Clean Space Process: March 23rd

[For background on this post, see here].

A review of a process I undertook on myself this morning after a series of days having very frenetic/chaotic dreams and waking up with a good deal of confusion-stress.

I feel myself right now split into almost two zones.  Zone 1, as it were, is my day to day generally content layer of experience.  While I’m very busy in an incredible number of ways my life is really good.   I’m deeply at home with my wife and our relationship is very life-giving, life-affirming.  I’m almost finished with school, which I’m definitely looking forward to, and while not the best of all solutions, I have a job to carry me through in the interim period between graduation and whenever it is that a parish appointment becomes ready, then I’l be ordained and enter ministerial life.  I live in a nice, safe neighborhood in a beautiful city.

So things are good on those levels.  I’m very grateful, feel very blessed in my life.

As I lay in bed this morning I could feel that space.  I came to decide (or more like “it” decided) that these set of more positive, sorta easy relaxed feelings were located up above my head and slightly behind me to the left.  Just over the pillow, floating slightly above the bed.

When I put my attention to that space, those feelings were more pronounced.

Another set of feelings, which felt as if they were riding in a plane beneath the former set, were also apparent as I groggily lay in the bed.  It was a feeling of a bundle of agitation and nervousness.  This feeling was located in my stomach.

The process of locating them in a very literal sense created a clear bifurcation and spatial separation.  I oculd label where I was betwixt the two A.  The easier/more relaxed feeling-space B; the more difficult and confusing one C.  [This is not exactly how it is normally done in Clean Space Technology, but for now that’s ok].

When I inquired as to what Space B knew, it was the kinds of things I mentioned earlier:  gratitude, blessings in life, natural ease in the life process.

Interestingly when I looked into Space C (i.e. the agitation), it knew that it did not know.  I was expecting this space would know what the cause of the agitation/stress was (especially since it’s somewhat weird given everything else in life, including Space-Feeling B).

The word “bundle” is the metaphor; the metaphor is the key (more on this idea here).  The key is to enter the metaphor (and not seek what the metaphor externally refers to–the metaphor is itself the central thing).  [For the theoretical background, this is now mixing symbolic modelling with clean space, both outgrowths of the work of David Grove].

The metaphor-image of bundle led to a futher clarification–an image of a rope tied around the bundle.

–What kind of rope is this rope?

Heavy.  The kind that would rip/cut your hands if it slid across them quickly.  Almost like straw–which brings me back to the bundle image.  A bundle of bundles.  Themselves tightly wrapped.

Here it breaks off and I feel the need to step away and come back to this issue at a later time.

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Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 9:34 pm  Comments (1)  

Starting to Come Back: New Focus at Indistinct Union

To anyone out there still reading this, I’ll be returning shortly (and at first probably a bit slowly then picking back up the pace) to blogging here at Indistinct Union.  The time I have spent with the start-up at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen took more time/energy than I had initially anticipated.  But it’s all good because that has turned out to be a very successful (so far, knock on e-wood) and very fulfilling experience for me.

So my political, economic, military, foreign policy blogging is all over there.

At the beginning of this year I began to experiment with a new form of writing-meditation based on the philosophical writings of Ken Wilber wrt his work on perspectives and what is termed integral post-metaphysics.  For my initial post introducing that theme here.   That bore some interesting fruit in a series of blog posts examining other writer’s pieces from this lens.  (e.g. here).  They are filled under the Integral Calculus Categories on the bar to the right for those foolish enough to desire to read all of them.

I found that a freeing, enlightening, moving, feelingful kind of experience.  But I could tell since I was starting first with the views of others, it was still distanced from me.  I was looking for a way to initiate the process more from within my own experience.  It was then a few weeks later that a friend turned me onto the work of (sadly now deceased) David Grove called Clean Space.  For my entry on that here.

I’ve been way too busy in since then (about 2 months ago), to really roll with this, but am now feeling the drive to come back to this set of practices, ideas, explorations which revolve strongly around the idea of each of us having our own unique understandings/creations of landscape through the use of metaphor.

Clean Space practice-feeling-thinking (it’s hard to call it any one thing) relies on the idea of imaginatively (and literally-concretely) locating/placing certain aspects of experience in certain spaces.  And then speaking as if from each space.

This all connects very deeply with Wilber’s notion of the perspectives and links up perfectly with Wilber’s core metaphor (metaphor-scape) for his own work which is as a map.  A map of consciousnesss–i.e. interior location.

I’m sensing that this blog will become the platform for me simply to share in some sense the experience of walking through this world of ideas, metaphor, practice, inner feeling and the like.  [I’ve added a Clean Space category on the right to keep this series].  One of the central insights of Grove’s work was that the metaphor space creates a bit of healthy distance.  He originally worked with people who suffered brutal traumas and found that traditional psychotherapy might bring people back into the pain thereby re-traumatizing them.  The metaphor world (of their own creation) was somehow a place of more safety and clarity.

So to apply Wilber’s insights to the Clean Language/Clean Space/Metaphor Realm–the writings here are an interpretation of my experience (itself already an interpretation) being with the metaphor space.  As Wilber says, it’s all an unending cascade of perspectives-choices-experiences.  Also I should say that my way of doing all this will incorporate some other elements and is therefore probably not a precise version of all this.  e.g. Some dipping on occasion into Eugene Gendlin’s work on Focusing.

My buddy Ian Johnson who turned me onto all the Grovian work–his application of the work here–led me once through a process growing out of these ideas.  I’ll be working off that initial exploration with likely more to come in the future.

Published in: on March 20, 2009 at 11:20 am  Comments (1)  
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Jonah Sermon (Audio Content)

Audio of a sermon I preached at my home congregation January 29th of this year.  The text for the morning I preach is from The Book of Jonah.  (Go to this site and type in the search Jonah).

(To download Mac Users Apple + Mouse Click, Save Link As, PC Right Click on Mouse)

Jonah Sermon

Published in: on March 19, 2009 at 5:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Me/Integral Christianity in Vancouver Sun

I got a very kind mention in the Vancouver Sun today from Doug Todd, the religion reporter for that paper.  Doug was a recent student in my Integral Christianity class (which is I guess how I got the label “educator” that he tags me with).  The article is predominantly about bringing back some natural hierarchy (er holarchy) within the development of faith and spirituality.

For those who are not familiar with the background on some of this, see here (Levels and Lines) and here specifically on James Fowler’s work.  Or just read Doug’s summary of Fowler in the article.

Note these are human constructs like mile markers which require thinking in terms of miles as opposed to say kilometers or feet–they measure something but are still our constructs.  They are helpful insofar as people become educated experientially to estimate miles or whatever the unit of distance is.  There is according to this metaphor a kind of interior distance that can be measured.  What is being measured is a person’s description of their own views on their core held meanings.  What is NOT being measured is better or worse persons, i.e. who is of more and who is of less value qua human-ness.

The element of development, re-constructed through scholarship as a series of fluid levels/stages, is but one of the elements that we would call “spiritual”.

Other definitions of spiritual would include the mystical life (in Wilber’s language state-bodies of consciousness and the corresponding transformation of behavior/meaning that goes along with them…or at least can).  Wilber uses a four state pattern (what he calls state-stages as opposed to structure-stages like in Fowler/Piaget) from Vedanta-Vajrayana Eastern spirituality:  waking-gross, dreaming-subtle, deep sleep-causal, Nondual.   In the native language of Christianity that is (exact correspondence):  purgation, illumination, union (of spirits), indistinct union.

One of the classes in the course Doug took was to walk through each of the states in the native Christian experience-way via classic forms of Christian meditation calibrated to each state.

A third understanding of spiritual is (again using Wilber’s typology) the higher/highest levels-stages in any of the lines (e.g. transcendent art, music, sports, emotional sensitivity).  The Fowler Stage of Faith is considered a separate line of development.

The Fowler stage is a sketch of human reconstructions of their answer to the question “What is Ultimate?”  It’s one piece only of the puzzle.  Moreover no one is ever 100% at any one stage.   The use of structural-stages are what Wilber calls “probability waves”.  They are simply probabilities of life experience of “locating” people’s expressions, outlooks, attitudes, ideals, etc. within certain parameters of human interaction.  They do not exist separate from people making discriminatory fallible judgments in other words.  Fowler’s stages do not exist outside humans in some pre-planted fashion. That said, it is a very helpful tool in seeing and dealing with people in regard to questions of spirituality.

Published in: on March 7, 2009 at 1:24 pm  Comments (1)  
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