The Role of Contemplative Practice in World Transformation

The amazing thing about this color is that it is always there, we just can’t see it when the leaves are busy with their summer work.  As Psalm 46 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” 
We each have our true color: the unique tint of the Spirit of life as it flows through the lens of our particular heart and mind.  Human society would be as beautifully transformed as a fall Vermont landscape if more of us could let that brilliant color show through. 
The Golden Room is the location of our true self and the Spirit within us, and the stillness and self-emptying of contemplative practice is the ideal way to reach that inner room and release its light. Then the Spirit becomes the guiding and empowering source of all our greening work in the world. 
Recently the Heartfulness Contemplative Training Circle in our church talked about what role Centering Prayer and contemplative practice play in the urgent practical crises we face, like influencing an election that will determine the fate of our democracy and the earth, or like uniting a culture that is polarized so that we can solve problems of social, economic and environmental injustice.
We need our best, most inspired and powerful work in a crisis of such magnitude.  All the religious traditions I know teach that work done from a place of spiritual grounding and connection is far more effective and more likely to lead to an unforeseen creative path forward. 
More importantly, as I often quote Gus Speth saying, “the transitions required can be achieved only in the context of what I will call the rise of a new consciousness…. a spiritual awakening —a transformation of the human heart.”
Gus also said, “I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that with 30 years of good science we could address these problems. But I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation, and we scientists don’t know how to do that.”
The practical purpose of contemplative prayer is inherently God’s purpose, not ours, but we can observe what God’s purpose seems to be.  The arc of the spiritual universe bends toward the transformation of the human heart, leading to the transformation of the world into God’s realm of loving compassion, justice and peace on earth.  These transformations bring health, harmony and oneness.  They make possible the fulfillment of the Golden Rule and love of neighbor as our self as ethical laws governing every aspect of our lives, from small communities to the largest corporations.
Ken Wilber, Cynthia Bourgeault, Richard Rohr and countless others point out that contemplative practice is the path we need in order to make the transition as quickly as possible to a level of consciousness that sees from that place of oneness.
I have been rereading Hieromonk Damascene’s Christ the Eternal Tao, which is an Eastern Orthodox book about that path of transformation, and I have also been rereading Cynthia Bourgeault’s The Heart of Centering Prayer.
Here is a quote that comes at the end of Part I where Bourgeault has been giving a superb refresher course on Centering Prayer.  She is talking about “attention of the heart,” a phrase that comes from the Eastern Orthodox tradition and is also a major theme of Christ the Eternal Tao:
“Once you get the hang of it, attention of the heart allows you to be fully present to God, but at the same time fully present to the situation at hand, giving and taking from the spontaneity of your own authentic, surrendered presence.
“Again, this kind of presence is a capacity that has been developing in you as you gradually learn in Centering Prayer to withdraw your attention from its default subject/object positioning and rest in that diffuse, objectless awareness. As this capacity grows in you, it gradually takes shape as a felt center of gravity within you, the place where the pendulum of your being naturally comes to rest.  It’s not so much a place you pay attention to as a place you pay attention from….
“As I see it, the purpose of Centering Prayer is to deepen your relationship with God (and at the same time your own deepest self) in that bandwidth of formless, objectless awareness that is the foundation of nondual consciousness.  There you discover that you, God and the world ‘out there’ are not separate entities, but flow together seamlessly in an unbreakable dynamism of self-giving love, which is the true nature of reality and the ground of everything…. Centering Prayer [is] both a foundation and an access route to the stabilization of nondual consciousness.”
The change of consciousness that is the prerequisite to solve our most dire crises today is nondual, not as an intellectual and theoretical belief in oneness, but as Bourgeaut defines nonduality: “You see oneness because you see from oneness.”
We cannot know what creative solutions we will find from a new level of consciousness until we get there and see from its perspective.  Gandhi as a young barrister could never have imagined what Gandhi as a mature Mahatma would come to understand and do after years of both contemplative spiritual practice and fully engaged social action.  That barrister could never have overturned the most powerful empire the world had ever seen, as the Mahatma did.
This is the kind of Spirit-led creative action we need now.  It is our hope for survival.  Every minute that you spend in Centering Prayer or meditation or other contemplative practices is opening you to the possibility of just the guidance and power you need in order to use your gifts most effectively to transform the world.
OK…now forget all that, because the way to receive that spiritual help is to self-empty, to come to contemplative practice with no agenda other than to make yourself fully available to God’s loving presence and transforming action.  We need to let go of our will and our idea of what ideally will happen, and let the Spirit work in its own way in its own good time, which may be nothing like what we could imagine.  In fact, it may look like nothing is happening.  We need to trust and keep practicing in order to keep the connection to the Spirit flowing.
So sit yourself down and simply let go of one thought at a time, over and over and over for twenty minutes, the humble, seemingly insignificant path of self-emptying prayer that leads toward God’s transformation of your heart and the transformation of the world.
For an overview of some Christian contemplative practices including Centering Prayer click here:
and click here to find many wonderful videos from many of the leading teachers.

Our Task

If you haven’t seen this beautiful short film, please give yourself a transformative treat and spend a half hour immersed in its quiet drama and wisdom.  You will be glad you did.  It puts the rest of this post in proper perspective.  The earth is tiny, it is our one and only home, and we will survive only if humanity realizes this and acts as one people, at one with our planet, making it a safe, healthy home equally for all.  If we can undergo that transformation of our heart and consciousness, as these three astronauts did, we will transform the world.

Dedicated to Gus Speth, who formulated the wisdom on which this post is based in his essay in The Coming Transformation: Values to Sustain Human and Natural Communities.

Let future descendants of the human race say
that when our generation saw the unfolding ruin
of the stable earth that had made life possible
and of the free, just, equal, democratic societies
that humanity had evolved over hundreds of years,
we responded by laying down our lives to save
all that goodness, and to become even better.

i. We Shared Our Awareness of the Threat

We used our voices and all forms of art
to raise awareness of the threats
and to unite ourselves
in shared compassion and concern.

ii. We Chose Wise Leaders

The leaders we followed sought not self-aggrandizement
or partisan advancement, but humble wisdom,
aware that no one person or side could solve this alone,
that we needed to work together across divides,
and that we needed a higher power, the spirit of life,
the way of nature within and around us, to help us evolve.
Collective wisdom showed each practical step of the path,
courageous leaders led us boldly down it.

iii. We Gained New Vision and a New Story

We realized humanity could not make needed changes
without a changed consciousness that could see our oneness,
an enlightened way of perceiving ourselves and all life and earth,
a deeper understanding of what the meaning of life is
and what humanity could become.  We needed to discover
how we could fulfill as a society the ideal love of neighbor
that spiritual and philosophical leaders had taught
for three thousand years. We needed a new story
of the journey of the universe rooted in ancient traditions,
letting their shared dreams guide and inspire us,
and rooted in advanced social, physical and life sciences,
opening doors of possibilities unimagined until now.

iv. We Formed a United Movement toward a Shared Goal

We saw ourselves as one people on a journey
out of exile across a desert waste to a new Promised Land.
We saw that we were working toward the same goal,
whether our first concern was one ecosystem or another,
one cause of justice or another, one tribe or another,
we were one people, one movement,
and we needed one another.
We could get there only as one.

v. We Communicated Compellingly

We used all the skill and technology that we had.
We communicated the new positive vision and story,
the urgent calls for action, tirelessly, creatively,
by word of mouth, by broadcast and book, by worldwide web.
We shouted it from rooftops, from street corners,
from every pulpit and lectern. Children found their voice.
They led when adults remained dumb.

vi. We Created Working Models, Living into the Vision

We lifted up existing models.  We created new models.
We began living as if already in the Promised Land,
as if already one, as if already nonviolent, harmonious,
just, equal, compassionate, loving, kind.
We began building a golden civilization
brick by brick by the golden rule
and we did not stop until the ancient dream at last
stood gleaming on a restored and rejoicing earth.

vii. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for…”

Let future generations look back from that renewed world
and say that we were the ones
who made the change, who made it possible,
who threw off the shackles of selfishness, of ego,
of competitive pride and greed,
and who took the leap into the realm of love
that humanity was born to create.
Let them say that the crises of 2020
were the final labor pains of a new world,
the final push.

That urgent push is our task.

If you only 60 days to save the world…

Less than 60 days now…

I invite you to look deeply into this photograph.  I’ll reflect on it below.

The spirit of life is in every cell of this morning glory with its drive to survive and thrive.  The spirit of life is in the roots and leaves and it is especially in the golden heart of the flower where the seeds of the future take shape.  Solutions to life-threatening problems evolve in that golden room such as innovations the plant must undertake to deal with a changing climate or persistent virus. 

The innovations humanity needs to undergo are not genetic, but they, too, need to come from our heart’s core.  That is the place within us each where the spirit of life inspires the collective evolution of human consciousness to meet our life-threatening problems.  We need to look deeply into that golden room, listen to the still small voice of the spirit and act on what it guides and empowers us each to do.  That is our greatest source of hope for this time.

Thousands of registered Life Planners around the world begin each life plan by asking three questions in the EVOKE process that my brother, George Kinder, developed:

  1. I want you to imagine that you are financially secure, that you have enough money [and time] to take care of your needs, now and in the future. The question is…how would you live your life? Would you change anything? Let yourself go. Don’t hold back on your dreams.  Describe a life that is complete, that is richly yours.
  2. This time you visit your doctor who tells you that you have only 5 – 10 years left to live. The good part is that you won’t ever feel sick. The bad news is that you will have no notice of the moment of your death. What will you do in the time you have remaining to live?   Will you change your life and how will you do it?
  3. This time your doctor shocks you with the news that you have only one day left to live. Notice what feelings arise as you confront your very real mortality. Ask yourself:  What did I miss? Who did I not get to be? What did I not get to do?

Today Americans need to reframe that second question.  Instead of having five years to live, we have less than 60 days to save our democracy and save the world.  We have until Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020.  Many people on both sides are framing this election as a matter of life and death, and I believe they are right.

So the urgent Life Planning question now is, if you have only until November 3rd to save our democracy and the world, what will you do in the time you have remaining?  Will you change your life, and how will you do it?

Take a few minutes or an hour to think about that, and then if you feel inspired, please share with us your intention for these days by clicking on the Comment button below and writing in the “Leave a Reply” box that will appear.

Then consider the third question, once again reframed for our situation.  The shock is not that you have one day to live, the shock is that you wake up on November 4th and learn that the side lost that you believe could have saved our democracy and world.  Take a minute of mindfulness to note carefully the painful feelings that arise.  Then ask yourself: What more do I wish I had given?  What more do I wish I had done?

The original 3 Questions have both spiritual depth and practical power.  George Kinder is a Buddhist teacher, a student of psychology and literature and the first winner of the Financial Planning Association’s Heart of Financial Planning Award.  He has been named “One of the top Icons & Innovators in the financial planning industry,” and “The first of 15 transformational advisors whose vision most changed the industry,” and he has been inducted into the Financial Planning Magazine Hall of Fame.

Accolades have come to him for one reason: these three questions and the actions we take based on our answers have the power to change our lives, and have done so for tens of thousands of people.  They lead us to our deepest heart’s core to find what the spirit of life is calling us to do and be.  They release our creative and entrepreneurial gifts.  They motivate us to help life around us improve and evolve in ways that lead to greater life and love—exactly what you would expect when the spirit of life is freely flowing through us.  The results of these questions have changed the world.  Now, perhaps, they can save it.

I hope and pray that you will listen to your heart’s core and that you will make the changes necessary to give all the time, energy and resources you can in this time of greatest need.  Please use the days left before November 3rd to save our democracy and world.

If you have questions about how to fulfill what you feel called to do, feel free to use the comment feature below and ask for what you need. Thank you!

 

This Website’s Purpose Redefined for a New Time

Dear Readers,

The Welcome Page of this website now has a new statement of purpose.  You can read it here.  Please use the share buttons at the bottom of the page if you think people you know would be interested in this.  Thank you!

This Website’s Purpose

Summary:

“Who is there big enough to love the whole planet? We must find such people for the next society.”  E. B. White, “Intimations,” December 1941

This website has a passionate purpose: to help us become big enough to love the whole planet, not just in theory but in practice.  It seeks to help us become citizens who have the vision and the will to create the next society that is founded on a shared love of the whole world.

The passion behind this website is the same that you can hear in Greta Thunberg’s voice, or the Black Lives Matter protests.  We have reached a crisis point.  We have no more time, we cannot pass this on to any future generation.

There will be no future generations if our generation does not reply to E. B. White’s question, “Who is there big enough?” with the answer, “We are!”  But how can we become such people, and how can we change the world quickly enough?

I hope you will find inspiration, support and practical help for accomplishing that here.

The Call to Transform

E. B. White was by far not the only voice ever to call us to transform ourselves to a more enlightened consciousness that can see the true oneness of all life and to transform the world into a place of oneness and love of neighbor as self.

The wisest humans of every culture and spiritual tradition have called on humanity to make this transformation.  The voices began at least twenty-five hundred years ago at the dawning of the Axial Age and have continued with increasing urgency—Greek philosophers, the Hebrew prophets, Buddhist, Taoist and Hindu teachers, Christ and the contemplative Christian tradition, Sufis and indigenous wisdom-keepers.  In the 20th Century Albert Einstein, Dorothy Day, the Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. were only a few of the many who cried out for our transformation.

Today Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousefzai, Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama, Joanna Macy and Mary Evelyn Tucker and thousands more are telling us it is now or never—we have reached the crisis point where human consciousness and society must undergo this transformation or face the real possibility of extinction.

Gus Speth sums this crucial wisdom up beautifully in his book The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability.  Speth co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council and World Resources Institute.  He Chaired President Carter’s Council on Environmental Quality.  He was Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.  Here is what he says:

“Many of our deepest thinkers and many of those most familiar with the scale of the challenges we face have concluded that the transitions required can be achieved only in the context of what I will call the rise of a new consciousness. For some it is a spiritual awakening —a transformation of the human heart. For others it is a more intellectual process of coming to see the world anew and deeply embracing the emerging ethic of the environment and the old ethic of what it means to love thy neighbor as thyself. But for all it involves major cultural change and a reorientation of what society values and prizes most highly.”  (To read similar words from others click here.)

We have very little time.  The next decade is our chance to limit the scale of the environmental crisis and create a sustainable, just and peaceful global society.  Much excellent, detailed work has been done to envision what a healthy civilization and planet would require.  Bringing about world transformation seems achievable, but as Gus Speth says, “only in the context of…a new consciousness.”

We may elect leaders who will work on world transformation, but for them to have the power to overcome opposition and make the changes we need will require a new dominant cultural consciousness.  Building that support and political will seems like the harder task.

This website will focus especially on how we can transform our individual consciousness, the foundation for cultural and world transformation.

The co-founder of Centering Prayer, Thomas Keating, says, “If one is truly transformed, one can walk down the street, drink a cup of tea or shake hands with somebody and be pouring divine life into the world…. The essential thing…is the transformation of one’s own consciousness.”  (Mystery of Christ p. 275)

“If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself…. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation…”  Hua Hu Ching 75, attributed to Lao Tzu 

“If you want a golden civilization, you must start with what is golden inside of you. If you want a civilization that will thrive for a thousand years, you must start with what is timeless inside of you.”  George Kinder, A Golden Civilization and a Map of Mindfulness

How Can New Consciousness Evolve Now?

The Tree Sprouts New Branches, Human Consciousness Evolves, the World Is Transformed

One year there was solid bark, the next year a new branch had burst through where no one could have expected it.

I was clearing a field once and liked where a maple tree was growing, but it had been shaped by the old thicket and was bent over toward the light.  A neighbor knew trees better than I did and insisted I was foolish to think it would straighten up and flourish, but I was happy in my foolish hope and left it.

He was right, the old trunk did not change direction entirely, but it sprouted a new branch like the one above, and that branch grew straight up and soon became the new lead trunk.  The old, bent trunk diminished to be a side branch.

We face a crisis in human evolution that threatens to destroy the world that has carried us to where we are today.  We are in danger of turning our planet into a habitat in which humans cannot survive and, along the way there, turning our civilization into a crucible of survivalist fear and violence in which the human spirit cannot thrive.

We do not have at this time the collective will to change our ways and act for the long term well being of our habitat.  We do not take the necessary actions as a society even when we hear the urgent cry of scientists, see the first stages begin of the suffering to come and acknowledge the wisdom of the religious traditions calling us to care and act.

Our hope is that the human spirit can rapidly evolve to have that collective will.

We know it is possible because humanity has evolved through crisis points in the past.  Whole new branches of insight and understanding and new ways of living have sprung from the solid bark of old ways.

We have hope, and that hope resides in our hearing the calling within our hearts as we look at what is happening in the world, and then exploring where that calling leads.  The hope is for our individual transformation that will give us the wisdom and power to transform the world. Continue reading

An Appreciation of George Kinder, April 2, 2018

My brother, George Kinder, is a map-maker—he has been working on maps to the transformations that we need as individuals and as a world for decades.  I am celebrating his birthday by republishing this analysis of how his life work is contributing to changing the world for the better.

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 clients from all walks of life 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.  Below I will look at the contribution that four of his books make to that movement.

Continue reading

Introduction to the Returning/Aloha Category

This is one of a series of introductions that bring together two ways of describing a path that leads to the transformation of ourselves and the transformation of the world around us.

The first word in each dyad is from stages and chapters in The Golden Room writings.  The second is from my brother George Kinder‘s methodology of Life Planning.  (The first five are from Life Planning’s EVOKE steps, the last two, Understanding and Aloha, are from the Seven Stages of Money Maturity.  George’s began working primarily with the financial industry, but Seven Stages and EVOKE both are heart-centered, spiritually grounded and used by clergy and coaches.)

If you have not read about The Golden Room Writings, these introductions will make more sense when you have.  You can read about them at Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site, and More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors.  Here are the seven introductions in this series, listed in order, with links to them.

Calling/Exploration
Siting/Vision
Clearing/Obstacles
Digging/Knowledge
Building/Execution
Dwelling/Understanding
Returning/Aloha

The Golden Room Writings and Life Planning Writings are both categories on this website, and they share these seven dyads as subcategories.

Returning/Aloha is the most important stage of the journey.  It cannot happen without all the other stages, but this is the reason why we have sought and built the Golden Room into our lives.  The purpose is not for us to feel the bliss of being there.  The purpose, as the vision showed, is to take what we find within and deliver it to the world.

An essential part of dwelling in the Golden Room is returning to the world, living not just in our heart’s core but from it, in order to serve with whatever gifts we find there.  Usually a Life Plan contributes gifts to others, whether to family, our workplace, our local community or the wider world, even if the plan is to sail solo around the world or enter a monastery.  There is almost always sooner or later a gain for others in our fulfilling our Golden Room life.  The calling in our deepest, truest core comes from the universe that created us and is not for ourselves alone.

We return to the world, and then return to the Golden Room and then return to the world again, until that cycle of returning is resolved in the highest nondual or integral developmental stage of consciousness, when we see that the universe and the Golden Room are one and we do not need to return because we are always at home wherever we go and whatever we do.

We will not have reached the truest, deepest core of the Golden Room until we have attained this universalizing stage of oneness with all creation.  The heart’s core gives rise to a self-giving, unconditional, all-forgiving, universal love that does not differentiate between worthy or unworthy or friend or foe or this recipient or that, but loves for the sake of loving.

No matter how partial the love we find within, our task is to return with even the smallest sliver of its golden light and deliver our gifts to the part of our world where we find they are needed.

“Aloha” is where George Kinder’s Seven Stages ultimately lead.  The meaning of Aloha is far more than hello or goodbye.  It is a personal quality of generous-hearted lovingkindness.  It takes simple joy in bestowing gifts to the world, whether random spontaneous acts or larger life works.

Aloha is a returning of blessings to others out of the knowledge and gratitude that we have been blessed by the universe to have this time on earth.  It has nothing to do with a sense of obligation or self-esteem, and it may not be true Aloha if we have not mastered some degree of the Understanding Stage.  True Aloha rises naturally from the heart.  It blossoms when we attain freedom from inner obstacles that block us from the integrity of living in, from and for our Golden Room, the way a hyacinth blossoms after struggling up from its buried bulb through the dark earth, at last releasing its inner truth of sweet scent and beautiful hue.

Introduction to the Dwelling/Understanding Category

This is one of a series of introductions that bring together two ways of describing a path that leads to the transformation of ourselves and the transformation of the world around us.

The first word in each dyad is from stages and chapters in The Golden Room writings.  The second is from my brother George Kinder‘s methodology of Life Planning.  (The first five are from Life Planning’s EVOKE steps, the last two, Understanding and Aloha, are from the Seven Stages of Money Maturity.  George’s began working primarily with the financial industry, but Seven Stages and EVOKE both are heart-centered, spiritually grounded and used by clergy and coaches.)

If you have not read about The Golden Room Writings, these introductions will make more sense when you have.  You can read about them at Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site, and More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors.  Here are the seven introductions in this series, listed in order, with links to them.

Calling/Exploration
Siting/Vision
Clearing/Obstacles
Digging/Knowledge
Building/Execution
Dwelling/Understanding
Returning/Aloha

The Golden Room Writings and Life Planning Writings are both categories on this website, and they share these seven dyads as subcategories.

When do you begin to dwell in the Golden Room that you are building, whether it be the spiritual center you are nurturing or the heart’s core vision (the “Torch”) of the Life Plan you are implementing?

Once it is completed and you move in and you never return to your former dwelling?

No, at some point you awaken to the fact that you began dwelling in your Golden Room the moment you inclined your heart toward the faintest calling.  To seek the site, to clear it, to dig, to build are all to dwell in that place.

Even more so, of course, is to move in and change your mailing address, to rest after all the striving and be still and fully present to the moment of arrival, to look with wonder at the beauty of the Golden Room and feel the peace and joy of being in your true home.

You may find forgetfulness taking you back onto your old street, falling into old habits, straying from your heart’s core and dream life, but as soon as you waken to that fact and long to return to the Golden Room, you are dwelling there again.

Whenever you are aware of it, whether you feel you are there or not, you are dwelling in it.  Doing spiritual practices designed to lead us to the Golden Room keeps us dwelling there, however far it may feel from finished and furnished.  Working on the logistical steps to put the new life in place is a real form of dwelling in it.  To live in relation to the Golden Room is to live in it.

“Understanding” is the pivotal phase of George Kinder’s Seven Stages.  It is the moment when we gain the capacity to dwell within our inner truth with acceptance and peace, and to live as we choose to live, with freedom and integrity, no matter what inner or outer turmoil is swirling around us.

We have heard a calling to a new way or level of living, we have cleared and dug deep and gained the knowledge we need, everything is in place, but in order to dwell in that newness and be our true, authentic self we need to have a psychological and spiritual breakthrough, we need to emerge fully from the hold of our old self-limiting ways of thinking and acting.

The Understanding stage requires mindfulness, inner listening, the ability to let thoughts go and let feelings be, the capacity to dwell fully and freely in each present moment whatever experience it may bring, and choose our path through it.  The result is a tremendous release of creative and entrepreneurial energy, a vigor that is in the service of our deepest, truest self, which has altruistic love at is core.  The more we dwell in it, the more we contribute to the well being of the world around us.

The posts in this category will be about what we need to do to dwell in the Golden Room wherever we may be on the journey there or in the process of building it.  They will be about mindfulness and the contemplative life and the Understanding Stage ability to find freedom and integrity within the present moment.

William Blake wrote,

I GIVE you the end of a golden string;
  Only wind it into a ball,
It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate,
  Built in Jerusalem’s wall.…

This Dwelling/Understanding category is about how to keep our fingers on the golden string that leads to and through the Golden Room.

Introduction to the Building/Execution Category

This is one of a series of introductions that bring together two ways of describing a path that leads to the transformation of ourselves and the transformation of the world around us.

The first word in each dyad is from stages and chapters in The Golden Room writings.  The second is from my brother George Kinder‘s methodology of Life Planning.  (The first five are from Life Planning’s EVOKE steps, the last two, Understanding and Aloha, are from the Seven Stages of Money Maturity.  George’s began working primarily with the financial industry, but Seven Stages and EVOKE both are heart-centered, spiritually grounded and used by clergy and coaches.)

If you have not read about The Golden Room Writings, these introductions will make more sense when you have.  You can read about them at Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site, and More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors.  Here are the seven introductions in this series, listed in order, with links to them.

Calling/Exploration
Siting/Vision
Clearing/Obstacles
Digging/Knowledge
Building/Execution
Dwelling/Understanding
Returning/Aloha

The Golden Room Writings and Life Planning Writings are both categories on this website, and they share these seven dyads as subcategories.

Building puts new habits and practices in place where obstacles were blocking us before.  We begin to see the beauty of our dream coming to life.  We see the building’s emerging outline define a space, and we step into it with wonder and excitement as it evolves.  We create borders and boundaries, a sheltering structure.  Our perspective changes as each new development reframes the view.

We find ourselves no longer descending in the vision of the Golden Room through utter darkness, claustrophobic and scraping our skin with no end in sight.  We can see now the glow of the Golden Room ahead, and every step on the ladder brings it closer.   We shift from moving away from our old reality through a painful exodus to moving toward our destination with joy.

In the journey of Dante’s Divine Comedy we have gone from being lost in the woods to descending into hell to working through purgatory, and now at last we begin to ascend in paradise, the realm of light.

The Life Planning “Execution” stage is where we implement the architectural designs of the plan, we build the logistical structure.  We carry out the action steps for every solution to every obstacle.  We start to see immediate results as the building rises.  We begin to live into the new life.

Posts in this category will be about putting in place all the needed elements to live the Golden Room, heart’s core life.

Introduction to the Digging/Knowledge Category

This is one of a series of introductions that bring together two ways of describing a path that leads to the transformation of ourselves and the transformation of the world around us.

The first word in each dyad is from stages and chapters in The Golden Room writings.  The second is from my brother George Kinder‘s methodology of Life Planning.  (The first five are from Life Planning’s EVOKE steps, the last two, Understanding and Aloha, are from the Seven Stages of Money Maturity.  George’s began working primarily with the financial industry, but Seven Stages and EVOKE both are heart-centered, spiritually grounded and used by clergy and coaches.)

If you have not read about The Golden Room Writings, these introductions will make more sense when you have.  You can read about them at Introduction: The Vision Behind This Site, and More Introduction to this Site: We Need Metaphors.  Here are the seven introductions in this series, listed in order, with links to them.

Calling/Exploration
Siting/Vision
Clearing/Obstacles
Digging/Knowledge
Building/Execution
Dwelling/Understanding
Returning/Aloha

The Golden Room Writings and Life Planning Writings are both categories on this website, and they share these seven dyads as subcategories.

Digging continues the process that clearing began, the preparation of the site to fulfill the calling.  We dig in to the project, and lay the foundation that the building needs.

It corresponds in the vision of The Golden Room to the long, painful descent down the ladder.  This is where the challenges begin, and where many people give up.  It is no longer theoretical.  We have to get our hands dirty.

Kenosis, the process of self-emptying, becomes more intense. Thomas Keating, the teacher of Centering Prayer, talks about “the unloading of the unconscious” that contemplatives go through as their meditation practice deepens.  We need to bring up the junk, the old rocks and roots that will get in the way of solid footings.  The great song for spiritual renewal, Psalm 51, prays, “Create in me a clean heart, O God.”  Digging works toward the wide open heart that we need in order for a new and right spirit to rise in us.

The EVOKE Life Planning “Knowledge” phase applies expertise to the Obstacles we find as we dig.  It researches what we need to create a strong foundation for our new life.  How can we move buried boulders, how can we work with immovable ledge or a high water table—what logistical groundwork or architectural design work do we need to do, whether financial or psychological or relational or some other form, in order to implement our Life Plan?