August 4, 2020

A Place where everybody knows your Original Face?

Starbucks Olive Way

By Joe Perez

There’s a recently redesigned and expanded Starbucks Coffee within walking distance from my home in Seattle. I used to go in there quite a bit, but gradually the place has become so busy and noisy that it’s impossible to find a good seat (sometimes it’s even been standing room only), so I’ve found alternatives.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say the Starbucks was ever a “home away from home,” but it was the spot where I first attended a Seattle Integral meet-up, and where I met many business clients for a while. Now I’ve come across an article in Forbes claiming that Starbucks may be making their coffee shops intentionally a bit uncomfortable so that they drive away people who linger too long in one spot and bump up the customer churn rate. [Read more…]

Welcome Tony Robbins, Claudia Kleefeld, Mark Schwartz, Richard Schwartz, Bill Little, Lori Galperin, and Charles Randall Paul

Wisdom Council

By Joe Perez

The Center for World Spirituality is delighted to tell you about the newest members of the Center’s Wisdom Council, our amazing group of advisers and dialogue partners.
The new members are:
  • Richard Barrett is founder and chairman of the Barrett Values Centre and an internationally recognized thought leader on values, culture, leadership and consciousness. An author, speaker and social commentator on the evolution of human values in business and society, he is also a Fellow of the RSA, a United Kingdom-based enlightenment organization.
  • Lori Galperin, MSW, LCSW initially earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology and later completed her graduate degree in Clinical Social Work at Tulane University. She is an accomplished contributor in the fields of marital and sexual dysfunction, sexual compulsivity, sexual trauma, dissociative and eating disorders. Lori lectures nationally and internationally on these topics and has authored various journal articles and book chapters.
  • Claudia Kleefeld holds her Bachelor of the Arts from University of Southern California, Los Angeles and a postgraduate degree from The Byam Shaw College of Art. She is a painter and photographer incorporating sound, photography, video, the spoken word and written word into her work. She makes art that considers humanness, examining the voice of the individual as it correlates with the external world.
  • Dr. Bill Little received his PhD in Physics from Georgia Tech in 1969 and was teaching at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey where he first heard about Religious Science. He returned to New York to continue his Ministerial studies and before long he came back as the Minister at the Monterey Church where he remained until 1987. In 1989, at the request of many friends and supporters, he began Pacific Coast Church. Dr. Bill was awarded a Doctorate in Religious Science in 1986. Also, just for fun, he teaches mathematics at Monterey Peninsula College.
  • Charles Randall Paul is president and chairman of the Foundation for Interreligious Diplomacy, an organization promoting and facilitating communication between people experiencing conflicts inspired by religious differences. He has an M.B.A., Harvard University and a Ph.D. from The University of Chicago, Committee on Social Thought.
  • Anthony Robbins is a world authority on leadership psychology, peace negotiator, humanitarian, strategic advisor to world leaders, successful entrepreneur, honored business strategist, award-winning speaker, internationally best-selling author, authority on peak performance, and innovator in psychology and intervention. His nonprofit, the Anthony Robbins Foundation, provides assistance to inner-city youth, senior citizens, homeless, and feeds millions of people in countries all over the world.
  • Dr. Mark Schwartz, Sc.D. earned his doctorate in Psychology and Mental Health from Johns Hopkins University and is a licensed psychologist. Over the past 30 years, Dr. Schwartz has achieved international recognition for his contributions in a variety of clinical arenas, including the treatment of intimacy disorders, marital and sexual dysfunction, sexual compulsivity, sexual trauma and eating disorders.
  • Richard C. Schwartz, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and author who has pioneered the application of systems concepts of family therapy to this intrapsychic realm. Dr. Schwartz co-authored, with Michael Nichols, Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods, the most widely used family therapy text in the U.S. He founded the Center for Self Leadership (CSL), which has evolved a comprehensive approach for working with individuals, couples, and families.

In defense of the Qur’an (from a World Spirituality perspective)

Quran

By Joe Perez

Today on the Daily Dish, Andrew Sullivan asks his readers a fair question, crudely stated:

“If there is an argument for why the Quran is so good, please bring it forward. I’ve read the Quran several times and it’s not that good. In fact, it’s conspicuously bad as a moral map, and a spiritual map. You can wander blindfolded into a Barnes & Noble, and the first book you pick off the shelf will have more wisdom than the Quran. The Quran is uniquely barren of wisdom relevant to the 21st century. It’s got a few good lines about patience and generosity, and the rest is just vilification of the infidel,” – Sam Harris. Can any readers counter?

To which I responded today:

Dear Andrew,

The Qur’an is a classic of world spiritual literature far exceeding the disposable drivel that you will pick off the shelf in the vast majority of the books at a Barnes & Noble. I would have thought you know this and could have written a defense yourself. In any event, as non-Muslims, there are many people better qualified than you or I to give a defense of the Qur’an’s merits as a guide to Islamic life and culture. [Read more…]

In defense of complexity

Fractal Blue

Photo Credit: Fábio Pinheiro

 

By Joe Perez

Who’s winning the war over simplicity and complexity? The Daily Dish gives voice to an interesting discussion of evolution and culture. It began yesterday when Andrew Sullivan quoted Robert Bellah, the sociologist of religion, on a scientific matter:

Simplicity has its charms. Some relatively simple organisms have survived in more or less the same form for hundreds of millions of years. The more complex the species, the briefer its life. In some cases this is because species have changed into even more complex forms, yet extinctions have been massive. There have been several species of the genus Homo; now there is one. The one remaining species may be partly responsible for the extinction of its last remaining relative, the Neanderthals. The more complex, the more fragile. Complexity goes against the second law of thermodynamics, that all complex entities tend to fall apart, and it takes more and more energy for complex systems to function.

Today, a reader of Andrew Sullivan’s blog responds:

Utterly untrue. Bellah is making the fundamental mistake of confusing the fate of the individual entity with the fate of the larger dynamic system of which it’s part. A quick glance at the overall arc of the 4.5 billion year evolution of life on earth shows the inevitable march of complexity. Complexity does not “go against” the second law, any more than does the metabolism of your individual body—it uses it, through a related, albeit higher-order mechanism, to advance higher and higher stages of self-organization. [Read more…]

Cognitive fixation: the mind’s obstacle to seeing what is right in front of us

Photo Credit: Rita Willaert

 

By Joe Perez

Here’s an item in the news today plus a short exercise.

In “Why We Can’t See What’s Right in Front of Us,” Tony McCaffrey of the Harvard Business Review gives us an explanation for why we can’t see the obvious:

The most famous cognitive obstacle to innovation is functional fixedness — an idea first articulated in the 1930s by Karl Duncker — in which people tend to fixate on the common use of an object. For example, the people on the Titanic overlooked the possibility that the iceberg could have been their lifeboat. Newspapers from the time estimated the size of the iceberg to be between 50-100 feet high and 200-400 feet long. Titanic was navigable for awhile and could have pulled aside the iceberg. Many people could have climbed aboard it to find flat places to stay out of the water for the four hours before help arrived. Fixated on the fact that icebergs sink ships, people overlooked the size and shape of the iceberg (plus the fact that it would not sink). [Read more…]

Self-confidence: a sign that you have arrived spiritually

Andy Houghton

Photo Credit: Andy Houghton

 

By Joe Perez

Self-confidence is a sign that you have arrived spiritually, according to syndicated columnist Norris Burkes. In “Spirituality: Be your own person,” the Air National Guard chaplain writes:

Jesus …  flat out ask[ed] his adoring crowds, “Who do people say that I am?”

The throng fired back some wild-eyed guesses, as some even said he was the ghost of an old prophet.

Others said he was a lunatic, but Jesus brushed those speculations aside and turned to those who were important in his life, his students, and asked, “Who do you say that I am?”

Peter stood and set it straight. “You da man!”

OK, he didn’t exactly say that. Peter said, “You’re the Christ.”

Jesus responded to this astute conclusion with an astounding command. He told them to not tell a soul.

Why would Jesus ask for such anonymity? Some scholars say that he was trying to avoid being crucified prematurely.

I think it was much more.

I think Jesus had arrived at the moment in his life where he knew that he didn’t need to “proclaim” who he was.

His walk, his breath, his talk exuded the confidence of one who was truly different.

He knew his purpose, and he knew he was the only one who needed to feel contentment in that purpose.

Read the whole thing.

World Spirituality suggests that Burkes has identified an important principal of enlightenment, that moment which he says you stop trying to proclaim who you are and just put your effort into being who God wants you to be. Of course, there are many different ways of interpreting what God wants, and I am using this expression as another way of pointing to the Thou in the I/Thou relationship we all have with All That Is.

Norris says of Jesus: “His walk, his breath, his talk exuded the confidence of one who was truly different.”

Or … He exuded the confidence of one who was truly himself, fully realized in Unique Self.

 

Is a politics based on World Spirituality conservative or liberal?

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/08/1062913/-BREAKING-On-a-Roll-Washington-state-passes-gay-marriage-bill-55-43-

By Joe Perez

In truth, there is no division between spirituality and politics that can be found in The Way Things Are. If you believe, as I do, that there is only one True Self and that every unique individual is a completely whole and infinitely valuable Unique Self which is one and the same as that Ultimate Identity, then how can there be a separation?

In an Integral view of ethics, care and justice evolve in ever expanding reach from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric to kosmocentric levels. Ultimately, there is a sense of self-identification with responsibility and empathy for all sentient beings in all times and places. Thus, politics — which I define broadly as the expansion of our circle of concern to ever wider levels of embrace — is deeply wedded to our sense of self and our understanding of the nature of reality. [Read more…]

In the blogosphere, attacks on alternative medicine from questionable sources

Accupuncture

By Joe Perez

At first, I saw no reason that I should link to this blog post by a pseudonymous blogger who calls himself Orac. He claims to be a surgeon/scientist, and I have little doubt that he is. He is skeptical about all complementary/alternative medicine, which he likens to The Secret and New Age woo-woo nonsense.

At his Respectful Insolence blog, he writes:

…CAM [complementary alternative medicine] is nothing more than placebo medicine. It makes it easier for me to remind people that intentionally practicing placebo medicine is unethical (because it requires lying to the patient) and paternalistic, just like 60 years ago when conventional doctors did actually order placebos for patients. In a perfectly Orwellian turn of phrase, advocates of “health freedom” and CAM advocates are in essence advocating a return to that sort of paternalism. As I’ve pointed out before, CAM cloaks itself in rhetoric suggesting that it “empowering” patients to “take control” of their health. In actuality it denies them the most important tool to do that: A appraisal of the rationale behind a proposed treatment, along with an assessment of its potential benefits and risks based on science, not fantasy. Instead, it substitutes tooth fairy science, pre-scientific vitalism, and utter faith in the practitioner for science and reason.

So calling advocates of alternative medicine unethical peddlers of fantasy with Orwellian delusions is “respectful insolence” now? [Read more…]

The stunning rise of “I’m BOTH spiritual AND religious” in America

Church at Sunset

By Joe Perez

A fascinating recent analysis of data on American religiosity today shows the rise of a new ethos in the United States: a stunning 48 percent of Americans now describe themselves as BOTH spiritual AND religious, with another 30 percent preferring the “spiritual, BUT NOT religious” formula.

Now here’s the stunner: only 13 years ago, a majority of 54% of Americans described themselves as religious BUT NOT spiritual. If these surveys are correct, we are witnessing a hidden sea change whereby Americans have now largely accepted a divide between the religious and the spiritual, and the spiritual is winning in spades. [Read more…]

What is the difference between a feeling and an emotion?

Emotion

Photo Credit: Meredith_Farmer

 

By Joe Perez

Recently Robert Augustus Masters wrote:

Once we really understand that there is no true escape from feeling, including unpleasant or distressing feeling, we may start, at last, to consciously and consistently turn toward such feeling, like a loving parent turning, with full presence and compassion, toward their just-hurt or badly frightened child…

I struggled to express whether I agreed or disagreed with this sentiment and ultimately concluded that much depends on the sense given to the word “feeling.” The word “feeling” is often seen as a synonym for “emotion,” but the two words have a different feeling to them, don’t they? Maybe they even create subtly different emotional responses in you? [Read more…]

Show up! Know your Unique Gift and give it away…

Photo Credit: Ndee

By Joe Perez

The practice of World Spirituality can be summed up in only five phrases. How easy is that!

Wake Up, Grow Up, Lighten Up, Show Up, and Open Up!

From Marc Gafni’s “Showing Up: Unique Self and Unique Gift”:

It is the matrix of waking up, growing up, cleaning up and opening up that allows you to show up as Your Unique Self. It your Unique Self that gives birth to Unique Gift. As mentioned earlier in the book, Your Unique Gifts are what enable you to address a Unique Need that needs to be filled.

The core realization of a world spirituality is that every human being is both part of the whole and at the same time a high priest or priestess in their religion of one. The core obligation, joy, and responsibility of the Unique Self is to give its Unique Gift which fills a unique need in the kosmos that can be met by them and them alone.

There’s a common sense way of understanding “unique gift” and then there’s the more subtle, intellectually serious meaning intended by World Spirituality teaching. It’s common sense… plus a dose of Integral rigor!

The Unique Gift is described in Marc’s Your Unique Self, which is coming out this summer. Hope you’ll be running, not walking, to the bookstores!

 

Man changes name to Tyrannosaurus Rex, citing desire for distinctiveness

T-Rex

Photo Credit: Billings Productions, Inc.

 

How much is having a cool, unusual name worth to an entrepreneur? Enough to change Tyler to T-Rex. The socio-economic value of distinctiveness is highlighted in a story today by NPR:

Tyler Gold of York, Neb., is now officially named Tyrannosaurus Rex Joseph Gold, the local York News Times reports.

But there’s no sign that Tyler … er, Tyrannosaurus Rex … is rethinking his choice because of any breaking news about breaking wind.

According to the News Times:

“In Gold’s official filing with the court, he said he wanted to change his name ‘because the (T-Rex designation) is cooler. Also, as an entrepreneur, name recognition is important and the new name is more recognizable.’ He verbally repeated his reasoning during the court proceedings, while on the witness stand [Monday].”

Commenting on the Good Men Blog, Joanna Schroeder adds:

Folks these days are naming their kids more, shall we say… creatively. Cracked.com has a great list of the top 20 unusual celebrity baby names that includes my favorite: Pilot Inspektor, child of Jason Lee.

Personally, I love it. I like that kids don’t get teased for their names being unusual anymore – because almost all the names are unusual.

Our names are all written together in the Cosmic Scroll, to use an image popular with Marc Gafni and other students of Kabbalah. Meaning, in other words, that the Cosmic Scroll, seen as our True Self, is only manifest in the world when it appears with a Name, with a Unique Self.

Each name is already unique, whether it is John, James, Mary, Patricia, or Tyrannosaurus Rex Joseph. But T-Rex’s decision demonstrates spirit’s next move: as individuals strive to build careers for the 21st century, defining their personal brands in a crowded marketplace of individuals with impressive resumes, they are looking to milk value out of every unique, distinguishing characteristic in their portfolio.

Whether T-Rex is just a gimmick or if it will turn Tyler Gold into a mammoth entrepreneur is hard to say. But if the name captures something essential about his Unique Self that lets him be more fully who he is in the world, then let’s bless him on his journey. And then let’s get out of his way…. quick!!!

 

Ego v. Unique Self: a lesson from Thor, god of thunder

Thor

By Joe Perez

Whatever your taste in movies, it’s hard to deny that Hollywood does a brilliant job of selling comic books to the world, illuminated with dazzling computer-powered, imagination-dazzling on-screen effects. Many adults find these action packed movies to be a guilty pleasure, and we ponder whether they have a redeeming educational or morally transcendent worth beyond a day’s entertainment. Given their prominence and durability, let’s hope that they do.

The first thing I want to say about The Avengers, Josh Whedon’s latest superhero summer blockbuster, is that it at times provoked in me surprising delight. The interactions among Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, the Black Widow and Hawkeye were intriguing in unexpected ways. These superheroes each inhabited their own excellence, their own uniqueness, with superb effortlessness … and they frequentlly argued, fought, and learned how to get along. [Read more…]

Where Americans import conservatives from overseas

Gay Methodist

Photo Credit: Religion News Service

 

By Joe Perez

In certain places in America, conservatives are so scarce they’ve begun to import them from abroad. Specifically, in Tampa, Florida, where 1,000 delegates gathered for the United Methodist Church’s General Conference. While liberal American Methodists pleaded for tolerance for gay people, conservatives from overseas compared homosexuality to bestiality. [Read more…]

Not at all a horror story: Stephen King and the virtues of patriotism

Stephen King

Stephen King

By Joe Perez

Patriotism is often taken as the virtue of virtue by conservatives (and by politicians posing as conservatives to win right-wing votes). Mitt Romney, for example, has made patriotism the centerpiece of his book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, his campaign, and his attacks against the president Barack Obama as “apologizer-in-chief” for statements made overseas admitting to the imperfections of the United States.

On the other hand, liberals and progressives have often demonstrated an allergy to patriotism and some of the things associated negatively with it (xenophobia, ethnocentrism, simple-minded acceptance of the ruling party, foreign policy aggression, etc.). It’s almost as if patriotism is a litmus test dividing the ethnocentric from the more worldcentric views of the world.

But this isn’t quite that simple. An Integral approach does not tell us that patriotism is good or bad, more developed or less developed. It tells us to honor all the ways of relating to patriotism that contribute to the greatest good for the greatest number of people. And when talking about patriotism, it is the case that progressives who can honor patriotism often make the best case for its virtues, and conservatives who argue against the downsides of patriotism are often its best critics. [Read more…]

Why disgust is important from a spiritual perspective

Worms

By Joe Perez

One of the most important insights of the Integral Framework is that it helps us to integrate psychological research regarding the basis for our worldviews with our spirituality. For instance, when we learn that many (but not all) liberals and many (but not all) conservatives are more likely to hold a common psychological type or structure-stage which per se is neither good nor bad, and for which they are not morally accountable, then we become less judgmental of them.

Thereupon we learn to dis-identify with exclusively liberal or conservative impulses as we locate within our own psyche the basis upon which liberals and conservatives usually hold out their warring worldviews as the only one worth belief. This change in political beliefs is associated with the arrival of a more expansive identification of the self and the world it inhabits. The self holds more of a both/and perspective rather than either/or.

Now it turns out researchers are constantly giving us greater understanding of how this all happens. Writing on Towleroad, Chris Mooney reviews the evidence to substantiate the fact that there appears to be no rational basis for the belief that children are harmed by same-sex marriage and unions. But Mooney’s main point is not political, but psychological. He argues that there is a psychological basis for differences in belief among liberals and conservatives regarding gay marriage, and it has to do with feelings of disgust: [Read more…]

What does a post-consumerist society look like?

Yvon Chouinard

Yvon Chouinard

By Joe Perez

One of the huge gifts that an environmentally conscious World Spirituality brings into the conversation around green living is its understanding that people are more than consumers, and that identifying with any limited conception of ourself is the bane of health spirituality. If what we value is something beyond our Self — consumer products, for instance — then we are headed away from our Unique Self. If what society values us for is something other than our Unique Self — then society is leading us down the road to perdition.

But for many of us it’s easier to see how we can change our own outlook, or progress in our individual consciousness. How can we possibly change the way that society drives, defines, shapes us? The answer, I think, begins with a twofold response. First, we are all leaders, and called to leadership. Of course there’s a role for following in some areas of our life, but we must be leaders where it really counts — in the ways that we are uniquely called into leadership. Through this leadership, we can do our own role to change the way that society squashes our fullest human potential. [Read more…]

Joe Perez and Stuart Davis in Dialogue, Part 1: The Future of Art and Integral

Stuart DavisBy Joe Perez

Last month, I engaged in dialogue with Stuart Davis, a contemporary American musician, actor, and stand-up comic. With over 10 full-length music albums to his credit, including the brand new Music for Mortals, Davis has bravely brought depth and spirituality into popular culture — including the topics of God, sex and death — crafting them into lyrical and memorable pop songs.

This is the first of a three-part series of posts. In this section of the interview, I speak with Stuart about the topics of the future of Integral, spirituality, celebrities and popular culture.

Part 1: The Future of Art and Integral

(or: What if Kim Kardashian Endorsed World Spirituality Tomorrow?)

Joe Perez: As an introduction to this interview, let me say that I did a board retreat for the Center for World Spirituality last month [February] and met a couple of dozen of people contributing to World Spirituality in different fields working in this area that nobody even knows about. The more I am exposed to that, I think, there really seems to be something bubbling up in the world right now. And then there is the article by Terri [Patten] and Marco [Morelli], “Occupy  Integral!” that people are talking about… Did you read that?

Stuart Davis: I think I did read that, a couple weeks ago.

Joe: Their basic idea being that there is something about Integral that hasn’t completely entered the cultural consciousness yet, and so there’s a discussion around what needs to happen, where are we at, what is this moment, and how can we best rise to the potential of the moment. What’s your take on all that, Stuart?

Stuart: I couldn’t agree more for starters. To go back to the initial, for me when this first started, the passion about integral entering the public consciousness at large, however you want to frame that, let’s say crossing over the threshold into something that’s bigger than our own private club, whatever that means in different domains. When I first encountered Integral, I encountered something that many people probably do, and I didn’t realize what it was. But when you get that initial hit of Integral and you begin to crackle alive in that regard, you have this sense, almost tactile, not just an idea or a promise, but you can feel it in your gut. And that promise is Integral taking its place and inhabiting its portion of the body of humanity, growing, being a truly emergent, novel dimension coming to life. And we all sense that. [Read more…]

Researchers probe relationship between analytical thinking and religiosity

The Thinker

According to a story in The Raw Story, a group of Canadian psychologists has concluded that directing test subjects to think “analytically” lowers their level of religious belief. Their research was published in this week’s issue of Science. A look at the study’s methodology, however, reveals misguided assumptions.

Test subjects were given a problem-solving test, shown a picture of Rodin’s famous sculpture “The Thinker,” and given a questionnaire asking participants how much they agreed with statements such as “I believe in God.” When these subjects were compared to control subjects not given problem-solving tasks, and presumably not shown a picture of “The Thinker,” the group subjected to the problem-solving tests were less likely to admit to having religious beliefs.

[Read more…]

On the Omnologist’s Manifesto of Howard Bloom

Sovereignty

Photo Credit: xalamay

 

By Joe Perez

Here’s one manifesto, The Omnologist’s (see below), that I can wholeheartedly sign aboard. Were I to defer on a particular, it would be over the manifesto’s emphasis on thinking over doing, words over deeds, science over art.

Not sure about the ending of the word “omnologist,” either. Dictionary.com tells us who the -ists are:

The -ist is a suffix of nouns, often corresponding to verbs ending in -ize or nouns ending in -ism, that denote a person who practices or is concerned with something, or holds certain principles, doctrines, etc.: apologist; dramatist; machinist; novelist; realist; socialist; Thomist.

The one -ist I wholeheartedly embrace is To Exist. It is not the self that studies the omni; it is the Self which is Existence which does what it does, looks around and through itself, writing every manifesto before tearing it down and building it again. It is the True Self of the Omni which is that which I embrace, as it is logically linked and physically embodied in each particular self, uniquely.

I embrace the manifesto with appreciation. As I see it, the Omnologist’s Manifesto is a look through the Eye of Spirit, the King of Existence telling the story of its own Sovereignty. [Read more…]

Why People Pay Attention to Tragedy

Titanic

By Joe Perez

On this, the second nightly column on Spirit’s Next Move, I set gaze on two articles from the World Wide Web: the first, an encouraging word about Earth Day from Integral City; the second, I look at an interesting interpretation of why people are so easily caught up in tragedies such as Anne Frank and the Titanic anniversary.

Earth Day brings greater Integrally-informed global collaborations

Is the Earth going down like Titanic? Not if current signs are just the beginning of global trends. Marilyn Hamilton writes in “Earth Day: Let’s Celebrate Ecosphere Intelligence Arising in Planet’s Fortune100!!”:

Sean Esborn-Hargens one of the leaders at the forefront of developing the whole field of Integral Ecology engages the nested voices of Self, Other and the World in ways that are shifting the whole understanding of ecology. Like Brian Eddy who has mapped the Integral Ecological model of the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere and anthroposphere, Sean has been convening conversations with multiple ecological personas in complex cultural and systems environments. [Read more…]