Wednesday, January 26, 2022

What social institutions are now nurturing spiritual intelligence?




As mentioned above, I was not raised in a religious family and I have never subscribed to any organized religion, but I have been on a personal spiritual path since adolescence. As a result of this background, my spiritual convictions are eclectic; I eschew exclusivism and try to appreciate spiritual truth wherever I find it. And throughout my life I have found it abundantly in the wisdom of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Taoism, and in indigenous forms of spirituality as well. Further, I have found spiritual truth in nontraditional sources and unaffiliated teachings and even in spontaneous realizations that seemed to come from the very source of my self. 

Moreover, I have also found significant spiritual truth in science. Indeed, the stupendous discoveries of the physical sciences serve as an important foundation for evolutionary spirituality, which recognizes that the structure, function, and order of nature is a spiritual teaching in itself. As discussed at the end of chapter 4, evolutionary spirituality seeks to develop a unified understanding of physics and metaphysics through which science and spirituality may become harmonized and increasingly seen as complementary.


McIntosh, Steve. The Presence of the Infinite . Quest Books. pp.12-13. 


Steve McIntosh describes a religious worldview that might be called “interreligious.” Steve writes that his religious convictions are “eclectic” and that he eschews exclusivism. Steve’s statement reminds me of Unitarian Universalism’s statement that it considers itself a “living tradition” which draws from many sources of which six are articulated. It is worthy of note that Steve not only draws on religious traditions but on science which is the basis for Unitarian dependence on reasoning.


Steve is in a minority of the population of the United States. This minority is growing with 33%  of the American population stating on the Pew Research Religious survey that they do not have any one religious affiliation..


This sociological trend indicates that the U.S. population is probably shifting from a traditional ethnocentric worldview to a modernistic and postmodern  worldcentric worldview. There are many implications of this shift for the evolutionary development of human cultures on the planet. However, it does raise questions about what institutional structures, if any, nurture spiritual intelligence if religious institutions are no longer playing this role. It may be that this role of nurturing spiritual intelligence is increasingly falling to the arts and science.


Which do we choose: peace and bliss or anxiety and anguish?


It is possible to reach a state in which you bring your mind under my guidance without conscious effort, but this implies a willingness that you have not developed as yet. The Holy Spirit cannot ask more than you are willing to do. The strength to do comes from your undivided decision. There is no strain in doing God’s Will as soon as you recognize that it is also your own. The lesson here is quite simple, but particularly apt to be overlooked. I will therefore repeat it, urging you to listen. Only your mind can produce fear. It does so whenever it is conflicted in what it wants, producing inevitable strain because wanting and doing are discordant. This can be corrected only by accepting a unified goal. T-2.VI.6:1-9


A Course in Miracles . Foundation for Inner Peace. Kindle Edition. 



The Course is clear that Jesus doesn’t demand, only suggests. The question is when will you be ready? Giving up the ego to become one with the All is what we really want deep down but we are scared to give up our ego because we mistakenly think it is our real self. When we eschew our egos and rejoin the beatific vision of Oneness with our Transcendent Source peace and bliss is ours.


In Alcoholics Anonymous it is suggested in step three that we make a decision to turn our willfulness over to the will of God as we understand God. Acting on this decision is sometimes called “surrender” as when we give something up that we consider ours such as surrendering one’s driver’s license to the court when one is charged with a DWI. Some experience this as a punishment when it is simply a statement by the court that one should drive when they are intoxicated. This surrender is beneficial to the individual and to people the individual is in relationship with. In the long run this surrender makes it more likely that there will be benefit peace rather than harm and destruction.


In Unitarian Universalism we join together to affirm and promote the acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual development. This encouragement involves the giving up of fear and the development of faith and trust in the unconditional love of God.


Today, it is suggested that we consider, seriously, making a decision to practice unconditional love which brings peace and bliss instead of conditional love which brings anxiety and anguish.


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Loving kindness among people with different worldviews

Steve McIntosh’s book, The Presence Of The Infinite was published in 2015. This is the image that appears in the book depicting the percentages of Americans at each worldview stage. It may have changed slightly since then because of various factors but the essential estimates are probably still accurate.


From an Integral perspective the estimates of percentage of the population at the various worldviews is not a value judgment but merely a description. Within an evolutionary context every person and cultures  pass through these stages of worldviews on their way to maturity. Understanding the worldview of persons and cultures helps one adjust one’s style and approach of communication so that the interaction can be more effective, efficient, satisfying, and fulfilling for the participants and others in the environment of the participants.


Unitarian Universalists tend to appear more frequently within the modernist and postmodern worldview while many in the surrounding society are still at a traditional worldview although the percentage are declining.


Given this frame of reference, it is no wonder that Unitarian Universalism is such a small religious denomination in the United States. One might predict that as society matures the denomination will grow except that currently we are seeing the worst characteristics of the postmodern worldview with its emphasis on political correctness and its judgmental attitudes towards others with different worldviews disrupting the sharing of loving kindness. The move to strident social justice agendas is alienating and polarizing leading to increased separateness and divisiveness rather than collaborative efforts to build a better world based on spiritual understanding of what all humans have in common.


How do I find peace and bliss?



Fear is always a sign of strain, arising whenever what you want conflicts with what you do. This situation arises in two ways: First, you can choose to do conflicting things, either simultaneously or successively. This produces conflicted behavior, which is intolerable to you because the part of the mind that wants to do something else is outraged. Second, you can behave as you think you should, but without entirely wanting to do so. This produces consistent behavior, but entails great strain. In both cases, the mind and the behavior are out of accord, resulting in a situation in which you are doing what you do not wholly want to do. This arouses a sense of coercion that usually produces rage, and projection is likely to follow. Whenever there is fear, it is because you have not made up your mind. Your mind is therefore split, and your behavior inevitably becomes erratic. Correcting at the behavioral level can shift the error from the first to the second type, but will not obliterate the fear. T-2.VI.5:1-10


A Course in Miracles . Foundation for Inner Peace. Kindle Edition. 


Another way of describing the same idea expressed above is that there is a conflict between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. What we think we want is conditioned and not what we really want deep down in our heart. This conflict is what psychologist’s call “the false self” as contrasted with the “genuine” of the “authentic self.” The anxiety we experience is a warning bell that we’re on the wrong track both in our behavior and in what we believe. This alarm bell is alerting us to look deeper into our authentic self to get things on a better track in our lives.


In Alcoholics Anonymous it is suggested, in step three, that we make a decision to turn our willfulness over to the care and will of God as we understand God. “God” in this sense is the Tao, the Transcendent Source, the Force which animates the universe.


In Unitarian Universalism we join together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Truth and meaning is to be found when we get ourselves on the right track with the good, the true, and the beautiful. Getting ourselves on the right track with the good, the true, and the beautiful is getting aligned with the Infinite in our finite experience.


Today, it is suggested that we look deep within in an effort to align our authentic experience with the good, the true, and the beautiful. The better the alignment the deeper the peace and bliss we experience.


Monday, January 24, 2022

Stages of worldview development


A key concept in the model of Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) is the stages of worldviews that people and cultures pass through on their way to maturity. McIntosh’s model has five stages: pretraditional, traditional, modern, postmodern, and post-postmodern.


McIntosh writes that about 30% of the American population are ensconced in the traditional worldview while about 50% are in the modern, and 20% in postmodern. Probably the percentages of Unitarian Universalists are skewed upward with larger percentages in the modern and postmodern and a small percentage in the post postmodern. If you are reading this you are more likely to be post postmodern.


Let go and let God.



The correction of fear is your responsibility. When you ask for release from fear, you are implying that it is not. You should ask, instead, for help in the conditions that have brought the fear about. These conditions always entail a willingness to be separate. At that level you can help it. You are much too tolerant of mind wandering, and are passively condoning your mind’s miscreations. The particular result does not matter, but the fundamental error does. The correction is always the same. Before you choose to do anything, ask me if your choice is in accord with mine. If you are sure that it is, there will be no fear. T-2.VI.4:1-10


A Course in Miracles . Foundation for Inner Peace. Kindle Edition. 


Anxiety disorders are the most frequently diagnosed psychiatric illness in the United States. This fact may be an indication of the spiritual poverty prevalent in the U.S. Americans misbelieving that this is a medical problem turn to doctors for medications or they use medications without physician prescription like alcohol and other street drugs, cannabis, benzodiazepines, and opioids being favorites. Jesus says in A Course In Miracles that the correction of fear is our responsibility. Asking for release from fear by things external to ourselves is usually barking up the wrong tree. The appropriate correction is turning our willfulness over to the will of God as we understand God.


In Alcoholics Anonymous it is suggested, in step three, that we make a decision to turn our willfulness over to the care and will of God.


In Unitarian Universalism we join together to affirm and promote the responsible search for truth and meaning. This responsible search takes us to an apprehension of our Transcendent Source into which we place our trust.


Today, we can release ourselves from fear by turning our willfulness over to the care and will of God. Let go and let God.


Sunday, January 23, 2022

The purpose of life is to make the world a better place.


Moreover, through the practice of evolutionary spirituality we become agents of evolution—emissaries of the future—whose mission is the improvement of the human condition. And the experience and creation of that which is spiritually real—that which is beautiful, true, and good—is ultimately how we make things genuinely better. In other words, we become direct participants in evolution’s unfolding—the process by which something more keeps coming from something less—as we work to increasingly perfect ourselves and our world. Thus, those who are on an evolutionary spiritual path recognize that their purpose in life is to participate in the gradual perfection of the evolving universe of nature, culture, and self.


McIntosh, Steve. The Presence of the Infinite . Quest Books. P.6


The three big existential questions we all face as human beings are : Why was I born?  What is the purpose of my life? What happens to me when I die?. 


The purpose of every person’s life is to make the world a better place than they found it. As Steve McIntosh puts it, “Thus, those who are on an evolutionary spiritual path recognize that their purpose in life is to participate in the gradual perfection of the evolving universe of nature, culture, and self.”


This desire to make the world a better place is what psychologists call “generativity.” The opposite of “generativity” is stagnation and despair.


The further question when one recognizes and acknowledges the fact that they were born to make the world a better place is how? The grand answer is by using their talents and abilities engaging in activities which provide satisfaction and fulfillment. For every person these talents and abilities are a little bit different so the contribution is both unique but also contributes to the whole: that is, the contribution is holy.


Knowing that the purpose of life is to make the world a better place is a foundational building block of spiritual intelligence. Knowing how one is called to do this is another.


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