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The Multidimensional Moment


    Bill Isaacs:  A few moments ago, I watched as several stuffed animals walked themselves up the stairs in our home. We have two little boys who were endeavoring to see what would happen if they put their stuffed animals on the stairs with some Cheerios for fuel, stepped away, and then came back a few minutes later. Would the animals actually move up? Amazingly enough, it turns out they do! This became a subject of great fascination and delight and will no doubt be something we discuss for many days to come. How did they move?

    Children are beautifully in touch with what Joseph Chilton Pearce used to call "primary process," the direct experience of the wholeness of life, before it gets broken into the so-called objective reality in which we are all heavily embedded. Underlying everything is a continuously unfolding profound current of magic. As Pearce outlined in his book Magical Child, this experience is accessible when we are young but gets gradually eroded to the point where it's obliterated from awareness. We are left only with glimpses of it or are caught in a place of longing for the experience of such a thing.

    There is a beautiful Ojibwe Indian saying that speaks to this: "Sometimes I go about pitying myself when all the time I'm being carried on great winds across the sky." Humanity is being carried by great winds across the sky. And yet our direct conscious participation in this flow has been spotty at best. We are entering a moment in history when the possibility of transforming that inconsistency into something stable and clear is increasingly available and increasingly required. There is a vanguard within the body of humanity; people who are open to experiencing this already existing reality. Whoever comprises this vanguard has the responsibility—and the opportunity and thrill— to discover what it means to participate in this multidimensional vastness.

    One of the hallmarks of the experience of conscious participation is an expanding appreciation of the present moment. This is a notion that deserves some exploration and thinking. There are many cycles, at many levels, all moving simultaneously and synchronously in the immensity of the moment that is Now. Some of these cycles are coming to fruition; some new ones are emerging; some are brief passing phases, and some are sustaining. All are unfolding now. And this is true at every level of scale, from the micro and infinitesimal to the macro and cosmic. We can certainly touch this in the range of our own experience and lives. There is a lot going on in the present moment, far more than can ever be mentally grasped, but can be sensed and engaged.

    There are at the same time also many intensifying forces these days leading human beings away from the experience of the multidimensional moment. We live in an age of distraction, of bewilderment. As one writer put it, "Society continues to pick up speed like a racer on the Bonneville Speedway. In his book, Social Acceleration: A New Theory of Modernity, Hartmut Rosa informs us that the speed of human movement from pre-modern times to now has increased by a factor of 100. The speed of communications has skyrocketed by a factor of 10 million in the 20th century, and data transmission has soared by a factor of around 10 billion." https://getpocket.com/explore/item/why-your-brain-hates-slowpokes. Things are picking up.

    The acceleration of everything leaves one slightly out of breath. It is easy to feel you are out of touch. It is equally the case that all of this activity, generated through the proliferation of technology and screens in everyone's lives is having a deleterious impact, shifting attention away from the direct experience of the flow of life. There is a rather startling new study looking at around 11,000 children that the National Institutes of Health is running. It turns out that "children who spend more than two hours a day looking at the screens get lower scores on their thinking and language tests, according to early results of a landmark study of brain development. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/groundbreaking-study-examines-effects-of-screen-time-on-kids-60-minutes/. Most disturbingly, the study is finding that the brains of children who spend a lot of time on screens are different. For some kids, there is premature thinning of their cerebral cortex. In adults, one study found an association between screen time and depression." https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/23/sunday-review/human-contact-luxury-screens.html. The "Age of Distraction" is not just an intellectual concept but a neuro-physiological phenomenon. The vanguard has a responsibility for holding to and restoring the direct experience of the wholeness of the moment, as a balance to these distorting pressures.

    Every age has its challenges, and one could say that we live, most of us anyway, in an era of relative peace and prosperity, of calm. But I think the challenges of character present now are just as intense as they ever have been. If one knows oneself to be on mission to do something about the restoration of the experience of wholeness, why would that require any less character, any less fortitude than any great movement at any other time in history, if not more? Sometimes it is easy when the factors in an outer sense are seemingly not so intense or survival oriented that it is possible to become a little bit complacent or less focused, but the requirements are just as serious and just as exciting.

    I was fortunate some years ago to have worked with a physicist named David Bohm for whom an intense exploration of these matters was his continuous emphasis. He had a real appreciation of the underlying undivided wholeness of the cosmos. He also had a way of inadvertently irritating his colleagues with his insistence on exploring the implications of the emerging insights of quantum theory on everyday experience, refusing to escape into complex mathematical formalisms. He attempted to point to the fact that a fundamentally different kind of experience was being opened up by these ideas, one that would also require a new approach to perceiving this underlying reality.

    There is another notable example of this kind of inquiry in the famous German scientist and writer Goethe. Most people think of Goethe as a literary giant, but he was also a quite serious scientist, famous among other things for his study of plants and also of color. Goethe essentially tried to invent a fundamentally different form of science, one that invited perception of underlying order, and required the disciplined use of internal experience. He is famous for having challenged Newton's idea of color theory, which says that white light "contains" all the other colors. Goethe attempted to show that color was a function of an internal experience of contrast, not merely an external objective reality. But he didn't propose ideas in the same way that traditional science expected. He did not develop an objectively falsifiable theory so much as articulate a fundamentally different way of seeing from the perspective of wholeness.

    One part of his thinking can be understood by reflecting on the idea of the hologram. Our perception of light, for instance, is holographic. We can look out in the night sky and see the whole of the sky. But someone else standing somewhere else can look up at the same night sky and see the whole of the night sky also. The light from the whole of the sky is contained in every part of the sky. "The totality," explains the scientist Henri Bortoft, is contained in each small region of space. And when we use optical instruments, like a telescope, we simply reclaim more of that light. If we set off in imagination to find what it would be like to be the light, we come to a condition in which here is everywhere and everywhere is here. The night sky is a space which is one whole, enfolded in an infinite number of points and yet including all within itself." Bortoft studied Goethe's science and attempted to convey his approach in a book called The Wholeness of Nature.

    The point here is that ordinary perception is quite limited. Active experience of the whole and of the holographic nature of our own presence is necessary to allow a different kind of understanding to appear again on earth. Our willingness to transition out of an ordinary understanding takes some discipline. It's actually a very precise exercise. The ordinary view is that we stand on the surface of the earth and perceive things that are out there. There it is. A different view is that we are creators, experiencing the whole within our own consciousness. We are creators down to the last detail, of whatever we are experiencing in our lives. Whatever the winds have moved us to do over the years it has all been, at one level or another. a reflection of our own participation, consciously or not, in this unfolding creative process.

    I have been thinking about this personally lately, looking at my own life and at what has appeared over the last few years. It's easy at times to have a sense that some things are going well, but some of it could be going better. In other words, a point of view that judges what's unfolding. But if one steps back, and I think we could all do this for ourselves, it becomes pretty clear that there has been a set of consistent and sustained guiding nudges in very particular directions, and what is required is to move with it. The need in other words is to let go of patterns of interaction and ways of working that once fit, and to become interested in what's emerging now. What is emerging now, at least in some dimensions of experience, is new, and therefore by definition at an earlier stage of the cycle, and so less developed, less substantial, less complete. Obviously, we all also have other dimensions of experience that are more complete and fuller. To let the complex set of factors in the garden of our consciousness move as they're meant to, without trying to accelerate the parts you think are going too slowly or get rid of what you think has been around too long, takes work. We need to learn to let the creative process work. This implies an experience of trust. If one is living in a state where there is little ability to hear or sense a larger order it is not obvious what there is to trust.

    Yet there is something not only to trust but to embody: a completely trustworthy and accurate Tone that brings to focus the multidimensional complexity of the moment. Everything is embedded in the Tone of this moment, letting what is meant to happen next unfold. When reminding people of the reality of being a creator, I invite them to look at the factors in their lives, down to the last detail, to notice what has emerged in their experience, what has been created, and to appreciate it. This seems to help people flip the switch. I've also noticed recently that things I have thought about sometimes for years are just now appearing. Part of me wonders whether the delays needed to be quite as long as they have been. Perhaps the dampening effect, of thought and energy moving into form, has been a function of one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake, as opposed to actually allowing the flow of life to emerge as it is in its fullness. Perhaps you can see something similar in your own experience.

    I think this relates to a very core matter, that of the problem of deception, of being fooled. The failure to experience the wholeness of life is humanity's way of keeping itself in the dark. This turns out to be a giant exercise in self-deception. There's a famous quote from the physicist Richard Feynman on this matter, "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool."

    The manner by which we fool ourselves I think deserves a closer look. We have each inherited a pattern of experience that has masqueraded as us. These are patterns of identity that present themselves in consciousness as though they are us when they aren't. Now in a certain state and stage of understanding you don't experience these things as a masquerade; you simply experience them as you. "I'm having this reaction to this circumstance," you think. Now there comes a time when you begin to step out of that and start to notice that there's you and there's your reactions to things. This takes openheartedness, and consistent work. And, every once in a while, a pattern of reaction reemerges. In those moments the usurping of identity can again take place, displacing who you are with the reaction pattern.

    The phenomenon of patterns emerging out of one's subconscious is not something that goes away. There is a notion I think people have that somehow or other one can get to the point where things no longer arise. You somehow come to a stable pattern of experience where nothing ever comes up again. This is really not how it works. One can certainly dissolve distorted factors that emerge such that they do not control. Yet we are part of a vast whole, and to the degree that anyone chooses to play a conscious part in that whole, they will find that wider factors of clarification need to move somewhere through someone. Now there's a personal component of this, but it goes well beyond that too. Where will these clarifications happen if not immediately and personally in me?

    There is a very deliberate reclamation and restoration process in oneself that involves the dissolution of false patterns of identity and the release of the emotional baggage attached to them. As one does this it becomes abundantly evident that the vastness of Being is the whole and total story and everything else is truly insignificant. Nevertheless, these factors do need to be dealt with and often quite forthrightly. The fact that distorted elements are present simply defines the work that is still needed. This takes work, fortitude, character, humility, whatever is required to let a fundamentally new experience emerge where there had previously been a crystallized pattern. The voids in human experience are a function of the fact that these false patterns of identity are present and prevent the generation of a finer level of perception to appear. So as these crystallized arrangements shift, finer substance can emerge and a yet broader experience of wholeness, of the experience of the multidimensional nature of the moment, can appear. The expression of these qualities of character and authority are notable when they are in expression. They are not nothing. They are not small.

    Over the last few months I have had the privilege of starting to work with some leaders in the US military. I was very impressed with the lack of self-deception and the depth of character in the people I met, some of whom were quite senior. These are people who are not kidding themselves about some of the dangers in the world and some of the challenges that we face as humanity. Unlike a lot of others who live more comfortable lives, they're quite aware of the fact that things are a little dicier than might appear. I was impressed by the commitment to character that was evident in them.

    Some of what I learned from them has relevance to what we are considering here. Their missions are different perhaps than ours, but just as serious I would suggest. One way the military educates and inspires people is to find language that articulates what they are about, essentially to let people attune themselves to the character that is necessary for success. Here are some words worth listening to along these lines: "I serve with honor… the ability to control my emotions and my actions regardless of circumstance sets me apart from other men. Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond. We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations. I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. If knocked down I will get back up every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight. We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me. My training is never complete." https://www.public.navy.mil/NSW/Pages/EthosCreed.aspx (Navy Seal Ethos).

    These words are meant to be applied in a very particular context, but they reveal qualities of character that one could certainly find resonance for the kind of responsibility we are speaking of here. The courage, the responsibility and the enjoyment of taking on a mission of great magnitude requires an experience of character. The shell of the false experience of human identity is gradually being replaced with the stable character of Being. There's something far more potent and beyond the range of common experience to be known than has been touched before, and yet is now available. The question becomes. Who are the people who really have the fortitude to let this happen?

    We are part of the cycle that has carried us this far. Great winds have carried us to this moment. And here we are. The successes of the past, and the failures of the past, have all brought us to this moment, and now it is down to us, to me. The multidimensional moment has a richness of resource and an abundance of direction, of potential, and of opportunity. It is very exciting to be on the cusp of letting this be known in a deep and wide and visible way in our worlds.

March 31, 2019


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