Jonathan Louis Dent: Imagine if we measured success by the amount of safety that people feel in our presence

I want to live in a society that values helping people feel safe. That’s how we all can flourish.

And this is not only about our personal interactions or what happens in groups. It’s also how we structure and set up our society. Do we have social safety nets so people can feel safe from a life in poverty? Do we support people to get the education they want? Do we encourage people to follow their deepest fascinations even if it doesn’t make personal sense to us?

FINDING IT FOR MYSELF

When I notice that wish in me, I know it’s advice for myself.

It’s an invitation to find ways to bring it into my own life.

I can find and choose to be with people who help me feel more safe.

I can help others feel more safe, as best I can.

And, perhaps most importantly, I can support my own inner community in feeling more safe.

HELPING MY INNER COMMUNITY FEEL SAFE

Growing up, I didn’t learn to consistently make my inner community feel safe. I didn’t learn to consistently support and be there for myself and all the different parts of me and my experience.

Why? Because I didn’t receive it from those around me when I was little. They didn’t know how to do it for themselves so they couldn’t do it for me.

So how do I learn to help my inner community feel safe and supported?

The first step is recognizing when parts of me feel unsafe and unsupported. How does it feel?

How do I habitually respond to it? Do I react? Perhaps with some form of avoidance? An avoidance that takes the form of fear, anger, compulsions, blame, shame, guilt, or something else?

What is my conscious inner dialog? How can I change it so it helps my inner community feel safe and supported? How can I do it in a way that feels honest? (Tricking myself doesn’t work.)

What happens if I do heart-centered practices on my images of others, myself, and different parts of me? If I do tonglen, ho’oponopno, or metta? Does something shift?

What are the stressful stories creating a feeling of lack of safety and support? What do I find when I examine these and explore what’s genuinely more true for me? What are my stressful stories about not feeling safe and supported? What am I most afraid can happen?

What do I find when I dialog with the parts of me that feel unsafe and unsupported? How do they experience the world? How do they experience me? What advice do they have for me? How can I best be a friend and ally to these parts of me?

How is it to notice that these parts and experiences have the same nature as I do? That I am fundamentally capacity for it all? That they are happening within and as what I am? How is it to rest in and as that noticing?

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

As mentioned, I did not grow up around people who knew how to consistently do this for themselves. So I didn’t feel all that safe and supported, and I didn’t learn to do it for myself. And that means doing it for others is also lacking, in spite of my best intentions. So this requires a lot of work and attention from my side. It takes time. I still feel I am just a beginner when it comes to this.

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Dream: Genuinely supportive school class

I sit in with a school class, perhaps 16-17 years old. I feel a little uncomfortable at first, and notice my old school-age fear of being judged coming up. I write down a dream on a piece of paper. One young man tells the class he would like to perform a song he created. He does, and a group of 6-7 other kids stand behind him to be backup singers. After this, another asks me what I wrote down, and I tell him it was a dream. He says he is very interested in learning more about exploring dreams, and seems sincere and genuine. I realize that this is a class of kind, genuine, and very supportive people, and I notice it’s a bit difficult for me to really take it in and feel it.

When I was in school, I rarely experienced this kind of authenticity, kindness, and mutual support. I experienced the contrary until perhaps high school where new people came into my class and the culture changed a bit. The class in the dream is early high school and may reflect my own experience of a culture change at that time.

In many ways, I didn’t feel much support in childhood in general. There was never any material lack, and we had regular mealtimes and so on. But this kind of authenticity, genuine kindness, sincerity, and consistent and real support was absent from my family, school, and teachers. They all seemed to operate more on fear – insecurity, and fear of judgment – and I learned to do the same.

I have more intentionally and consistently supported my inner community this summer, and that may be reflected in this dream. The dream shows me how a genuinely supportive community looks, and that a part of me is still unfamiliar with this and has trouble completely taking it in.

Mia Werger: When our fight for the future is finally over, our communities will still be here – it will be a beautiful place to start

The world may be crumbling, but I am part of a generation—a community—that gets to tackle that problem. We get to take what we’ve been given, and design it in a completely new way. When our fight for the future is finally over, our communities will still be here. It will be a beautiful place to start.

– Mia Werger in How the Climate Change Generation Is Redefining Community in Yes! Magazine

My vision is of a world where we have passer through our current ecological-social bottleneck, and where our communities are stronger for it, at least in some regions of the world.

Glen C: The Tribe matters

When I was 12 years old, an elder woman in my Tribe handed me a single piece of firewood an told me to take it another older woman in my Tribe who was in need of some firewood because the fall weather was turning colder. I thought the request was crazy, because it was only one piece of wood, but this woman was not someone who I would say no to. I delivered the piece of wood, with no fanfare, or drama.

A few years later, when I was sixteen, about five other 16 year old Tribal members and I were hanging out on a hot, dusty Summer night talking, and the topic of crazy things old people do, came up…and we all mentioned the night that elder women had told us to deliver a piece of firewood to the same older woman..obviously we realized that there were bigger things going on than warmth at issue that night.

We each matter, the young and old. The Tribe matters.

Lessons, still being learned.

– Glen C. on FaceBook

A beautiful post from a friend of mine.

 

The Work and owning the shadow

Through some of the subquestions, The Work helps us explore how our beliefs and perceptions are formed and maintained by culture and community and more.

For instance, asking the question when did I first have that thought? tends to bring up the whole initial context, how it came from family, society and more, and how it continues to be maintained by those around us and our culture. Question no. 4, who would I be without the thought? and the turnarounds help us see that having that belief, that identity, and that way of filtering the world is not inevitable. Other people and cultures may indeed see the world quite differently. Their experiences and interpretations may be very different from what I initially took for granted, and I too glimpse this now.

The Work also helps us work with the he/she/it, you and I dimensions. The initial statement is about Other, a he, she or it. When we read our inquiry to the one it is about, for instance our partner, the you dimension comes in. And the I dimension is there throughout.

Here are some of the ways The Work works with the shadow

  • It brings it up and out by encouraging us to find a stressful statement. Whenever there is a stressful thought, aka any belief, there is also a shadow inherent in it.
    • Often, a part of us see that belief as unacceptable, even if it is there, so we squash it and try to not make it visible to others or even ourselves. In this case, we may partly be aware of our shadow, and uncomfortable with it.
    • Other times, we may be completely identified with the initial statement and corresponding identity, so don’t even question it. In this case, it is usually a blind shadow, and we see it only out there in the wider world.
  • It works with the shadow in its many forms, as a shadow of a belief, an identity, and a group identity.
    • We work with the shadow of a belief through the turnarounds, which help us see the grain of truth in its reversals. The shadow of a belief, a statement taken as absolutely true, is exactly there, in the grain of truth of its reversals and also the limited truth of the initial statement.
    • Any belief creates a corresponding identity, at the very least an identity as someone who has that belief, filters the world that particular way, and behaves in relation to that identity (whether these behaviors are aligned with the identity or not.) When I explore what comes up through question no. 3, what happens when I believe that thought?, I explore this identity and its consequences. Question no. 4 and the turnarounds helps me explore what happens when this identity is not blindly identified with anymore, and I allow myself to move more freely among the different reversals of that identity. These reversals are the former shadow of the initial identity, and this is a way to begin to make more friends with it, bring it more actively into my daily life, see what it asks of me, and harvest its gifts.
    • And from the shadows of the belief and its corresponding identity, group shadows form. Again, through questions no. 3, 4 and the turnarounds, we get to see and explore this group identity, its consequences, its shadow/reversals, and what happens when there is a release from blindly identifying with it.
  • Through taking one or more of the turnarounds into daily life, we get to explore it more actively there as well, with the insights inquiry gave us.
    • We get find the truth in the reversals/shadow of the initial belief, live from a space holding the limited truth in all of them, and find a fluidity among them in daily life.
    • We get to find in ourselves the the reversals/shadow of the initial identity, explore how it is to admit to and live from those reversal identities, and finding a fluidity among them in daily life. What is different when I live from an identity that previously was not acceptable? What gifts does it offer? How it is to find more fluidity among them in daily life?
    • And we get to explore the corresponding group shadows as well. Which groups in my life have these shadows, and how are they expressed? What happens if I deliberately move outside of the group norms and acknowledge the grain of truth in the reversals of the belief, and maybe shift into the reversals identities? Is is accepted or not? Does it help shift the group into a wider embrace? If not, maybe I could leave the group?

The impulse to explore this in a little more detail (not that I haven’t many times before) came when I read some discussion about The Work in the context of the Ken Wilber type integral framework. Sometimes, we can be so intent on finding how things does not align with a particular framework that we miss how it does. (Not that it has to, or even should.)

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Dream: the full embrace and deepening embodiment of the life of Christ

I am organizing an event with a man from Sweden who is coming to prepare us for Christ. He arrives with his family, his wife and children, and the soulful and rich embrace of family, friends, local community, the three centers, and human self, soul and Spirit is essential for the coming and physical embodiment and life of Christ.

Christ is already coming in our community, and the Swedish man and his community arrives as a catalyst for a deeper, more full and mature integration, one that includes all of these – family, friends, community, head, heart, belly, human self, soul and Spirit.

The Christ is coming as a very strong presence and light, golden and red, with blue and green included as strains of light.

The dream, and the sense of Christ awakening in and as the community, was very vivid. Christ awakening as the community of our individual self, embracing head, heart and body, human self, soul and Spirit, and awakening as our human and Earth community of family, friends and local (and global) community.

The soulfulness and maturity, which I find most readily in Scandinavian cultures, is an important catalyst of the embodiment and lived life of Christ. My sense of my own inner and outer community, in the dream and my waking life, is of one that is impoverished, deeply needing this infusion of soulfulness and fullness of life.