My friend, colleague, and CSL minister, Dr. Jim Lockard, recently commented on my blog post: Birthing A Greater Reality. He presences an emerging challenge for all of us in the New Thought Movement.
Once again, you are on point in referring to this first, very critical tipping point. I am interested in how this applies to the larger organization – in my case, Centers for Spiritual Living. What I am observing is actually a distancing from a commonality of language among many of my colleagues since our integration a few years ago. We are less likely to speak about transformation, more likely to still be in the place of what has been lost by the dissolution of our own organization, and the resulting frustration is creating a distancing from even agreeing what we should be teaching and how in our ministries. And there is also a growing sense of “not-enough” financially and otherwise.
What I do not see in the current situation is a lever to actualize a conversation about transformational ways of being as a spiritual organization in the world. It seems more like a re-playing of the “Tower of Babel” story in the Bible, where no two people speak the same language.
Do you have any ideas about how our leadership can begin to address this dynamic (or are they the ones to do so?)? With all the changing dynamics in the world around us, especially the movement away from allegiance to organized forms of religion in the U.S. and Canada, it would behoove us, I think, to be having a conversation in transformational language at this time.
While a different context, I believe that Dr. Jim’s comments are relevant to Unity School and Unity Worldwide Ministries as well as for Centers for Spiritual Living, and also apply to ministry leaders interested in taking their ministry to the next level. My response will draw upon the phenomenon that Jane and I are experiencing at Unity Spiritual Center as it relates to the power of a shared language for all things transformational.
There are many complexities to this issue and there are challenges unique to our respective organizations. So, no one size fits all. And yet, our conundrum is basically the same: Evolve or fade away.
First, let me just say that the time is ripe for transformation and those in sync with transformational fields of influence will benefit most. Knowing the language of transformation, being able to articulate both the process and context of transformation, and most importantly, being able to speak to dynamics of transformation in terms of development, evolution, and getting to the next level are skills that we need to deepen in order to be in transformational conversations. It is one thing to say that you have transformed, gained some emotional and spiritual maturity, gotten to the next level, but are you able to convey the principles of transformation so another can enter the energetic field of transformative influences and join you on the journey?
My opinion is that those in New Thought who are not in sync with transformational fields are that way because the spiritual center of the New Thought movement is currently orbiting translational teachings as the default approach to personal and organizational discomfort. As I have mentioned in previous posts, translational teachings are ego-friendly and are about improving one’s current reality. This is not to say that getting to a better place is bad or malpractice. It’s to say that translational teachings are not necessarily ideal for a world that is on the brink of awakening or karmageddon.
I liken translational teachings to trying to get God to change the way the mirror works. A common ritual for most of us is the daily oracle consult that happens in the morning. We look into our bathroom mirror. And what do we do? We try to fix it, don’t we? I mean, not the mirror! You don’t put make-up on the mirror or try to comb the mirror. You comb your hair and put make-up on your face. And, why would you try to fix you anyway? Because you were uncomfortable with what got reflected back.
It has been said that life is a mirror, but we forget that the mirror can only reveal what is showing up in front of it. Yet, we often try to fix the mirror when dealing with some form of discomfort instead of examining how we are showing up. Have you ever tried to fix the mirror? Or, have you every tried to get God to change the way the mirror works? When our life looks and feels against us it is a mirror unto our own disconnect. We never get to address the disconnect if our attention is on managing situations rather than seeing the link between what we are having as our experience and how we are being with it (how we are showing up).
The world is rapidly becoming a crazy place. The rules are changing. Extremes are finding their way into what used to be our normal. When faced with uncertainty, chaos, craziness, insanity, or just ordinary difficulty, we naturally gravitate towards what can give us control, relief, comfort, certainty, and predictability.
Translational teachings have a place. Let us say that they have sustained us in New Thought for decades, but those heydays are fading. Transformation–the way through, not the way out–is the voice of 2nd Tier calling us to take the momentous leap. But, until more and more of us attain the transformational language skills that are essential to the conveyance of 2nd Tier methodologies and ministry practices, we will languish in the futility of trying to create a “better world” rather than a greater reality.
Insofar as denominational leaders are beginning to have conversations about creating organizations that have the capacity to align with transformational fields of influence, I believe that it cannot happen unless Unity and CSL engage in shadow work. I don’t believe that Unity and CSL will thrive until we do the deeper work of integration as individuals and as organizations. This means we need to reexamine what we teach and differentiate translational teachings from transformational teachings.
At Unity Spiritual Center we have made very clear the distinction between translational and transformational teachings and practices. We have made our case against the perpetuation of organizational patterns that are worsened by translational practices. Our shadow work program (Q Process™) is demonstrating that when people are guided gently through a systematic approach to shadow integration, transformation happens. They move from triggered reaction to triggered self-compassion. Now, how awesome is that!