What are you waiting for?

Today the answer is easy and quick: I am truly waiting for the super heat wave to finally pass. And then?

Waiting seems to be a fundamental human “activity” although it can appear in quite different clothes. Why are we waiting and what are we waiting for?

Being busy and waiting at the same time?

You might say: I don’t wait a lot, I have so much to do, and I have no time for waiting. You might exactly FEEL like that, but aren’t you waiting, anyway? Waiting for the work to be finally accomplished, for the boss to finally recognize your bravery, for the next pay check, for the next weekend, for the lunch break, for a coffee or a cigarette? You might not be actively waiting by sitting in the corner and thinking exclusively about what you are waiting for. You might be engaged in all sorts of different activities and the waiting component runs alongside, undercover, in your mind and in your organism.

Life is waiting

Pregnant belly
Waiting for new life

I was struck lately by the insight that all human (and animal) life consists of a permanent time stream characterized by waiting. A pregnant woman is “expecting”. Doesn’t that mean that she is “waiting” for the fetus to grow in her belly and then be born? Sometimes women are waiting far over time to give birth to their child, this is recognized as “waiting”, for sure. But before birth it was waiting, too; waiting for the unknown to arrive, waiting for what could happen the next moment – the movement felt in the belly or the lack of it -, waiting for the next week, the next month, the next year. We don’t know what will happen and we are waiting for the future to unfold in our lives.

Active & passive waiting

dog waiting at the window
A dog’s active waiting

There is a difference between “active” waiting and “passive” waiting, or conscious waiting and waiting without being conscious that we are waiting. The fetus is waiting to grow and has no idea that he or she does so. Children become conscious about their waiting in increasing degrees. When hungry, the baby cries and waits for the food to arrive. Later children are told that they need to wait for all sorts of things. It is part of the training for life that children learn to postpone gratification, which means nothing other than waiting consciously for a goodie instead of devouring it immediately. Studies show that children who have learned this have a hugely higher probability of being successful in life. So waiting purposefully for something better in the future is a very useful thing, not bad at all.

 Conditioned for waiting

child looking through a fence
Too young for…

But when can “waiting” become a “bad” thing? Actually, the “bad waiting” demand creeps into our lives without us really noticing it. A 4-year-old is told that he or she has to wait until 6 to be able to do or get certain things; all children wait to become older, teenagers or “adults”, because they think that “real life” will start then whereas their child-life is somehow insufficient, not valuable and therefore to be gotten over as soon as possible. The joyful life of a child’s mind is erased by the desire of a promised future which needs to be waited for. Waiting for getting older overshadows the present and devalues it as “not ok”.

 

Later, when we get the scooter license we are waiting for the car driving license; we wait until we finally can leave school – which was my case, for sure – and then we can go to University, when “real life” promises to begin. Some time into University I was waiting for finally passing my exams and becoming an MA. Other people are waiting for their completion of the professional training because the “true life” will start with finding a good job. Maybe we have found a husband, wife or life partner in the meantime for whom we have waited since adolescence and whom we have expected to guide us into the promised land of a fulfilled life. Maybe we are lucky and it works out for some time, but aren’t we all waiting for the relationship problems to arrive which we have witnessed as “normal” among others. Or better, aren’t we waiting for them NOT to arrive? We are waiting, though, in one way or the other.

 

white figure Stepping up the ladder until...
Stepping up the ladder until…

In our professional career, we start waiting from day #1. Normally we begin at the bottom of the power hierarchy and we are told that we have to march up the ladder to success, as an employee as well as a solopreneur. We invest a lot of energy, of work and of learning and we are constantly waiting for the moment when all that will “pay off”. Some people seem to have reached what we want to reach and they promise to teach us how to do it ourselves – by feeding them money from our desire to abbreviate the waiting time for the fulfillment of our dreams.

Does waiting ever end?

Maybe your waiting ends in one particular field, but there is still enough waiting material in your life where you can continue to engage whole heartedly: your first, second or fifth child to be born, to go to school, to grow up, to become successful and what not; everything you were waiting for for yourself can become a waiting subject for you by transferring it to your children, or your siblings, your group, your society.

What are we waiting for and why?

So what are we REALLY waiting for? For a better future? For something miraculous to happen in our lives? For the world to change? For freedom, wealth, health, success, whatever? For being free from the burden of responsibility? The burden of living? The promised land after all the suffering which human life implies?

Active-passive, conscious-unconscious

You might insist that you are not waiting, you have a goal to achieve and you are busy the whole day to finally arrive there. This is a form of non-conscious waiting, non-active waiting, as your activity is bound and focused on that goal and you are not sitting around noticing the awkward burden of “just waiting” like you might know it from the doctor’s waiting room or before the results of an election are announced. Those moments I would call ACTIVE WAITING and we all are good in trying to get over that as soon as possible by distracting our attention from the burden of conscious active waiting. But it is still waiting when we watch a film, go out for dinner or dive into our work during these times of focused expectations.

 

I believe that, ultimately, we are waiting for the end of our life on earth, curious what might happen afterwards. This long waiting time is structured by the many worldly things we are waiting for. If it is the financial success, career fulfillment, becoming grandparents or reaching enlightenment, there is no real difference regarding our propensity for waiting. The object of the waiting process changes according to our age and stage of consciousness, to our inclinations and personality traits, but the waiting persists from birth to death.

 

Who are you in the face of – waiting?

So the question arises: What is it what you personally are waiting for? What did you wait for when you were a child, a young adult, in midlife and in your older years? Did the objects of your waiting change? And did you reach what you were waiting for and how did that feel for you? Did it give you the satisfaction and nourishment which you had expected? And in case you didn’t reach it: what was the consequence of it? Did you become disappointed and bitter, or did you succeed to get a kick into the future because of the failure? Only you can find that out, it will be different for everybody, at least on the surface, but probably not in the deeper layers of life. Here the question is: Did you learn and are you still learning from the outcome of the various waiting processes you were engaged in? Does it lead to your growing up into a differentiated and responsible adult? Or did you stay a helpless child in a grown up body?

Still waiting to grow up?

Mal person holding a Teddy Bear, both in red
Playing with the world like with a Teddybear

Looking at the present situation of our world it is easy to deduce that most people are stuck with the last option. A president who behaves like a 4-year-old. Military chiefs in need of new playgrounds for their insane games, scientists who try to bend reality to their theories, ruthless mafia gangs pursuing money and power: none of these display maturity as a human being but being stuck in egocentrism and omnipotent fantasies – a rather low level of possible development which is available to us humans today.

 

So where are you? Where am I and where are those around us?

If you have read so far I assume that you have traveled more of “the road less traveled” (Scott Peck). You are able to face your reality and that of the world and you are willing to explore what can be done to facilitate change for the benefit of the whole world, humanity, our planet and the whole cosmos. I am really glad to meet you here!

And now?

Now the question: what can we do, both together, and each of us by ourselves?

I suggest that we begin with noticing when we are waiting, again, and check what we are waiting for and what we try to avoid with this specific act of waiting. I am talking about our waiting for others to do what we desire and want to happen. Waiting for the state, society or whoever to resolve the problems we are facing. Waiting for the courageous people to step up and take the blame while we are hiding out behind the curtain of our cowardice. Or just waiting that the nightmare will stop, that we recognize reality as a dream where we can easily wake up and everything is fine – a dear and well-practiced illusion which we are far too eager to embrace by giving it the name HOPE.

Hope, motivation, inspiration, and engagement is needed.

We need the power of hope, but hope alone and waiting for things to change is not something to rely on. Sure, change will happen anyway, but without our participation, it most likely will go into a direction which we didn’t foresee and probably didn’t want. There are too many malevolent forces in this world who will take advantage to direct change towards their own interests as soon as there is “laissez faire”, a vacuum, which our lethargy, our fears, and inertia give to them. They, for sure, are highly motivated to direct the world where they want it to go.

We need at least the same degree of motivation and dedication  to counterbalance them. That means we need to get out of victimism and helplessness and begin to step up and DO. Do what? Well, begin and find out what the right thing is for you, for me, for the many others who want a positive change but are still holding back by indecisiveness.

 

What I am doing:

Paradiso Integrale in Italy - the home of the Wisdom Factory
Paradiso Integrale in Italy – the home of the Wisdom Factory

As for myself, I begin with writing down my thoughts and hold public conversations at the Wisdom Factory and I am trying to inspire others to do the same and distribute their insights to as many others as possible. I talk with people about edgy topics and do my best to help them see new perspectives on “old” things. I try to connect people and to create initiatives for collaboration and co-creation – which often can mean simply: listen to each other and engage in creative dialog to find ideas and solutions together which neither of us alone could have conceived.

 

Will you join the tribe who decides to abandon active waiting and step into active creating? You are so welcome!

 

The courage to feel – the path to peace in the world

You might think that you don’t need courage to feel, that “feeling” is something natural and you just feel what you feel. Well, yes and no. Most of us are longing to feel joy and happiness and run away into distractions of all kinds as soon as unwanted feelings present themselves. Alcohol is a means of eradicating negative feelings and, as we all know, our societies drink a lot. Doesn’t that mean that we don’t want to meet our negative feelings? That we don’t have the courage to face them, directly, and find out what they want to tell us?

During the last weekend, I attended a conference about the “Courage to Feel” in Berlin and we addressed those feelings which are buried in the shadow of our country, those feelings which we try to avoid and which we fear to feel. Beginning at the personal level it turns out that newbies have a hard time to just look right into the eyes of another person for a few minutes. What comes up often is awkwardness, fear, shame and all sorts of thoughts which want to convince us to turn away our eyes. We fear the intimacy which arises when we REALLY look closely and attentively at something for a certain period of time. And we fear the feeling of intimacy with a person we have never seen before.

Power – the eternal predicament

The  exercises we did were all about becoming conscious of what is going on inside, the feelings and the thoughts around them, and to bring all that into the context of us and our nation, Germany, which is confronted with the huge challenge of taking over leadership in the world again while still carrying the shadows of the past. We are aware that POWER WITHOUT LOVE leads to violence. We are also aware that our nation holds power and has a huge conflict with that fact. And we are aware that we need to heal the past in order to avoid a repetition of history.

Hitler
Hitler – a symbol for severe abuse of power

Germany has recognized the guilt for what it has caused in the 20th century, but we Germans, collectively, have not yet transformed the guilt into the power of positive change. We haven’t integrated our shadows and made available the positive force which appears when completing this process. The true liberation from guilt and shame, which is still haunting us up to the fourth generation is needed for Germany to be able to use its strength and power to become an inspiring leader in the world, to co-create a world community which leaves behind ethnocentric behaviors and embraces the human existence as what it is: a unique whole where everyone and everything is connected, where no one can win at the cost of others because it will impact them as well.

The victim – perpetrator cycle

war memorial
Soldiers are victims of the system and perpetrators by command. An unresolvable conflict for the soul.

We know from psychology that the victims become perpetrators and vice versa – and we see it everywhere. The perpetrator is haunted by what he has done and/or gets victimized by the other side as soon as the situation changes. Permanent winners do not exist; this is an illusion. It is time that we all understand that and therefore work towards a world which doesn’t know “winners”. and “losers”, but only human beings who collaborate to create the best future possible for everyone,

But how can that become possible? The only true answer is: Become yourself a full and grown up human being. That means, first of all, get to know yourself well, on a very deep level. Learn about your hidden motivations, your conditioning and learn to feel fully how your body feels, how your emotions move you, what your unobserved habits are.

What we need to learn

Your thoughts and feelings, what quality and direction do they have?  Are you fearful and suppress the fear instead of feeling it? Do you become aggressive instead? Or do you freeze in the face of fear and challenge?  If you don’t know well your feelings and the consequent thoughts and behavior patterns you have very little chance to meet the problems of life in an adequate manner. You will try to manipulate the world in order to avoid these feelings if you are a private person or the President of the United States. You will be a part of the problem, not of the solution.

The courage to feel

The organizers of the conference welcome the participants
“Mut zum Fühlen” – The courage to feel: Beginning scene of the conference in Berlin

In Berlin, we worked on it in depth, in personal exercises, and in a mega constellation to heal the wounds of the Nazi regime. I had the role of “frozen feelings”, a behavioral and psychological pattern people often adopt to protect themselves in horrible situations – and which allows them to terribly mistreat others as they cannot feel their pain and meet it instead with contempt. During the 2 hour process, I realized I was finally melting, a transformation was taking place.

I hope that this work will liberate the frozen energies in so many of us who are afflicted with the same pattern, knowingly or not. I am sure that 130 people at the conference, doing this incredibly deep healing work, have added a piece to the big puzzle of the liberation of humanity from the everlasting oscillations between conflicts and wars on one side and “helpless hope” toward a different future of peace and harmony.

The freedom to generate the right decisions

If we really want to create peace in the world then the future needs to be built on solid ground where we humans explore deeply our human nature, embracing our inner parts, including the victim and the perpetrator and all the others, and become able to freely decide to choose as opposed to being driven by uncontrollable emotions into destructive behaviors to the detriment of all.

Fifty years later: Making Peace with Christianity

My personal experience with religion

I left the Lutheran Church at 21 after I had lost my faith at 14 because of a minister who was a total failure, unable to respond properly to the questions of a mind that was entering into rational thinking. He certainly isn’t the only one, then or now, who have not the least ability to awaken and maintain the interest of young (and older) people in the transcendent reality. Otherwise, religion and Christianity wouldn’t be so denigrated and undervalued in the West as it presently is.

I am coming to a deep understanding of my roots embedded in Christianity now, after 50 years, thanks to a person who can explain these things in ways that people grounded in rationality can understand and realize with awe that we have thrown out the baby with the bathwater. There are so many things to discover which help us understand ourselves and the world as it presents itself today!

Children like the biblical stories!

Drawing Biblical stories
Biblical stories

Like many children, I was attracted by the biblical stories. They were fantastic, like fairy tales, and children adore this kind of thing. At 12 I had to go to the preparation lessons for the confirmation, an initiation ritual of the Protestant Church which you don’t want to miss as a child. For the first time in life everything is about YOU, relatives from all parts of the country come together in their best clothes, they watch you when you “perform” in the service where your heart beats when being officially admitted in the congregation of the adults, and, well, the many gifts you get that day. I got enough money that day to buy a tape recorder, those huge and heavy things which were the technical highlight then. So no wonder that I didn’t really have the choice to not go to the preparation lessons although I disliked them and the minister. The previous excitement about the Bible turned into aversion and the desire to get away from all that and as far as possible.

Goodbye to Religion

What was intended the first day of belonging to the religious community turned out to be my one and only day there. Many years later I led the choir of the German church in Rome. When, after a long time, they found out that I was not an official member of their church I was pushed to become one again. I compromised myself by doing it in order to be able to continue my job there, but the negativity I felt as a 14-year-old arose again, strongly. It certainly didn’t foster my relationship to religion and Christianity and it continued to keep me in ignorance about the foundations of the religion.

Christianity is at the root of our Western Culture!

During my early adulthood, Buddhism and Transcendental Meditation became a fashion among us “different” people. It seemed to be normal to become a Buddhist but I always hesitated. It didn’t feel right to me, although I couldn’t articulate why not. Later, in the 90ies, I began to learn meditation and many other “esoteric” modalities. It was very useful for many reasons. I had been very interested in Psychology and only very slowly did I discover my yearning for Spirituality. But still, the fashion was Eastern Spirituality. Western religion seemed old and odd and had nothing really to offer which could have attracted me.

Detail in a volt
Art born in Christianity

Nonetheless, I was sure that, whenever I would dive deeper into religious thought or belief, it would only be possible with Christianity. It has completely formed my culture, we Westerners have breathed it in from birth, if not with “church” so with all the achievements of our culture, from art to music, philosophy, science, architecture, everything. Adopting another cultural system seemed interesting but certainly, wouldn’t bring me to my roots. How could it.

Making Peace with Christianity

So I remained “homeless” religion-wise until I discovered Jordan Peterson. He gives me back my religion. He can explain the things in a way which makes complete sense to me without returning to “belief” as the traditional religions do. He is opening my mind to an understanding which really blows me away and leads me to a deep gratitude towards our ancestors and their relentless attempt to reach understanding and wisdom – by telling stories.

This is what helped me to integrate my culture more fully

The awe started in the first talk of his lectures on the Bible called: Introduction to the Idea of God. God is an idea, not a “reality” of any kind, let alone the old man with a beard sitting on the cloud.

Video Cover on Youtube
Jordan Peterson’s first lecture: 337.000views in only 3 weeks! People yearn for this message!

And yet, I began to understand why “He” is represented this way: it is the attempt of wise people in their time to tell a story which couldn’t be articulated in any rational ways. Rationality had not yet emerged, as we know from integral theory. This happened in the Renaissance fully, but the Bible is so much older than that and needed another way of explaining: telling a mythological story.

I certainly cannot summarize with half a paragraph a 2-hour lecture and maybe for you, something else stands out when you watch it. But I want to tell you about another big insight I received when listening to the third lecture: Christianity seems to be based on different principles than Buddhism. So far, to me, both seemed to be completely different. InGod and the Hierarchy of Authority” Jordan Peterson comes to a description of the Trinity in Christianity which seems to match the basics of Buddhism. He defines the three elements in the Trinity as such: “God” is the infinite space of possibility from which all form arise (the ground of being which I heard mention so often in meditation practices). The “Holy Spirit” is Consciousness itself and “Christ, the Son of God” is Consciousness in its specific form in space and time, the embodiment of possibility.

Understanding what we have ignored – a huge gift!

I hope I got that right with these few words. Listening to Jordan Peterson’s thoughts is a continuous “click, click” in my understanding, and history is opening up to me in an unexpected way. I begin to appreciate the past, the endless endeavor of humankind to understand life and how best to live it. The dismissal of previous times which is an underlying thread in our Western world, the arrogant feeling of absolute superiority of our present world, which declassifies everything else as “primitive”, has been dismantled and transformed into recognition and appreciation of the past. We are the result of thousands and millions of years of endless attempts to evolve a culture where we humans can find meaning for our lives on earth. We don’t just “begin” with our birth as a blank slate where we can write our life story at our own individual will. “It is more complicated than that”, using Jordan Peterson’s words. We, modern people, want to have everything easy and simple. But life is not like that. And striving for the easy button and believing that we are separate entities, independent from others, from the past and future and only existent in our physical reality deprives us of the richness of existence and the depth of experience. And most likely it causes us to fall into deep pits because of our self-induced blindness towards the complexity of existence.

Presently we humans dwell near the border of a self-created abyss. If we continue to ignore the lessons of the past as well as reality which is not based purely on the material world but which includes the invisible and transcends our being, we have a good chance to fall into that abyss and we will have a very hard time finding our way out again. Maybe hundreds or other thousands or millions of years depends on how good we are in understanding the real threat we are facing: the destruction of our culture without envisioning any alternative. Humans are capable of total destruction, you and me and everyone else. Unless we dig deep into our own psychology and understand this force in ourselves, we inevitably act it out in the opportune moments without then having the possibility to stop what we are doing.

Wordcloud with important words for growing up
Speaking the truth – important for all aspects of life

We need to grow up and to wake up to the whole reality of being in this world. Deliberately ignoring one part or the other leads to any sort of fundamentalism with all its destructive powers. We need to learn and understand and hold the space for multiple perspectives. Then we need to step up and speak “the truth” about what we see and understand. No longer believing in doctrines and ideas which transform us into “innocent” and ignorant sheep, victims of who knows who. And seeing the Bible and Christianity with new eyes we can learn our ancient innate knowledge about the psychology of humans – which hasn’t changed very much, after all, during the last some thousand years.

Do you believe in God?- Don’t you like that question?

So, do you believe in God? What would be YOUR answer to the question?  And what would it have been 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years ago?
Let’s assume for a moment that your answer is “no” right now. Many people in our western world would give that answer because they believe in rationality and science and not in the old man with the long beard sitting in the clouds or setting bushes in fire. Fair enough.

Not the right question to ask!

Probably still yesterday I would have answered similar to: “I don’t believe in God, but I am a spiritual person”. And, actually, I never have given a profound thought to the question, I just repeated what I heard others say and which seemed to suit me as well. Then I watched the following video – and I became aware of the inappropriateness of the question itself which is so commonly asked in all times and everywhere.

 

Jordan Peterson makes it very clear that not everyone gives the same meaning to objects or words. We all have our own ways of perception and interpretations of what we perceive. Nonetheless, this is not a completely arbitrary process and you can observe some patterns in the way people perceive the world.

The Evolution of GOD

When we talk about GOD, the development of the “image” of God and what people believed God to be and to do, you can read a very interesting book called “God 9.0”. The entity we consider “God” has changed in fundamental ways since the beginning of time and today we can envision “version 9.0” of what we connect with the word GOD. Read the book (you can get it HERE) and you will understand why religious wars have reigned on earth, why you yourself believed in the almighty God as a child if you grew up in a “religious” family and why some people are seeing the world in the same old way while you have lost your faith in God and, maybe, now you believe in energy, crystals, psychotherapy, science, atheism and what not.

So when Jordan Peterson doesn’t answer the question whether he believes in God but challenges it as meaningless, he exactly responds to the insight that the terms “God” and “believe” are absolutely unclear and need a much longer answer than “yes” or “no” in our evolved societies. There was a time when you were supposed to say “yes” or you were burnt on the pyre if you dared to have your own ideas about God, the Divine and the Sacred. This, unfortunately but understandably, is still the case in parts of the world, regarding religion or political belief systems.

Between God 2.0 and God 6.0 – that’s where the problems come from

Our western world has managed to, basically, step up to “God 6.0”, while other parts of the world are still between 2.0 and 4.0. Let us make sure that we keep up the development and go towards 7.0 and higher – instead of allowing terrorism, conservative security needs or liberal utopian ideas to crash that which we have already achieved. Let us not fall back into political purging of “others” through fascist or communist ideology, and let us overcome rationality as religion as well as New Age Pseudo Spirituality. Let us open our minds to ever more comprehensive and differentiated ways of seeing the world. Although the answers we can give will often be “I don’t know” (as Jordan P. is demonstrating with all his honesty in the above video), we are coming nearer and nearer to the truth – which is never merely yes or no!

How can you actualize your potential?

The term “potential” is used constantly in recent decades, understood with a desire to “unlock” it. Many people earn a lot of money by hooking people with courses or books. It doesn’t mean that those resources are necessarily bad, most likely they are not, but they don’t consider the prerequisites people need to truly reach before they can become able to step up to their potential.

 

What if parents don’t do their job?

Before introducing the Ted Talk by Dr.Jordan Peterson I want to briefly tell you my personal story about how one word of my parents decided upon my possibility to develop my potential or not: As a child and teenager, I sang in a choir and quite rapidly climbed up the levels. I liked singing a lot, but, as so often in that age, sometimes I would have preferred to hang out with friends instead of going to the regular appointments with the choir. One day I just didn’t want to go when my mother said: OK, but if you don’t go today you will never go again. Boom, splash, ugh. I had to decide and my decision would have consequences for which I would be responsible. I chose to go – and later I became a classical singer, a voice teacher, and therapist.

Children and young people need to learn to follow rules in order to later be able to become free of them again. They first need to adopt a system that works to figure out who they are and what is possible for them, for later be able to break free from the rules and develop their own ways. All developmental psychologists talk about that: we cannot skip levels of development. We cannot “allow” children to decide for themselves things which are too advanced for them – which was the mistake of the approach of the “anti-authoritarian education”.  A 4-year-old just cannot decide where to go best for holidays and a parent who thinks to give them equal part in the decision, or even have them decide alone, does not fulfil their task of guiding the young person, but tries to get out of their own responsibility for the welfare of the child – and their own, btw. Too!

Children want to know from grownups what the right ways of behaving are. They want to get to know the limits and boundaries which give them a safe space to experience themselves. In time they will push against these boundaries and expand them. But first, you need to have something to expand which is not complete chaos and uncertainty. And children need food for their minds and bodies in the sense that they need to be shown things, get acquainted with many realms of life without indoctrination, but just as an offer to taste and try out if they like it. A 6-year-old fervently demonstrating for political issues is abused quite as much as the one who is forced to decide about the family holidays. Indoctrination is as bad for the child’s development as is abandonment, whether physical, emotional …or educational.

 

Getting to know what we are really interested in needs inspiration and possibility.

We can develop our potential when we are deeply interested and drawn to something in our lives. If I hadn’t been drawn to singing – and then made responsible for pursuing it by my mother – I wouldn’t have discovered my abilities in that field. Many people today say they don’t like or cannot relate to classical music. If no one has ever given them the inspiration and the access to it, how can they know if they like it or not? What we don’t know, we cannot like.  How could we?

 Classical music

Kinder mit klassischen Instrumenten
Fotokredit Heinz Wagner from his article on the  Simon Bolivar Orchester visiting  Austria

 is by no means an ancient thing nor has it anything to do with higher social classes. An excellent example is the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra from Venezuela which results from a dedicated person going into the slums of the big cities and teaching children a classical instrument. Learning the violin or the oboe is a very demanding job – and it has the potential to excite the souls and lead people to a potential which otherwise they never would have discovered. Visit their YouTube Channel here

 

What is your potential and how can you realize it?

Finally, now we’re coming to the talk of Dr.Jordan Peterson about how to think about potential and how to develop it. First of all, it is clear that your potential is something innate in YOU and specific to you. Sure, all humans have a certain potential in common, but if you have more regarding creativity or, let’s say, science, that is specific to you. You can learn and study also the things where you are not really gifted for and you will arrive at a certain level, but it will be very hard work and not very inspiring for you.

This is an indicator: something “comes to you easily” probably means that you have quite a potential for that thing and that your soul will be happy when you pursue it. It might not be easy for you for all sorts of reasons, especially for social-political reasons, but for you, that thing is real and gives meaning to your life. Without it, you would be latently unhappy and unfulfilled.

 

Not only transcend the past but include it!

I don’t want to transcribe the Ted Talk which Jordan Peterson has given and provided a good outline of his thinking. He is a very strong voice against the usurpation by the hardcore materialism, the beliefs of which include: everything is material, dead material, and everything else is illusory. As we know already from Integral theory, these ideas are on the bottom of the overall crisis of the world as the concept of reality is one sided and reductive and therefore cannot give an explanation, let alone pride guidelines for our lives. Jordan Peterson makes clear that “reality” is not what we have believed during the past hundreds of years and he shows ways how we can re-integrate into our present life what we have lost along the way.

Watch this inspiring talk with open ears and open hearts and consider that you can be part of the solution to the present problems when you are inclusive enough to reconsider the past and the core value of TRUTH.

 

Information overload – the new disease

Is this YOU?

A calendar with the word NEWS and several globes
Too much info every day

You are a person full of energy and curiosity and you are delighted with learning new things, right? For years and years, you got an extra kick when you discovered something new – and lately, you feel often a little tired and some tension in your forehead, right? You get up in the morning, the emails, the news channels you usually visit, some extra info from Facebook or G+, all seems to be so interesting and you click and click, you read as much as you can – and probably you forget to plus/like the articles, to write a comment or to share it in your feed. Just too much, you think.

We need to enter into a conversation!

And you are right, just too much! And still, just reading something without expressing our gratitude for the author’s work, or without telling them your own opinion on it is like lurking behind the curtains. Without intending, we co-create the consumerism and onesidedness of the internet. A net is intended to flow in all directions, not just from source to consumer. Just reading and not engaging deprives us of entering into a conversation – and it deprives the author of a genuine feedback which would be very precious for developing their ideas and insights.

Information overload

There is a new illness – or maybe it is an addiction, at least in the beginning before serious physical symptoms arise. We want to “dance at every wedding”, as we use to say in Germany. We don’t want to miss something which could be important. You never know, do you? And then you – and me – continue to check out this, read that, install this, go to that platform, begin a new project, engage (shortly) in a new group etc.

Overloaded camel
Falling down or axle break?

Well, if you have read this far, I am sure you know all that. Now the question arises: what to do about it? Shall we wait until the improperly stacked load falls and shatters everything? Well, we are not WAITING, we convince ourselves that, after all, it is not too bad and we can go on as we had, our body and mind will stay with us as our faithful servant as long as we want. Really?

Burnout even without a day job

When you live in the countryside and you have no 9-5 job, how can you think of burn out? Work on the land makes you tired, yes, but your head remains clear and your mind calm – unless you have major emotional problems, but this is not our topic today. Sitting in front of the screen and reading other people’s most interesting stuff doesn’t feel like work. It satisfies our curiosity. Contrary to working outdoors, we confine our energy on our eyes and on our intellectual mind. The body begins to ache – we don’t care. Movement in front of the keyboard. Fingers yes, the rest remains still or in awkward constricted positions. Shoulders ache, eyes ache. The body protests and gives us all sorts of signs – which we normally misread as a request for coffee, cigarettes or food. Where will this end? In eye problems, obesity, lung cancer, and overall burnout – right where other people travel to for relaxation!

The predicament of change

The earth drowning in water and fire
The earth drowning in water and fire

Most of us are very invested in change. We fear that Nature collapses if we don’t work against the fatal tendencies. We fear that our nations may fall back into separation and confrontation – and we feel like needing to become activists for connection and peace. We are deeply touched by injustice against humans and/or animals and we feel called to do something there, too. We want to help, help, help to create a better future – and we see how things are getting worse and worse, at least from our present perspective. We become ever more worried about all sorts of things, our emotions get triggered more and more, we feel we definitely have to step up and do something useful. But WHAT?

Navigating the crisis – a personal challenge for everybody

Humans have different styles of responding to crises and uncertainty. Some people enter into panic, they become resentful and even violent towards whatever they see as an enemy. Others try to be resilient and keep their emotions under control. Hopefully, they succeed, it certainly depends on the amount of challenge they are facing. At a certain point comes the burnout, an illness, a detrimental quarrel with the spouse, a serious depression etc. The energy which we are accumulating, willingly or not, doesn’t just disappear.

So why don’t we stop in time? Why can’t we follow our own advice, our better knowing, our rational insights about what is going on with us? I believe that we are still in the modern mindset which elevates the mind over body and psyche. I have learned as a child to control myself with will power, and the western world is grounded on the “free will” of humans. So it’s no wonder that we underestimate the power of our psyche and the intelligence of our bodies. We have continuously practiced ignoring both when they speak to us and we agree with our thoughts and follow their biased advice. We have lost the connection to ourselves and to get it back we have to make a deliberate effort to BEGIN to take ourselves seriously and to abandon our fears about missing out on something important. We certainly will – we already do, all the time – but we need to come to terms with our limited being . We are not omnipotent even if we have the tendency to believe it.

The way out

As always it boils down to us humans and how we see and treat ourselves. We need to sort ourselves out. Even if we have done a lot of psychological and spiritual work on ourselves, we need to continue, to go deeper. We have learned previously – at least we hope so – how to conduct ourselves in the life we used to live. Things have changed rapidly in the outside world. We haven’t been able to change with the same speed. We have fallen into the traps of speed, success and wanting to be in control. We have pretended to be able to create change in the world. Well, yes, we have created change – but as it seems now it was not the change we had envisioned.

So what to do? 

flooded landscape
Submerging in the flood?

We can give up, float with the stream until we crash against a dike or drown in the deeper waters. We can ignore the dangers, we can become resentful, we can blow up everything in which we believed and pull everyone and everything with us down into psychological or physical annihilation – very common for humans to do! (Think about HIV positive people in the 80ies who deliberately infected others to express their existential rage against God or destiny).

Or we can become humble and begin from scratch with our work to transform ourselves. We imagined that, finally, we had reached a good level of development and were proud of it. We need to understand that we have just a short rest before we are sent out into the storm again, the hurricane of inner turbulences, contradictions, desires, needs, fears and visions. We need to hold our own hands and go ahead, step by step, and give ourselves the necessary understanding and compassion.   And along with it we need to refresh the encouragement and push to clean up what is still lurking in the corner, which is hindering us from doing what we are meant to do. We need to overcome the obstacles inside ourselves and become fuller human beings. We need to understand that the change in the outside world depends on us – literally

Butterfly
We need to transform from the caterpillar to the butterfly, from following the food to be able to see from above.

We can no longer pretend that the others need to change, politicians, economy etc. to change the current downward spiral of our planet earth. Well, they do need to change, too. But first of all, WE NEED TO CHANGE OURSELVES and then go out and be a role model for the others who find themselves unable to change without a plan and without guidance.

My advice to you and to myself:

STOP COMPLAINING – FIND THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM IN YOURSELF AND CHANGE IT ACCORDING TO YOUR VISION OF A BETTER WORLD.

Stop with the overload, take only what you really need! Become the better world inside you and the outer world will follow! (And not the other way round!)

 

 

 

Human development and the fascinating power of music

The World is Sound – Nada Brahma

Music is a innate capacity of humans. It is the most fundamental means for our expression, especially when we use our voice, and it has the power to influence our whole being.

Music develops alongside humans

Along with our social-psychological development, music too has developed over the centuries. It is a real pleasure to meet the young composer Samuel Andreyev in this interview with Jordan Peterson where they explore together the power of music and the development it has taken up to the present. Even for non-musicians this conversation is quite understandable – and a musician also gains a expanded perspective.

This happened certainly with me. I was very delighted with the analysis and could confirm from my own experience what these two intelligent and open minds were talking about.

Jordan Peterson in conversation with the composer Samuel Andreyev

 

My experience as a musician

I am a classically trained singer and my main interest has always been classical music. I always enjoyed the music, from the middle ages to the early 20th century – but there it stopped for me. My experience of singing in a professional choir taught me how difficult it is to study pieces by 12-tone composers like Webern, Schönberg or those of the sixties like Penderecki and others. Those concerts had a certain fascination as sound experiences – but is it really worth all this huge amount of preparation? I always decided NO for myself – maybe only because of my lack of an absolute ear (perfect pitch) – which would have made singing these pieces so much easier?

How we learn to hear and expand our perception

One thing I noticed though – and it was addressed also by Samuel Andreyev in the interview above: The more you study a piece, whatever music it is, the more you get familiar with it and it becomes “your” music. This is the point where your interpretation of the piece will come from inside you rather than just a repetition of the ideas of someone else. When we really understand the music and own it by continuous practice, it becomes familiar and we begin to really enjoy it – which often was not the case when we encountered it the first time.

What sounds GOOD to our ears?

This is the reason for a continuous expansion of our ability to hear and accept newness in music. The acceptance of what sounds “good” has developed from total harmony (octaves), to fifths and up to all the harmonic intervals. Today it is almost unimaginable that once a third had been considered a dissonance! Our perception of what we hear as consonance or dissonance has developed until today when we can enjoy whole clusters of adjacent sounds. This is just a harmony of a higher level – as all these notes appear, sooner or later, on the scale of the harmonics of the basic note.

Personal development and enjoyment of music 

In short: I realized that, today, my ear has developed so far as to accept music which I had dismissed totally 30 years ago. That doesn’t mean that all music is “good” which is offered today. Good music has a certain felt attraction. Maybe not at first hearing. “Hear it 10 times and then find out what you feel about it!” This is also the recommendation by the composer Samuel Andreyev.

When you listen to his music – especially after having watched his conversation with Jordan Peterson – you probably will find it very attractive, or at least interesting and well worth listening to!

Enjoy

 

Is Western Society Heading Back to The Middle Ages?

Heretics burning at the stake
Heretics burning at the stake

We made it about 400 years ago: the separation of church and state. It took many centuries of fight and suffering, thousands of “heretics” burnt at the stake, loosing their lives for our benefit: For us to be able to say whatever we want without ending up imprisoned, tortured, stoned or burnt. Are we now heading back to the Middle Ages?

Funny enough – or better: tragic enough, it is the leading edge of modern societies who is pushing us back into that state where we lose our freedom of speech, where we have to bite our tongue if we don’t want to be denounced and tried for what we say: If not as in the Middle Ages, but certainly as in the “east-block” countries. I grew up in Germany, fortunately in the West, but I had relatives in the East and I know how they were continuously threatened and had to be very careful or pay dearly if they said something about a certain group or the practices of the state.

The Levels of Development – evolution in healthy and unhealthy forms

The Levels of Development (Ken Wilber)
The Levels of Development (Ken Wilber)

The unhealthy form of the”green” level  is  expressed in an aggressive  fundamentalism (see the levels of development in “Spiral Dynamics” or as outlaid by Ken Wilber). It is nothing better than any other fundamentalism, only the target changes. Western Societies have recently been governed mostly by people with a “green”- postmodern – mindset. In their attempt to protect minorities and to see everybody as (literally) equal, they see the necessity to create laws to protect THE FEELINGS of certain members of certain minorities. 

Who is Responsible for Your Feelings?

Face in hands - expressing sadness or any negative feeling
Negative Feelings

Modern psychology has clearly stated that we are responsible for our own feelings, we alone, nobody else. Yes, we can be triggered by what other people do or say, but how we react to the trigger, that is exclusively our own choice. With the new laws in Canada this gets completely turned around. People’s feelings are considered subject to criminal deeds done by others. This is the perfect form of victimism which is appropriate for little children, but not for adult citizens in the world. It reminds me of my mother’s saying with which she tried to teach me responsibility for my actions: “It’s too bad for my mother that I froze my fingers; why didn’t she give me gloves?”

So, whose feelings would be eligible to be protected by law?- and whose not? Apart from the fact that it is absolutely beside the point for the above reasons, it is a bottomless barrel. We will end up staying silent, all the time, for fear of being accused and “burnt at the stake”. Hello Middle Ages!

White ghostly figures walking over meadow
Do we want such an atmosphere?

We will end up in a totalitarian state – from which most of the present refugees are trying to escape by flooding into the Western world. Will we give up our achievements in our societies and allow practices of previous levels to govern us again? Do you want to live in constant fear and repression because someone believes that you have violated THEIR rules?

Man with bended mouth
Freedom of Speech?

Do you want THEIR rules to take over our countries? Think about it and get clear about the consequences for yourself, your family, your country and the world. And if you decide that your freedom of speech is more important and also the freedom in your personal life altogether, then stand up and fight for the principles of our constitutions and watch out for all the hidden or open attempts to re-establish values which we had overcome with so much sacrifice during the past centuries.

Is This a Picture of Mohamed? – what can you say and what not?

Here you can experience what we are heading toward – if we don’t pay attention: Jordan Peterson brings it to the point in this short video. Feel into it and observe yourself: would you like to live with the fear of saying the “wrong” words?

Let me know what you think about it . now, after you have watched the video!

These are the people we need for a better world

I have a few question for you:

Who do you think you need to be and to act to help create a better world?

What would you do if you were a president of any state and if you had an enormous amount of power. Would you keep integrity? Or would you begin to play with the power at your pleasure? Who knows?

What would you do if you discovered that something goes massively wrong? That an institution or government is playing with the people who they should serve and care for?

Do you know yourself? Are you ready to stand up for your values?

These are the questions we all should ask ourselves in the present situation where everything seems to slip into chaos, the world alliances, the single nations, the relationships in groups and in families, the climate, the earth itself: Which are the people we need to create a better world? And are you ready to be one of them?

I know, it is a tough question because it asks you to take responsibility for your own actions, for your emotions and how you are showing up in the world. And it also asks you to take the risks to step up and put your finger into things which you notice that they are going badly wrong. You have the choice to “put your head into the sand” like an ostrich and pretend to not notice where things are going – and many Germans did exactly that about 80 years ago, hoping that everything would turn out well – until it was too late. And speaking up might cost you the job or chases you into exile.

These are the people we need for a better world

Jordan Peterson
Jordan Peterson

Some people are courageous enough and do it for all of us – and they need our respect and support. In a previous post, I spoke about Jordan Peterson who is doing his bets to open the eyes of the public and make them see the signs of rising totalitarianism in Canada. He is a brilliant man and he is able to show up with admirable resilience and emotional – and certainly cognitive – intelligence. He doesn’t dwell in accusations and humiliations – as most of the “fighters” do, but he is showing the facts, the background, and the consequences very clearly.

Edward Snowden
Edward Snowden

And there is another hero who pays – happily – with his personal life for having revealed the hidden manipulations of his governmental institutions which are totally against the foundations of that society. He showed us that we cannot trust in our institutions and that we have to ask transparency and ethical behavior. Our lives – and our mother earth – is at stake, immediately and on the long run. The worldwide internet connection helps that these fighters for the truth are heard – instead of silenced, as it was a common habit before. There is hope that the internet will help to uncover all the conspiracies and manipulations: One SMS is enough to leak secrets – until people everywhere understand that secrets are destructive to relationships and only the truth will bring us together in a thriving world.

Truth is the only means to create a better world

The truth is often uncomfortable and humans try to avoid everything which asks them to step out of their comfort zone. But they – we – pay a huge bill for cowardliness in our personal and in our public life.  Listen to Jordan Petersons lectures and you will understand why. (visit his Youtube Channel here)

Today I listened to the Interview with Edward Snowden and I was blown away by the wisdom of this young man, by his courage,  and by his balanced way of speaking without falling into adversary emotions while being present as a full human being. I am in awe of the level of development which this person has reached. He is a role model for all of us. Jordan Peterson and Edward Snowden and man others: these are the people we need for a better world!

Hate and separation, walls and discrimination create enemies and hell on earth. We are called to fight those ways of acting – by becoming wise, truly adult and courageous ourselves. Not an easy task, but a mandatory call to create a future for our kids which is worth living.

 

When the week begins like that – when 2017 begins as it did.

One Monday in August 

It is Monday afternoon. If I was an employee I could go home in an hour or so. But I AM at home, the whole day.

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? To be able to stay at home! I have never known before how frustrating it can be! Not the fact to BE at home, but to try to WORK from home.

Cat helds arm working on computer
Video editing with the help of Sunny

I am taking seriously – finally – to create a business online. So far I thought I was, and hoped that other people did the work for me, websites etc. Yes, I would create the content, but I really feared the tech side like the devil fears the cross.

The Need to have a website – the necessity to learn

So my websites napped away, very few visitors, even less subscribers. But why? Don’t they see what I can offer? – Well: how could they? Nobody finds the sites, so how can anyone want to contact me in order to work with me?

So, for some time it dawned on me that I have to learn all this tech stuff, too, after having learned Google and Hangouts and Youtube and, and, and. NOW WEBSITES and how to manage them, how to write content in the right way and how to rank them on Google.

But I get stuck with many preliminary things. Today I spent hours – again – to chat with the support of one service provider and write emails to the other one which doesn’t even notice that I have already done what they suggest – and it didn’t work: two of my main websites are down for a week. HAPPY MONDAY!

Struggling to learn the Know How

screenshot my-cat.org website
The website: My-cat.org where I tell stories about my cats and host other people’s stories about theirs

Then, naturally, I want people to share my content on my fun website about cats.  I use it to practice all that, what I am taught in the amazing community (where I finally learn how to create websites). And I end up struggling with the plugins. It is easy to upload and activate them, but why don’t they do what I expect them to do? Means in this specific case: share the posts with the pictures instead with a huge gray head (not really attractive!).

hand out of the water with the word "help"
That’s how it feels like, sometimes

So the rest of the day passed by with chatting with very helpful people of the community who do their best to resolve all the weird things which show up in every single day in my new tech-friendly (?) life.

So, Monday is almost gone and no tangible results. Is this a good or bad sign? Does it mean I will get it straight tomorrow? Or better give up, because “it will never get better” (and many people say it won’t)

So it is a matter of CHOICE. What do you choose? Well, I will sit on my computer, but at home, sweet home, for other 3 hours or so until I will be so fed up – or have a success moment. Whatever, tomorrow is another day. Tuesday, I guess. Sometimes I forget which day it is, they seem all quite alike…..

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This post was first published on branded.me  on August 8th 2016

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February 2017

Half a year has passed since I wrote the above text. And a lot has happened since then. Learning to do my own websites was one achievement I gained. I am able now to project and do everything needed for our broadcast series at The Wisdom Factory, on the Integral Ageing website and, of course, my favorite and heartwarming project, the website about cats. All are using different themes and I have learned a great deal how to use them properly. 

Now it is time to address the last two projects before thinking to seriously go for business: the website for the NonProfit “Paradiso Integrale” and the membership site for the relationship course work. Some more time to spend learning while sitting on the computer….

How do humans work? How does learning happen?

two faces, colored background, black tree
The mystery of Human Life: How can we create understanding?

Talking about learning: what is really interesting to me is not so much the content of what I learn – although it is quite useful, – but more the meta level: How does learning happen? What strategies do I use to learn? Which ones are better and better for what? Where do they work and where not? And why not?

Life as Meditation

With these questions in the back of my head, the work I am doing becomes almost a meditation. There is an observer who continuously monitors not only the content of what I am doing but also

  • the single steps,
  • the ever changing colors of mood (success joy versus failure disappointment in many degrees),
  • the procrastination moments,
  • the ignition by some input by others (humorous posts, insightful talks and conversations etc.)
  • the influence of positive (but more significantly negative) news about the world situation
  • the coping mechanisms and strategies to “survive”
  • the changing states of the body, the subtle feelings and sensations
  • the emotions

How to deal with big emotions?

Emotions are a big one, not only for myself, I guess. In this period of time the emotions overboard all over the world. People try to make sense of the chaos which we are slippering in, the sudden awareness of not having noticed the signs in time, and the fear of the unknown and the possible disaster.

Anouk Brack
Anouk Brack

Many people begin to contribute trying to figure out what is going on and what can be done to get on in a reasonable way. For instance this article of a friend, Anouk Brack And this is the good thing which the present situation can evoke and create: People stepping up and coming together to co-create their visions and oppose the forces which want to bring our culture back into times of civil war and even medieval practices of torture to assert the power of a few over everybody else.

The Metaphor of Monday

The Phoenix arising from the burning chaos
The Phoenix arising from the burning chaos

To close the circle: Monday, the beginning of the week, can bring a lot of difficulties and slow down the fresh energy with which it began. But we can find a way to work through the difficulties. We can reach out to others and make the things work again – and even find new and unexpected ways in which our world can unfold. 2017 has begun with a huge drum beat, an earthquake which made many of us tremble. We need to work through it, day by day, and find a way to allow the phoenix to arise out of the ashes.

PS: See also my previous post about the necessity that we WOMEN step up and let our voices be heard in the world