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Disagreement to Chapter 9 - The Conveyor Belt

Last post 09-08-2006, 11:58 PM by PrickliestPear. 25 replies.
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  •  08-31-2006, 7:54 AM 6134

    • ats is not online. Last active: 09-24-2008, 4:23 PM ats
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    Disagreement to Chapter 9 - The Conveyor Belt

    Ever since I first saw Ken Wilber state that religion must be the one to make peace with science, a red flag has gone up.  I am very skeptical of this.  If I were running a business, I would throw out that plan as unrealistic, since having science decolonize morals and spirituality would be much, much easier and quicker.

    If you look at the history of the United States from a sociological point of view, the church has been in opposition to every change for the better.  If you consider slavery, segregation, the women's liberation, the childern's liberation (hippy gen), or currently the gay issue, the church has opposed change.  If history is any indication, and my gut tells me this, the church will fight any kind of orange or green or 2nd or 3rd tier form of religion.  I frankly can't see it happening.

    What I propose instead is a "SECULAR SPIRITUALITY".  We should ernestly separate the Big 4, concentrating on the decolonization of morality and spirituality by science.  There should be a "SECULAR MORALITY" also.  Once this is clearly presented with AQAL (with it's ingenious inter / exterior) and the WC Lattice, we can then pursue each line from the bare requirements, or universal commonalities necessary to construct a secular definition.

    From that, I feel that it would be much more feasible to have Bert and Earnie discuss secular spiritual experiences, or the Teletubbies, for that matter.  If spirituality is seen as just another fact, or more specifically an interior confirmable experience, we could bypass the whole changing mythical religion thing.

    I do understand that this will not solve the layered cake problem, but it will relieve some pressure from above.  Also, the church will have to find a way to incorporate this in order to survive.  I believe (I have not done research on this, and haven't been alive long enough) that the church's message that "Jesus loves you" was learned from the hippy generation.  Yet, the church considers the hippy generation to be one of the most shameful eras of mankind.  Likewise, they will begrudgingly adapt to the "secular spirituality" while not giving credit where it's due.


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  •  08-31-2006, 8:05 AM 6136 in reply to 6134

    • ats is not online. Last active: 09-24-2008, 4:23 PM ats
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    Re: Disagreement to Chapter 9 - The Conveyor Belt

    Also of note, it seems as though Ken thinks Christianity OWNS spirituality.  This is of great concern to me.  I grew up in a SECULAR household.  Many who live in secular households will miss out on "secular spirituality".

    Religion should be a synthesis of the Big 4 and not own any one of them.  They combine the four to form their own "brand".  I sense an impending colonization of spirituality that might not be too great.

    Also of note, I believe it's not necessary at all to have religions own mythical stories.  Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny have done quite well, and we all know they are myths.  I grew up on Sesame Street and learned my values from them, not from church.  I think it would be much easier to clonize a "secular spirituality" in the secular world first, rather than to try to change mythical religion.

    Now, in order for "secular spirituality" in the secular world to take root, the parents must also have to know and take for granted this spirituality as fact.  In comes the Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, National Geographic, PBS, CNN, C-SPAN, etc...

    The hippy generation heralded in TV shows like Silver Spoons, Family Ties, The Facts Of Life, Different Strokes, etc.. that accentuated the women's liberation and children's liberation issues.  What if generation Y heralded in the "secular spirituality" movement?  It's a movement worth spinning into reality, don't you think?


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  •  08-31-2006, 8:20 AM 6139 in reply to 6136

    • ats is not online. Last active: 09-24-2008, 4:23 PM ats
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    Re: Disagreement to Chapter 9 - The Conveyor Belt

    Art and spirituality are deeply interior.  I think cartoonist and tv sitcom writers would be more open to promoting secular spirituality, and we should concentrate our efforts at IN and ISC to actively reach out to them.  Also to musicians, painters, sculptors, etc...

    I sense "secular spirituality" will be a profound artistic awakening, much like the Rennaissance.


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  •  08-31-2006, 8:53 AM 6148 in reply to 6134

    Re: Disagreement to Chapter 9 - The Conveyor Belt

    Thanks,

    That was a very thought-provoking post. My initial reaction was one of agreement. Then I started thinking a bit more deeply about the issue, and now I both agree and disagree with you.

    I totally agree to the extent that the church as a monolithic entity seems to exhibit reactionist tendencies, opposing progress wherever it rears its head. So indeed, working towards a decolonization of morals and spirituality on behalf of science may seem like the easier route. Fortunately things are not quite as bleak for religion either.

    First of all, the church is not a monolithic entity. I'm sure we would be able to find groups within the church who would be more sympathetic to the idea of progress. At the very least we should be able to find influental individuals (Martin Luther King, anyone?) who will resonate with ideas such as those presented in Ken's books.

    Secondly, at least where I come from (Finland) the church is putting effort into staying relevant in the society. And to me it seems like the integral framework (or other new developments) can provide the church with tools to do exactly that. Perhaps this is the leverage point we need?

    Thirdly, at the risk of stating the obvious, Ken does have a point in saying that the church currently offers a way for individuals to climb up to a mythic worldview so at least to me the idea of extending that staircase is appealing.

    It's an interesting question in any case. I'd really like to hear more of your and other people's thoughts on this topic.

    Peace,
      Janne

    Janne Asmala
    janne.asmala@gmail.com
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  •  08-31-2006, 10:36 AM 6155 in reply to 6148

    Re: Disagreement to Chapter 9 - The Conveyor Belt

    alan and jann
    almost anytime ken writes about religion/spirituality he begins with a survey of the many meanings we unwittingly assume when using those terms. it would be interesting to do the same for the notion of 'the church'. for you, alan, it is something monolithic. i'm with janne in this regard: i don't see it as at all monolithic, in agreement with a post of tim's from the other ch.9 thread, where i think he indicates there are something like a thousand different christian churches (denominations?).

    so, who is right? all of us, of course. it just depends what we're talking about when we use the term 'the church'. if that means 'the papacy', for example, then alan's posts have special relevance.

    an integral perspective would allow room for both meanings, as well as others. it would allow for a 'secular spirituality', as well as the many other forms of spirituality and their related religions. no group would be allowed to foist its version on others.

    this is crucial to the efficacy of the conveyor belt. the papacy or islam, say, might be locked in a serious case of LLF, but other churches could offer ways to grow spiritually to orange and, hopefully more and more peoples of the world would be given free choice of the religion they wanted to follow. they could enter modernity in a way that appealed to them spiritually as well as secularly.

    by the same token, people would, hopefully, not have to submit to the colonization of morality and spirituality by any church, including 'the church' of science. we wouldn't want to limit the meaning of spirituality to 'just another fact, or more specifically an interior confirmable experience'.

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  •  08-31-2006, 11:56 AM 6166 in reply to 6155

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    Re: Disagreement to Chapter 9 - The Conveyor Belt

    Hi all --

    The church is certainly not monolithic -- although I can definitely see why people think it is if they are looking at it from a distance.

    Not only are there tons of Christian denominations, even within one denomination there may be multiple internal divisions, spanning from arch-conservative / orthodox to ultra-progressive. I actually feel fairly hopeful for the future of spirituality in the church.

    ATS -- I think Ken spends a lot of time talking about Christianity in Chapter 9 of IS because Christianity is so prominent in the United States and the Western world, where most of the audience for his book resides.

    I'm interested in your thoughts on secular spirituality, though -- because it is true that a lot of folks do consider themselves "spiritual but not religious." Have you heard of the Network of Spiritual Progressives (NSP), launched by Rabbi Michael Lerner's Tikkun community? He is attempting to form a broad network that would ally progressive religious people with secular "spiritual but not religious" progressives -- to challenge the religious right as well as segments of the secular left who are wary of religious spirituality. Lerner was involved with the political left during the 60s and was also a spiritual adviser to Clinton -- although Clinton eventually shoed him away, apparently out of concerns of alienating moderates and conservatives. I'm concerned that Lerner's work may serve to increase political/religious polarization to a certain degree, yet I was also very impressed by what I saw at the first NSP conference in Berkeley in 2005.

    Peace,

    Mary


    Let the beauty we love be what we do.
    There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

    ~Rumi
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  •  08-31-2006, 12:26 PM 6171 in reply to 6166

    Re: Disagreement to Chapter 9 - The Conveyor Belt

    maryw:
    I think Ken spends a lot of time talking about Christianity in Chapter 9 of IS because Christianity is so prominent in the United States and the Western world, where most of the audience for his book resides.

    True -- but I think this is also in part because (blue) Christianity was the religion that cooked up the LLF together with orange science, when the Enlightenment happened in Western and Southern Europe. Had the Enlightenment started elsewhere, it might have found itself fighting with blue Islam or blue Hinduism or whatever would have been the main regional blue religion.

    I also agree with Janne's point of view, looking at the current situation in Western Europe.

    Peter

    "All nations should be like Amsterdam" -- Ken Wilber
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  •  08-31-2006, 12:54 PM 6177 in reply to 6136

    Re: Disagreement to Chapter 9 - The Conveyor Belt

    Ats,

    Reading your posts, what I see is an "orange", form-op critique of "amber/blue" Christianity/religion.  This is the very critique Wilber was speaking of and you have expressed the very same concerns that he described others expressing for the past two hundred years, ever since the divergence became dissociation.  Secular spirituality strikes me as a version of orange altitude on the spirituality line, which is great.

    As far as your concern about the Church owning spirituality, I would phrase it as occupying the line of spirituality and currently serving as a dam or steel lid, to use Wilbers metaphor.  Religion should not be a synthesis of all four realms.  I don't want a pope meddling with my science or my art; I want a pope who's going to show me how to pray and have trancendental experiences and growth.  Likewise, I don't want scientists telling me about whether God exists or not, whether my praying produces the phenomenological results I experience, or whether something is beautiful; I do want them to decode the genome and to build a better toaster.  The split exists and it shouldn't be reversed.  Leave unto Ceasar...


    One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. --Andre Gide

    Hope is as hollow as fear. --Lao-tzu
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  •  08-31-2006, 12:57 PM 6180 in reply to 6177

    Re: Disagreement to Chapter 9 - The Conveyor Belt

    I agree that there needs to be a place for secular spirituality.  The "Integral Training Center" offers a module for that, I believe -- honoring those who are "spiritual but not religious."  But while I also agree that it will be a hard row to hoe to get traditional religion "on board" with the Integral vision (I've met strong resistance in my own "dialogues with Blue"), I think it is a worthwhile venture -- and I expect that individuals at least at Orange will have some appreciation for what Integral is up to.  I know of quite a few disaffected, modernist Christians and Jews whom I believe would welcome a stronger representation of their beliefs and concerns by institutional religion.

    On my own path, I've been attracted to and have set foot on a couple modern spiritual paths which eschew association with traditional religion and patterns of piety, ritual, etc.  In particular, I'm thinking of Krishnamurti's teachings (and the foundations and schools he established) and the TSK vision, both of which offer ways to do deep spiritual practice and inquiry without requiring a commitment to any monolithic belief structure or metaphysical model, and both of which welcome and seek to interface with the modern scientific worldview.  I have appreciated these approaches because, while they have a secular flavor, they do not have the normal modernist/humanist ceilings and leave plenty of room for the transrational states and experiences common to many world religious traditions.

    A drawback to these approaches, in my opinion, is that they are not particularly suited for individuals who are at the mythic membership level of development.  They do not have elements that feed or cultivate those levels of development.  They require or expect a fairly sophisticated relationship to the self and a sound, post-conventional moral/ethical foundation.  A person who is exiting mythical or modernist perspectives might elect to leave traditional religion altogether and adopt one of these approaches; but these approaches cannot effectively reach back and work with people at pre-conventional or conventional levels of development. 

    I think this is Wilber's point: traditional religion can do this, and it can do it very well.

    I may change my mind after more reflection, but at present I agree with Wilber's emphasis, while also honoring the need for a secular spiritual path in the (post)modern world.

    Best wishes,

    Balder


    May the boundless knowledge that time presents and space allows illuminate the native perspectives of your original face.

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  •  08-31-2006, 7:56 PM 6246 in reply to 6180

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    Re: Disagreement to Chapter 9 - The Conveyor Belt

    Another reason why I want to see a hard push for secular spirituality is to ensure that the spiritual line is honored.  If it is methodically developed free of any partisanship, it has a greater chance of including all necessary components, and not just a few.

    I'm afraid that Christianity will pick and choose which components they like, or choose the ones that are easiest to incorporate into an amber religion without changing it's amber nature, thus perpetuating the problem.

    Religion would be a synthesis of the Big 4.  It wouldn't actually be the Big 4.  Thus, religion won't be the ultimate authority on how to express art or what spirituality is, which would be an attempt to colonize the Big 4.  An amber religion sies try to colonize the Big 4.  I believe an orange or higher religion will recognize the commonality in all spiritual experience, and thus won't be able to make any absolute claim of ownership of spirituality or any other of the Big 4.

    It will stem from the already clearly defined Big 4.  That's why I'd like to see the Big 4 developed in the secular world, where the greatest degree of open-mindedness and multiple perspectives exist.  If the Big 4 are truly separated, science will know it's part and will not have anything to say about whether spirituality exists or not, since spirituality is a completely different line.  That's why we have to decolonize spirituality and morality from science and clearly define the Big 4 in the secular world.

    If there is to be a Big 4, we need theorists to flesh out and clarify these Big 4.  We need to distill them down to easily understandable and useable tools.  I really, really, really think it's important for the secular world to beat religion to the punch, or the sake of achieving the greatest depth and span.


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  •  08-31-2006, 8:41 PM 6252 in reply to 6246

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    Re: Disagreement to Chapter 9 - The Conveyor Belt

    Well, I suppose if secular spirituality is to take hold, then the amber/blue altitude folks may just have to put their money where their mouths are, as in "by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matthew 7:16).  I think as more and more trans-mythic and genuinely spiritual folks start making some hay in our society, while at the same time honoring the mythical levels of spirituality, it will be a bit easier for amber/blue to swallow.  So, what harm is there for someone who is secularly spiritual to go down to the local church (of whatever variety) and make some friends.  Develop some healthy respect for amber/blue.  I must admit that this is a serious consideration for me, because so many of the folks I know and love, like my family, are devoted to their traditional faith.  I want to be part of their community, and if it means honoring their amber/blue beliefs at the same time I live my orange or higher ones, then wouldn't that be an integral way to go about it?

    All that said, it is interesting that KW proposes that religion be the conveyor belt.  Maybe he is implying that for such a thing to happen there must be integrally informed and widely respected leadership in those institutions who can pull something like that off.  I would think that someone who can quote scripture better than anybody, but do so while presenting the scripture in a higher than amber context, would be able to get the conveyor belt at least in the planning stage, if not operational.

    Keith


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  •  09-01-2006, 6:12 AM 6282 in reply to 6134

    Re: Disagreement to Chapter 9 - The Conveyor Belt

    I guess the main question that comes up for me regarding this chapter (“The Conveyor Belt) is, who will listen? After all, as Ken points out, “70% [of the world population] is owned by the world’s religions”, and the world religions are inextricably woven into and entirely immersed in the dream of 1st tier. In terms of stage development there may be “a magenta Christ, a red Christ, an amber Christ, an orange Christ…” etc. but since it has been well established by Clare Graves, and Ken, among others, that 1st tier can only view itself through the lens (eye, I) of each stage, that leaves only those who are well established at, or emerging into 2nd tier, yellow (including green-yellow), turquoise and higher, who can appreciate this presentation. In other words Ken is speaking to his base and clearly not to the orthodox leaders of world religions, who are at the same level(s) as the 70% of the population they serve, or the other 28% of the world who are in the grip of a polarized empirical scientific (orange) worldview, with a lot of overlap. So how does religion act as vehicle for transformation or a conveyor belt to higher stages? We do not find 2nd tier individuals (except perhaps the Dalai Lama) in the role of world religious leaders (particularly in Christianity and Islam), but most often outside such organizations or on the fringe (Father Thomas Keating). Religious organizations are certainly not in the hands of those who would “incorporate meditative, contemplative and non-ordinary states into their curricula”.

    The main point here though is that as much as the world seeks to expand and develop, there is the also the innate tendency for it all to break down. As Ken has written, there are both horizontal and vertical dimensions of our experience, as in all the four quadrants, but further a totality that includes or comprises the horizontal-vertical.  Whatever is built up; ego (individual or collective) or in the “outer” manifest world, there also the forces (and grace) of dissolution and dis-illusionment. Perhaps I have misunderstood, but it seems totally inconsistent with Ken's overall view to look at the process of what we call human development and civilization, as a linear development, a “conveyor belt” as such, merrily carrying us along towards some ultimate destination (and certainly not in the form of the Catholic Church).  The “process” is nothing the mind can imagine. We are not what we think we are, or what we are becoming.

    At a certain point everything points to the need to awaken out of the story, and the fixations of mind. Whatever the current “curricula”, elementary or advanced, we cannot look to the dreamers for anything other than a further development of the dream.

    And as Nagarjuna wrote:

     It’s all at ease

    Unfixable by fixations

    Incommunicable

    Inconceivable

    Indivisible

     

      

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  •  09-01-2006, 9:58 AM 6318 in reply to 6282

    Re: Disagreement to Chapter 9 - The Conveyor Belt


    welcome aboard, edmond. it's great to hear a new voice, along with all our old voices. you've helped me to see that my messages, now over 100, are in danger of becoming jaded and i'm in danger of becoming a conveyor belt of messages. the freshness of your message can, perhaps, help to freshen us up a bit.

    you ask a good question. i've just been reading 'the essence of buddhism', by traleg kyabgon (rinpoche), so i'll probably be drawing on this as well as IS and other works of ken. i find doing this another good way to waken myself up, as i'm forced to acknowledge that i wasn't paying as close attention as i could have to what i was reading.

    anyway, about half way through the book, he talks about buddha nature. i am related to everything and, to the extent i don't actually live that all-relatedness, it comes back to hurt me. so it behooves me, for example, to face up to the pressure cooker lid modernity has imposed on traditionalism.

    i went through that myself. i suffered alot as a result. fortunately (ken was a great help), i somehow got through it all, but damaged, nevertheless, and still in need of healing. so doing what i can to take the lid off is not just about them: it's also about me--it's about us.

    i like very much what you've written. the danger, i think, is to conclude that we can't really do anything about this and, in effect, to forsake our all-relatedness.

    ken has obviously thought alot about this. the metaphors of the lid and the conveyor belt are intended to be orienting generalizations for how we can relate to what he sees as the foremost problem of our age. from my own personal experience and what i can see about me, i have no doubt about the first one. the second one i have to think about, including taking into account what you've written. sudden thought! before continuing, it might be good to first read ch. 10.

    ralph



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  •  09-01-2006, 10:16 AM 6324 in reply to 6282

    • maryw is not online. Last active: 09-04-2008, 12:45 PM maryw
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    Re: Disagreement to Chapter 9 - The Conveyor Belt

    edmondkelly:
      So how does religion act as vehicle for transformation or a conveyor belt to higher stages? We do not find 2nd tier individuals (except perhaps the Dalai Lama) in the role of world religious leaders (particularly in Christianity and Islam), but most often outside such organizations or on the fringe (Father Thomas Keating). Religious organizations are certainly not in the hands of those who would “incorporate meditative, contemplative and non-ordinary states into their curricula”.

    I see some that are.

    Father Thomas Keating may be viewed with great suspicion in some Christian circles, but neither is he really on the fringe. He's a Trappist priest in good standing with the Catholic church.

    Contemplative Outreach, the organization co-founded by Keating that offers teaching in the method of centering prayer, has been invited into thousands of churches worldwide to conduct seven-week long centering prayer workshops. In the metropolitan area I live in, we now have 37 centering prayer groups in Episcopal, Lutheran, United Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian, and nondenominational churches. Each year, around four or five centering prayer introductory workshops are held, which usually lead to the birth of more centering prayer groups whose members meet on a weekly basis to meditate together.

    Last year, Keating spoke at Loyola Marymount University, a Catholic college in Los Angeles, as part of a fundraiser for Contemplative Outreach. This October, the Catholic archdioceses of Cleveland and New Orleans are offering contemplative retreats for priests that will be conducted by Contemplative Outreach's Father Carl Arico, a colleague of Father Thomas's. And intensive contemplative retreats for layfolks are offered in numerous monasteries and Catholic / interfaith retreat centers all over the world: Nassau, Brazil, Australia, Ghana, Singapore, South Korea ...

    Each year, the diocese of Los Angeles puts on a Religious Education Congress that attracts around 40,000 people. The main purpose of the Congress is to offer continuing religious education to ministers, catechists, teachers, etc., through a variety of workshops and seminars. Teachings on meditation and contemplation are always included, and a quiet, contemplative space is maintained on the lower level of the convention center for meditation and prayer.

    Just wanting to point out that religious organizations are not always averse to the incorporation of meditative, contemplative, and non-ordinary states into their curricula. It certainly is not happening everywhere. But something has definitely begun.

    Mary


    Let the beauty we love be what we do.
    There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

    ~Rumi
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  •  09-01-2006, 9:41 PM 6444 in reply to 6324

    Re: Disagreement to Chapter 9 - The Conveyor Belt

    We are not speaking here of the efforts of well meaning clergy to promote contemplative or meditation practice within their churches. These efforts like the work of Father Thomas has a long tradition in the modern and post modern age, and are largely condoned by church organizations because the nature of real transformation is not understood, and because it is believed that such initiatives can effectively co-opt and neutralize a deep and growing dissatisfaction within church ranks. Real transformation, will always be rejected and feared, because it would mean the demise of these organizations as we know them. Where authentic awakening occurs these forms are quickly left behind. I have known Father Thomas personally since the early 70s, and love and deeply appreciate his work and presence with us. And believe me he knows he is on the fringe. Listen to his talk in the recent ISC presentation on Essential Spirituality. He speaks of “a commitment to transformation” and “ a rootedness in silence as the first language of ultimate reality. Everything else being a bad translation” and the need for “a discourse that takes place on a spiritual level beyond the religious traditions themselves.”  He continues with the hope that it would somehow feed back into the organizations and bring them forward, but this remains to be seen (and what may need to be said). However, for us to look to that outcome and not to the real work of inner transformation is to miss Father Thomas’ main message.

     

    The outer forms come and go, appear to progress and regress, but as I said in my first post, that as much as the world seeks to expand and develop, there is the also the innate tendency for it all to break down. Whatever is built up; the ego (individual or collective) or in the “outer” manifest world, there also the forces (and grace) of dissolution and dis-illusionment. The “process” is nothing the mind can imagine. We are not what we think we are, or what we are becoming. Herein is the heart of transformation.

     

    Since you quote Rumi, here’s a poem that seems apropos to this discussion:

     

    Freedom is a door that’s always open.

    Nobody passes through it –

    that’s the price of admission.

     

    The immovable obstacle

    blocking our entrance is nothing but

    our own conviction that

    we are not already free, even that

    there is some door we must go through

    to be free, perhaps that the key to

    that door is in another’s hands, or that

    what we are is something that could

    possibly be free or bound –

    in other words,

    ourselves.

     

    Some try to make themselves

    small enough to squeeze through,

    others big enough to burst through –

     

    neither realizing that this door

    stands on the edge of a cliff, opening

    into a fathomless darkness that

    freely and serenely swallows

    big and small alike and

    burps up light.
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