity, but they lack equal *value*, as they manifest different and varying levels of depth. #integral

I wrote the above line on facebook yesterday. Comments ensued:

@chris kosley said:

"Isn't value only assignable relative to a particular goal? Why should deep be inherently more valuable than shallow?"

To which I responded:

Thanks for asking the question. Good stuff.

What you say about value relative to a goal is true in other contexts [say, if I were talking about a skill or a thing; an object. But that is not what I was talking about.

I was talking about the inherent value in perspectives.

Why should deep be inherently more valuable than shallow? The simple answer is because it contains more. 

It requires more to demonstrate depth than it does to be shallow. It requires a larger embrace of the Kosmos. For instance, compassion is more valuable than anger because it requires a greater depth of development to demonstrate compassion than it does to simply get angry.

Therefore there *is* an inherent value that is greater.

Green [SD6] in Spiral Dynamics will not see this: they believe in flatland; all perspectives have equal value and it is all about cultural constructs and no culture is any "better" than any other culture. Of course they fail to realize that this perspective itself is a very high/deep level of development and stages below it do not share the sentiment.

Yellow realizes the folly in this, and its inherent falseness; Yellow [SD7] once again is fine with holarchies [stops judging them as bad or claiming they do not exist] as they are naturally occurring all around us.

And that is one of the charachteristics that truly distinguishes 1st Tier consciousness from 2nd Tier in the model. In other words, what distinguishes Integral.

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Evolutionary Thinking on the Evolution of Ego | Expand and Dissolve Rather than "Annihilate"

We have been sold a bill of goods around ego. One that creates internal division and conflict. One that creates internal dissonance. One that creates pain. One that, at its worst, can foster a certain degree of self-hatred. A dis-ownership of the self. A bill of goods that is 2,500 years old in terms of its story around ego, the nature of ego, and the "problem" of ego.

And there is a better way. One that can create the same intended result with a kinder, gentler more self-accepting approach that can accelerate the evolution of the ego through the radical acceptance of expanding the ego, rather than attempting the psychological and spiritual suicide of ego annihilation. 

You can also see some similar themes around ego in the business context, read this article:  Self-Esteem and the Solo-Preneur | Internal vs. External Locus of Responsibility for an even deeper cut, taken from an email I sent a client a couple years ago, read Your Self-Worth is a Settled Matter.

Ok...ready? ::: Heh.

A quote from Ken Wilber I posted spawned an in-depth, yet brief—discussion on the nature and evolution of ego, Spiral Dynamics, the Integral community, and related topics, including the difference between cognitive development and actual development ::: the difference being understanding vs emotional response and being, or stated differently ::: one’s “center of gravity”.

The style is conversational, as it was an actual conversation.

Below are excerpted comments in the thread that followed. The order of some of the comments have been changed for continuity of the discussion, and for flow. Some have been deleted for the sake of relevance. If you want to see the full, unedited thread for yourself, you can see that HEREHEREHERE. The edited and streamlined version is below for your reading enjoyment.

The quote that started it all :::

“The ego is not a thing but a subtle effort, and you cannot use effort to get rid of effort--you end up with two efforts instead of one. The ego itself is a perfect manifestation of the Divine, and it is best handled by resting in Freedom, not by trying to get rid of ego, which simply increases the effort of ego itself.” --Ken Wilber 

Of course, I cannot speak for Ken Wilber—nor will I attempt to.

Simultaneously, I have read and listened to most of his stuff. As a result, I can certainly imagine—to varying degrees of accuracy—what he is speaking to, so I will attempt to translate him.

AND this will be based on my own experience after 19 years of conscious work, clearing, and self-examination and evolution—AND based on my work with over 200 clients one-on-one in my Personal Evolution Program, which lasted [when I used to do that work]  about 7 months--designed to accelerate the evolution of their ego ::: to widen their embrace. To increase their ease. To reduce their fear. To eliminate most of their anger. To increase their esteem for the Self.

So I may be and will be projecting/hallucinating…and it will be accurate—to varying degrees. Your mileage may vary.

So…what is “ego”? Most in popular spiritual and psychological circles will say we must transcend our ego, or worse ::: “annihilate it”. Is this healthy? Is this ecological? Does it suit the ecology of the environment we exist in?

The ecology of the self?

Is “ego what motivates us” as Pi asserts? Perhaps sometimes, yes. perhaps always—sure.

And the question for me becomes, motivates HOW? From what stage? Because, you see, we will be motivated differently from different stages, for different reasons.

For me, ego is essentially the seat of our consciousness. Where it rests and comes from. Not its Source. Its Source is the very kosmos ::: consciousness with a capital C. 

James Reidy suggested as a definition :::

Ego: n. a person's conscious and unconscious beliefs about their own identity. 

To which I responded ::: think of it as a prism through which Spirit is shining. A prism the light of God Consciousness shines through [and is skewed to varying degrees]. To the degree the stuff you are talking about is clear and or conscious is the degree to which it is god/dess, spirit, the very cosmos. I would say the stuff you are talking about is the dirt on the glass. 

Which is what I think Ken Wilber means when he says:

 

“The ego itself is a perfect manifestation of the Divine."

 

Everything is a perfect manifestation of the divine. That is the essence of non-dual reality. AND of course, even duality is held within non-duality. It must be. Spirit does not judge. We do.

And if we are careful to incorporate stages, the ever-increasing, ever-widening waves and stages and levels that one passes through, plateaus at, regresses and contracts to on occasion—where our emotional reactions come from and where our interpretations are filtered through—whether we use Kolberg, Gilligan, or Gravesian models to determine our “stage” ego can not be transcended.

It cannot be annihilated—with one exception. Blowing your brains will do it.

Death will do it.

And this is the problem I have with most “gurus” is they set up a massive internal conflict or increase internal dissonance/discordance with their idea about annihilating the ego. Their 2-dimensional, either/or relationship to ego. Which is what I think Ken Wilber is pointing to when he says :::

“The ego is not a thing but a subtle effort, and you cannot use effort to get rid of effort--you end up with two efforts instead of one."

AND it is only their ego that wants you to annihilate yours—to submit to them.

However, we can get the same intended results of openness, expansiveness, acceptance, with a more ecological and holistic understanding of ego. And with that understanding, what we CAN do is evolve it. Expand it. Have it occur as more diffuse. So wide and so diffuse it needs no protection. It needs no assertion. It has nothing to prove.

It will occur like a transcendent ego. It will look like “ego-less-ness”. What it actually looks like it the ever-expanding upward spiral. AN unfolding. A larger embrace.

Let me ask you what kind of ego can be “one with all things that are arising…moment to moment…even now”? I’ll tell you what kind of ego—a huge fucking ego. A wide and high ego. A diffuse ego. An ego so large that feedback or other’s attacks are accepted and absorbed into it like a still lake. it is also a subtle ego.

Unfortunately we are used to seeing very loud, pre-rational egos, and calling that “ego”. Yet it is an underdeveloped, uncertain ego than needs to be a gross [vs subtle], hard, reactive, ego. A defensive ego. Not a huge, well developed ego. A large, expanded ego is subtle and diffuse.

Simultaneously, their presence can be very powerful. When they look at you, their gaze often sees deeper into you than you have into yourself, which can be very uncomfortable for some. For others, habit forming.

Wilber again: "…and it is best handled by resting in Freedom, not by trying to get rid of ego"

AND as I am fond of saying ::: the biggest ego trip in the kosmos is thinking you can or will ever “transcend” your ego.

However, we can expand it, evolve it, and have it so developed and so diffuse that it occurs “transcendent” for most people—because there is little resistance. There is so much confidence that you do not need to prove yourself—even to yourself. It allows you to more easily look in the mirror. To accept where you are wrong and have wronged.

There is a true freedom there. The freedom that Wilber speaks to, I believe. And resting there…is fun in the quiet joy kind of way.

Derek Arckis said :::

Another example is: 'Awareness alone is curative'. Yes, this works well as well, if you don't have to come back into the world (Samara) and socially function via emotions and affect response / motive (seat of ego). Not so subtle if you ask me. Awareness of the great intensity of feeling through the burning off of karma is much more realistic and painful, yet truly evolutionary, rather than blowing (ungrounded) in the high winds of a brightly lit day (merely enlightenment). 

But who wants to bypass the quick and dirty and do the actual work to truly evolve (in the egoic sense, rather than mere cognitive experience)?

Exactly … AND what it takes to get there—is work. Being vigilant in our awareness. The subtleties of our awareness. Subtle effort. And in that, is freedom. When re-relax into the Witness—our ever-present awareness—we are there in the atmosphere of enlightenment.

I understand this turns the popular idea of ego on its head. I get that. I also get that Wilber and Cohen [not Cowan] have both talked about this in passing—briefly. At least the idea that it is a big ego that is an enlightened ego—and the obviousness of the stages in all of their work.

Why they still talk about it in two-dimensional terms I am uncertain of. I have one major guess ::: They are speaking into the existent memes and tapping those associations, rather than attempting to undertake the effort to recode and reframe over 2,500 years of entrenched traditions.

Given they are some of the very few who understand this, that is my guess.

AND who knows?

They do. He does. Some part of you does … even now.

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Precision Practitioners | What Distinguishes a True Master

Often people ask me what separates a “Practitioner” from a “Master Practitioner”. Or what separates a “good” practitioner, from a “great” practitioner from an “extraordinary” practitioner. It is a good question, and one deserving of answers.

From a technical standpoint as well as a practical standpoint, there are several criteria that filter these levels, and the piece of paper upon which their certification is printed is usually not one of them.

The simple answer first ::: what separates a Practitioner from a Master Practitioner?

From a technical standpoint, a "practitioner" is effective at the lower logical levels; they can assist a client in changing behaviors, be they addictive behaviors, habits, or context or situational reactions.  They can also assist a client in changing or expanding their skills and capabilities. Whether it be to speak more effectively, or creating accelerated learning strategies, or modeling some physical, athletic, or communication based set of “skills” or capabilities or capacities.

They are likely still working to integrate their work themselves–still learning to walk their talk, but they are effective at working “on” a client. They can often point to how “others who are effective at XYZ do it” as a model.

The "Master Practitioner" can affect those levels as well as the higher or deeper logical levels. They can assist a client in altering or changing their beliefs about themselves–or about others or about the world–allowing the client to expand into previously “impossible” possibilities in relationships, or in what they can achieve. Still higher or deeper, they can assist the client in altering the very way they relate to themselves. The “kind of person” they are. Their identity and their egoic structures. And at the deepest or highest level, a Master Practitioner can facilitate change at the very level of Spirit. A profound, connected, spiritual shift that ripples out or cascades down to the rest.

They are walking their talk fully. There are no aspects of their life that are out of alignment with their espoused principles and approaches–unless quite briefly, before they right themselves again–they are the relationship coach who has an extraordinary relationship and communicates in the way they recommend, the financial coach that uses their own systems, and is affluent etc., etc. They can often point to how “they do it themselves” as a model. They are effective and come from a place of working "with" a client.

And you could say a practitioner is a “good” practitioner and a Master Practitioner is a “great” practitioner.

However, I would assert that what makes an Extraordinary Practitioner is several additional elements [at a minimum] transcending yet also including and encompassing the above :::

  1. Been trained in multiple, seemingly disparate approaches [a combination of Eastern and Western approaches at least]; my rule for practitioners who work with me as a client is at least 3 disciplines or “perspectives” to their training path
  2. Being dynamic with the client [they may have a loose framework, but it is fleshed out quite dynamically by the human being in front of them, who is a variable in the equation, to say the least]
  3. They know where they are headed, often multiple sessions in advance, and have an eye not only on where they’ve been, and where they are going, but also do a bit of dynamic triage at the beginning of the session and are unattached to the “plan” yet still committed to the path.
  4. They have no interest in ego-driven “authority” over a client and elegantly avoid any tension-filled conflict or power struggles as they are not “in the way” of being an instrument for the client and their outcomes
  5. Additionally, they have some understanding of the verticality [stages/waves/levels] in multiple "lines" of development and it is well integrated into their offering and work

However, there is one more component I consider critical in addition to all of the above that is an aspect of an extraordinary practitioner. Someone who is a true master and it is this :::

They understand that their client and the client’s evolution is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle.

First, you build out the foundation–the corners and then the outer border. And then you find the appropriate pieces to begin to build in toward the depths of the center. If you attempt to push a piece into the corner that does not belong there, you will break a piece or “blow it out”. Similarly, if you drop a piece in the middle with nothing to connect it to, it is just confusing. No place for it to fit. No place for it to be anchored or connected to, and so it is discarded. Forgotten. Perhaps even lost.

And if that is the case, no one is served.

What truly makes an Extraordinary Practitioner is the ability to discern what the client needs, what they have already integrated, which piece they can handle next, and which piece they will need even beyond that, and to elegantly give them that next piece with wisdom, precision, and with an eye on the ultimate evolutionary expanse for the client and their mental, emotional, and egoic structures.

It takes years and hundreds of clients to be able to develop not only the insight and lack of attachment, but the timing and precision to be an agent in service of the client in this way. And when you find them, they are worth their weight in gold, to be sure.

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The Myth of Transcendence and Other Evolutionary Geek-ness

 

 

Stages of Evolution. Waves of unfolding. The spiral.

You are familiar with the holonic stages ::: from pre-personal to personal to trans-personal; from body/physical to mind/mental/intellectual to Spiritual; from ego-centric to ethno-centric/Nationalistic to World-centric/global. From pre-rational to rational to trans-rational.

:::

From vengeance to justice to Grace.

From your emotions running you to having choice around your emotional reactions to achieving a place of actual freedom; from crawling to walking to running.

Stages of ever increasing inclusiveness. Stages of ever-increasing whole-ness. Levels of ever-increasing expansiveness.

Now, in the first paragraph, replace "to" with "transcending, and then including". You see, these are ever expanding holonic spheres. And part of the healthy spiral or waves, if they are to be healthy and not hobbled by pathology, is not "transcend, and then deny" it is "transcend and include".

Part of the Integral, or in Spiral Dynamics [henceforth "SD"] Yellow, or second tier, SD7, SDi, is being able to call upon the entire first tier, as need be. As the context calls for it. To have the behavioral and situational flexibility to realize which memetic code you are dealing with and address it at its level, and if it serves, to give it the egoic and emotional "food" to go the next stage.

You may be asking ::: So f***ing what, Jason?!

There is this myth that you are not supposed to be angry. Or have "lower chakra" drives [sex, for example] or that you are somehow immune to emotional injury. The truth is that this is...well, myth. What is true is that you are more free from identification with any of those things. You are free to choose. You notice your sensations to be sure. They pass through quickly. Or as I like to say ::: it hurts more, but you care less.

But what a whole class of developmental organizations and schools of thought have implied is that you should not feel these things--and thereby causing people to become disembodied. They are walking heads. Their body is just a vehicle to get them to meetings. They are over weight. They perhaps even have addictions. They do not admit their emotional aspects that are "negative" and they are attempting to "just" be Spiritual [skipping the material/rational/Just/monetary]; they are attempting to skip stages.

This is impossible without significant pathology developing.

Just try and have an infant run before they can walk. See how far they get. The bump on their head is a great metaphor for the pathology created. Skipping rungs on the ladder of the development of their consciousness. It amuses me. People attempting to transcend to the spiritual "plane" before they've even figured out how to move the furniture around on the material plane.

And it saddens me, because they are not fully alive. To be fully alive, our chakras [for lack of a better label] should be firing all at once. ALL fully open and alive. All flowing with the energy of Spirit. Life force.

AND, at some level/stage, you have enough choice to be responsible with those energetic flows and not get them on other people, in an irresponsible way.

However, what is means to you [especially at SD7 or beyond] is that you are able to call upon whatever is required. Outcome. Context. Efficacy. If what is required is love and Grace [trans-rational] then you call upon those capacities you have developed; if justice is required you call upon the levers of justice/courts/legislation [and a lawyer/practitioner if need be]; if brute force is put upon you, then perhaps equal or greater force is what is required--and if need be, you call upon those capacities.

So think we should not consider those as options when "higher" solutions are ineffective is at least naive. 

It is a bill of goods sold to us by people attempting to sell one-step transformation. One-step enlightenment. One weekend "breakthroughs" to X, Y, or Z. Well intended people attempting to change your life setting you up, quite unknowingly, to compare yourself to some imagined ideal. One-step. Only people who have practiced, meditated, or whatever for years get to say that "trying to be enlightened is like trying to get a left foot". You already have it. Right. After 20 years of daily practice they tell you it is one step.

What you get in an experience like that is a peek and a peak at what is possible for you. This, is good. It is a picture of the next camp or the summit perhaps. And after the buzz of the workshop or the retreat wears off, you are faced with being in the same old place again. How long does it take? 3 weeks?

So settle in. Enjoy the view of the peak. Use it as a goal. Or as Mr Mark Michael Lewis says, use it as a guiding light, not a whipping post. And allow the stages to unfold. Allow your depth to become ever-increassingly more exposed. Allow the rose that is your soul to open to to all that is. To your divinity.

And know, it is a lot of work. And that is good. Building muscles does not happen over night. And nor should it.

So settle in to your daily practice. Whatever it may be. I have two I recommend ::: vipassanna meditation and Core Transformation. Use them. Use them well. Use them daily.

Yours in Evolution, 

Jason

 

 

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Spiritual Capitalism ::: Prosperity Through Purpose

"When people are free to act, they will always act in a way that they believe will maximize their utility, i.e., will raise them to the highest possible position on their value scale. Their utility ex ante will be maximized, provided we take care to interpret “utility” in an ordinal rather than a cardinal manner. Any action, any exchange that takes place on the free market or more broadly in the free society, occurs because of the expected benefit to each party concerned.” –Murray N. Rothbard, Power and Market

"We must not be afraid to be free."--Justice Black

 

Human beings have an inexhaustible spirit. Through wars, pestilence, oppression, disasters, genocide and personal tragedy, human beings continue to express creativity and ingenuity to the very degree that they are allowed the liberties to do so. It is an unquenchable and inexhaustible Spirit. It is the best—the Divine—within each of us that makes it so. And while at times, we have varying degrees of access to the divine within us, and sometimes the light is dim and flickers, the fact remains that there is a god or goddess in all of us waiting to come out and play.

What if we could integrate our work and our play? Our spirit and our finances? Our economics and our purpose? Our job and our internal worship? The mundane and the divine? My assertion is that not only is this possible...it is necessary...for the conscious evolution of the planet and for our survival and thrival as a species ::: not to mention our personal happiness.

As many of us our satisfied--that is we have all the nice stuff. Cars, houses, fine clothing, computers, iPods, great relationships, money...but we remain unfulfilled. How many of us are seeking something. Trying to fulfill ourselves with something outside? How many of us have done this ourselves? Seeking, looking, grasping...some of us desperately. And yet, what we seek is right within us all along waiting to be discovered. Waiting to be unleashed. Waiting for the full integration into our daily lives...

Spiritual and Capitalism are two words that we seldom, if ever, hear in the same sentence unless derisively or pejoratively in this Country. The conventional and majority “wisdom” states that they are diametrically opposed. That one cannot live a truly spiritual life and be a capitalist and that a capitalist is never really up to any good. Is this conventional wisdom truly wise? Is it even remotely accurate?

First, we must define “capitalism” and “spiritual” if we are to get anywhere in this discussion. It is worth noting that “capitalism” is a term that was coined my Marx—the greatest self-anointed enemy of capitalism—someone whose economics theories have virtually all been empirically disproved—to live. We could simnply say he was a failed mathematician. Just wrong on the numbers.

The irony there is obvious on both counts. Prior to Marx, there was no definition or characterization of “capitalism” really, for it was not a system at all—it was very simply the application of liberty in the economic domain. “Free Market” meant just that—that the market was free and unrestricted. What was the market? Humans engaged in voluntary associations for mutual benefit. Nothing more. That association may have been a mine worker freely associating with the owner of a mine for some agreed upon amount of money per unit of work [hours or perhaps ponds of extracted materials, etc.] or a provider of transport for someone who wishes to travel somewhere or to send goods to a market in another geographical area or someone wanting to “buy money”—that is, take a loan out with the contract obligation to repay it plus a fee [interest], but in no case could there be violent coercion. It is also noting additionally, that “coercion” does not mean “influence” as in political vogue today, as it abrogates free will and muddies the waters. By "coercion", we mean violence or the threat of violence against person or property. It is truly a triumph of rhetoric over reason that the thinking—debunked for over a century now—that in the free market one person always gains at the expense of another still prevails among many laypeople.

What has been known almost since the beginning of economics becoming a science is that both parties always benefit—or at least expect to do so—otherwise they would never engage in the association to begin with. For humans always expect—through all their choices and actions—regardless of if they are proven right or not, to benefit or improve their lot by their choices. Of course, “liberty” does not mean you are "free" to aggress against another’s person or property as an extension of their person though their labor. Therefore, the only “restrictions” were and should be that force and fraud [fraud is implicit force or implicit theft] were actionable torts. Liberty does not mean you are free to do anything you like. Liberty and freedom are different distinctions. What liberty does mean is that you are free from violent aggression from another. You are therefore not “free” to aggress against another, as to do so would violate his or her liberty.

So “capitalism” as it is so ill-named, is liberty practically applied—the ability to freely associate for mutual benefit. Nothing more and nothing less. Anything else is a moral judgment or characterization or perhaps an aesthetic condemnation and therefore not appropriate for a definition as such. There are, of course, questions of morality and aesthetics, which often confuse this definition or muddle the thinking around it, but for our purposes, we will address those later, if at all. However, that does not mean that they are not important and valid questions. I would love to have that dialogue, it is just beyond the scope of this piece. Let's is suffice to say that just because you can to something does not mean you should do it. Unfortunately, in this highly politicized and philosophically muddled society, the distinctions among ethics, morality, and aesthetics have become blurred.

What then, is spiritual, for surely, “capitalism is the least spiritual system of economics” is it not--according to the conventional wisdom?

Spirituality or “being spiritual” means so many things to so many people. It may mean following this spiritual text or that spiritual text. It may mean being “Christ-like” or “possessing the Buddha mind” or it may simply mean being pious or acting for the good of others. For still others, it is following the directives of this spiritual leader or that spiritual leader. For still others it is “opening to the Divine” or “becoming one with all things” through meditation and “spiritual practice”. For still others, it is accessing their own consciousness or their creative spirit. How then can we come to a universal definition of “spiritual”? For this, we must understand the spirit of human beings.

Spir·it n: 1. a vital force that characterizes a living being as being alive2. somebody’s will, sense of self, or enthusiasm for living 3. an enthusiasm and energy for living 4. somebody’s personality or temperament 5. somebody or something that is a divine, inspiring, or animating influence Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

For our purpose, we will define “spiritual” as: accessing and liberating to the largest degree possible that which is our vital life force and the best we have within us—our creativity, our inspiration, etc.

That is, by demonstrating behavioral alignment or pure expression of our highest values. This could be through art, community, leadership, study, contribution, entrepreneurship, our job roles, or our chores. It could be liberating our minds through meditation. It could be making love to our partner, for anything with which we bring our Spirit to, and engage fully unleashing our highest inner self, can be, and will be, a spiritual experience and we can bring this to most activities, most notably, our ideas and the implementation or actualization of those ideas or visions. That being the case, let’s examine capitalism, and not-capitalism very briefly. Anything other than unfettered capitalism—full economic liberty—is marked by increasing intervention by the State. That is—the government.

What then, is the nature of government? Government in any form [from democracy to socialism to communism to monarchism or dictatorship] has two inalienable qualities: 1. a monopoly on the initiation of force over a declared geographical area, often under the pretense of “protecting” its citizens—whether they need it or want it or not; 2. it exists and operates by levying taxes—that is the coercive and compulsory appropriation of money, which if any other organization or group or individual were engaged in would be called “theft” and prosecuted. The more the government intervenes in the affairs of its citizens [including “assisting” its citizens], the more the use of force is employed and to pay for the increase in government “services”, taxation, or debt, must increase—more force. If it is taxation, it is direct and immediate force. If it is debt, it is delayed force as future generation will have no choice in the matter—they are, in a real way, enslaved to the government as a result.

Therefore, the government is always committing the very same acts that it is entrusted to prevent: violence and theft. The emperor indeed has no clothes, yet all of society is raving about how wonderful his robes are, and how we should make more of them in various colors. We have already seen that the most spiritual a person can be is liberation of their spirit, often through creativity, and that they have the inalienable right over their own person and body [and by extension their property] is accepted as natural law and our intuitive moral sense. It is obvious that the use of force against someone—one of the few things all humans can agree on as criminal unless it is purely defensive while protecting your person or property—is dampening to their Spirit, not liberating.

Therefore, the more the government intervenes, the less “spiritual” and the more liberalized [free] the economy, the more spiritual, as human beings are free to fully express themselves in every domain of their life, including the economic. Therefore, Capitalism is the most spiritual system. What of the "evils" of capitalism? Some people think we have a free market in America, and/or in the Western Industrialized core of nations. We do not. We do not have capitalism. We have something between “mercantilism” and “corporate statism”. Most people who argue about the evils of capitalism know not what they speak of, nor even what system we operate within. In fact, America is not a democracy at all—it is a constitutional republic—an important difference.

But let’s leave politics aside for this discussion.

For our purposes, we have the needed definitions: Capitalism: liberty in the economic domain—that is the ability to freely associate for mutual benefit. Spiritual: The liberation of human creativity or the human “spirit”—that which is highest in ourselves. Given those definitions, clearly Capitalism is the most spiritual economic system as it allows the freest expression of our highest values to be fully integrated into our life in all domains.

But again...what of the "evils" of capitalism?

Of course the problem with capitalism is not really a problem with capitalism per se at all—for all it does is free people to do what they want or can do and receive something in exchange. What about pollution? What about fraud?

These are not capitalist. These are criminal.

And they flow not from a system—but from action by people at lower levels of conscious and moral development. What capitalism has done is expose man’s faults for all to see, not created them. Systems do not create these problems, people--individuals--do.

What about contribution? What about caring for others? What about giving? One of the major errors committed by detractors of Capitalism and liberty is that they presuppose of the government was not handling something it would not get handled. I think we can all see how silly that idea is on its face, once exposed.

However, with this increased liberty, we have proportionally increased our responsibility and our need for an acceleration of the evolution of consciousness and the values spheres to levels that will reduce our negative impact on those around us, the environment, future generations, and our very selves. However, if we are to avoid the use of force, we must do this though education, encouragement, and by becoming more aware as consumers and supporting those companies with leaders who are consciously mindful on their impact. Or, we can use the force and forceful apparatus of government, but we need to at least be honest about what we are doing: using our local, state, and federal representatives to impose our will and value sets on those around us with courts and police--who have guns--because we are impatient and self-righteous.

Is that the kind of world we want to advocate?

Or would we rather raise the conscious stage to universal care voluntarily?

"An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens."-- Thomas Jefferson

"...since the state is merely a transitional institution of which use is made in the struggle, in the revolution, to keep down one's enemies by force, it is utter madness to speak of a free people's state."--MarxMarx

We have defined both “spiritual” and “capitalism”.  What then, is “Spiritual Capitalism”?! Spiritual Capitalism really requires no knowledge or even acceptance of the above, although it is certainly helpful to you to do so. What is required for Spiritual Capitalism is an integral approach—that is, integration of your spirituality and entrepreneurship or the free market. It is that simple.

What a shame that most are dis-integrated. That is, they live separated lives. They go to a job they hate getting paid by people they do not like or by companies that lack integrity. Some have said that the idea that I charge for the work I do is “wrong with the universe”. Which is more out of alignment with the “universe”:

  1. Living your spiritual purpose and getting paid for it voluntarily though exchange with clients seeking your services [living the "integrated" life]
  2. Working for AOL/Time Warner and having to shower when you get home because of the slimy dealings you had to witness in the marketing department and getting paid for that [living a "dis-integrated" life.

You be the judge.

The Buddha spoke of “right livelihood” as part of morality.

That is, be certain that what you are doing does not harm others or assist others in harming others. The cleanest and clearest way to be fully integrated is to live your spiritual purpose [which is always about being in service to Other or the world] and market that service with integrity and clarity.

What a beautiful world we could create together. A world of people living their highest purpose and exhibiting their highest values—contributing to one another in the deepest way--and being in service of Spirit while simultaneously attaining prosperity as a result. Fully integrated beings. To do that there are five simple components:

  1. Live life consciously
  2. Define Your Values [and Change Beliefs Where Necessar]
  3. Discover your [Spiritual] Purpose
  4. Develop an Entrepreneurial Spirit
  5. Knowledge and Skill Acquisition [such that you can be of service, and be effective in doing so

We will explore each of them in the coming installments of this series as well as the common blocks to achieving prosperity throughpurpose.

 

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Development | Transformation | Evolution

There is so much good work being done in the world today. It is astonishing how many people are dedicating their lives more and more to helping others. The human potential movement has spawned organizations and individuals committed to bringing change to the world through changing the individual.

When Ghandi said “be the change you wish to see in the world”, he probably could not have imagined how many people would take up that call and attempt to make the world a better place by making themselves better people through self-reflexive observation and intentional changework.

As a result of the richness in the field that we can now experience, it is useful to distinguish among the many offerings. There are three basic approaches I have noticed, experienced, and participated in directly. They are: 1. Development 2. Transformation 3. Evolution. These are each useful in and of themselves. They are “good”. And yet they have limitations that come along with their benefits. Let us examine this together...

Personal Development is a huge and ranging field. Workshops exist for skill acquisition that are readily available in every major metropolitan area in the Western World, and Asia is quickly cathing on as well. Corporations, having long recognized that their only asset that increases in value over time is their people, send their people to workshops to accelerate that process—to increase their value.

You can attend workshops on money management, communication skills—be it negotiation, sales techniques, relationship models, etc.—health and fitness and well being, and the list goes on and on. What all of these workshops have in common is that they focus on one domain of your life. We could think of it as a vertical line—or multiple vertical lines—of development. When we acquire skills or we “develop” ourselves in this area or that area, we increase the level of that vertical line of development in that domain. Development takes time, investment, and persistence if we are to become developed in any particular area—in other words, to become competent in some area. Skill acquisition is necessary to be successful in this world.

We all want to be more effective at something, and most of us recognize the value, benefits, and at times...need...to acquire more skills. And yet, mere skill acquisition will not solve all that troubles us. We can have all the skill in the world and have those around us not like us, be miserable or demanding, and generally unhappy and unfulfilled. Development may be necessary, but it is only a partial view of what we need as humans. Why is that? Development is a one-dimensional experience—the increase of one vertical developmental line. Increased “heights”, if you will. Yet, human beings are multi-dimensional. Skill alone will never suffice. Out of this limitation arises “transformational technologies”.

A level that is deeper and more complex than mere development. Transformation is unpredictable and at times, instant. It does not deal with any one particular domain, yet it can apply to all domains at any given moment. How is this done? By bringing a different way of being to a situation, something completely new and wonderful can arise out of a "breakdown"—that is a situation where there is an outcome that has been blocked by some circumstance or another.

Frankly, transformation is very appealing in today’s marketplace. It promises instant results in any given moment and gives people tremendous choice, empowerment, and responsibility...leading to more choice, empowerment...responsibility, and this loop feeds on itself with often wonderful results. But not always... Transformation is often reliant on breakdown and breakthrough patterns. In other words, we have some breakdown...and through that, we get to experience transformation of the situation or the circumstances or the dynamics or in ourselves...or a “breakthrough”. This often orients us towards breakdowns. Being humans that we are, we can become attached to experiencing that cycle—or worse...identified with it.

I have actually heard seminar leaders who deal in the world of transformation say that “you will begin to look forward to, and at times even create, your breakdowns”. While it is useful to see “breakdowns” as an opportunity so we can be more resourceful around them, rather than submerged in a “crisis”...building in a mechanism that has people seek out breakdowns has obvious limitations and can be problematic--not to mention hard on the core of the being. At times even causing internal dissonance rather than resolving it.

And while transformation is certainly useful...it is only a two-dimensional phenomenon. Height and breadth, if you will, being that transformation can be applied in multiple domains. But again, this will not fully suffice, as human beings are multi-dimensional beings.

Out of this limitation arises Personal Evolution. Evolution is not very sexy. It is an infinite and life-time game. There is no goal to reach and no "journey" to complete. It requires a life-time commitment. Regardless of which stage you have reached or how much depth has unfolded, there is always another stage and a deeper level. However, evolution is also the most fulfilling, and most complete of the three. It trickles out to all domains, making transformation possible and accessible as well as the development of skills even easier. It serves the whole being. Evolution is about the ever-widening of identity. It is about ever-deepening, ever more complex, and increasingly expansive levels of order.

How does evolution occur? Evolution occurs when the current stage a person is at become inadequate to deal with their life circumstances. We may experience chaos, confusion, or at times, even disaster or tragedy. When this happens, there are two choices or “directions”: evolution or regression. If we evolve, what actually occurs is that our very Self—the core of our being—moves to a new level of order. There is a widening of Identity [capital I]. The Self becomes more expansive, deep, complex, and at times and certainly eventually, more open and more flowing. I stress, this happens in stages. It is slow. It is creeping. it is a process in the largest sense of the word.

However, it is something that affects all domains in your life. Relationships, money, sex, career, family, politics, health, value spheres, world views—all of it. When the very core of who you thought you were and who you truly are evolves, then your experience and the way you relate to everything around you also evolves. It can be no other way. And we all interpret the events in our lives through our current stage of development...it can be no other way. Personal Evolution is truly multi-dimensional. It has height, breadth, and provides--and at times demands--increasing depth. It is an organic unfolding of the core of the being. Exposing ever deeper levels. And in the process, the being experiencing this evolution...this unfolding...comes ever closer to who they truly are. They become closer to Spirit itself until that stage where all separation and what they used to call “God” dissolves and they become Spirit itself.

They become the divine.

If we pause there and we look back on this very piece of writing, we can see the process of evolution represented right her on this page. The evolution of the human potential movement. Out of wanting better results, we created personal development rising to a new level of order. Then we realized, consciously or unconsciously, that development itself was inadequate to address the demands of being human. Out of that confusion and chaos we rose to a new level of order and transformational technologies came into being. This was useful for some time for some outcomes and addressed more of the being...yet we bumped up against the limitations of this level of order soon enough. Out of the realization of those limitations, a new level or order emerged—personal evolution itself. Evolution of the person and the personal.

The organic unfolding of manifest divinity and our personal and internal manifest destiny. Evolution is there. Unfolding is there. Divinity is there. Will you participate in it...or regress?

We are faced with that choice literally every day of our lives. We all choose one at times and the other at times. The key is in choosing consciously...even now.

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Form and Evolution—The Myth of Post-Conventional Development Mapping to Form in Relating

[This article requires a general understanding of developmental stages in egoic, emotional, or moral developmental models, distinguished by researchers such as GravesGraves, KohlbergKohlberg, Gilligan, etc.]

There is often talk in developmental, transformational, and alternative communities about how polyamorous and/or “open” relationships are more “evolved”. More evolved than…say the conventional forms of monogamy and marriage.

This is an easy trap to fall into, as poly- relationship forms are certainly post-conventional. There was a time when I agreed with this thinking. I used to think polyamory [distinct from what I often see which is “poly-sexual”] was the more "evolved" as is it beyond traditional structures [trans-rational and post-conventional] and by its very nature requires, and often demands advanced communication skills, a solid sense of self, a lack of attachment and more spontaneous and flexible structures than monogamy.

Plainly put—it is more challenging. But that is if it is played clean, which is all well and good on paper...but how often are poly- relationships played clean and played well? Well, not often. In my experience, they are sometimes a morass of jealousy, fear, anger, heartbreak, etc.

Additionally, the truth is, monogamy requires other sets of skill development which while different, are equally as challenging. AND monogamy requires all the aforementioned sets of skills and development if it is to be done well and stay alive and thrive. That is to say, high self-esteem and a solid sense of self, advanced communication skills, and agreements between the parties that allow for play and spontaneity as well as growth and evolution within the relationship itself. So...my thinking has since shifted.

In my experience, we cannot assess depth and evolution, using any developmental stage conception, based on form and be accurate very often. Just using the simple three-stage model I often employ of pre-rational or pre-conventional, rational or conventional, and trans-rational or post-conventional, we can see very quickly that the idea of form does not map across to any stage or level. Here is the crux of my current thinking.

We can all experience monogamy from a pre-rational, rational, or trans-rational place. And we can all experience poly- from a pre-rational, rational, or trans-rational place. In other words, form does not map across to stage of evolution with any real predictability of accuracy. Simultaneously, we can all be drawn towards one form or another…or another, as the result of our stage of development, but again, it is no guarantee which form we will be drawn to.

The key is in what the individual motivations are for seeking any particular form.

To briefly and quickly flesh this out with some big picture generalizations: we could be drawn to monogamy out of fear and attachment—a need to “stake my claim”, or out of a need to have the illusion of safety and security a monogamous commitment provides [pre-rational], or out of a desire for a practical partnership and solid family structures for children We want to have [rational], or out of a desire to explore my depths with one person as a spiritual practice for the remainder for my life [trans-rational].

On the other end of the form spectrum, We may choose poly- out of a desire to get laid as much as possible with as many people as possible [pre-rational], or out of an acceptance that We feel more aspects of myself when reflected in intimacy with more people and that better suits me [rational,] or as an expression of being Spirit at play--as an outgrowth of my experience as a spiritual being and out of a desire to explore freedom, spontaneity, and love of all sentient beings in a consensual and limitless way [trans-rational].

So we can not claim anything with respect to form of the relating being more or less evolved. Of course I wish it were simpler, but assessing evolution depends on each individual, how they are experiencing the relating and what their motivations are for being drawn to one form or another to actually assess evolution. Having tried all forms, including marriage, I like all forms for different reasons. But that is just me.

The question to ask is not which form is more evolved, but rather--are you choosing the form consciously? Are you clear about your experience of the relating and the motivations for your desires or draw to the form? Are you evolving consciously in the form of your choosing? These questions we can answer. Unfortunately, the question of which form is “more evolved” than another is a slippery slope that can easily fall into a trap of superiority and ego-centric musing.

And no one wants that…consciously.

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What is N.L.P.

What is N.L.P.?

NLP--the set of tools titled Neuro-Linguistic Programming--is misunderstood far more often that it is understood. There is nothing new in NLP. There is no magic. It will not revolutionize your life whole-sum in one fowl swoop, contrary to the marketing of some. However, it can produce amazing rapid results in a specific context ...

So what is it?

The co-founder of NLP, John Grinder, says that it is simply a learning tool. Nothing more than a set if filters and tools to give you access to more of your neurology for the purpose of accelerated learning.

Gregory Bateson, the world famous behavioral scientist, said that NLP is the only class 3 learning tool on the planet.

What does that mean?

With NLP you learn how to learn. So then, why is NLP used the way it is used in the world most often—for brief and result-oriented therapy? This is a good question and certainly worth addressing. In the beginning, in the early 70s, there were therapists producing amazing results. They were Virginia Satir, the founder and pioneer of Family Therapy; Fritz Pearls, the pioneer and founder of Gestalt Therapy; Milton Erickson, the grandfather of medical hypnotherapy.

Additionally, there was the genius of Gregory Bateson--the world-renowned behavioral scientist. Given the results they were producing, the founders of this class of tools called NLP wanted to find out what patterns these geniuses were employing (at the meta level) that could be modeled, distilled, and reproduced.

So, with their permission, they were studied by the co-founders of NLP along with the supporting staff. Who were these people that modeled the original patterns of these therapeutic geniuses? John Grinder and Richard Bandler assisted by Robert Dilts, Judith Delozier, Todd Epstein, and Leslie Cameron-Bandler. If you’ve a scientific or skeptical mind, read anything by Robert Dilts on NLP. He will make you a believer. It could be argued that this original modeling is just one possible application of NLP.

That argument would be stunningly accurate. NLP is simply a class of tools. It allows you to distill out the structure, process, and context of any given experience. Because of this, I call NLP “the study of the structure of human subjective experience”.

Given that emotions are seemingly the biggest challenge facing human beings, then it could also be argued that investing so much time in studying the patterns of genius that have therapists get results was one of the most generous applications possible for this new-found tool. I would agree with that argument.

That was 30 years ago. Since then, NLP has come a long way thanks to the practitioners of this tool. They have modeled out many processes that the human being goes through naturally for the purpose of accelerated movement through said process.

For example—how does someone naturally resolve a traumatic experience and come out of it with an outlook of positivity and even gratitude? This has been modeled. How does someone align themselves on multiple, holarchical levels of their experience—environment, behaviors, capabilities, beliefs/values, identity, and Spirit? This has been modeled. How does a human being take a part of themselves that they previously disliked and through greater understanding and negotiation, use it as a gateway to core states of being and connectedness? This has been modeled. How does a human being take some parental experience that was traumatic for them and move to a place of resource, gratitude, and compassion? This has been modeled. What is intuition, the most useful of all trans-rational experiences? This has been modeled.

The world owes NLP a debt of gratitude. This may not even be acknowledged for another generation and that is just fine... NLP, as a field, does not care for dissertations or academia. This is largely why it is not accepted in the academic world. NLP, as a field, does not focus on whether or not something is true. “Truth” in this context has no meaning. What matters is whether or not something is useful. In that sense, NLP, as a field, is highly scientific.

However, scientific in the broad sense, not the narrow sense. By scientific in the broad sense, I mean this: experiment, get some result, and offer up your findings to a group of your peers for rigorous testing. In this sense, NLP is deeply and rigorously scientific.

Scientific in the broad sense. Not the narrow sense.

What is NLP? A set of tools to distill out models of excellence. Human models of excellence. Nothing more, but assuredly nothing less.

What is N.L.P.? a summary by Mark Michael Lewis NLP is sourced in the realization that that all human emotion is a function of how a person re-presents (represents, thinks about) any aspect of their experience. If you shift/change/alter how someone re-presents any aspect of their experience, you will shift/change/alter how they understand that aspect, what they feel about it, how they relate to it, and who they *be* around it. In more technical terms, a "top 10" might be:

1. The map is not the territory, the menu is not the meal - human beings make maps of their experience, they re-present their experience to themselves in the five senses/modalities.

2. How we understand, feel about, relate to, and BE around any aspect of our experience is determined by the map we make about that experience (our "occurring" world), not the experience itself.

3. You can change/alter/manipulate the maps (representations, how the world occurs) directly, by altering one or more of the five senses in the “map”.

4. When you change the map, you will change how people understand, feel about, relate to, and BE around that aspect of their experience

5. People work perfectly, they are not broken. They are getting exactly the results that they are getting. They can learn to get different results.

6. People already have all the resources they need and anything one human being can do/be/have/know/relate another human being can learn to do/be/have/know/relate.

7. People always make the best choice they experience as available to them.

8. Every human behavior is driven/caused/sourced by a positive intention, every aspect of human experience is to be respected/honored/integrated .

9. Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly AT FIRST.

10. Choice is better than no choice, the element in any system which has the most flexibility will control that system - NLP is about adding choices, not subtracting them. In plain language, NLP provides tools with which to resolve virtually any human emotional issue.

NLP is 1) a set of filters through which to process our experience such that we have more power to achieve our values, and 2) a collection of hundreds of patterns/techniques/”interior rituals” that are specially designed to powerfully and permanently alter how someone represents (feels/BEs about) virtually every/any aspect of their life.

Since human behavior (how we do/be/have/know/relate to our “world) is driven by our emotions 99 percent of the time, the more choice we have around how we “feel,” the more powerfully and elegantly we can create and move through our lives. It is the most powerful form of fix/change/improve technology I have ever encountered. If transformation is all about shifting who we are/BE/relate to our world, NLP is all about shifting how that world automatically occurs for us through time. It is designed to alter not the "fact" of our Already Always Listening (AAL), but the standards by which our AAL automatically judges and assesses our experience.

It is a tool for resolving our past (rather than getting off of it) and tapping into the juice/value of any/every experience we have. If transformation gives us the freedom to "be with" our occurring world, NLP gives us tools to shift the unconscious processes by which that world “occurs.”

But really, what NLP is, is the study of the structure of subjective experience, and by extension, the study of human excellence.

Nothing more. And assuredly nothing less.

Jason D McClain © 2003

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