Conversations of the Heart VST Summer School
Cynthia Bourgeault Wednesday 9-15 July 2007

In the early centuries the church worked out of the Third Eye. This was the early mode of epistemology.

Epinoia (pathway of perception, knowing God through intuition) means receiving through revelation/heart perception, getting the whole picture and deriving the parts from the whole.

We have switched to dianoia – a discursive way of knowing.

The Third Eye requires input from contemplative experience.

Unless we are able to view from a more whole perspective, we will always introduce distortion.

When we look at a situation in which we experience a stalemate, we will probably find that the way to get movement is to look at things from another perspective.

Ken Wilber identifies four perspectives/quadrants:

Upper Left – Interior/Individual: subjective, the “I”, my personal subjective experience of the situation. How the experience feels from the inside. Intentional “I”

Upper Right – Exterior/Individual: objective, behavioural – “I/it”, analysis from the outside of subjective experience. This is the operational quadrant of most intellectual discourse, where we stand on the outside and attempt to explain why. Behavhioural “it”

Lower Left – Interior/Collective: this is the “We” experience, the experience of the group. It is relational, an experience of oneness with the other. Any good group generates a “We”. Watch out for situations in which no “We” is generated. It is the nature of any human community to generate a “We”. Cultural “We”

Lower Right – Exterior/Collective: comes from its. Made up of: 1. infrastructure that makes the LL possible, 2. patterned behaviour Social “it” absorbed in our culture that allows us to function as a “We”. Social “it”

Most religious teaching and experience is UL talk in subjective terms of interiority.

Religion has been lacking in the ability to assume the UR, to see developmental stages or the LR perspective in which the instruction of our own culture trumps God every time.

Don’t seek refuge in the tower of the UL.

If we don’t’ have movement, try on another quadrant.

UL contains brilliance but is not always capable of receiving information from other quadrants. We need to create strategies that take account of all four perspectives.

Wilber identifies major stages of consciousness:

  1. Beige – “Survival/Sense.” The Instinctive, Automatic, reflexive, centres around satisfaction, Driven by deep brain programs, instincts and genetics, no separate sense of consciousness (undifferentiated), lives much as other animals, minimal impact on or control over environment”, consciousness is taken up with on-going being.
  2. Purple – “Kin Spirits.” The Clannish, mythic membership, extreme relatedness. We find our identity in the group. Them against us. Show allegiance to elders, custom, preserve sacred places, objects, rituals, bond together to endure and find safety. Practice of conventional morality. Doesn’t think beyond limits of the group.
  3. Red – “Power Gods.” The Egocentric, narcissist. “Me” – the world revolves around me. In a world of haves and have-nots, it’s good to be a have. Avoid shame, defend reputation, be respected. Gratify impulses and sense immediately. Fight remorselessly and without guilt to break constraints. Toddler stage.
  4. Blue – “Truth Force.” The Purposeful. Find meaning and purpose in living. Sacrifice self to the Way for deferred reward. Bring order and stability to all things. Control impulsivity and respond to guilt. Enforce principles of righteous living. Divine plan assigns people to their places”. The way of conventional morality.
  5. Orange – “Strive Drive.” The Strategic. Strive for autonomy and independence. Seek out “the good life” and material abundance. Progress through searching out the best solutions. Enhance living for many through science and technology. Play to win and enjoy competition. Learning through tried-and-true experience
  6. Green – “Human Bond.” The Relativistic. The ability to be pluralistic. The ability to think beyond the tribe to one world, reach out and absorb differences, tolerate diversity. Explore the inner beings of self and others. Promote a sense of community and unity. Share society’s resources among all. Liberate humans from greed and dogma. Reach decisions through consensus
  7. Yellow – “Flex Flow.” The Systemic . Accept the inevitability of nature’s flows and forms. Focus on functionality, competence, flexibility, and spontaneity. Find natural mix of conflicting “truths” and “uncertainties”. Discovering personal freedom without harm to others or excesses of self-interest. Experience fullness of living on an Earth of such diversity in multiple dimensions
  8. Turquoise/Teal – “GlobalView. The Holistic. It really is one world and we are all parts of that one world. Blending and harmonizing a strong collective of individuals. Focus on the good of all living entities as integrated systems. Expanded use of human brain/mind tools and competencies. Self is part of larger, conscious, spiritual whole that also serves self. Global networking seen as routine. This moves beyond the Green view that we are all little individuals and it would be better if we got along. We need to see how everything is inter-related in order for anything to make sense. We move to vision logic that is beyond the rational logic.