Questions Seeking Answers

     I have carried a piece of paper in my wallet for over forty years. The paper has a number of questions listed on it. These questions have been the central questions in my life. During this period, I have lived and worked in California, Switzerland, and North Wales. As I have experienced life's journey I have searched for answers to these questions. The questions I have carried are:

    1. What is the true meaning of growth, awareness and harmony?

    2. What is man?

    3. What is the purpose of life?

    4. Is it really possible to help others, and if so, how?

    5. How do we live and work as individuals and communities such that we are in harmony with ourselves and others and still be a fully alive part of humankind struggling towards finding and fulfilling the purpose of life?

    I had asked myself these questions at a point in my life's journey at which I had achieved a satisfactory level of professional and material success and discovered for myself the empty satisfaction of my achievements. The search for answers to these questions became more important to me. I was concerned about the direction Western society was taking. Humankind seemed to be destroying the balance of nature and depleting natural resources in an irresponsible manner. I felt the pull towards understanding myself and my environment and I hoped that in so doing I could find a constructive way to contribute to the health of the society within which I lived.

    Each of us has a unique personal perception of reality. This perception provides the framework of understanding upon which we base all our activities. To a large degree we affirm to each other a universal framework within which we co-create.

    It is my belief that each step forward in human knowing has required a pioneering step forward from the universal framework of perception accepted by society to something different. Fundamental steps in the evolution of human perception of reality have required courage and faith. Such fundamental steps were pioneered by people such as Galileo, Darwin, and Einstein. Each of them contributed a radically new perspective to the existing prevalent view. Each of their contributions was largely accepted in its own time by society because previous theories no longer satisfied current experiences.

    My search for answers to my questions has led me to believe that humankind is at a threshold of another step in our perception of reality, equally as challenging as any previous step. However, this step is particularly threatening to the human psyche as it involves a new perception of our personal identity. It involves a perception of ourselves as not separate from but rather as a part of a wider environment. Pioneers of this step, from whose ideas I have gained much nourishment, include Jesus of Nazareth, Teilhard de Chardin, and Carl Jung, and of course many, many more.

    Each of us must take our own individual steps in consciousness. It is our individual choice if we choose to continue to interpret our experiences from a fixed perception of reality or whether we are willing to modify our perception of reality based on our experiences. I believe that our urge to understand ourselves and our environment will continually provide new knowledge and that the weight of these experiences and knowledge will create the need to revise many areas of our perception of reality. I started the journey to answer my questions because I felt that the answers provided to me by different sections of society seemed inconsistent with my experiences. I felt the need to arrive at answers which satisfied me as I felt that I needed a firmer framework of understanding on which to base my life. I believe that in fundamental terms the perception of reality which resulted from my search is consistent with that of the Christian church, however I have found it necessary to experience and interpret my own faith in order to make it real for me.

    When I look back on my journey of exploration, I can see a zigzag path through mountains and valleys, and I can observe many plateaus of consciousness where I rested before risking moving on to seek further. I now find myself on a wide fertile plain. It seems a fine place to live a while; it is a perspective of reality which I wish to share with others in the hope that it can provide them with some nourishment on their journey.

    It is my belief that the key to humankind’s search for identity, value, and purpose lies not in achieving a goal but in reaching a state of being on our life journey. I am offering the ideas in this document in the belief that our search for meaning will be enhanced by the sincere sharing of our inner wisdom and beliefs with each other. The ideas presented are offered with the conviction of faith not as a challenge to the validity of other ideas but as a gift to those who find them of value.

    I realize that no state in nature is permanent. However, I am encouraged that this place I share in consciousness is somewhere that has value as it has helped me obtain a few glimpses of the peace which surpasses all understanding.

Let There Be Peace on Earth

And Let It Begin With Me

     I can’t remember a time when I was not asking myself the question, how do I live as an active participant in society and experience an organic and harmonious life?

    One important answer to this question came from reading Scott Peck’s book, The Road Less Travelled. In the opening of his book, he shares the thought that “life is difficult”, and once one accepts that life is difficult, one can view the difficulties one faces as part of life.

    As I have thought about this issue, I have come to see that life’s difficulties should be viewed as opportunities that help facilitate our personal learning and growth as human beings. I learned that what is important is not avoiding difficulties in life, but rather, how you choose to act in meeting the challenges those difficulties present.

    Life is not fair. When I look out at a world that is not perfect, I feel despair at the harm that is inflicted on innocent people by the actions of others and the calamities of nature. However, I think that calamities can provide opportunities for people to care. A recent example I saw in the press was that a community was devastated by flood, and as the residents dealt with the aftermath of their flood, people from neighboring villages turned up to help. The term “balance” comes to mind as we need to face the challenges of our own lives as well as selectively choose ways in which we can contribute to the well-being of others.

    These introductory notes are provided to help place in context some personal thoughts that may be helpful in us building a more peaceful world together. I recognize my notes cover only a small fraction of the ways we can work together to make a positive difference in the world. I’ll try and state my thinking as simply as possible by using a series of statements.

    1) The building blocks of peace on Earth and well-being for all are the changes each one of us chooses to make in the way we live our lives and particularly, the way in which we choose to behave in relationship to others and our environment.

    2) People do not choose to change unless they have a personal experience from which they learn, and which provides the foundation for their choice to change.

    3) The characteristics of the environment in which people live their lives can enable or constrain their efforts to gain the experiences they need to learn and change. Thus, helping build an environment that facilitates learning and growth is a useful contribution to building a peaceful world.

    4) A cultural environment in which people dominate each other and in which people are expected to do what others say rather than what the inner wisdom tells them is right is a major constraint on human learning and becoming.

    5) Riane Eisler, in her book, The Chalice and the Blade made a valuable contribution to understanding the two primary organizational forms mankind has used to survive. She referred to these as the domineering model and the partnership model.

    6) In human history, particularly in Western culture, the domineering model has prevailed. Whether or not this is true and if so, why it has prevailed, is open to an interesting debate. My view is that it has prevailed in many different forms, including management, politics, religion and the family, human being.

    7) Early in the Industrial Revolution, the ideas of Taylor and Scientific Management prevailed. Scientific Management involved breaking work down into simple and mechanistic tasks and workers being instructed on how to do them repeatedly. This was effective in achieving organizational goals with an uneducated and unskilled workforce.

    8) Traditional management is a “top down” domineering management approach and, in general, those who are better cogs in the wheels of the organization gain promotion and dominance and sustain workplaces that are graveyards for the soul.

    9) Traditional management fostered a mechanistic rather than experiential educational system.

    10) As the rate of change and international competition has accelerated, the traditional domineering form of management has been resistant to change. The associated rigor mortis has been and is the death nell for many companies.

    11) The management methods approach that is adaptable to change is one based upon the partnership model as defined by Riane Eisler. It’s known by many names, one of which is Process Management. To be successful in partnerships, people need to understand the work processes that they contribute to, and in particular, the needs of those within the workplace with whom they interface.

    12) The implementation of Process Management is thus an important contribution to establishing work environments in which people can effectively learn and grow, and in this growth, help incrementally to build a more peaceful world for themselves and others.

    13) Humankind has the instinct to survive and to ensure the survival of the species by procreation. Our purpose has been to satisfy this instinct. Our intellect has supported this purpose and our mental wisdom is the outcome of our experience, both taught and learned.

    14) In our imperfect world our intellectual wisdom has done its work well. Humans have survived for millions of years, but why? The answer is elusive to us when guided solely by only our mental wisdom, so we get on with the business of survival but why. For the pursuit of happiness? To leave a better world for our descendants?

    15) In a particular society and a particular generation in which survival is threatened, i.e. depression, world wars, our Personality Consciousness, takes control of our priorities. The search for wholeness, for expressions of the spirit and for a deeper purpose is set aside as we direct our energy and thoughts to survival. But even when survival is assured to a high degree our fears can continue to possess us and driver us to seek greater survival assurance, i.e. super survival. Then life is about survival, possession, competition, and not about wholeness or any deeper purpose.

    16) We believe greater assurance of survival will bring happiness. We looks to establish the outward signs of success in the survival stakes, i.e. material possessions, success in our work, respect from others. But with all this life is empty.

    17) In this emptiness we turns to kicks, the smorgasbord of life. In these there must be meaning. Some start to take drugs, others choose to live mostly a fantasy life, football, TV, movies. But there is only a short-lived high. We try and we try again but the answer is always the same, we know in our inner wisdom there is a more fulfilling purpose that eludes us. We walk out of the movie house and the challenges in our daily life are the same. When we awaken to our hearts, we hunger for a deeper understanding of the purpose of this gift called life.

    18) It is in recognizing this emptiness, accepting that our escape into worldly pleasures, although for our sanity is important to balance our lives, it is not an answer. We need to recognize the impact that is good our desire for super survival has had on our environment and our planet. In our hearts and our inner wisdom we can hear and understand the answer. The answer is the foundation stone of many religions. We are challenged to learn how to love and partner with each other for the well-being of all and our planet. We are called to partner together to build a world of health and happiness for ourselves and the generations to come.

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