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..:: Transition ::..


Alan Schneider


               I recently attended a Theosophy lecture by a traveling Hindu pundit named Baba Harihar Ramji entitled “Living In Turbulent Times”.  This title is indeed a very accurate observation of the nature of the period of history that the world consciousness is passing through now!  All seems to be in a state of upheaval, and becoming more so daily.  This essay deals with the concept of transition – the observable mechanism of change on the Physical Plane – and the implications of transition for human beings.  

            As a human being myself – that is, as a spiritual being associated with a dense body and sense perception – I am, of course, subject to the endless process of transition on the particularly turbulent modern environment of the Physical Plane, as are we all.  If anything typifies this life, it is change.  I have frequently remarked to myself in the course of living and observing phenomena that it seems to be quite odd that we have evolved a pair of apparent survival mechanisms that operate in a very contrary and resistive orientation to the universal phenomenon of change – the physical brain, and the ego sustained by it.  As sentient creatures, we seem to be driven to maintain control and consistency in our internal and external environments as a first priority.  One can only surmise that individuals who possessed a superior capacity for the successful execution of this characteristic tended to survive long enough to reproduce, and thus pass on the trait to their offspring.  So, control stands in opposition to change in life, a battle that has raged forever during the course of civilization, still rages today, and is causally linked to human survival.  No wonder that the world is so filled with “control freaks” of every kind and configuration!  

            The process of observation is closely involved with control.  The more accurate our observations of the Physical Plane are, the more effective our control behaviors will be in terms of yielding the desired stability so craved by the organism.  This fact, in turn contributes to another paradoxical development.  As observations become more accurate and insightful, expanding into the extended matrix of consciousness, we eventually observe ourselves in the act of observing – a meta-observation of the observation process itself – and this level of observation initiates a new phase of inquiry into the nature of our existence and priorities.  We realize that observation is a gestalt phenomenon – a whole that exceeds the sum of its parts by virtue of its dynamic, interactive organization.  And, as we follow this inquiry, we will ultimately realize the limitations of control as a productive mechanism in living, although this realization may take some time to gel in our perception.  

            With the realization of the limitations of control as a coping and gratification mechanism, the necessary reassessment of transition occurs.  It is easy and natural from the ego’s point of view to see change as a menacing condition that necessarily threatens our existence on many levels, and therefore must be subject to restriction, i.e. control.  But the very act of the meta-observation mentioned in the previous paragraph places the observer beyond the observational gestalt, creating a new level of self-perception and understanding – I am more than my ego and sensory condition, I am capable of participating in – in fact have always been unknowingly and unconsciously participating in – a much larger phase of awareness.  As our perception expands along these lines, so does our perspective on transition, moving us away from the mammalian, primate threat response into a more flexible, insightful orientation.  Ongoing experimentation and investigation of this more enlightened perspective eventually yields the extended perception of many more levels of insight and realization beyond the physical, which can and will then be integrated into our perception of events on the Physical Plane, producing a successively higher level of understanding of our condition, as viewed through many additional lenses of comprehension. This is the process of human spiritual evolution, and of the development of all higher consciousness.  

            Life amounts to the interaction of Love and fear on both the personal and extra-personal levels of experience.  At the polar extreme of unenlightenment, fear drives our consciousness and behavior toward blind control – this is the level of animal instinct that we have inherited from our largely pre-conscious mammalian, and, beyond that, reptilian, ancestors.  In many ways, the process of human social evolution describes the movement away from this mode of experience and toward the other end of the perceptual spectrum – one defined by Love as the active driving force.  In this day of turbulence and intimidating transition of every kind, this counter-position of polar forces has reached a critical stage of manifestation.  I firmly believe that we are being challenged as never before in history to make a decisive quantum leap away from fear and negativity and toward Love and acceptance as the requirement of our survival as a sentient species.  We cannot turn back, and we cannot defer this decision – we must choose now what stance we will take – there is no more time left in this eleventh hour of humanity.  And to choose fear is to embrace the darkness of the dead past – Love is the only way forward for us now, the only mode of transition open into any kind of progressive future for mankind, and very probably into any kind of future at all

            At this time the paradigm shift into the consciousness established in Love is gaining momentum around the world as we begin to acquire a clearer understanding of the gravity of the impasse confronting us, and the necessity of rejecting the ancient reptilian fear and darkness.  I believe that the keys to furthering and supporting this process are communication, compassion, and collective perception.  Yes, we all exist in discreet physical expressions, and yes we can all still learn to see beyond this basal condition to the need for genuinely collective expression.  By genuinely collective I mean that the old authority pattern of a hierarchical command structure enforced by punishment and reward is replaced by compassionate intuition as the collective basis of decision making.  This phenomenon takes place at the level of the Heart Chakra, Anahata, pulling our awareness up to that state of manifestation in the process.  We can only perceive intuitively in the Heart, and can only feel compassionately there as well.  This is the challenge before us – to replace an old, familiar, albeit brutal mode, with an entirely new, yet experimental, way of managing human affairs.  I would be the first to admit that this is monumental undertaking, but it must be achieved for all our sakes.  

            Of the three keys to transition into the future, I believe that communication is absolutely the most critical one of all – without the ongoing process of dialog and interaction on all levels among all people the task of creating a new mode of collective intuitive perception centered in the Heart is doomed. This means everyone must participate on an equal footing, from the CEO right down to the homeless in the street – no one can be left out.  I realize that this will be a damn tough process for most of us to undergo, conditioned as we are to our functional isolation in the old, dying paradigm, but this is what we must do.  Failure is not an option.  And I have a good working model for this communication process – Carl Roger’s original approach to human interaction defined as active listening.  Even among complete strangers and established adversaries, this is a functional place to begin initiating the process of relationship.  

            Originally developed as a therapeutic technique, active listening has many communication advantages, including the inherent reduction of suspicion and hostility, and the creation of bridges of understanding among unfamiliars.  The two foundational concepts present in this technique are unconditional positive regard, and reflective interaction.  As impossibly simple as this may sound, in the vast majority of our involvements with each other what we are seeking is Love and acceptance.  The essence of Love is unconditional positive regard – the basic belief and understanding that people are fundamentally good and motivated to do the right thing.  If our communications reflect this notion, as opposed to fear-based judgementalism, then the stage is set for productive interaction.  Naturally, any residual hate, fear, or prejudice on any side of the communication process will have to be exposed, examined, and released to form the required background for positivity to manifest, and this is the crux of the matter here.  In response I say that again, today, more than ever, divided we fall, and united we stand.  If nothing else, we can begin by expressing our dislike of each other – which always comes down to our dislike of ourselves, by the way – but begin to communicate somewhere we must.  

            The adjunct process to unconditional positive regard, and one which coincides with it in the active listening scenario, is reflective interaction. In order for communication to occur, we must know that we have been heard and understood by the others around us.  Reflective interaction accomplishes this requirement.  At the basic level, this is achieved by simply stating “What I hear you saying is _______. Is that what you wanted to tell me?”, followed by “And this makes me feel _______.”  Can anything be more simple?  Amazingly, this elementary method will frequently sustain contact and satisfactory interaction if persistently applied! In have personally seen this demonstrated time after time in the communication arena.  

            The challenges to the active listening process occur in two areas. The first involves the decision regarding when to confront, and the next is when to support.  In therapy, confrontation is often viewed as a modality of support, the trick is to maintain a heightened enough intuitive sense of the emotional state of involved parties to know when to apply the technique.  If emotions are running high, as evidenced by shouting, angry gestures, crying, and denial, restraint in the use of confrontation should be used until the emotional content has been discharged to a more manageable level.  This may be very difficult on all sides of an intense issue, but is still the kindest stance.  Now, if I allow another to go blindly forward to destruction, I am clearly not practicing unconditional positive regard – and if I become so emotionally involved in the communication process that I loose my sense of detachment and objectivity I also am not practicing unconditional positive regard for myself.  Thus, I must intervene at the point of balance between my well-being and their well-being – this is the essence of support, and it is a subtle intuitive art, to be sure. I maintain that it is an art well worth acquiring in the emergent world, perhaps the most critical one of all.  Unfortunately, only abundant life experience can foster this level of intuitive skill. Prior to that point, we must be prepared to fall down and get up again many times as the price of learning. It remains a price well worth paying.  

            The additional aspect of support involves resource sharing, another difficult matter in today’s resource-depleted world.  This may be as simple as information access for someone in need of goods or services, and may be as problematic as providing those goods and services, but I suggest a minimalist approach here – offer only as much as is required to sustain others within the limits of our personal capability.  I must emphasize again that an effective communication using the reflective listening model will achieve most of what needs to be done, and frequently can be done, for oneself and others, including under the most dire circumstances.  We are all constrained by our Karma on the Physical Plane, and this cannot be affected by anything other than acknowledging and consciously living through our experience.  We succeed in life if we keep our communications open, compassionate, and simple – the rest will tend to itself.  

            Much of negotiating transition amounts to learning how to recognize and exercise our intuitive resources, frequently under conditions of heightened stress and confusion in today’s Post Modern, conflicted world environment.  To a certain extent, this occurs in the “gut”, the Western analog to the Solar Chakra, Manipura, and gut response will due if we cannot access Anahata for some reason – crises and emergencies often leave little or no time for deliberation, and require immediate action to successfully resolve.  Under other circumstances, we should let the Heart determine our course, even if we feel in our gut that we are being manipulated or deceived in some way.  This is the way of compassion and unconditional positive regard, and it is fundamentally the right way to approach human interaction.  If the pick-pocket sees only the Saint’s pockets, then the Saint should keep pockets full of Love.  Fill your Heart and pockets with Love, my friend, and they both will always have enough available for everyone!


                                                                                    - With Love, Alan -

                                                                  (Copyright 2009, by Alan Schneider)


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