May 28, 2017
Together from the Beginning
Bill Isaacs: We have been together from the beginning. For some of us, our lives in this current incarnation intertwined many years ago. We have experienced different cycles of maturation, integration and change. And yet we may recognize that our shared commission came before all of that. Sometimes when we first meet someone new, we realize we are already deeply connected. We have the clear sense that this has always been so. We are together from that beginning also.
It is easy to get distracted by the apparent storyline of the day, whether it emerges from outside of us or inside us. But we have the blessing and accept the mission to carry awareness of a much wider Reality. This is a natural state. It is no big deal. I know for me many years ago when I first encountered someone who called to my remembrance this Reality I was simultaneously thrilled and relieved. Here was someone I thought who was carrying a point of leadership for the Whole, a point of stature that I could aspire to carry myself but with which I knew I was already intricately and intimately connected. It was very natural. I felt my place. And I felt a weight of responsibility as well.
There have been people all through the ages who have carried a similar sense of responsibility and integrity. Otherwise, I think it's fair to say, we wouldn't be here. The sense of continuity, of nurtured potential, and of momentum emphasizes itself to me today. I am quite aware of the fact that in today's era there are many others with whom I don't have direct contact, who might not articulate things in quite the same way, but who nevertheless carry a similar sense.
This burgeoning awareness is magnificent. What is evident also is how completely without human hands it has been orchestrated. I certainly could not take credit for any of it. The cosmic whole is intricately and magnificently designed, and actively alive. Every aspect, every nuance, is finely interwoven and profoundly coordinated: one living Whole. While the experience of human beings has not reflected this particularly well, we nevertheless see evidence of something integrative emerging.
I have been thinking about the intimate structure of the nature of the leadership that has been placed in my and our hands. The vastness comes down to my experience here, and now. The subtle ranges of what I'm aware of — or not aware of -- determine how effectively I deliver what I'm here to do. What is your experience now, actually?
It is clarifying and wonderful to have a small child in one's life. This morning our two-year-old decided to wake up at his normal early hour and immediately wanted to sit on the window seat in our bedroom looking out at the garden. The room is on the second floor so he was up overlooking everything. He just wanted to sit there quietly and look out. The morning light filtered though the trees; the green lawn and the leaves of the shrubs were filled with the gentle feeling of life. It was a striking and simple reminder of how magical the moment is. Your hard drive isn't particularly full when you're two. Every moment has that quality of magic: the joy of sitting by the window seat looking out at the garden.
What do we see when we look out? Our eyes can bring the awareness of the majesty of the Garden. Human consciousness is remarkable. We constantly re-create the world of our experience. It's not actually fixed. It appears to be. But we constantly reproduce our experience and we have to remember to do it. We don't do so consciously but nevertheless subconsciously work away at it. Human beings have been re-creating an experience that has layered in distortion and the absence of magic for so long that that is what appears to be the normal condition. And while people moan about it (we included) we are recreating it all the time. It has become a habit, wired into our brains.
Recent research in cognitive neuroscience describes this phenomenon in an aphorism: "what fires together wires together." In other words the way our brains function, if you do something over and over, you tend to be able to do it more easily, whatever it is. Yet it also turns out that it is quite changeable, that our brains are much more plastic, at all ages and stages, than was once imagined. Because we build up patterns of functioning that run unconsciously, leading us to re-create our experience over and over, we have to be deliberate and consciously choose to do something else. The good news is that real change is possible.
A metaphor that is useful for understanding the kind of leadership that we carry is a hologram. A hologram is a three-dimensional light image created through the interference of light waves. The image is recorded on a holographic plate. If you shine a laser through the plate, you generate a three-dimensional image. If you break the holographic plate into many small pieces and shine a laser through one of the pieces you still get the three-dimensional image. All the information is present in every aspect of the holographic plate. A hologram reminds us of the premise that the whole is present in all the parts and is a good way to think about consciousness itself. Our consciousness is holographic. The Whole is present in our consciousness.
Many other experiences are holographic --- music for instance. When we listen to music actually hear a few notes at a time, but we experience the whole piece of music, not just a partial window of a selection of notes. Even when the music stops, when there is a space between the notes, we still experience the whole of it. Our consciousness is a holographic recreation — but of what, we may ask? The density and richness of a hologram depends on the quality of the holographic plate used to recreate the image. In the same way, the quality of the hologram of our consciousness depends on the level and quality of awareness we allow to be generated within ourselves.
We can for instance recognize that the cosmic whole is present in our consciousness. We can know the vastness of this. We can participate in invisible levels of vibration, subtle levels of radiation that human consciousness is often only dimly or not at all aware of. We can translate these subtle ranges into expression. And we can recall that we've been together from the beginning.
The human holographic experience can however draw from different sources: from the experience of the human state itself or from these more subtle ranges. Human beings have to make a choice about what they will choose to re-produce. Is it something new, emerging from these wider ranges, or the recycled experience now dominantly known on the planet? What are we listening to? Human consciousness is an aperture for the Whole. We have enormous levers of creative power in our hands if we would choose to be aware of it.
The usual experience is to look out and see a world filled with intractable and enormously difficult challenges: polarizations everywhere, conflicts, dysfunction, destructiveness. It can all look rather bleak. The disturbances are now constantly being recycled through social media, further reinforcing our view. Yet it is all a reflection of the way human consciousness is currently working within each individual hologram. The habit of re-creating the distortions is so routinized and so constant that no alternative appears to be possible.
To transform the hologram of our own consciousness, to inquire into what it would take to do that, must begin with the recognition that we live within an enormous creative field that we haven't even really begun to understand. The dawning awareness that there is another range of experience is a useful starting point. But then we must begin to exercise leadership from this vantage point if anything new is to happen.
A next step to take in coming to appreciate the way holographic awareness works is to be still. There is a lovely poem by David Wagoner inspired by a Native American tradition. It draws from advice given to children to remember what to do if they get lost in the woods. Here is what they are told to do:
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
Recalling the reality of the living Whole is a continuously reassuring experience. The recognition that every aspect of the forms around us is alive and has awareness is the beginning of being in position to truly play one's part.
But then more is needed. One must listen. True listening involves letting go of the internal noise and resistance inside one's head. There is a passage from the writing of Krishnamurti that speaks about what this takes:
I do not know if you have ever examined how you listen, it doesn't matter to what, whether to a bird, to the wind in the leaves, to the rushing waters, or how you listen in a dialogue with yourself, to your conversation in various relationships with your intimate friends, your wife or husband...If we try to listen we find it extraordinarily difficult, because we are always projecting our opinions and ideas, our prejudices, our background, our inclinations, our impulses; when they dominate we hardly listen at all to what is being said...In that state there is no value at all. One listens and therefore learns, only in a state of attention, a state of silence, in which this whole background is in abeyance, is quiet,,, (Krishnamurti:Reflections on the Self).
To see, to stand still, to listen. Doing so can be challenging because it brings more clearly to awareness the unconscious destructive factors that we have been recreating inside ourselves. These are often the very qualities we might attribute are more in others than in ourselves. And while we may disavow them, they are at some level or other still operating in ourselves. I found it very interesting to see the grip, the hold, these things still have on me despite supposedly knowing better. These are crystallized patterns of thinking and feeling about what is possible and what is not, about how things should be unfolding or how they are not, and so on. We all have our versions of these inner narratives. It takes a certain commitment and focus to be prepared to let them change. This is the interior holographic work of leadership. We may contribute in many different ways in an outer sense, but in the end this is where the action is.
Such inner work leads to the loosening of the grip of these tenacious hereditary factors in our own consciousness. I was reminded of the phrase "whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven"(Matthew 18:18). Our role is to continue to loosen human consciousness exactly as it has appeared so that I may be free to function and to operate in these other ranges here and now. To see, to stand still, to listen, and then to loosen: I must consciously and deliberately release the grip these factors have moment by moment. As destructive thoughts appear in consciousness, which they will, we do something about them. We come then to greater awareness of the power of the radiation of Life and our role to let light the light shine.
Holographic leadership finally involves letting: letting go initially but then letting the factors invisibly assemble and in some cases letting them alone. Letting turns out to be a very wide field of invisible inner function that is beautifully creative. To "let" can be misinterpreted as being passive or inactive or uninvolved. But letting a focus of the radiation of Life be present is what transforms the distorted patterns and brings the changes that are needed.
I find it also requires a bit of daring because one's narrative has to change continuously. You could ask yourself, has it lately? I find that pressure develops if one doesn't do this to the point where it gets rather uncomfortable. Discomfort can be a useful mechanism for encouraging these holographic shifts to occur. Our own human consciousness is discovering step-by-step these invisible ranges of function. What is needed now is a reliable and ever ascending experience in at least some of the cells of human consciousness. As this is the case the so-called impossibility of change and the intractable nature of things shifts quite easily.
I had a conversation a couple of days ago with a friend who has been involved for many decades in negotiations in conflict situations around the world. We were remarking on the fact that despite all the flashpoints and stories of difficulties you actually have to look quite hard to find overt violence on the planet. Our fascination with them, and the frequency of media reports about them give the impression that they are very widespread, but this is actually not the case. There is a control pattern already present, operating mostly unconsciously, but present nevertheless. This wider control pattern is in our hands, my hands. We all know that the factors in our own experience are completely a function of what happens in our consciousness.
Whatever is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven. The control factors can be and are being held and intensified by those who choose to let a different hologram be present inside themselves. This is the leadership that is needed. It is immensely personal work. It really hasn't much to do with what goes on externally. We let manifest the vibrational reality that we have been commissioned to carry. There is no corner of the cosmos where the voice of Life is not being heard. Every aspect of the Whole actively participates, including us today, now. Love is made manifest in this way, and our commission step-by-step fulfilled.
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