Since 1992, I have followed a multi-dimensional daily path—taking action, practicing QiGong, engaging life dialogically—along with on-going critical reflection and dialogue with others—to foster intersubjective self-other awareness. Long ago, I sensed that practicing these habits as a way of living had the potential to change the deep structures of my consciousness.
I grasped the bodyspiritmind could be trained to hold an intention which would disrupt habitual perceptions and constructions. In their 1991 book The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience, Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch explain: “[The mind can be] developed and embodied through a discipline that facilitates letting go of ego-centered habits and enables compassion to become spontaneous and self-sustaining” (p. 252). Varela, Thompson, and Rosch explain the possibilities: “Humans are not trapped forever in the abstract attitude. The dissociation of mind from body, of awareness from experience, is the result of habit, and these habits can be broken” (p. 25).
I admired Haridas Chaudhuri, founder of the California Institute of Integral Studies. I his 1977 book The Evolution of Integral Consciousness, he states that the minds of people who perceive self as a separate entity are clouded in ignorance (p. 64). Ignorance results in an isolated and separative consciousness. In the course of the inner growth of consciousness, the veil of ignorance begins to be lifted, the barriers of separation begin to break, and the boundaries of the mind begin to recede. A person experiences an increasing expansion of consciousness—the goal of personal development (p. 64).
T. S. Eliot wrote in 1943 book of poetry, titled “The Four Quartets”:
“In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.
One day, if one is not too alienated from his inner self . . .
Inner guidance can be heard in the stillness of the soul.
The meta-intention in all our time together is to deepen our capacities to live as healing presences in ordinary, everyday life, thus healing schisms in consciousness personally, collectively, and transhistorically.
Somatic inquiries are a capacity-building and vitalizing way-of-life. Dialogic processes break through the “integrity of perception” of the internalized views – and the distortions of subjectivity. They also lead to a mutual opening up to the concern, to a sharing in a high er valuve both parties acknowledge and neither person controls.
- Reactions and resistance can be important guides in this process of catalyzing deep healing and transformation.
- Reactions—anger, tears, fears, guilt, shame, boredom, withdrawal, denial, disconnection—may signal cognitive dissonance and emotional overload.
- Visibilizing them—giving voice, form, and space to these reactions —allows otherwise repressed or conflictual parts of us to engage and be present as valued co-participants.
- Charged or conflictual moments indicate potent moments for catalyzing deep healing and transformation.
- Though many charged moments may not recognized, to the extent that key moments are seen and held in shared awareness, shifts in perception occur and iterate through us – personally, collective, and transhistorically
- There can be multiple purposes to visibilizing what’s going on internally:
- We grow multi-dimensionally.
- We differentiate our multiple selves.
- We open the door to deep healing and transformation.
- We accept that we are human, mortal, imperfect, and vulnerable.
- We re-integrate in new ways.
- We increase personal capacity for awareness and right action.
- We invite self-other transfiguration.
Peter Reason, faculty at the University of Bath, (1993) writes:
“The purpose of right action in the present time must be for healing: for healing the rift between persons and the experience, between persons and others, between groups and societies, between our human existence and the requirements of the ecology of the planet, and between ourselves and the realm of the spirit, however one may wish to speak of that. “
Scholars and researchers Yongming Tang and Charles Joiner (1998) state that the problems and crises we face today are created by limitations in the internal structures that define who we are and how we behave and the limits of our abilities to grow capacities to engage with conscious awareness.”
Excerpts from my (2000) dissertation: Dark Grace: A Heuristic Inquiry into White Consciousness