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Evolutionary Blog

Distinctions to accelerate your personal and professional evolution

Development | Transformation | Evolution

There is so much good work being done in the world today. It is astonishing how many people are dedicating their lives more and more to helping others. The human potential movement has spawned organizations and individuals committed to bringing change to the world through changing the individual.

When Ghandi said “be the change you wish to see in the world”, he probably could not have imagined how many people would take up that call and attempt to make the world a better place by making themselves better people through self-reflexive observation and intentional changework.

As a result of the richness in the field that we can now experience, it is useful to distinguish among the many offerings. There are three basic approaches I have noticed, experienced, and participated in directly. They are: 1. Development 2. Transformation 3. Evolution. These are each useful in and of themselves. They are “good”. And yet they have limitations that come along with their benefits. Let us examine this together...

Personal Development is a huge and ranging field. Workshops exist for skill acquisition that are readily available in every major metropolitan area in the Western World, and Asia is quickly cathing on as well. Corporations, having long recognized that their only asset that increases in value over time is their people, send their people to workshops to accelerate that process—to increase their value.

You can attend workshops on money management, communication skills—be it negotiation, sales techniques, relationship models, etc.—health and fitness and well being, and the list goes on and on. What all of these workshops have in common is that they focus on one domain of your life. We could think of it as a vertical line—or multiple vertical lines—of development. When we acquire skills or we “develop” ourselves in this area or that area, we increase the level of that vertical line of development in that domain. Development takes time, investment, and persistence if we are to become developed in any particular area—in other words, to become competent in some area. Skill acquisition is necessary to be successful in this world.

We all want to be more effective at something, and most of us recognize the value, benefits, and at times...need...to acquire more skills. And yet, mere skill acquisition will not solve all that troubles us. We can have all the skill in the world and have those around us not like us, be miserable or demanding, and generally unhappy and unfulfilled. Development may be necessary, but it is only a partial view of what we need as humans. Why is that? Development is a one-dimensional experience—the increase of one vertical developmental line. Increased “heights”, if you will. Yet, human beings are multi-dimensional. Skill alone will never suffice. Out of this limitation arises “transformational technologies”.

A level that is deeper and more complex than mere development. Transformation is unpredictable and at times, instant. It does not deal with any one particular domain, yet it can apply to all domains at any given moment. How is this done? By bringing a different way of being to a situation, something completely new and wonderful can arise out of a "breakdown"—that is a situation where there is an outcome that has been blocked by some circumstance or another.

Frankly, transformation is very appealing in today’s marketplace. It promises instant results in any given moment and gives people tremendous choice, empowerment, and responsibility...leading to more choice, empowerment...responsibility, and this loop feeds on itself with often wonderful results. But not always... Transformation is often reliant on breakdown and breakthrough patterns. In other words, we have some breakdown...and through that, we get to experience transformation of the situation or the circumstances or the dynamics or in ourselves...or a “breakthrough”. This often orients us towards breakdowns. Being humans that we are, we can become attached to experiencing that cycle—or worse...identified with it.

I have actually heard seminar leaders who deal in the world of transformation say that “you will begin to look forward to, and at times even create, your breakdowns”. While it is useful to see “breakdowns” as an opportunity so we can be more resourceful around them, rather than submerged in a “crisis”...building in a mechanism that has people seek out breakdowns has obvious limitations and can be problematic--not to mention hard on the core of the being. At times even causing internal dissonance rather than resolving it.

And while transformation is certainly useful...it is only a two-dimensional phenomenon. Height and breadth, if you will, being that transformation can be applied in multiple domains. But again, this will not fully suffice, as human beings are multi-dimensional beings.

Out of this limitation arises Personal Evolution. Evolution is not very sexy. It is an infinite and life-time game. There is no goal to reach and no "journey" to complete. It requires a life-time commitment. Regardless of which stage you have reached or how much depth has unfolded, there is always another stage and a deeper level. However, evolution is also the most fulfilling, and most complete of the three. It trickles out to all domains, making transformation possible and accessible as well as the development of skills even easier. It serves the whole being. Evolution is about the ever-widening of identity. It is about ever-deepening, ever more complex, and increasingly expansive levels of order.

How does evolution occur? Evolution occurs when the current stage a person is at become inadequate to deal with their life circumstances. We may experience chaos, confusion, or at times, even disaster or tragedy. When this happens, there are two choices or “directions”: evolution or regression. If we evolve, what actually occurs is that our very Self—the core of our being—moves to a new level of order. There is a widening of Identity [capital I]. The Self becomes more expansive, deep, complex, and at times and certainly eventually, more open and more flowing. I stress, this happens in stages. It is slow. It is creeping. it is a process in the largest sense of the word.

However, it is something that affects all domains in your life. Relationships, money, sex, career, family, politics, health, value spheres, world views—all of it. When the very core of who you thought you were and who you truly are evolves, then your experience and the way you relate to everything around you also evolves. It can be no other way. And we all interpret the events in our lives through our current stage of development...it can be no other way. Personal Evolution is truly multi-dimensional. It has height, breadth, and provides--and at times demands--increasing depth. It is an organic unfolding of the core of the being. Exposing ever deeper levels. And in the process, the being experiencing this evolution...this unfolding...comes ever closer to who they truly are. They become closer to Spirit itself until that stage where all separation and what they used to call “God” dissolves and they become Spirit itself.

They become the divine.

If we pause there and we look back on this very piece of writing, we can see the process of evolution represented right her on this page. The evolution of the human potential movement. Out of wanting better results, we created personal development rising to a new level of order. Then we realized, consciously or unconsciously, that development itself was inadequate to address the demands of being human. Out of that confusion and chaos we rose to a new level of order and transformational technologies came into being. This was useful for some time for some outcomes and addressed more of the being...yet we bumped up against the limitations of this level of order soon enough. Out of the realization of those limitations, a new level or order emerged—personal evolution itself. Evolution of the person and the personal.

The organic unfolding of manifest divinity and our personal and internal manifest destiny. Evolution is there. Unfolding is there. Divinity is there. Will you participate in it...or regress?

We are faced with that choice literally every day of our lives. We all choose one at times and the other at times. The key is in choosing consciously...even now.

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Depth and Its Value | Spiral Dynamics | Integral

All perspectives have equal validity, but they lack equal *value*, as they manifest different and varying levels of depth. #integral

I wrote the above line on facebook yesterday. Comments ensued:

@chris kosley said:

"Isn't value only assignable relative to a particular goal? Why should deep be inherently more valuable than shallow?"

To which I responded:

Thanks for asking the question. Good stuff.

What you say about value relative to a goal is true in other contexts [say, if I were talking about a skill or a thing; an object. But that is not what I was talking about.

I was talking about the inherent value in perspectives.

Why should deep be inherently more valuable than shallow? The simple answer is because it contains more. 

It requires more to demonstrate depth than it does to be shallow. It requires a larger embrace of the Kosmos. For instance, compassion is more valuable than anger because it requires a greater depth of development to demonstrate compassion than it does to simply get angry.

Therefore there *is* an inherent value that is greater.

Green [SD6] in Spiral Dynamics will not see this: they believe in flatland; all perspectives have equal value and it is all about cultural constructs and no culture is any "better" than any other culture. Of course they fail to realize that this perspective itself is a very high/deep level of development and stages below it do not share the sentiment.

Yellow realizes the folly in this, and its inherent falseness; Yellow [SD7] once again is fine with holarchies [stops judging them as bad or claiming they do not exist] as they are naturally occurring all around us.

And that is one of the charachteristics that truly distinguishes 1st Tier consciousness from 2nd Tier in the model. In other words, what distinguishes Integral.

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Precision Practitioners | What Distinguishes a True Master

Often people ask me what separates a “Practitioner” from a “Master Practitioner”. Or what separates a “good” practitioner, from a “great” practitioner from an “extraordinary” practitioner. It is a good question, and one deserving of answers.

From a technical standpoint as well as a practical standpoint, there are several criteria that filter these levels, and the piece of paper upon which their certification is printed is usually not one of them.

The simple answer first ::: what separates a Practitioner from a Master Practitioner?

From a technical standpoint, a "practitioner" is effective at the lower logical levels; they can assist a client in changing behaviors, be they addictive behaviors, habits, or context or situational reactions.  They can also assist a client in changing or expanding their skills and capabilities. Whether it be to speak more effectively, or creating accelerated learning strategies, or modeling some physical, athletic, or communication based set of “skills” or capabilities or capacities.

They are likely still working to integrate their work themselves–still learning to walk their talk, but they are effective at working “on” a client. They can often point to how “others who are effective at XYZ do it” as a model.

The "Master Practitioner" can affect those levels as well as the higher or deeper logical levels. They can assist a client in altering or changing their beliefs about themselves–or about others or about the world–allowing the client to expand into previously “impossible” possibilities in relationships, or in what they can achieve. Still higher or deeper, they can assist the client in altering the very way they relate to themselves. The “kind of person” they are. Their identity and their egoic structures. And at the deepest or highest level, a Master Practitioner can facilitate change at the very level of Spirit. A profound, connected, spiritual shift that ripples out or cascades down to the rest.

They are walking their talk fully. There are no aspects of their life that are out of alignment with their espoused principles and approaches–unless quite briefly, before they right themselves again–they are the relationship coach who has an extraordinary relationship and communicates in the way they recommend, the financial coach that uses their own systems, and is affluent etc., etc. They can often point to how “they do it themselves” as a model. They are effective and come from a place of working "with" a client.

And you could say a practitioner is a “good” practitioner and a Master Practitioner is a “great” practitioner.

However, I would assert that what makes an Extraordinary Practitioner is several additional elements [at a minimum] transcending yet also including and encompassing the above :::

  1. Been trained in multiple, seemingly disparate approaches [a combination of Eastern and Western approaches at least]; my rule for practitioners who work with me as a client is at least 3 disciplines or “perspectives” to their training path
  2. Being dynamic with the client [they may have a loose framework, but it is fleshed out quite dynamically by the human being in front of them, who is a variable in the equation, to say the least]
  3. They know where they are headed, often multiple sessions in advance, and have an eye not only on where they’ve been, and where they are going, but also do a bit of dynamic triage at the beginning of the session and are unattached to the “plan” yet still committed to the path.
  4. They have no interest in ego-driven “authority” over a client and elegantly avoid any tension-filled conflict or power struggles as they are not “in the way” of being an instrument for the client and their outcomes
  5. Additionally, they have some understanding of the verticality [stages/waves/levels] in multiple "lines" of development and it is well integrated into their offering and work

However, there is one more component I consider critical in addition to all of the above that is an aspect of an extraordinary practitioner. Someone who is a true master and it is this :::

They understand that their client and the client’s evolution is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle.

First, you build out the foundation–the corners and then the outer border. And then you find the appropriate pieces to begin to build in toward the depths of the center. If you attempt to push a piece into the corner that does not belong there, you will break a piece or “blow it out”. Similarly, if you drop a piece in the middle with nothing to connect it to, it is just confusing. No place for it to fit. No place for it to be anchored or connected to, and so it is discarded. Forgotten. Perhaps even lost.

And if that is the case, no one is served.

What truly makes an Extraordinary Practitioner is the ability to discern what the client needs, what they have already integrated, which piece they can handle next, and which piece they will need even beyond that, and to elegantly give them that next piece with wisdom, precision, and with an eye on the ultimate evolutionary expanse for the client and their mental, emotional, and egoic structures.

It takes years and hundreds of clients to be able to develop not only the insight and lack of attachment, but the timing and precision to be an agent in service of the client in this way. And when you find them, they are worth their weight in gold, to be sure.

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The Myth of Transcendence and Other Evolutionary Geek-ness

 

 

Stages of Evolution. Waves of unfolding. The spiral.

You are familiar with the holonic stages ::: from pre-personal to personal to trans-personal; from body/physical to mind/mental/intellectual to Spiritual; from ego-centric to ethno-centric/Nationalistic to World-centric/global. From pre-rational to rational to trans-rational.

:::

From vengeance to justice to Grace.

From your emotions running you to having choice around your emotional reactions to achieving a place of actual freedom; from crawling to walking to running.

Stages of ever increasing inclusiveness. Stages of ever-increasing whole-ness. Levels of ever-increasing expansiveness.

Now, in the first paragraph, replace "to" with "transcending, and then including". You see, these are ever expanding holonic spheres. And part of the healthy spiral or waves, if they are to be healthy and not hobbled by pathology, is not "transcend, and then deny" it is "transcend and include".

Part of the Integral, or in Spiral Dynamics [henceforth "SD"] Yellow, or second tier, SD7, SDi, is being able to call upon the entire first tier, as need be. As the context calls for it. To have the behavioral and situational flexibility to realize which memetic code you are dealing with and address it at its level, and if it serves, to give it the egoic and emotional "food" to go the next stage.

You may be asking ::: So f***ing what, Jason?!

There is this myth that you are not supposed to be angry. Or have "lower chakra" drives [sex, for example] or that you are somehow immune to emotional injury. The truth is that this is...well, myth. What is true is that you are more free from identification with any of those things. You are free to choose. You notice your sensations to be sure. They pass through quickly. Or as I like to say ::: it hurts more, but you care less.

But what a whole class of developmental organizations and schools of thought have implied is that you should not feel these things--and thereby causing people to become disembodied. They are walking heads. Their body is just a vehicle to get them to meetings. They are over weight. They perhaps even have addictions. They do not admit their emotional aspects that are "negative" and they are attempting to "just" be Spiritual [skipping the material/rational/Just/monetary]; they are attempting to skip stages.

This is impossible without significant pathology developing.

Just try and have an infant run before they can walk. See how far they get. The bump on their head is a great metaphor for the pathology created. Skipping rungs on the ladder of the development of their consciousness. It amuses me. People attempting to transcend to the spiritual "plane" before they've even figured out how to move the furniture around on the material plane.

And it saddens me, because they are not fully alive. To be fully alive, our chakras [for lack of a better label] should be firing all at once. ALL fully open and alive. All flowing with the energy of Spirit. Life force.

AND, at some level/stage, you have enough choice to be responsible with those energetic flows and not get them on other people, in an irresponsible way.

However, what is means to you [especially at SD7 or beyond] is that you are able to call upon whatever is required. Outcome. Context. Efficacy. If what is required is love and Grace [trans-rational] then you call upon those capacities you have developed; if justice is required you call upon the levers of justice/courts/legislation [and a lawyer/practitioner if need be]; if brute force is put upon you, then perhaps equal or greater force is what is required--and if need be, you call upon those capacities.

So think we should not consider those as options when "higher" solutions are ineffective is at least naive. 

It is a bill of goods sold to us by people attempting to sell one-step transformation. One-step enlightenment. One weekend "breakthroughs" to X, Y, or Z. Well intended people attempting to change your life setting you up, quite unknowingly, to compare yourself to some imagined ideal. One-step. Only people who have practiced, meditated, or whatever for years get to say that "trying to be enlightened is like trying to get a left foot". You already have it. Right. After 20 years of daily practice they tell you it is one step.

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