Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Five Shadows Slowing Down the Great Shift

Anyaa and I just spent an amazing two days with mystic and spiritual teacher Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope, one of my favorite books this year. 

Andrew is one of those teachers who is not all light and love. Don't get me wrong, he is light and love, but he's also a no-bullshit kind of teacher who understands, like Ken Wilber, that true transformation doesn't happen through new age platitudes like The Secret, avoiding negative thoughts, and not facing one's fears. Andrew takes people apart so they can be put back together again with new perspectives and awareness by being "in your face, disturbing you, terrifying you, until you radically awaken to who and what you really are." David Deida is also one of those teachers. Andrew is simply one of the most authentic teachers around.

Wait for the video to load or visit

Andrew believes, and Anyaa and I agree with him, that everything is collapsing; That we have passed the point where what passes for civilization can be "fixed." It's too far gone. He also believes that the whole concept of collapse is a necessary event for the new human to be born, for humanity to move to the next level, a more evolved human. I've shared this belief for a long time, and history shows us how major shifts in consciousness take place, and it ain't by wishful thinking. It happens by getting down in the muck and doing the work, and we're about to see a lot of muck, in ways that we can't even begin to imagine.

Harvey talks about the Five Shadows of Collapse, shadows we need to face and come to terms with, or we're just spiritually masturbating to make ourselves feel good and dull us out through light polarization and Spiritual Puffery.

The first Shadow is disbelief of the immensity of what is happening on the planet and how bad it will be, perhaps even beyond our comprehension to understand. All true change comes from standing in the fire, not from feel-good pats on the back or the saccharin "sweet path of stress reduction and egoic comfort."

The second shadow is Denial: The more ugly things get, the more I deny what I see and feel can be real. My denial allows me to detach from the suffering of others because it's not touching me....yet.

That leads us the the third Shadow: Dread. Immense dread. You cannot believe in "the oneness of all" and ignore what is already happening to millions of others. Collapse isn't a future event for 4 billion people on the planet. it's already happening, and it reveals the true nature of humans: all of us. We've ignored the warnings of 50 years and we've chosen  to ignore them. It's all of our responsibility, and we've done it because of the dread we feel about losing our comfortable lifestyles.

The fourth shadow then becomes Radical Disillusion with human nature: The systemic explosion of horror on every level. We are profoundly paralyzed by our own lack of substance. We've almost run out of fantasy and our schizophrenia has turned into psychosis. A mysticism that doesn't embrace the darkside of God is not real, and it's not sustainable.

The fifth shadow is the Death Wish - collectively and individually. The desire not to be here at all. I've heard over and over from people that id things get as bad as I think they'll get, that they don't want to be here at all. They'll just kill themselves. Collectively, we're already committing suicide, and individually we've each contributed - by our lifestyles, our belief in infinite growth on a finite planet, and our total consumptive mindsets. We have to own that we are doing this.We don't realize how our inner suicide claims our lives, and that we need to befriend that inner suicide.

Once we face and own our shadows around collapse, there are five things we must do to navigate these times so that the new human can be birthed :

1) Get real. Get out of denial and do what you must to transform; 
2) Develop practices and shadow work to help you cope; 
3) Be of service to ALL sentient beings; 
4) Think Globally, act local; 
5) make your vote, your expenditures, and energy congruent with the new birth.

Don't wait. Start now, There's not a lot of time. 

Thank you, Andrew, for your powerful teachings.

See the rest of Andrew's videos in this series at


Bob said...

I respect your commitment to looking into dark places, Gary. It's very unusual to find an "integral" writer who isn't narcoticizing against what's coming.

But continuing to lionize Ken Wilber is a problem. His anti "green" campaign has been deeply hostile to anyone who's been minimally critical of his beloved capitalism for the last ten years. Much of the "mean green" academic literature he's trashed accurately saw all of this coming, but integralists didn't read any of it because Ken told them not to. Wilber endorsed the Iraq War, George Bush, Tony Blair, and spent years giving talks trashing the peace movement and getting a hardon for the "blue" boys with guns even as the far right took over the political culture of the U.S.

If you really believe that we're past the point of easy meliorist repairs, then you can't take seriously the notion of the "indigo dollar."

And that pathetic notion, unfortunately, *is* integral "politics."

If you want your point to be taken seriously, you need to separate it from the requirement of affirming Wilberian Integralism. Better yet, you could exercise more of your critical faculty toward the integral beliefs you're so invested in.

Many of them are the problem, not the solution.

Gary Stamper said...

Bob, I don't know who you are, and even using your name - if that's your name - doesn't meet my honor system requirements for posting comments. Why do I insist on this? Read "leave your comment."

I haven't removed your post because you make excellent points that I really do want to address. Own your comment, and be willing to stand behind it. You have until Midnite Friday, and I really do want you to step up!

David MacLeod said...

Thank you Gary, I also appreciate Andrew Harvey's contributions. I HIGHLY recommend the one hour interview he did a few years ago, entitled "Of Rumi and Apocolypse."

"Harvey inspires us to face the world's pain directly, and to take the possibility of apocalypse seriously. But he also inspires awe and wonder at the divine power and possibilities available to us if only "human beings could see how drastic the situation is--and could also see that the divine is here, and wanting to help, and trying to seep through every crack.""

Regarding Bob's comment, he has some excellent points - Wilber has some blind spots when it comes to "environmentalism", or the "mean green meme," but Wilber has also contributed some very crucial contributions regarding environmental activism that we ignore at our peril. Unfortunately he hasn't always communicated in a way that some environmentalists have been able to hear.

Personally, I think some form of combining integral and permaculture principles is the way to move forward.

Gary Stamper said...


I'm making an exception to your anonymous posting this one time. My policy about anonymous postings are clear and I'm curious as to why you don't have the strength of your convictions to own your positions.

First, I appreciate your recognition of my willingness to look at the dark side, and agree that there's shadow around this in the Integral community. Some of it comes from Wilber and some comes from people who are unwilling to speak their truth openly, and some, obviously, comes from me.

Let he who is without sin....

I've long held the position that, like Wilber, no one has all of the truth, and no one is smart enough to be wrong 100% of the time. My own approach to gurus (and pundits) is that I pick and choose what rings true for me at my level of development. So I am free to use whatever wisdom a teacher may have and not completely align with them. This allows me not to take a totally dismissive and limiting approach to one teacher because I disagree with some things they say.

As for the Indigo Dollar, I don't offer that approach up as a solution, because frankly, I believe that all fiat currencies are doomed. I offer the idea that we vote with our dollars (while we can) and because spending this way is a moral imperative. It's why I've limited my exposure to the dying Infinite Growth Monetary Paradigm as much as I possibly can - and that has been A LOT!

That's just a couple of the ways I exercise my critical faculty toward my integral beliefs rather than hiding behind anonymity. That's also part of the problem.

BTW, any responses you may make will be immediately deleted unless you do it with your identity.

Gary Stamper said...


Thanks for your thoughtful response. Andrew is a hero/teacher to me, and Anyaa and I both are using Sacred Activism as tools in our processes, and I have a chapter on "Sacred Activism and the Integral Warrior" in my book coming out in January. Plus, we have formed a community group called "Conscious Transition WNC: A Network of Grace." As you probably know, Networks of Grace are also part of Andrew's teachings.

As for integral and permaculture being the way forward, that sounds better than anything else I've heard, but I think that through the collapse we're about to experience, we'll see the birth of the New Human - if we survive at all.

David MacLeod said...

BTW Gary, the A. Harvey video on your blog here ends abruptly, leaving the viewer hanging. It's the first video in a series, and all of them can be viewed here:

I'm interested in hearing how "The New Masculine" deals with "The Sacred Feminine" that Harvey talks about.