A Time of Chaos-ICCD’s Response
Without a doubt we are living in a tumultuous time. We are facing major social, economic and political problems that seem to defy our ability to address them. Many see the very structures and systems that serve as scaffolding for our pluralistic democracy breaking down. System thinkers call this moment a chaos point. It is a choice point for we face only break down or break through. There is no going back.
Albert Einstein had a piece of wisdom for us. He understood that the problems which face us cannot be addressed at the same level of consciousness that created them. He knew we had to respond out of a new stage of consciousness.
It is this chaos point challenging us to a new way of responding, of thinking, of being which ICCD has been addressing these past years. We have experienced a growing polarity among us which seems caught in an either/or way of thinking. We feel our country being stretched from one side to the other around issues such as immigration, abortion, climate change, gun reform, human rights issues, and health care to name just a few.
All the old ways of addressing these issues do not work. We do need to respond out of a different stage of consciousness than in the past.
We see the need to explore who we are as persons, as nations, and as a planetary community within a new context. The work we have been doing through our program: Enter the Chaos: Engage the Differences to Make a Difference attempts to do just this.
We weave together three major threads which we believe offer us ways to engage each other across differences and generate creative new responses to the issues facing us. The first is the belief in the transformative power of contemplation. Deepening our contemplative practice invites us to encounter the Divine Mystery within us and awakens us to a new understanding of Self. We begin to see ourselves in new ways. We are unique and we are connected with all beings.
The second thread is awareness that we are part of the evolutionary process. To understand the time we are living in and the kind of divisions we are experiencing, we believe we need to see it within the context of the 13.8 billion year process our Universe is engaged in. Evolution is still happening. The Universe is unfolding and we are part of that emergence.
The third thread is the theory of Spiral Dynamic Integral (SDI) rooted in the work of Clare Graves, Ken Wilber and Don Beck. SDI provides an understanding of how consciousness—individual and collective—developed throughout our evolutionary journey and the emerging stages as we move into the future. At each stage there are new beliefs, values and behaviors as each stage is transcended while including the wisdom of previous stages.
Woven together there is a great resonance between the Self encountered in contemplation whose very being is transformed and desires to be and act differently and the wisdom of what SDI calls the second tier. This is an emerging stage of consciousness that no longer sees things in polar opposites of either/or but rather is comfortable with complexity and seeing from a sense of the whole. The skills and behaviors developed at this stage deepens one’s capacity for dialogue and for discovering new ways of addressing the volatile issues of our time.
The wisdom of this tier reflects the contemplative wisdom of seeing the heart as an organ of perception from which we respond. SDI provides for us the skillful means to begin to do as Einstein challenged—to respond to the issues of our time from a different level of consciousness that created them. Of course, all of this has developed over time and key to our capacity to face into the complexity of this moment embracing the differences and seeking new approaches must be understood within evolutionary time. It has taken us millions of year to be at this point and things will not turn around in one lifetime. What we do know is that whatever we do is part of this next stage of evolutionary unfolding.
This new section of the ICCD web site will share resources and reflections on these three areas and their integration. It will draw on the work that I am doing with Margaret Galiardi OP, and Vernice Solimar and the program: Enter the Chaos: Engage the Differences to Make a Difference.
If you like metaphors come back soon. The next piece will explain how this work can be likened to a snail!
Nancy Sylvester, IHM
©2020Institute for Communal Contemplation and Dialogue