Home The Book Section V Chapter Four
Chapter Four PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 August 2008 19:25


Section V - Shamanic Wisdom
Chapter 4 - Spiraling


.. it is necessary to look backward in order to go forward - to draw on the wisdom of the true "(ab)original thought" that transcends time. So while Western science considers the notion of non-locality to be an exciting frontier to investigate, this realm is a given in Native science. To Native people, thought, or spirit is and always has been alive and moving.

Glenn Aparicio Parry,
IONS #9, page 30


As we evolve both socially and scientifically, how might we better acknowledge the wisdom of the past - that our new learning affirms the wisdom of past cultures?

In the Fall of 2002, just before the invasion of Iraq with ‘Shock and Awe,' all the blustering of winning quickly, being loved by the conquered, and perhaps wars on a couple of other fronts, I was in a workshop where the concept of Spiral Dynamics was presented. It was a short presentation, just intended to explain the gist of the theory and the concept of ‘memes.' Memes are who we are, individually and collectively, in terms of our basic world-view and level of consciousness. As a culture, we evolve (or devolve) with a spiraling effect from one meme to another.

After the presentation we broke into conversation groups, and I made a point of sitting with a European gentleman, Bertrand Jouslin de Nolay, who was our after-lunch keynote speaker. I asked him if he was open to suggestions on his talk, and he responded affirmatively. I said that the overwhelming thought I had when listening to the explanation of the spiral and theOO_V-4_2009-02-22 memes was that the United States is entrenched in the 'material, consumer' 5th stage Orange Meme, and while some of us our struggling to move the country up to the 'egalitarian, communal' 6th stage Green Meme, we are actually spiraling downward into a warring, authoritarian 4th stage, the Blue Meme. I asked him if he would share with us a European perspective. When he spoke after lunch, he acknowledged our conversation and proceeded to speak in the most eloquent, but frank and authentic terms. It seemed to me that the Europeans had moved up a meme in the last century. After all their experiences with WWI and WWII, they had created the Common Market, and warring among these now allied countries seems almost unimaginable. There was no doubt in my mind that the United States' Iraq policy was a big step backwards - clear back into another meme.

Last summer I was part of a meeting to plan a workshop, ‘Cosmologies of the Abrahamic Traditions.' When it was over, one of the participants expressed her concern that much of the cosmology of our Western religions has been lost. She seemed at ease looking to shamanic cultures for a cosmology that better resonated for her, but was somewhat distraught that her notion of evolution moving consistently forward, never backward, was being dispelled. I was grateful that the rhythm of change I experience is generally a few steps forward and a couple steps back.

There seems to be a hubris in our concept of evolution that masks our ability to recognize and appreciate the wisdom of the past. But what we find over and over again as we make scientific discoveries, such as quantum physics, is that the indigenous beliefs of being energetically related to all other beings is absolutely true. In the same workshop that we discussed Spiral Dynamics, we had a presentation on leadership. There was a chart presented that had seemingly every facet of leadership on it as well as several attributes of each facet. I was sitting next to a woman from Botswana, and she commented that she understood everything on the chart except the word ‘Community.' We sat in the same conversation group after the presentation, and I asked her if she would tell us about her own life in Botswana - her family, work, tribe, nation, whatever. She shared with us a beautiful story centered around her family and their village. She didn't live in the village anymore, as she was a relatively high government official in Botswana, but she went back to the village often. Her sense of place and community were far greater than what we generally find in our country, and I believe she expressed what is the norm in Botswana.

It may be helpful to use some of the charts in previous chapters as a basis for understanding approaches to advancing to higher memes.


Before going on to the next chapter, please go back to the Spiral Dynamic link and take note of the eighth and highest stage, the Turquoise Meme. Rather than just see it as a state to which we aspire, ask yourself if it isn't possible that this was the meme of our most esteemed prophets, such as Abraham and Jesus. The next chapter is about ‘Languages of Life,' and one of the suppositions is that the languages emerged through a person or persons with a ‘cosmic spirituality' - an integral characteristic of this highest meme.



At some point in time, we all learn about a new scientific discovery that both challenges our current beliefs, and resonates with some knowing deep down inside. Perhaps a current belief was imposed in such a way that it suppressed what you may have held as a different truth. An example of this occurring in my life was in a ‘Comparative Religion' class in which an Episcopalian was talking about original sin, and this was followed by the Jewish belief that there is only original goodness. I had one of those ‘yes!!' moments when one of my strongest beliefs about life was uncovered - ‘Life is a Blessing; we're living in the Garden of Eden; whatever suffering we feel is either part of the blessing of life or imposed by mankind.' These beliefs that draw me to live in a higher meme are less about evolution than about getting in touch with what's always made sense to me.

What experience(s) have you have that connected you with your ‘truth'?
Is this more of an evolutionary or discovery process for you?
How does your new ‘truth' relate to ancient teachings?


Rev. 2009-02-22 MOM


Go to: Your Journal
Download a PDF of chapter: icon Section V Chapter Four
Email comments: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Prev: Section V: Chapter 3 – The Wisdom Within
Next: Section V: Chapter 5 – Languages of Life

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment

security code
Write the displayed characters

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 June 2009 19:55

Copyright © 2008 Appreciative Sustainability: A Workbook and Online Community for Co-Creating Our Sustainability Ethic. All Rights Reserved.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

InfoTeam: JoomlaCoaching.com