Monday, April 16, 2007

Collective Emergence

A beautiful summary of the teaching of collective intersubjective nonduality from Andrew Cohen. Related article (Guru and Pandit here).

A long excerpt (my emphasis):
When you come together with others to inquire into the most fundamental spiritual and philosophical principles, you should begin to ask yourself: What is it that captivates your attention? Is it any of the other individuals or is it what emerges between the individuals? What you will discover, if you are authentically engaging with the process, is that it is not any individual or even the collective that is so thrilling. It is the quality of consciousness that each and every individual is manifesting—a deeper part of the self that expresses itself through the individual but is fundamentally not limited to the individual. This is a radically different orientation to the way we are accustomed to relating to each other, because now we are relating primarily to the intersubjective field of consciousness itself. At a certain point, even the concepts you may be exploring and understanding become secondary, however profound they may be. The concepts are just what you use to manipulate the field. You find that you are one step ahead of even what you understand, and you discover that you are spontaneously acting and responding from a much more intuitive dimension of yourself. Evolution beyond ego occurs when those who have come together in this way begin to become conscious of and concerned with the emerging intersubjective field rather than any individual. As we progress in our engagement with spiritual evolution, we will notice that our attention gradually moves from being focused only on the individual to becoming attuned to the collective, until finally it is drawn directly to the field of consciousness itself.
This experience of a deeper/higher way of relating as human beings creates a standard by which our actions are then measured. I would amend slightly the phrase "evolution beyond ego" to "evolution [mostly] beyond ego." The ego never disappears--nor should it--completely, but it can and does fade to the background. Cohen is right on this point: the work done, what makes this coming together possible is not the frontal personality but a higher order emergent quality of the self (Authentic Self, Soul).

The move from initial shock and ecstasy in the state to the next layer of addiction to the people within the group leads to the center--the emergence between. It is beyond powerful as a state. It requires a great deal of focus and discipline to both maintain attention to the field and not be pulled into an arrogant identification of the self with the power of the field itself. [A sorta dark side move].

The shamanic realm (psychic state) is known for being a realm of power. This worldspace (indigo-violet) is the stage version, as it were, of psychic consciousness. It is the realm that is the beginning of the theosphere, but the higher energy/consciousness is still deeply immersed in the gross-waking state realm. Hence the feeling of power in the body, like a collective kundalini of the mind.

A constant theme in Cohen is the self---the nearly forgotten 6th aspect of the AQAL vision--and the self's power from within to take moral responsibility for what is glimpsed in the higher awareness. It is a new morality, empowered from within, at the place of human intuition.

For Cohen, given the density of consciousness and human ego it requires a committed group to give their lives to this to hold each other to account. (i.e. his spiritual community). For a number of reasons, that is not my path, but it is essentially impossible to keep that level of commitment and honesty in my spiritual life. Nothing in my life supports that aspect of myself. I'm not strong enough to maintain the integrity myself. It is a source of deep pain within me.

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At 3:49 PM, Anonymous ebuddha said...

Hmmm - I don't know the depth of your experience in this, but, how would you determine that this is different, than say the intersubjectivity explored in Open Space?

The "intersubjective field", is a phenomenon long documented, both in social sciences, personally, and in psychology.

There IS a magic in intersubjectivity - if you go to any sangha, any forum, this intersubjective coming together creates an "organism" different than the individuals in that field.

So I'm not sure what, exactly, is the revelation. Certainly, most of the abstract talk here, such as "a deeper part of the self that expresses itself through the individual but is fundamentally not limited to the individual" applies to Open Space, as well as is readily apparent when, say, after a retreat, you are living in awarenes, and notice the constant mirroring (like a stone dropped in a pool) in people's interactions.


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