The chaotic times we’re living through right now are calling upon our values and beliefs to surface — when otherwise they’re mostly unconscious, but structure how we live. They’re rising to the forefront for us to consider who we are in relation to the larger world…and our Core Self. At the most significant level, it will call into question how aligned or misaligned we are, in our daily life, to those things of deepest importance to us. It’s a time ripe for clear choices and mindful transition to a greater lifepath.
I’m sharing an article of mine — The Questions We Live By — originally published in 2001 in a professional journal called Anchor Point for Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP)* practitioners. It is still relevant today. Over the years, my clients have found what I describe here to be quite helpful. They are able to pinpoint where they are in what I consider a spiritual growth process and provides a map of sorts to guide them as a foundation, along with any other inner work they undertake.
As synchronicity would have it, this morning a short article by Carol Dweck, A Summary on Growth and Fixed Mindsets, popped up in my newsfeed. I suggest you read it as an overview in conjunction with more detailed guidance below in what I call The Re-membering Process.
The Questions We Live By
The edge of our reality depends on what we hold inside our minds as true and possible. We tend to recycle our lives — past, present, future all becoming one in the same — continually validating the filters through which we live. We continue to attract to us what we self-select through rote unconscious processes until we don’t. When we don’t, it’s because something has awakened us to a wider life. With that wake-up call, different metaquestions are projected into the psyche from a place of higher wisdom. We begin to run those unconscious questions in our minds instead to attract to us the answers that will fulfill them. In alignment with the new metaquestions, a particular stream of metaprograms enact themselves to provide the thought and behavior orientations that serve us to step into the forest beyond the familiar compound where we used to live. As well, if we take on certain creativity strategies we better support ourselves on the journey.
In my book Calling Our Spirits Home: Gateways to Full Consciousness, I documented the path of what I call the Re-membering Process. I overlaid a variety of world traditions, transformational modalities and tied the process to examples of everyday people undertaking the leap. The model I present in this article is drawn from my book, as well as additional observation and research.
Mythologist Joseph Campbell named three phases to an unfolding: Departure, Initiation and Return. From an intimate viewpoint of my own journey and my work with others, I’ve seen that there are two other main developmental points to the path. While there is no prescription or prescribed schedule, I’m aware of these stages: Sparking, Separation, Search, Initiation and Re-Entry. Many of us are on this path, in different phases and timetables. We are being propelled forward by the energetic momentum present with us in the world today demanding transformation now. If we’re not involved and committed to the Re-membering Process, then we’re still anesthetized, betraying ourselves and deceiving others.
Sparking is what awakens us from sleep and an unconscious life. It usually happens over a period of time, but can happen within an instant. It often occurs at mid-life, but if we’re lucky or more conscious it happens much earlier. Even the Indian prince Siddhartha Gautama, who later became the Buddha or Enlightened One, was once asleep behind the castle walls. It was only when he finally stepped outside the compound in which he lived that he began to see the wider world. So, we all live within a container of some sort and are in a stupor to some extent. We can’t escape it. It’s part of the human condition. The questions are: how deep is the sleep? How big does the spark to awaken us have to be? What will jostle us out of the daily shuffle? What will cause our heads, bent over so intently eying our shoes, to rise up?
There are some of us who unconsciously decide, without really knowing why, to look up one day and really see the sky or a tree and the Sparking takes place. For others of us, it may be a seminar we attend or a book someone gives us at just the right moment. Only a month before, we wouldn’t have heard the message or heard it in a lesser way. Then there are some who must be dynamited awake. These are the souls who have to experience a major crisis in their lives. For them, it’s a significant illness, loss of a loved one or way of life that finally gets their attention. The important point is that no matter how we receive our Sparking it happens as it needs to for each of us. It’s at that point we begin to be more aware of how we have been living our lives. In our semi-wakeful state, we slip ourselves these questions:
Where am I?
What am I feeling?
What am I lacking?
These are the unconscious mantras that run within our minds at this stage. A state of confusion exists that seeks to reach out into the fog and grasp onto explanations. The task of the Sparking is to wake up. We have an orientation to the present. Soon we may even become hyper-aware of the state of our lives. At this point, we transition to the next phase in the journey.
The task of Separation is un-learning. Once we begin to wake up, if we are truly going to continue on the journey, then leave-taking has to take place. It’s a prerequisite of the course. We cannot travel a path toward authenticity maintaining a false life. The Separation phase is a major sub-transition in the evolution of Re-membering. Those who successfully carry it through find within them the great internal resource of courage to hold firm against the forces — internal and external — that struggle to re-establish homeostasis. It may be particularly dicey for individuals who are externally motivated and used to dependence on others for validation of their identity. What is required of Separation is a shift to internal motivation.
It’s at this point that we begin to look at our lives and notice what really fits for us and what doesn’t. Having been metaphorically asleep for so long, it was very easy for things to sneak in under the cover of night to nestle comfortably around and within us without our real knowledge — becoming a sort of prison containing our very self-expression. Through the conditioning process we all received messages, verbally and non-verbally, regarding what was “good” and “right” from our particular families of origin, schools and other societal institutions. Needless to say, “good” and “right” varied greatly depending upon our environments. In order to make sense of it all, the mind set up “look-outs” to filter out anything that didn’t conform to the inherited paradigm. But during Separation the “look-outs” are somehow duped into guarding a decoy instead and an opening is provided.
During the Separation phase, we wonder where we went in all the previous years and what stranger is there instead. Operating in an away from metaprogram, the Critic becomes resident and runs these metaquestions about the past with a slight consideration of the future to move out of pain.
Who am I not?
How did I abdicate?
How do I serve myself?
In fine detail, we examine our jobs, relationships, homes — virtually everything in our lives that matter to us. As we see how we haven’t been true to our own natures, discomfort and disorientation increase until a shift occurs. That movement may generate drastic change such as dissolving relationships, transferring career fields, or leaving a geographic location. There doesn’t have to be a complete break with the pre-existing elements. However, discovery in this phase will allow the loosening of old beliefs, which will in turn begin to alter attitudes, feelings and behaviors to leverage possibilities to a new way of life. We are then brought to the next fork in the path.
The quest of the Search is to widen choices. During the Search we are looking at other perspectives and beliefs and trying them out. The Dreamer has been invited along as a guide introducing metaprograms to explore options and move toward them.
Who am I?
What are the possibilities?
We will find ourselves investigating areas that are new and different immersed in the present. The promise of a fuller life may seem endless. So, we undertake things such as going back to school, inquiring into other careers, moving geographically, experimenting with new relationships, trying out diverse spiritual traditions or religions; many things to bring in additional data.
The Search can be as exhilarating as it can be scary. We may feel as though we’ve jumped out into space with no safety net to catch us. This is the time to call on the great faith held by the Innocent, the archetype who knows she will carry herself through to the other side through guidance along the way. Otherwise, in fear we would find ourselves clawing at the emptiness in attempts to head back to the compound. The dirty little secret no one told us before we took the leap is that there is really no turning back. Even if we would choose to turn our backs on the future, we’re still different than who we were before. The future is guaranteed. It’s just how easy or difficult do we want to make it. So, we might as well press forward and happily complete the road rally. In the meantime, our minds may expand and contract. But if we pay attention, we will be directed by our intent to those things that fit for who we are at the core. We will know when we have arrived to the herald of our true home not by the logic of the mind, but by the response of the heart.
When the heart is warm, it will feed the mind and further direct intent. After having been on the Search, the traveler comes to rest in the comfort of self-knowledge. The undertaking of Initiation is assimilation. The Realist is introduced and experiences the present, to move toward the future with options with procedures and queries:
What are my gifts?
Where am I going?
What do I need?
While many formal ceremonies exist the world over, the real Initiation starts and ends inside — where the self is finally proclaimed as whole and the wearing of masks no longer necessary. In this stage we know and appreciate the old life for what it was. We have made the decision to take the learning and discard the rest. We also intuitively know that there is a new life on the horizon, a deeper one that stands apart from the one that passed before. Having been on the trail for so long, we now stand apart from those who have not yet awakened. We also know we have something to teach — even if only by example. This is the cusp of a real beginning and the fog has nearly lifted. We can nearly see. We are readying ourselves for the journey back into the world. After a pause and full integration of who we now are and what gifts we have to share, we will re-enter those places from whence we came originally.
The mission of Re-entry is immersion. Having tilled the ground with early questions of authenticity in relationship, spirituality, healing, lifework and ecology and found some deeper realities, we come back to a world often not even yet aware of any need for evolution. But by holding the questions and the empty space where answers could exist, we will find ways to Re–enter and fill that void. The Dreamer, Realist and Critic collaborate, still internally motivated but include some external reference; and consider the future for options and procedures.
How do I return?
What gifts do I share?
What is the structure?
How do I implement?
This is the final tasking of Re-membering, which furthers our own evolution as much or more than it may impact the environments in which we exist. If we don’t come back, then we haven’t completed the journey and we would remain floating somewhere without any real grounding. This is the phase of our own transformation that can be equally as major a sub-transition as Separation was. It’s not easy to enter places where what we have to give isn’t always all that welcome. It can be frustrating and many of us will just want to give up and close ourselves off. But we can drop hints where we may. We can watch with our inner eyes for those who are ready for the Sparking, even if they don’t consciously realize it. These are the people we can touch, even as we go deeper into our own transformation. These are the ones who will receive the gifts, even if we have to carefully parcel them out over time.
Patience and intent are indeed the by-words of Re-Entry that allow us to ask our own answers. Belief in ourselves and the possibilities of human potential cleave the way for what is to come. Questers first had to adhere to the strong possibility that the path was so. Then over time, the attractor of that energy created the magnet for events to align themselves to make the reality.
THE PRIVILEGE OF OUR TIMES
Cultural Creatives, a name given to change agents by Paul Ray, may be paving a new world pathway. But evolution is an ancient road. As far as the common thread of the human condition, we are very similar to people living in times past. Yet we are fortunate to be born in this age when so many are waking up.
Even as we travel through the cycle of Re-membering, the circle never ends. We will re-enter the world and integrate our gifts. Over time, we will then again become anesthetized while we rest on our laurels. But sooner or later, we will once again arouse ourselves to invite in an even vaster existence. The larger the entity the slower is evolution. But Gaia is awakening and will soon be in the Separation phase. Being residents within Her domicile, we are privileged to further Her Re-membrance as we do our own. Any of us cannot help but act on each other because there is no division. There are only macro and micro interconnecting systems of existence. One touch here will be a wind on another planet in another galaxy.
♦︎ ♦︎ ♦︎
*Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is known as the study of human excellence. NLP has precision processes that allow you to quickly cut to the core of your own template. You are able to gain a profound understanding of how you operate. Through NLP, you are able to uncover the unconscious beliefs that serve you well and lead toward your successes in life. You are also able to discover specifically what blocks your progress. While NLP builds an even stronger foundation for your strengths, it also enables you to break through the barriers that have held you back by transforming limiting beliefs — creating movement beyond the dictates of old programming to a enjoy a wider life.