Logging On To the Cosmic Internet: Thomas Hübl on Creative Genius

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"We live in an online life. An online life means nothing other than being connected to the cosmic internet. You know that you are online and you have the ability to download information wherever you are. So if you are talking with someone your meeting with them will be inspirational because you are connected--if you need new information you simply go to the [cosmic] internet and download it."

--Thomas Hubl 

 

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Spiritual teacher Thomas Hübl returned to Vancouver this past October (2011).  During that trip, my wife Chloe and I were very fortunate to host Thomas and his companions at our home for a few hours before his evening talk.

While he was at our home, Thomas graciously granted me an interview with him. You can listen to the audio or read a transcript of the interview here. The quotation that begins this piece comes from that interview. I wrote this piece as a companion to help give some frameworks for people in approaching the interview. 

Full Disclosure: I sent a draft copy of this piece to friend of Beams and Struts (and tour manager for Thomas), Mathias Weitbrecht. The photos are courtsey of Mathias--they include photos from various locations during Thomas' Fall 2011 North American tour. 

When Thomas was here in Vancouver in April of 2011, he talked about four fundamentals to his teaching: meditation, downloading the future, transparent communication, and service.

thomashublMeditation and service are domains of spiritual practice that I think many people are quite familiar with. Also, there are a number of articles and videos covering some of the elements of transparent communication. The simplest definition of transparent communication is an emphatic form of communication in a transpersonal context.

Given the wider knowledge around meditation and service and the emphasis placed on transparent communication in the videos and articles to date I felt it would be beneficial to focus instead on downloading the future.  Downloading the future is the element of the four fundamentals that I feel is least clear in my own understanding.  In talking with others I found this to be a repeated theme.  Persons I spoke to were curious and interested but not as clear as to what exactly this teaching of downloading the future entails.

The interview digs deep into Hübl’s teaching around downloading the future: what it means, how it is practiced, what are its implications, etc. 

cosmic internet

PART I: THE VISION

Hübl began by defining what he means by the future.  There are two kinds of future he said.  One version of the future is just like today except tomorrow or next week or next year.  The names and faces and events might change slightly but the same basic patterns play themselves out over and over again without anything substantially changing.  In this way of life, people daydream and spend time imagining some happier, more fulfilled life that they will never likely do much to achieve.

The second definition of the future is the realization and embodiment by certain highly developed people of new and creative forms of human expression.  This second definition of the future is the one Thomas focused on in the interview.

Hübl uses the metaphor of an opaque ceiling which prevents people from seeing what is above the ceiling.  The innovators, Thomas says, are people who scratch holes in the ceiling and as they do a perfume filters down through the holes in the ceiling.  This perfume wafts down to those below the ceiling who notice the smell and are attracted to its fragrance.  The truly creative ones (in whatever domain of human endeavor they focus on) exist “above the ceiling” and they share the fragrance of that creative future with those below.  As more and more people become attracted to the scent of this creative future then they to start to exude this scent and overtime a new structure in human development is born.

Hübl refers to such people as having an “expanded radius of awareness.”

To help unpack the implications of this teaching, let’s turn for a moment to Ken Wilber’s work on the many meanings of the word spirituality. Hübl is talking about clearly spiritual principles but in ways that are not necessarily ones people connect with spirituality.  I think looking at Wilber’s understanding of the many definitions of spirituality will help clear up any potential confusion on this point.

In Integral Spirituality, Wilber describes four meanings of the word spiritual:

 1. the highest level in any line of development

 2. a separate line itself

 3. an extraordinary peak experience or state

4. a particular attitude (e.g. love, compassion, wisdom, openness)

--Ken Wilber, Integral Spirituality pp. 100-102

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Hübl’s teaching on meditation and his practice of toning correspond with Wilber’s definition #3 (a state of being).  Meditation also aids in the cultivation of spirituality in the 4th sense of an attitude of love, compassion, and humility.  Service (one of the foundations of Hubl’s teaching) also has a strong correlation with Wilber’s 4th definition of spirituality.

Downloading the future, it seems to me, emphasizes quite profoundly Wilber’s 1st and 2nd definition of spirituality: the highest level in any line of development and a separate line (or intelligence) unto itself.*

What does all that mean?  There’s a little bit of integral or philosophical-ese in those definitions, so let me unpack those for a moment.  Then I’ll come back to how I find Thomas makes an otherwise interesting but potentially abstract teaching into a very concrete and beautiful experiential reality.

In Wilber’s philosophical framework there are a number of lines of human development.  He sometimes calls these lines streams (an image I prefer to lines actually).  These streams are domains of human experience that show the possibility of growth, evolution, development, even perhaps mastery.  Examples of such streams of intelligence include artistic, athletic, mathematic, ethical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, musical, and technological (think inventors), to name just a few.  There are many others that could be named.  And each of those streams has, as it were, smaller tributaries:  e.g. within musical there would be singing or playing or conducting or teaching, etc.

There is a great deal of debate within the integral community as to the exact relationship between various streams and how many streams there and so on.  Sufficed to say, I think, that there are such streams and there are at least to some degree or another distinct from one another.  That is to say being highly skilled in say mathematical intelligence does not automatically equate to high spiritual intelligence or vice versa.

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What Thomas kept coming back to in our interview was this notion of creative people in every human endeavor.  That these creative, innovative people in domains like art or business or psychotherapy or politics or spirituality are the ones we should be looking to for guidance as to how to move ahead.

As William Gibson famously said, “the future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.”   I think Gibson was mostly talking about technology but this saying could be extended via Thomas Hübl to include much more of our inner worlds.

Hübl says that a person who is highly developed in one stream exists in our future in that stream.  The future is already here—the creative people already exist.  It’s simply not very evenly distributed.

Hübl has really locked into Wilber’s first definition of spirituality: the highest development in any stream of intelligence. He points to the possibility of inquiring into the nature of these creative people across all domains of human endeavor and asking whether there are any common patterns to them, something that might get at a kind of source code for Creativity, for downloading future potential into human flesh.

Here is a video of a woman turning a stripper’s pole into a transcendent experience.  No seriously.  This may seem like an off-the-wall example, but watch the clip (it’s not sexualized).  She is incarnating the highest levels of human bodily intelligence.  She is performing a spiritual act by Wilber’s definition #1.  She exists in the future in the words of Hübl.  She is showing us the future by this act—the future in the stream of the athletic, made aesthetic even transcendent by her act (aided by the powerful music).

    

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At one point in the interview Hübl discusses how because there are so many lines of intelligence, a person can be our teacher in one and not another. We might be a teacher for our friends and colleagues in another line and they in turn might teach us in yet another.  He sees this as a source of humility and trust in the overall process of life.

Spiritual teachers are embodying the creative future of the line of spiritual intelligence (Wilber’s definition of spirituality #2). Hübl’s insight on this matter both gives a strong role to spiritual teachers but also places them within the realm of their own expertise and in relation to others in the realms (or streams/lines) of their own expertise.

So on the one hand there are many streams of life and within different streams different people exist in the future (and in other lines maybe are stuck at much earlier level of development)--this teaching I think speaks to the value of autonomy, individuality, as well as the sense of a larger whole.  On the other hand, the teaching about higher development in certain streams of life makes clear that we are not all equals...equals in the sense of development and embodiment in certain lines of human expression.  To say that we are not equals in this specific developmental sense can (and should) be combined with a sense that we are all equals in an Ultimate sense--as bearers of Light or in theological language as all made in the image and likeness of God.

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The key is to hold all three of those positions in paradoxical wisdom: 1. we are all equal in an absolute sense as manifestations of the Light 2. there are many lines of development and different people in different lines are more highly advanced and we should therefore be humble 3. within specified contexts, there is not just content difference but qualitative difference (difference of levels) in the actions, attitudes, and expressions of people.

If there is going to be any great culture change in our day, it seems to me those three elements lie at the heart of any such transformation.  Numbers 1 and 2 by themselves lack the creative tension of number 3.  Number 3 by itself however leads to a corrosive elitism, whether spiritual, financial, political, social or otherwise.  Even the combination of numbers 1 and 3 in certain spiritual communities leads to a real loss of diversity and multi-linear development (which comes from #2) a potential for serious spiritualized arrogance and harshness.

The teaching on recognizing and appreciating the quality of others being our teachers (in certain respects) and existing in our future undercuts the two destructive tendencies of our world: celebrity-ism and deconstruction.

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In the first we envy others.  We project onto them our unfulfilled hopes and dreams.  We cease to see them as real people and we disempower ourselves in the process.  In the second, we tear them down in nihilistic rage, recognizing that no one is any greater authority for my life than myself.  Sometimes these two tendencies are both manifest.

Seeing that another-in some domain of human enterprise--is in my future is to neither envy them nor to deny their embodiment which for now exists only as potential within me.  Gratitude and appreciation are the proper responses to such a one, not envy or resentment.

And when the context is appropriate we make recognize our role as teachers of others in some domain in which we may be developed.  This space is one of generous sharing and humility.  The humility comes from recognizing that while we may be a teacher in one area we certainly are not in others and perhaps are all kinds of poorly developed in some lines of our being.

Hübl used a beautiful metaphor to capture this last point.  A person standing on a mountain and water is flowing down the mountain.  The person could refuse to be open to the water flowing down from above (i.e. not recognizing the teacher-ness of another in some domain) or they could hold the water to themselves and refuse to let it flow through them and continue on down the mountain for others (i.e. refusing to be a teacher to others).

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PART II: THE OBSTACLE

It at this point that Hübl delves into the question of what prevents this deeper culture from arising?  Why are the truly creative one so few and so far between?

Fear.  From Hübl’s perspective, fear is the primary obstacle.  Fear that expresses itself in a desire for comfort and safety.  This desire for safety, however, is an illusion, according to Thomas.

Hübl says that for some reason the geniuses of our world (in whatever domain they are genius), transcend their fear and at the same time passionately care about this world.  In so doing, they listen deeply and act upon the voice or the impulse of development.

The rest of humanity does not lead with the desire for change but rather is driven by the desire for stability and the false sense of security.  Yet evolution will happen regardless of human desires or not.  And when The Universe’s will to evolve meets human resistance to change, then dis-ease is created and that dis-ease will manifest itself in all kinds of symptoms.

In individuals we often label these symptoms as neuroses.  But taken to a cultural or national or even global scale and the symptoms magnify by many orders.

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In the contemporary world the signs are all around this major transformative change wants to occur badly.  Economic volatility, political revolutions, and ecological destruction are the symptoms that the old structure of consciousness, culture, society, and behavior is dying out.  It can no longer effectively deal with the conditions of life arising all around us.

For Hübl all of these seemingly negative phenomena could be seen in a positive light.  We humans could understand all these collective neuroses as a wakeup call, as symptoms pointing us to underlying disease.  We could then focus on overcoming the disease.

Or absent that conscious choice to change, the pressure will build until it collapses the current reality system.

The choice, according to Hübl, is stark: creativity or safety.  He argues that the contemporary time is the time for the creatives to step into their power and to lead.

The creative ones are people who, Hübl says, hear the call the call of the future louder than the noise of the world.

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PART III: THE WAY FORWARD

Having laid out the vision of becoming the future and discussing what stands in the way of that glorious awakening, the conversation turned to the question of how to move forward.  How do we strengthen the parts of ourselves that hear the call of the future and want to act on it and come to terms with the voices within us that are afraid of such action?

I asked Hübl what practices there might be to help engender this change within ourselves.  He offered a few. 

  1. The geniuses are really into whatever it is they are a genius at. They give themselves completely to their work:  e.g. parenting, politics, teaching, spirituality, art, etc.
  2. They both create and drop that which they have created rather than holding onto their genius creations.  They hold very deeply to the next and the next and the next impulse of creation within them.
  3. They do, what Hübl called, “something different than normal."  He brought up two examples of this something different--the classic practices of sabbath and tithing.  Sabbath is to work 6 days and then to take one day off completely from work.  Tithing is to give at minimum 10% of one’s income for the good all. I appreciated both of those examples as they challenged the consumerism and the economic oppression of our day.
  4. Hübl used sabbath and tithing to discuss what he called the art of listening.  The art of listening involved two key elements.  The first was an ability to stand back and reflect on one’s own structures--emotional, mental, relational, social structures and so on.  The second was to sit in spaciousness to know that all around us we exist within Light, within Presence and Oneness (this is the traditional experiential gift of meditation).

A & B really have to do with the immersion of ourselves fully into whatever it is we are called to do in Life.  C & D really have to do with the capacity to then step back, reflect, and Be in Life.  As Thomas said in the interview, we have to equally love both completely transcend and completely incarnate Life.

CONCLUSION

In this video, Thomas Hubl describes his teaching as looking into what happens when we explore living in the radicality of Presence, in all levels and lines of our being, individually and collectively. 

A few times in our interview Thomas described the intensity of Presence--it is a Spacious Reality as well but it is a Spaciousness that pervades and seeks to grow, to change, to heal, and to evolve.  Downloading the future, becoming the future in the present, is for Thomas, entering into that Divine Intensity.

The root meaning of the word Transparent is to “let the light in.” By entering into the radicality of Presence, we become Transparent--to ourselves, to one another, to Life, to God.  We become transparent by letting the light in, living in that beautiful intensity of the Present Moment.

In that transparence, we will see our lights and our shadows and we will see the same in each other as they will see us.  Then a creative future may really come to be as we start to see the great strengths of each other and look for a way to build a culture that supports and empowers those strengths as well as cares for each other (appropriately) in our weaknesses.

 

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* Downloading the future applies more broadly to developing our potential in any line of our development and in any moment of existence really. Here I’m focusing more on the spiritual implications of downloading but these elements should be kept in mind as well.

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22 comments

  • Comment Link Jeremy Johnson Saturday, 14 January 2012 05:50 posted by Jeremy Johnson

    I want to write a full blog response to this. At some point. For now I'd just love to say that Hubl's teachings really intrigue me out of all the spiritual teachers within the integral movement right now. There's something about it that deeply resonates.

    Just some starting points . . .

    * I love his use of time. It's qualitative. It folds the past, present and future into some greater dimensionality or relationship. That doesn't really do it justice. What I want to do is crack open Ever-Present Origin and compare his teachings to Gebser's extensive writing on time, which he too believed was an essential part of the a-perspectival consciousness. Perhaps the two can illuminate each other's work.

    * The recognition that the universe is not merely what appears to us as 3 dimensionality. We can, if we allow ourselves, to tap into what was previously called the "akashic record" - higher forms of knowledge and intelligence and potential futures - a kind of gnosis - and bring it down, actualize it through our lives. This is quite inspiring. What I think is so effective about this is he is recognizing the "spiritual" behind the appearances. The internet is all about tapping into this information and collaboration. To me, I have always felt that what is happening "below" is an externalization of what is "above." The fact that the internet is having such a big impact should also be interpreted (or benefit from being interpreted in a non-materialist way). It is an incarnation or manifestation of the Spirit - some hierophany, or sacred revelation. When we see all of life in this way, even technological developments and cultural events become significant and we can have what is, maybe too obscurely put: an "inner" interpretation. So Hubl is presenting to us an "inner" understanding of what is happening in this world at this time.

    More to come. In the meanwhile, thanks for sharing this great post!

    -Jer

  • Comment Link Philip Corkill Saturday, 14 January 2012 16:11 posted by Philip Corkill

    I'd love to read that piece Jeremy. Go for it!

  • Comment Link Chris Dierkes Monday, 16 January 2012 21:23 posted by Chris Dierkes

    I second Phil--write that piece Jer. The internet as a hierophany would be wild.

  • Comment Link Amy Jean Cousins Wednesday, 18 January 2012 20:09 posted by Amy Jean Cousins

    Hey Chris.
    Thanks for posting this. I missed Thomas when he was in Vancouver. I'm very curious and excited by all the spiritual teachers who are arriving and presenting themselves in my world. It seems to be the time for me to jump in and I know I've been resisting it for a while.

    I'm very interested in the concept of time. I've often thought that fundamentally it is our relationship with time that determines our ability to start on a spiritual or conscious path.

    I'm also very curious about how Hubl negotiates all the desire circulating around him and an attractive male spiritual leader. Having been in the roles of both "student" and "teacher" myself, I think it is very important for individuals to be very clear on "what" and "why" they are seeking and what desire is actually pointing to. This maybe slightly off topic in this thread, but I've been thinking about it for a while, and Hubl must have to be very "transparent" around this issue. I'd be curious to hear him talk about it.

  • Comment Link Chris Dierkes Wednesday, 18 January 2012 22:14 posted by Chris Dierkes

    Hi Amy Jean,

    Time is a really important one. Jeremy's comment above is really sharp on that point.

    From my own past, my practice had strongly been learning the sense of The Eternal Now/Present. But the impulse, the creative movement out of that Eternal into Form has been one I've struggled with. Listening to the interview many times, transcribing it, and then writing this piece something moved in me. Something felt I don't want say easier about all this but clearer somehow. I don't know what the right word is exactly. His words validated or empowered some aspect of being I think.

    As to your other point vis a vis holding his integrity, it would be an interesting question to ask to be sure. My sense of spending time around him is simply he doesn't give off that vibe. But it would be interesting to hear him say how he holds that line or what helps in that regard.

  • Comment Link Giorgio Piacenza Saturday, 28 January 2012 00:49 posted by Giorgio Piacenza

    Yes, the future is a 'potential' that can become 'actual' right now if we embody it by boldly by embracing the mind and sentiment-expanding visions gifted by the creative, God-Universal 'Presence' or 'Source'. Nevertheless, the baby that fears the night, that bay who simply feels and fears the pain of his body, the recurring pain of his wants; that baby who often sorely cries for no apparent reason does KNOW in an instinctive way that his life (as felt through his body) is a DANGEROUS affair. And that baby, that human-fundamental baby at the 'root' of human experience is always in us and living as us RIGHT NOW as an atemporal knowledge, however masked.

    to understand our relationship with the structured past, among other things we need to know if our human-animal-reptilian-fish-bacterial genes change when -in the course of our development and social experiences- our ideological understanding becomes more inclusive? Can we pass on to future generations genes (the co-arising, UR, biological physical quadrant) a genetic change that can instinctively help them to feel more inclusive towards all other sentients?

    We are born with the instinctive feeling that our body is the source of our First Person experience and, being indistinct from the world, soon we realize that this source of sensations, needs, and feelings is inextricable linked with capricious happenings and with a lack of certainty and, thus, always in a potentially painful and thus... dangerous situation. Moreover, this instinctive knowing remains with us even if we move far into transcend-and- include understanding or in various human relational lines including cognitive and spiritual development. This is a biological-psychological programming that holds back Integral Theory as well as other adequate and lofty ideologies from catching up.

    Establishing in a lofty world is structurally difficult for the recurring, ingrained memory of human instinct. We instinctively ask: what can we gain? Who else of practical consequence to us has adopted the ideology? Does this ideology 'rule'? In a competitive, consumer society we are constantly reminded by our human instinct that it is best to prefer comfort over risk. Nonetheless, personally transcending ideologies also motivate us because we also are instinctively inclined to move beyond our isolated selves. Thus, some of us will even self-immolate and die for a variety of self-transcending political or religious causes. Some of this self-transcendence may be suffiently inclusive to bring light to the political lives of people in pragmatic ways that apply to particular circumstances and some of it may be counterproductive, backwardly restrictive and generative of more attachment to structures that allay fear and promote safety for the average individual.

    To counteract the fear of risk; to promote 'Second Tier' being-in-the-world, we must first understand the very deep truth into which we are born as biological life forms: Life is indeed very dangerous because it can easily become very painful and destructive to us. Thus we need to hold on to falsehood and to lie to ourselves and to others. However true (and except for miracles) we won't be sustained by 'light' or by 'ideas', but by food, money and by a socially respectful or supportive environment that is more protective than violent to us. The present or present social structures are heavily defined by our First Person conditioning of the material and biological past. The inclusive, Integral future of love and respect for all sentience is defined by a potential that is not material. it is defined by the Subtle and Causal Realms which sustain experiencers without the need for destroying and competing over scarce resources. The future also includes bringing manifestation resources from this more inclusive realms onto the Gross, material world. Our idealism for change needs to include this poignant realization or else we'll be treading onto our own ever-shifting, seldom rooting ideological clouds.

    A creative genius that promotes conviviality, respect, love and integration requires some degree of social acceptance to thrive. Are we transmitting (in an age of fast, superficial, communication and to a sufficient percentage of youth) the ideals, values and issues of the past, the inherited cultural wisdoms that present-day generations need in order to heed the call and to recognize the importance of a post postmodern view?

  • Comment Link Matthew Wesley Monday, 05 March 2012 00:56 posted by Matthew Wesley

    Chris,

    Thanks for this. It was very helpful. What I am personally seeing is that there is profound confusion of nondual and causal and even subtle states of awareness. I am recognizing more and more that what I "thought" was nondual was based on this confusion in many of the teachers who themselves confuse their most sublime experiences and insights with nondual perspectives. In moving in my own spiritual paths, I am finding the territory they describe to be behind me. Given my own experience, my sense is that the deep awakening (in the sense of the experience of no-self) is far, far, far less common than we like to think. I know that Robb Smith and Ken have discussed the fact that they have not met anyone who abides "there". I do know, of all the spiritual teachers I have met and seen, I have not run across the real deal yet. So what I so appreciated about this piece was the purity of the focus on what I am considering these days to be causal levels of awareness. This both opens and is grounded in a kind of humility (which I am ascribing to Hubl) which in turn engenders the particular clarity of how you describe what Hubl is up to. Kudos.

  • Comment Link Chris Dierkes Tuesday, 06 March 2012 07:02 posted by Chris Dierkes

    Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for the comment. Glad you enjoyed the piece.

    I agree with with you that there is a great deal of confusion around on the states, their relations, bodies, and identities. Thomas certainly has a strong causal presence. There is a deep space around him, in the way he speaks and so on. It strikes me as very natural and normal with him.

    I would also say that his teaching on how there is stillness in the movement and movement in the stillness has been very powerful for me. I found it takes me from those causal formless depths into manifestation and undoes the distinction between the manifest and the unmanifest.

    I also think there are potential shadows of a model that says there is gross, subtle, causal, and then nondual. One I think we should learn to start more with nonduality--what is the essence, the one nature of all this? What is This? And then from there move to embrace as disciplines our three bodies/states.

    Everybody needs to be conscious in gross, subtle, and causal dimensions. I've been over the last year really picking up work around shamanism--i.e. gross mysticism--as I found I had left it out. I had previously seen it as less. Now I see it as one crucial unique (though by itself limited) perspective.

    I think if we started with that kind of framework, it would help people connect and interpret wisely much more easily.

  • Comment Link Matthew Wesley Tuesday, 06 March 2012 23:38 posted by Matthew Wesley

    Chris, my friend. I have little to add and so much of what you say makes a deep kind of sense to me. Your insight about shadows is rich and I will chew on it. Your articulation of the stillness in movement and the movement in stillness so captures my own experience of these depths. I do confess to inquiring into the difference between monism (the one nature of all this - which I know well as the ground of being out of which form and emptiness do their dance) and non-duality (which seems to be "something" quite different - a place where the very arising of beingness as such does not occur).

  • Comment Link Durwin Foster Friday, 06 April 2012 16:15 posted by Durwin Foster

    I wanted to post a brief response based on my attendance at the last Thomas Hubl talk -- just a couple of nights ago in Vancouver.
    First, I could definitely feel the shared presence -- very strong, very wonderful. So transmission was really felt there by me.
    And, his teaching metaphors, his integrally-informed incarnational nondual teaching -- awesome. Bringing the future into being...kind of a walking on water metaphor. Very inspiring.

    My only criticism is with respect to the supposed valiidty of an "inner science" based on v. short interactions in dyads, at the end of which our partners were supposed to assess our development in three lines!!! Jeesh -- this part was pretty much like T-group 101 from the 1970's. Here was have wonderful, disciplined scientists in the integral community, pioneering assessments with a degree of validity. Whether that is Susan Cook-Greuter, or the Harvard group, or even the Spiritual Intelligence assessment put together by Cindy Wigglesworth. And instead we rely on five minute interviews with untrained folks!

    Everything else awesome, but that piece is a no-brainer high risk, low return exercise. If we want an inner science, we will need to be much more rigorous than that.

  • Comment Link Chris Dierkes Friday, 06 April 2012 17:29 posted by Chris Dierkes

    Hi Durwin,

    Thanks for the comment. Good to see you there the other night. The Force was strong that indeed.

    I don't think that assessment is the right context to frame the dyad work. As he introduced the practice, I remember him saying things like, "Have fun with it" and "This is a perception". i.e. A perception of the person responding to the presence of another. I take perception to indicate a very different frame than assessment.

    As I've experienced it, it's much more about learning to develop our intuition. It's based on the dual premise that we are all the time giving off all of our information and that humans have an innate capacity to be able to tune into one another. And also that while innate, that capacity (intuition) can also be honed, exercised, and strengthened.

    Spending some time with this teaching, I feel those premises are valid. And it was interesting to me that when he asked how many people felt seen (not assessed), like 80-90% of the room raised their hands.

    So I saw the practice the other night more as a just a taste, a very introductory entrance into all that.

    The questions we looked into in each other were more general: How (do you perceive) this person's intuition to be? Do you perceive God to be the first priority in their life.

    In the booklet they give out for people interested in forming practicioner groups, they make clear that a person attempts to tune into the other and then reveals what arises. The person receiving this sharing then shares back with the other person what resonated and what did not. And the individual receiving and then responding is always empowered to be very clear to say "This resonated, that didn't."

    I appreciate the more formal assessment models that you mentioned. I think what we were doing is something distinct, though not in opposition to those models/tools.

    So while I disagree, I do think the feedback you offered is a good one to keep in mind in terms of people's perceptions and how things might appear, especially in an introductory evening.

    all the best, bro.

  • Comment Link Durwin Foster Friday, 06 April 2012 18:24 posted by Durwin Foster

    Thanks for your feedback, Chris. I am trying to recall if that was part of the practice -- to say what resonated and what didn't. I don't recall that being what we did. But I may have forgotten. If we didn't, then I would recommend that piece be included in an introductory evening.

    As for most people putting up their hands, I attribute that very much to the pressure of group dynamics. We saw a simliar process involved when Big Mind was becoming very popular and people were talking about a 95% chance of having an awakening experience in a couple of hours of group work with a facilitator.

    Pretty much everyone would put their hand up. I mean, who would want to look like a spiritual laggard in front of an entire group?

    So there is a lot of knowledge about group dynamics, social psychology that could be usefully included here, imho.

    All this feedback in the context of feeling and appreciating the force of presence in the room that night.

  • Comment Link Durwin Foster Friday, 06 April 2012 18:32 posted by Durwin Foster

    For what it is worth, I checked out my perceptions on the group process part with Ken Wilber because I always appreciate his perspective. I cut and paste exactly what I responded here. And he just responded, agreeing that "yeah, that part is a little goofey."

  • Comment Link Chris Dierkes Saturday, 07 April 2012 00:21 posted by Chris Dierkes

    Hi Durwin,

    Yeah I can't remember if we did feedback from the person receiving that night or not. I do think intersubjective is hard and it's a new thing generally for all of us and will take some time to start working in that arena.

    That said, I was part of a group that met for 3 months (twice a month) that went through a number of intersubjective practices and I found it very powerful. I think of it like when a child is learning to walk--it's not the most fluid graceful thing. But I do think intersubjective practice is really crucial going forward.

    thanks for the comments.

  • Comment Link Durwin Foster Saturday, 07 April 2012 03:20 posted by Durwin Foster

    Hi Chris:

    I think I provided the feedback I did because I also see intersubjective work as very important. I work that way each and every day in my practice, using personal self-disclosure whenever I deem it to be specifically useful to a client.

    All good at my end now, Chris. Certainly an inspiring teacher.

    Thanks,
    Durwin

  • Comment Link David MacLeod Monday, 09 April 2012 04:25 posted by David MacLeod

    Durwin and Chris,

    For what it's worth, I attended the Hubl presentation in Seattle on April 3rd, and he definitely told us to share back with the other person what resonated and what did not resonate from the intuitions they got about us.

    Like Chris, it seemed clear to me this was an introduction to developing intuitive capacities, learning how to Listen, Look, and Feel. The goal didn't seem to be for the person telling the story to come away with a robust assessment.

    Chris, it sounds like your practice group disbanded after 3 months. Were any in the group interested in continuing in an ongoing practice with this work?

  • Comment Link Chris Dierkes Monday, 09 April 2012 05:30 posted by Chris Dierkes

    @David,

    Thanks. Our group by design met for 3 months and now is taking some time off. From the beginning we agreed we would meet and then take a respite. At some point here soon we'll look to reform, as well as to do some public events in Vancouver (we've done 2 of those previously). And through the public events see if there are others interested/appropriate to enter into a more concentrated form in the practicioner group, most likely for another 3 month (or so) cycle.

    This round we just completed was our first. So it was pretty experimental but overall I think it went really well.

  • Comment Link Juma Wood Monday, 09 April 2012 23:41 posted by Juma Wood

    Hi all,

    Figured I'd chime in. Durwin, your analysis is valid and astute. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to call these practices goofy, but they can sure feel goofy.

    I was unfortunately not able to attend the evening session though I spent that afternoon with Thomas' crew including a powerful conversation circle at Chris' house. I was also a member of the group Chris references.

    I've found these particular practices to be experimental and should be held lightly. They are as much about trust building as they are meant to identify and develop an intuitive intelligence. The tendencies you mention are all quite likely to occur, and I would add a tendency to say only 'nice' things, particularly to someone you don't much know in a brief introductory evening session.

    As our group met more regularly, we developed an affection that comes from familiarity and meeting together for purposes of communion, without the hassles of knowing one another *too* well or actually living communally.

    As opposed to previous intersubjective work I've done, it was interesting that our emphasis was primarily on dissolving the subtle barriers between us, to learn to trust images and suggestion, to try and separate our own story from those we were attempting to divine. But your point stands: at the end of the day it was a group of untrained people delivering feedback that was hard to validate outside of the resonance of the party being 'presenced'.

    What I did take from it though was the importance at times of suspending critical faculties and being willing to trust one another as a foundation for intimacy. I don't think this could have been a take-away from a short session like you attended, and so high risk, low reward is probably accurate, though given the types of characters likely present, the primary risk was to credibility, coming off as flaky.

    Something else I like about it too, in potential contrast to some of the names you mention, is that a hard taxonomy is probably counter-productive to such an exercise. It's rare outside of lovers we stop to just breathe another in. Applying a hard taxonomy to your lover in such a moment would come at the cost of intimacy, and I think this is similar. My understanding of what Thomas is talking about, at more advanced phases of practice, is to learn to recognize where the light shines brightest from a person and to move in attraction to that light. I marvel at athletes for that reason, certain writers, the open hearted.

    These practices are not a substitute for real shadow work and entanglements. Not a substitute for grief and shame work most men especially need to do. Not a substitute for psychological disorders. But they are I've found effective in developing a recognition of our intuitive capacities, of being more receptive and available for intersubjective intimacy/inquiry, and I think for starting to recognize the subtle attraction of light to light, how a liberated or fluent dimension of someone can attract and teach the same dimensions in ourselves that are less developed.

  • Comment Link Chris Dierkes Tuesday, 10 April 2012 00:34 posted by Chris Dierkes

    Juma,

    Thanks for chiming in--great comment. I really appreciated your articulation.

    I wanted to pick up on your point around the taxonomies. I think it's a really important one. To cross-threads here for a second, what I get a sense of from this work is what Bonnitta is pointing to in her writings on post-dialectics and the notion of aperspectivity.

    http://beamsandstruts.com/bits-a-pieces/item/868-post-dialectical-thinking-courtesy-bonnitta-roy#comment3710

    The taxonomies (and they're are good ones) exist in the dialectical, synthetic world of integral/post-postmodernism. What I think Thomas is trying to do is help open a world beyond that one (i.e. aperspectival in Bonnitta's language, citing Gebser).

    An interesting link in that regard is Gebser's notion that the aperspectival is one in which the earlier structures all become transparent. Transparent is a central term (maybe the central term) in Hubl's teaching.

    If something like that correlation is even remotely valid, then this stuff is way out there. And it leaves open the possibility, I think, of valuing and practicing both a synthetic-integral (taxonomic) way as well as one that is pushing beyond the synthetic-integral--in certain quarters that is. I think the synthetic-dialectical-multi-perspectival work of integral is a really important foundation to eventually then leap out into the aperspectival--at least for those who feel called to make such a jump. So I see the two streams as compatible, if rightly framed.

  • Comment Link Durwin Foster Wednesday, 11 April 2012 16:31 posted by Durwin Foster

    Hi Juma:
    Thanks for your response, especially about how the work does not take the place of need for men to do work on shame and trauma.

    I was in the middle of a longer response, and then accidentally hit the wrong key. In essence, what I wanted to say was that I had an abreaction not the next day after the event, but the day after that. I have made a commitment to not expose my children to adverse effects of my personal growth work, so in future I would need a stronger container that included some support for shadow work were I to continue in this kind of practice.

    As for what you say, Chris, that indeed sounds plausible that this is, in effect, coming from "third tier". Which does again beg the question of how to manage introducing it into the public at large, where folks will come in with all kinds of backgrounds. One of my other colleagues who attended the event, for example, was concerned about screening of folks into these kinds of events. E.g., it would be easy for someone with Axis 2 type personality issues (borderline, narcissism) to derail a group like this.

    Chris, I also noted that Thomas seemed to refer quite frequently to shadow work, although not calling it that, in his talk. However, in your detailing of his work, you did not include that component. Does Thomas just talk about shadow, does he have a process for addressing it, or does he just recommend folks do that work elsewhere? (Or any combination of these three?).

    And as for Ken saying "goofey". Yes, that is perhaps Ken being "off the cuff" as he is won't to do sometimes, and so taken with a grain of salt.

  • Comment Link Chris Dierkes Wednesday, 11 April 2012 22:59 posted by Chris Dierkes

    Durwin,

    Funny you should ask about shadow work. I had a 45 minute interview with Thomas earlier in the day (last Wednesday). I'm now working through editing the audio and so on. It's all about shadow work.

    So yes he does talk about it. I'll have to go back and listen to it a few more times and there was a lot in it, but I recall that he started with a framework of creation--that everything arises from the Ground, enters into movement, seeks to fulfill its movement (and is guided by a wisdom that knows how to fulfill that movement), and then return to the emptiness.

    Shadow arises at the moments that the intelligence inherent in some movement is thwarted, unable to fulfill its trajectory. That might be because of lack of resources or repression or social conformity or whatever.

    There's then a contraction and symptoms congeal around the contraction. But locked within the contraction he argues is an intelligence (he used the metaphor of a light or Wilber's idea of the gold coins lost in the earlier waves of development). And the key he thinks is to find ways to hold in view the light--in the work of transparency--that can help the light to be released. And then it will fulfill its movement and return to the Source.

    What I appreciated about that is it brought together shadow and evolutionary practice. I haven't really seen anyone do that in quite that way before.

    He talks about the need to develop two spiritual competencies: silence and movement. The movement is the creative impulse, moment to moment. And I appreciate the subtlety with which he says that the creative impulse can include shadow work. Rather than other views which tend to see the creative impulse solely as higher, higher, and higher forms of expression. The creative impulse can include that higher movement but what I heard in him was that the creative impulse is not only that type of expression.

    And given that there are many lines of development to our being, he offered a wisdom for group work--that at various points one person or another could be the teacher and as a different subject area of life comes up, someone else may be in the role of teacher/guide (for that area).

    There's a real multi-dimensionality to what he's talking about.

    But like I said, I have a lot to work through on that one, but once I do it will go up on the Beams here.

  • Comment Link Durwin Foster Thursday, 12 April 2012 01:13 posted by Durwin Foster

    Thanks for sharing that, Chris!! I look forward to listening / reading the transcript.

    And thanks for your work in bringing Thomas to Vancouver.

    Durwin

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