Sunday, February 26, 2006

Assessing an organization

What does it mean, and look like, to lead from a second tier capacity? Seattleintegral's Core group, the leadership group trying to develop that second tier capacity, has some specific tasks for the individuals in that group before our next meeting in March.

Specifically, we have asked ourselves to answer the following questions:
  • What is the the purpose of the group?
  • Why does this group exist?
  • What are our individual passions and how might they relate to the Core Group and to SeattleIntegral in general?
  • Map these answers into the 4-Quadrants.

An integral assessment using the 4-Quadrants is one of the most useful applications of Ken Wilber's AQAL model. The quadrants are four basic dimensions that any sentient being possess, and they can be summarized as the interior and exterior of the individual and the collective.

We can assess ourselves and our organizations by reflecting on these four dimensions:
  1. What are our intentions and reflective practices?
  2. What are our relationships and of what quality?
  3. What behaviors and skills do I/we possess?
  4. What are the systems within yourself and those you are a part of?
By accurately and honestly responding to these questions, and others, we can determine where the organization is weak, and needs attention and strengthening.

Friday, February 24, 2006

"Food Fight!"

Yikes, every body's lining up for the"Food Fight."

I never liked the term "food fight" when talking about 1st tier memetic warfare. It minimizes the distress and sometimes terribly real pain that accompanies defending ones values. In the case of abortion rights, it's easy to see how conservatives and fundamentalists can, and do, believe in life begins at conception. No matter what scientific facts one might present to contrary, the facts just aren't going to change their minds (The jury is still out on evolution....heh, heh - G.W. Bush). For them, it's not about science.

Likewise, those who support a woman's right to choose/the right of privacy (not the same thing as supporting abortion...I know, I'm one of those) authentically believe that no one has the right to tell someone what they can and can't do to their own body.

Can both be right? Well, yes, from their own perspectives.

But what about a larger picture that transcends these two opposing views?

I'm going to suggest something that will, no doubt, piss a lot of people off. I'm going to suggest that we give the conservatives and the fundamentalists Roe v. Wade. Well, for a while, anyway.

Huh? I can hear the howling beginning already. hear me out.

How many voters in this country are single-issue voters? What number of those voters have abortion as their "one issue?" I did a quick google search, and while I couldn't find any statistics, I'll bet there's a lot of them.

How about enough to swing elections away from the far-right Bushie neo-cons to a more moderate middle if they are taken out of the equation? Here's what I think would happen if abortion were no longer an issue.

Voters who now include abortion as part of voting their moral values would have an opportunity to consider other "moral issues" such as:
  • not raising our hand to those who haven't harmed us
  • helping the homeless, the sick, and the poor
  • providing education for our children
  • loving our neighbors instead of fighting with them
  • spreading the wealth around, not letting just a priviledged few control it
Do these sound familiar? If you came up through Blue, they do.

Meanwhile, we give up Roe v Wade for a few years. There's a whole new generation of people coming who, because of technology, will look at the world very differently, We need to be nurturing that for the long run.

Consider it. Shoot holes in it. Play "what if" with it. There's more than one way to change the world, and maybe it's time we got smarter.

Just thinkin'......


I found out recently that the condo I've been renting for the past six years is for sale, and I've been spending a lot of time looking for another place to live. I've dropped my weight training down to 2X a week, but I'm still meditating every day. My ITP practice is still intact. My blogging has slowed.

SeattleIntegral hit a new milestone this week....Laura from Sacramento was member 110.

I make my living as a graphic designer and I've also been working on a freelance book jacket design for a re-issue of a book by an author most of us know. When I was introduced to the "U" concept of Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future, I immediately got it. As an artist called upon to find design solutions, I had been using the "U" process most of my adult life, but here it was, laid out in clear terms exactly what the creative process is, and how it happens: "Downloading" (operating with habitual ways of knowing and doing) to "presencing" (awareness of the present moment). Presence is about what it means to be an authentic agent of change.

I'm very concerned about what's going on in the world. On one hand, I remain calm and accepting, and on the other, I embrace imbalance..... of corporatocracy with no concern for how it affects people's lives; the incompetence of a failed U.S. administration who has never spoken for me, or to me; The out and out civil war that appears to be emerging in Iraq and the U.S. role in creating that and other chaos; Out of control debt that requires that the U.S. sell off assets, today, terminals within ports; U.S. debt held by foreign countries that is pushing us to a possible collapse of the dollar; U.S. imperialism of a hundred years creating an empire most of us are unaware of and the resentment that goes with it; Gobal warming.....On and on. It's almost time for the shift. It appears to unfold before us.

Chaos and change: What will cause that shift? Global chaos with millions of lives as the price? Or will we awaken in time and face the hard truths before us? Who will we choose to become? Who will we be forced to become?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Lucid Dreaming is Conscious Dreaming

Dreaming has been called everything from a "subconscious reading between the lines" to communication from God. While dreaming, we apparently process chaotic information in our minds in the form of a visual "screenplay." When we remember them, it's because we've viewed them with a conscious mind and recorded them in our memory.

There are a lot of different types of dreams: eposidic, flying, repetitive, precognitive, shared, universal, just to name a few, and lucid. Lucid dreams are when you realize you are dreaming and you can actually alter the events in the dream. It appears that some people have lucid dreams easily, while others have to learn how to do them. It also appears that anyone can learn how to have them.

This has to do with the three major states of consciousness that all of us are familiar with: waking, dreaming, and sleeping, or gross, subtle, and causal states. Dreams occur while surfing the subtle state - between the gross world of matter and the emptiness of causal deep sleep.

I've started a self-guided program to induce lucid dreaming into my practices, and have begun keeping a journal of my dreams. There are a couple of reasons for this: I want to see if there are any recurring messages my subconscious might be sending me, and, by becoming aware of my dreams, I might be able to identify those repetitive dreams as they are occurring, and control them. Why control them?

Lucid dreaming can be used to ask for guidance. It can help people face and overcome fears and inhibitions that might be preventing them from getting the most out of life. It can help people overcome nightmares. It can be used to gain knowledge about ourselves and grow spiritually.

Adventure and fantasy/overcoming nightmares/rehearsal/creativity and problem solving/healing/transcendence......

Why, indeed!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Limits of Integral Vision

When I talk of "Vision," I usually apply it to a sense of what might be, and how one sees the possibilities of the future, but it can also be applied to how one sees from a particular perspective, or level of consciousness. In the journals I kept during the Generating Transformative Change in Human Systems program, I became more aware of the evolutionary aspect of myself and how my vision at previous levels was held by the filters of that level.

The Integral Approach can be be applied to any level of development, but only from specific levels above green of the Spiral Dynamics model. Does that mean that an integral approach would be more integral at Turquoise than at yellow? Will I look at all of these ideas with different filters when I arrive at the new alpha of of Turquoise, as opposed to the old alpha of Yellow?

The answer seems obvious: Yes. A fixed place in evolutionary consciousness is both a paradox and a contradiction in terms. The filter I find myself peering through lately is the filter of "What would I do if I were truly second tier?"

At every stage of development, it is our fundamental need for meaning making that creates concepts and erects boundaries where there are none. Integral is no different, and even second tier is an aspect of a filter, or lens, through which we view the world. My task, and my practice, is to carry the awareness of these filters into the moment.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Leadership as Practice

SeattleIntegral has a fairly new Core Visioning Group consisting of eleven or twelve individuals who deeply care about creating the next step in the evolution of an Integral Salon (There are a lot of amazing things about this, not the least of which is that our salon is getting so big, that the core group is larger than most salons).

On Integral Visioning, there’s a forum on Integral Organization. In that forum, “Theurj” posts the following:

“Diederick Janse's article "Integral organization, and then some" says that organizations do not go through step-like development because they do not have a dominant monad like individuals. An organization can begin at the level of development of its members. I've also heard Ken say this in the 2003 discussions with JFK students."

He continues: "Ken has said that Integral Institute is not an integral organization, yet most, if not all, of its members are of at least an integral level of development. So why isn't I-I integral? And if not, what level is it and why?"

I don't know the answer to those questions, but I'd sure like to. You see, I want to build a second tier Core Visioning group that oversees the development and organization for SeattleIntegral. We've been meeting a few months, and there's a growing number of members who are also feeling that vision.

My felt sense is that responsibility for a group's center of gravity lies solely with the collective leadership. In my case, as the current leader (facilitator might be a better word) of SeattleIntegral, it is imperative that the group not be guided by one person, and that the group can find the balance where I can step back, to let go of the reins, so to speak, so that this new leadership can emerge.

That also means shared responsibilities.

"One of the roadblocks for groups moving forward now is thinking that they have to wait for a leader to emerge - someone who embodies the future path. But I think what we've been learning with the "U" process is that the future can emerge within the group itself, not embodied in a 'hero' or traditional 'leader.' I think this is the key to going forward - that we have to nurture a new form of leadership that doesn't depend on extraordinary individuals." -(from "Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future")

In a world of global institutional networks, we face issues where hierarchical leadership is no longer adequate, and personal cultivation of individuals within larger collectives of people is essential. I am thinking of leadership as changing from someone in charge at the top to more like distributed, shared networks.

For those networks to lead effectively, and work with awareness, and from second tier, we will all need to be deeply committed to cultivating our capacity to serve what wants to emerge. As Janse points out in his article, we need our individual holonic horizons to intersect at the highest stage, or Kosmic groove, available to the group.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Easing back into the flow....

I know I have no one to blame but myself for the horrid lapse in my ITP over the past couple of years, but I'm finally pulling all of the aspects of it back together again: meditation (Who? me: upper left quadrant), Weight lifting, walking (how, lower right quadrant), Diet (what I'm eating Upper Right, how I'm eating, lower right quadrant), affirmations, ITP community, and all my SeattleIntegral work and community (why: lower left quadrant).

I do the KATA (Japanese for form, a combination of Yoga, Akido, and Tai' Chi) when the group meets, but I just can't seem to add it into my daily practice. For some reason, I think it's just not bold enough for me (but then George Leonard does it so much more competently than I, and he's 83, 23 years older than I at 60!). I only know it doesn't seem like enough to me.

When I first heard about ITP several years ago, I hadn't actually met another person who was interested in Ken Wilber. Oh, there was the former girlfriend who first recommended I read Wilber, but it took me a year to get through my reading list and finally get around to that, long past her ungainly departure from my life, so I couldn't exactly talk about it with her.

My first brush with ITP came about from Ken's recommendation in the book, "One Taste," his highly personal journal notes about his own meditative experiences and how they relate to the Great Chain of Being. I became very interested in learning about this "ITP." I bought "The Life We Are Given" and immediately discovered that I was already intuitively doing an "ITP." I just didn't know that's what it was. I was swimming competitively 4-5 days a week, lifting weights, carefully watching my diet, meditating, and seriously reading. The only component missing was community and giving back.

I eventually found others who were into the ITP concept, Wilber, and what appeared to be a new-found revitalization of Spirit in my life. Long story short, I eventually became so wrapped up in creating this amazing integral community of SeattleIntegral, that I seem to have lost my integral way. Now I feel like I'm coming full circle, realizing that truly living an integral life means making time for yourself as well.

The ILP Home Study Kit will be here in a week or two....can't wait to see it!