Emerging Capacities

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The new consciousness did not arise in a vacuum, but has emerged from these and other life-giving stories or morphogenic fields that share the vision of connectedness of all that is. In earlier chapters we have looked at other morphogenic fields that we can engage because they affirm that our species is moving toward unitive consciousness (TEILHARD)* and we have powerful tools at our disposal that allow us to participate more fully in the grace-filled process.
The work of Susanne Cook-Greuter is quite helpful because it shows us that the unitive consciousness once considered the purview of rare individuals (MYSTICS)* is the kind of consciousness to which our species is evolving. With information based on empirical data, Cook-Greuter describes the emerging perspective on a large scale.
Previously the characteristics of these stages of development have been expressed in religious terms. Indeed these stages are often the result of sustained attention to “religious experience” (experience of the transcendent), yet they may be described as profoundly “human experience,” accessible through experience described as religious but not limited to any particular religious tradition. Since often the images and metaphors used in religious expression stem from a cosmology rooted in the Paleolithic era, their use has sometimes been as restrictive as it is liberating. Using the language of psychology (JUNG)* allows us to move to a place of detachment from religious language so that we may update our own stories and images in a way that is resonant with the newer vision of reality that has been revealed. Far from separating us from our religious tradition, psychology can help us become clearer about what is of the essence.
The two higher stages examined by Cook-Greuter, Construct-Aware and Unitive, fall into the broader category of unitive consciousness. Individuals in these stages have developed the capacity to witness their own experience rather than be embedded in it. They have grown through the various developmental stages, with each stage becoming the object of the emerging stage.
Both stages recognize the limitations of the ego and understand just how egocentric they have been. This recognition serves to free them of egocentricity and its concomitant illusions and to be vigilant with regard to the ego’s ploys. They notice paradoxes in their world, but they no longer see them as problems to be solved, but simply notice that they are part of the ongoing flow of life itself.
As they have moved through the stages, both Construct-Aware and Unitive adults have grown in their embrace, capable of including more and more of reality in their own worldview. They no longer consider themselves separate from the world but recognize that they are part of a single reality (COMMUNITY)*. Of course, the power of intention can be misused. If it is the case that we are always setting intentions anyway, simply as the result of our thinking processes, then we must disengage from the in attentional blindness that has been there all along. We have set intentions unaware; inadvertently misusing a power that we did not know was ours. How do we learn to set healthy intentions? How do we learn to set healthy
intentions?
How do we set intentions that flow from the deep self and not a fear-filled ego? We meditate. We become intentional about our own journey, and we share with others who do the same.
We do not seek to arbitrarily establish our own morphogenic fields, but pay close attention to that which is emerging as a result of the pressure of the Spirit and then do what we can to grow in wisdom and respond with grace. We are prepared for the call that is ours.
We have all the tools required to step into the stream of grace-filled consciousness that is ours to live.
The journey will be messy. We will miss a few steps and we will not always make the best of choices, but journey we must-together-growing all the while in our capacity to become people of compassion.

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