Follow the Map: Structural Details
This great maple is growing in a landscape that the last glacial age scraped bare. It feeds on soil formed over ten thousand years of patient building through cycles of life and death, decay and new birth. The maple has found its own way to develop and create the structures it needs to reach the light. It is a gift to countless lives, from birds and squirrels to spiders and beetles to mosses and microbes. It inspires the humans who stand under it in awe. Look at what is possible on this earth.
The Golden Room, A Golden Civilization: Four Steps toward Saving the World
Here is the outline of this series of related posts:
- Step One Recognize we need a new consciousness
- Step Two Strive toward the tipping point of 10%
- Step Three, Part A Follow the Map: Image, Metaphor and Introduction
- Step Three, Part B Follow the Map: Review and Overview
- Step Three, Part C-1 Follow the Map: Story and Sketch
- Step Three, Part C-2 Follow the Map: Structural Details
- Step Four Tools to help us get there
Step Three is to study the map that leads us individually and culturally to the new, higher stage of consciousness that we now need—and to commit ourselves to follow that map.
The new consciousness and the ideal society it alone can create may have sounded wildly optimistic and out of reach in the past, but there are three reasons why we can and must leave that skepticism behind.
First, it is clear where the earth and human civilization are heading if we do not undergo this transformation. Significant numbers of leaders and citizens support the idea that we must change in order to survive, and recognize that we need a new, higher consciousness in order to do so. The suffering that will come of our failure to attempt it is unconscionable. We simply must.
Second, abolishing slavery once sounded wildly optimistic and out of reach. So did equal rights for women and the nonviolent liberation of India from the British Empire. The transition from the Dark Ages to the Enlightenment was unimaginable. Many times in history the human heart and mind have undergone rapid transformations that seemed impossible before they happened. It can happen again. And it must.
Third, we are making rapid strides forward in many fields relating both to the Golden Room and the Golden Civilization. We have the great spiritual and secular awakening of the contemplative path of meditation and mindfulness. We have many brilliant insights, discoveries and innovations in the inner developmental process. I will talk about two of the pioneers in this work below. We also have outstanding leadership working on every problem threatening civilization and the earth today. This series is about achieving the all important new consciousness, but the technical and advocacy work being done is obviously essential. We have facets of the Golden Civilization vision emerging in every field.
Fear and doubt are understandable and justified in the face of escalating threats, but we cannot afford to let them control our response. We need to acknowledge them, have compassion for them and let them go. We need to free our hearts and minds to be transformed to a new consciousness, and that means employing tools like positive psychology and appreciative inquiry, and celebrating that we have the maps and tools we need to speed our transformation.
Here are some of the structural details from two leading thinkers who have dedicated their lives to helping people reach a new consciousness.
My brother, George Kinder, is a map-maker—he has been working on the maps we now need for decades. George has been recognized in national publications as one of the 35 most influential people in financial services, one of the top Icons & Innovators in financial planning, and the first of 15 transformational advisors whose vision most changed the industry. He has revolutionized financial advising over the last thirty years, training over 3000 professionals in 30 countries in the field of Life Planning.
George is a spiritual teacher as well, and although his maps have been designed with financial Life Planners in mind, they have broad applicability. Hundreds of financial planners are now helping their clients explore their deep heart’s core, their Golden Room. The clients are living in, from and for the dreams or callings that they find there. (A 2016 New York Times article described how people are following the Life Planning map to a meaningful retirement.) Often these Life Plans contribute directly or indirectly to a healthier family, community or world.
George’s maps can be applied equally well to all facets of our lives and across the spectrum of our developmental lines or multiple intelligences, not just the financial realm. All his maps lead us through the Golden Room of inner transformation to the transformed culture he calls the Golden Civilization.
George’s first book was The Seven Stages of Money Maturity: Understanding the Spirit and Value of Money in Your Life. It traces a path from the innocent beliefs and messages that form our world perspective in childhood through the struggle to break free of the suffering they can cause us later in life. What was useful at an early developmental stage can be stunting at a later one.
For instance, adages like “A penny saved is a penny earned,” or “A fool and his money are soon parted,” contain wisdom, but with the authority of the parental voice behind them they can keep mature adults from taking the reasonable risks needed to fulfill their callings.
Mindfulness helps us become aware of old beliefs and feel the limitations, anxiety, depression or damage they are causing. It also helps us become aware of the dreams we long to live that the old messages are making impossible.
George identifies the pivotal moment of the 7 Stages as the Understanding stage. There we gain the freedom to live with integrity. We let the old messages go and let the complex feelings they create be. We find that we can take the step through that mountain pass that has always defeated us before and reach the other side. We cross over into a Promised Land that flows with vigor and creative energy and that leads in the highest of the 7 Stages to a generous-hearted drive to serve our community and be a blessing to those around us.
George is talking about our relationship with money, or our financial “multiple intelligence,” but the map works for developmental growth along any line. It frees us from the internal obstacles that hold us back. It delivers us a life lived from our heart’s core, contributing our natural, enthusiastic gifts to the world around us in ways that transform it for the better.
George’s book Transforming Suffering into Wisdom: Mindfulness and The Art of Inner Listening offers a magnified view of the map through the crucial territory of the Understanding stage, teaching in detail a way to free ourselves to live with integrity. One reviewer describes it as “applying meditation to our most mundane moments and habitual behaviors, while on each page appealing to our highest aspirations to lead more joyous and meaningful lives.”
George’s most recent book, Life Planning for You: How to Design and Deliver the Life of Your Dreams, maps a profoundly powerful path of practical life transformation. It is called EVOKE, standing for its five phases of Exploration, Vision, Obstacles, Knowledge and Execution.
EVOKE contains sophisticated tools for exploring the heart’s core and translating the calling, purpose or dream that we find there into a fully articulated vision. It provides equally powerful methods for identifying and overcoming the obstacles that could get in the way and gaining the knowledge needed to bring the Life Plan to fruition.
You could call it the map of a shortcut, speeding a journey that could take a lifetime, but in most cases it feels more like a map of hidden passages to dream destinations people never imagined possible. In either case, as a shortcut or as a map to fulfill impossible dreams, it describes the kind of map we most need today—we need an EVOKE Life Plan for human civilization.
George’s first two books are essential to Life Planning. The close-up map in Transforming Suffering into Wisdom is as important in the EVOKE process as in the 7 Stages Understanding stage. Mindfulness and inner listening help us be aware of our deepest thoughts and feelings, the dreams and callings in our heart’s core. Mindfulness brings to light inner obstacles that are either blocking the core from view or blocking the Life Plan from execution.
The 7 Stages enhance the EVOKE process by helping identify conditioned beliefs or messages that could be stifling a person’s freedom and integrity in fulfilling their Life Plan. The 7 Stages show the way to work through the dead-ends of those early conditionings into the highest level of maturity.
George believes that if every person were to tap their deep well of creative and entrepreneurial energy through Life Planning the world would be transformed in ways that would solve today’s most threatening problems. He also knows that the systems that make up the structure of our civilization urgently need reform. Raising a 10% minority to a new consciousness is crucial, but so is the continued work on issues that is already being done—much of it by people who already are at the higher, nondual or integral level. Life Planning can help more people find their place in that all important work.
George’s forthcoming book on A Golden Civilization brings the wisdom of his other three maps to bear on the journey toward an ideal society. He addresses issues of entrepreneurial spirit, democracy, the media, economics (financial advice, products and markets) and leadership.
He says, “In the face of these many challenges and indeed because of them it is time to change direction. It is time to people the earth with brilliant hearts even more than brilliant minds, so that all actions…will be made with kindness, compassion and consideration for all.”
George writes, “If you want a golden civilization, you must start with what is golden inside of you.”
A Golden Civilization will contain maps showing how mindfulness in the present moment can bring not only a new consciousness—the rise of brilliant hearts to match our brilliant minds—but also the release of tremendous entrepreneurial energy that can provide the momentum we need to make a rapid transition.
This series of posts is largely indebted to Ken Wilber’s vision, research and analysis. His monumental book The Religion of Tomorrow: A Vision of the Future for the Great Traditions builds on a synthesis of over one hundred models of developmental stages and of many religions’ progressive spiritual states (this link is to a summary of Evelyn Underhill’s classic formulation of spiritual states).
The Religion of Tomorrow follows up Wilber’s books Integral Spirituality and Integral Psychology and makes a compelling case for bringing developmental stages and spiritual states together now in an intentional process of growth. The new consciousness required to solve our problems today needs to encompass and fully value both material and spiritual dimensions of life.
Wilber lays out a detailed, well-grounded map to bring the magic number of 10% of the population to the new, higher level of consciousness we need to save the world—the nondual or integral or universalizing stage of development.
He devotes a large portion of the book to warnings of how progress through the stages and states can get distorted. It is essential that we grow in a healthy way or people at later stages will perpetuate, if not worsen, the world’s problems. For instance, it is possible for someone at a pluralistic stage to have retained an ethnocentric, fundamentalist judgmentalism that would increase polarization and block progress into the integral, nondual stage.
The Religion of Tomorrow is not an easy read, it is over 800 pages, dense and repetitive, but it can be forgiven much for its contribution of exactly the map we need. It offers many tools and much wisdom for how to follow the map as swiftly as possible.
Wilber calls on the spiritual communities of all traditions to become conveyor belts helping their members move to higher developmental stages and deeper spiritual states in healthy ways. The first step is for spiritual communities to know the stages and states as well as they know the names of the books of scripture or the prayers they have memorized.
Knowing and thoroughly understanding the various stages and states speeds our progress through them—Wilber says the knowledge of them is psychoactive. The understanding of the various stages also enables us to work more harmoniously with all people because we recognize the importance and value of the stage they are passing through and can anticipate the differences of perspective we will have to negotiate between people in diverse stages.
Mindfulness and meditation are every bit as essential to Ken Wilber’s map as to George Kinder’s. Inner listening brings to awareness both the higher calling of our hearts and the inner obstacles, addictions or aversions of our shadow side that can stunt our growth.
If a new consciousness is required, then all roads to the saving of the earth and the Golden Civilization lead through the Golden Room.
Step Four will offer some of the tools Kinder, Wilber and others provide for helping us move as quickly as we can to the new consciousness that we so urgently need.
You can continue reading this series in order by clicking here.