Transformation… Week 03

a Moment for Wisdom…


a Moment for…


“It doesn’t matter how long we may have been stuck in a sense of our limitations. If we go into a darkened room and turn on the light, it doesn’t matter if the room has been dark for a day, a week, or ten thousand years — we turn on the light and it is illuminated. Once we control our capacity for love and happiness, the light has been turned on. 

Sharon Salzberg




Personal Wisdom:


Do you ever experience an “aha” moment with your limitations, obstacles and barriers?  Did it feel like turning on a light?




Societal Wisdom:


 What would our society look like if we were able to turn on our lights of love and happiness?

How large would the US military be if we expanded our capacity for love and happiness?



a Moment with Sharif…




If a person smokes cigarettes (or breathes second-hand smoke), they are doing constant
damage to their lungs and to their entire bodies.  However, the moment that they stop
smoking, their bodies start to re-heal and regenerate. 


Our societies are the same: as soon as we turn on our societal lights, our society will be illuminated.   (Our societies are so far from illuminated, most of us would settle for a “non-stupid” society!)  Right now, our consciousness is stuck in our societal limitations.  We get caught up in the play-acting of Congress precisely because we’ve lost the sense of vision.  We wander around in dark rooms, bumping into the furniture…


It is time for us to pioneer a new society.(Some of you know that was the original title to the manuscript that became “Creating a World That Works for All”.)  When our European ancestors sailed across the ocean (or sailed across the ocean of prairie on this continent), they were aware that they were creating something NEW.  They were aware that each and every action on their part was designed to not only help them to survive, but help to establish a new society.(Unfortunately, many of those pioneers saw themselves as separate from (and hostile to) their neighbors, the First Nations.)


It is time for us to pioneer a new society – in the middle of the existing one.  It is the only way that we can change the tire on a moving car.We cannot stop the existing Breaker society and tinker with it.  But we can create new patterns of living – ones that distance us from the consciousness and the consequences of Breaker society.


One part of today’s quote I take slight issue with.  Sharon Salzberg says that the light comes on “once we control our capacity for love and happiness”.  I’m sure she didn’t mean that the way it sounds!  I would replace “control” with “open” or “pay attention to” or “become more aware of”… Because we have way too much experience with “controlling” our love!  Perhaps Ms. Salzberg meant “control” in the way that Rubem Alves used the phrase “disciplined love” in the quote on page 177 of “Creating a World That Works for


Please do not believe that a new society will just “happen” – that all we have to do is
think good thoughts and “Poof!” it magically appears, complete with milk and honey raining from the skies.No, if our descendants are living in a world that works for all, it will be because of the actions you take today.  A society is built from our consciousness, and our conscious actions.  From what we DO.  From what we PRACTICE.






Transformation Exercises:


This week’s “Transformation” exercise: 


  1. Write down 3-5 instances where you were “stuck” in your limitations.For each instance:
    1. Were you in the limitation for a long time?
    2. How did you get “unstuck”?
    3. How did your limitation relate to your capacity for love and happiness?
  2. Write down 3-5 instances where you are presently “stuck” in your limitations and/or face personal obstacles.  For each instance:
    1. How long have you been stuck at this limitation or obstacle?
    2. How can expanding your capacity for love and happiness help
      you get unstuck?
  3. Share your lists (at least your responses to Question #1) with another person.
    1. Ask them to respond to your list.
    2. Ask them to respond to the questions.  (The purpose of this part is for you to realize that your responses are not unique – we’re all in the same (or similar) boat.










All photos by Sharif Abdullah, unless otherwise noted.








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6 Responses to Transformation… Week 03

  1. emile says:

    The concept of ‘a new society’, in an encouragement to ‘pioneer a new society’ requires some reflection. Does this imply that the ‘new society’ will be constituted by a collection of people that behave in a new and more ‘desirable’ way? As you point out, if the pioneering group sees themselves “as separate from (and hostile to) their neighbors”, then our actions in ‘pioneering a new society’ will not be ‘creating a world that works for all.’

    What invites reflection here is what we mean by the word ‘creating’.

    Prior to the arrival in Turtle Island of the colonizing peoples of Europe, there already existed a thriving living-space/habitat of great fertility. And prior to the arrival of man within the thin but fertile skin that is the Earth’s biosphere, there existed a thriving living-space/habitat of great fertility.

    The newcomers to the biosphere let their behaviours be orchestrated by the diurnal and seasonal cycles of light and warmth and climate of the space in which they were situated/included, … they let their individual and collective movements be organized by the tides and the river-flows and their diets shaped by the smorgasbord of edible selections that their particular situation within the living space served up for them.

    To speak of ‘man creating a new society’ passes over the fact that man is the product of evolution in which outside-inward habitat-influence predominates over the inside-outward asserting influence of the inhabitants (Nietzsche).

    When the biosphere invited in the material form called ‘man’, it invited him in, in the same manner that the flow of freeway traffic accommodates the influx of individuals from the onramps; i.e. the accommodating dynamic of the collective predominates over the assertive actions of new entrants. We who are included in the flow implicitly acknowledge that sustaining harmonious flow derives more from ‘what we do not do’ (the moves we do not make) as ‘what we do’ (the moves that we make).

    Intellectually we may plan to go from Aix to Ghent and linguistically, we may speak of going from Aix to Ghent; i.e. we may think and talk in terms of our dynamics as if they are constituted by internally-sourced, deliberately asserting actions; i.e. as if the ‘inside-outward assertive influence predominates over the outside-inward orchestrating influence, but that is never the ‘real’ case in the natural world of physical phenomena, it is Fiktion (Nietzsche) or ‘schaumkommen [appearances]’ (Schrödinger) or ‘maya [illusion]’ (Vedics).

    This ‘new world that works for all’ that we are talking about can therefore be seen, not as something ‘we create’ [to think thus is to impute God-like creationist powers to ourselves], but as something that can re-establish itself when/as we let go of our notion [illusion] that our inside-outward asserting inhabitant-actions predominate over the outside-inward orchestrating influence of the habitat-dynamic.

    This view and practice requires the humility of acknowledging that we [the people] ‘belong to the land’ [to the spatial-plenum that is inclusive of people and all things] along with a reciprocal ‘stepping down’ from the egoism of the predominating Western culture, wherein we insist that ‘the land belongs to us’.

    • Praxis Admin says:


      Thank you for the long and thoughtful posting… I only have time to react to a small part of your well-thought-out comment: You said:

      This ‘new world that works for all’ that we are talking about can therefore be seen, not as something ‘we create’ [to think thus is to impute God-like creationist powers to ourselves], but as something that can re-establish itself when/as we let go of our notion [illusion] that our inside-outward asserting inhabitant-actions predominate over the outside-inward orchestrating influence of the habitat-dynamic.

      What I mean by “create” is first our consciousness gets in step with the dynamic of the Earth, then our daily actions get in step with that consciousness. There are lots of folks who get the first part, but don’t get the second. People who say, “I’ve transformed my consciousness”, yet their lives continue to be artificial and synthetic.

      And yes, I do create. I do not have “God-like powers”. I am God. So are you. So is that spider crawling up my wall right now…

      A society (old or new) is grounded in and created by our daily actions. Philosophy about it comes afterward…



  2. Chuck Willis says:

    Wow! Now this is a discussion!

    OK, Bruce Lipton’s work with genetics and environmental influence (summarized in his book “Biology of Belief”) fully supports Emile’s arguments (i.e., that genetic expression is “controlled”/influenced by environment, not the other way around) – and, his conclusions are consistent with Sharif’s assessment (i.e., that our thoughts and feelings [emanating out of the metaphysical universe] are perhaps the most important component of our (biological) environment). So, does influence of “external” factors trump that of “internal” factors, or not? Yes! It’s all one thing.

    Glad we cleared that up!

    So, what about our greatest power – the power to choose? What are we choosing, and why? What are the possible/predictable consequences of our choices? Are our choices driven primarily by internal stimuli? External stimuli? Why does that matter. We still have power over our choice, and choice is still our greatest power. BUT, once we choose, we have no power over the consequences! So, choose wisely!

    Blessings to all!


  3. emile says:

    I agree with Sharif’s nuanced understanding of creative power (being immanent in the spatial-plenum of earth/universe, rather than transcendent and personal) and I agree with Chuck’s nuanced understanding of choice (though I would express it differently).

    Given that “our consciousness gets in step with the dynamic of the Earth, then our daily actions get in step with that consciousness”, then the I/we that is making the choices is not the I/we of mainstream biological science (the organism seen as a ‘machine made of meat’ or a ‘local system with its own locally originating intellection and purpose-directed behaviour), but as the I/we of hurricanes (convection cells) in the energy-charged spatial medium (atmosphere/biosphere) which have a local material form that is not the ‘starting point’ for the developing of their form, behaviour and organization. Surfers and sailboaters derive their power and steerage from the dynamics of the energy-charged flow-space they share inclusion in.

    As surfers and sailboaters (as ripple structures in the energy-charged spatial-plenum as the new physics would have us see ourselves), we have the power to choose in the limited sense the surfer/sailboater/hurricane has the power to choose; i.e.we can opt to let the dynamic spatial plenum express itself through us (hurricanes are born to restore balance and harmony to the thermal-energy-charged spatial medium [atmosphere/biosphere] as infusions of solar energy introduce imbalances in the spatially relative concentration of thermal energy). The energy-charged spatial plenum, and imbalances therein, orchestrate the emergence of material forms that serve to re-cultivate and sustain balance and harmony. The development of form behaviour and organization does not derive from the interiors of the material forms themselves. The tsunami we find ourselves engulfed in (or earthquake or climate) reminds us that we are inextricably included in a dynamic spatial medium.

    Intellectually, our ‘power of choice’ allows us to ignore our inextricable inclusion in an energy-charged spatial medium, (those who ignore it are sailboaters/surfers/hurricanes — gone mad; i.e. our modern society). That is, such choices as originate within us, that portray actions that are locally originating and driven by our local internal power and direction, are illusion based on our imposing of an absolute, fixed reference-framing space. The man who chooses to walk over to the roulette table in the casino, has the power to make that choice, but not to escape from the fact that the casino is itself included in the spatial plenum; e.g. the casino is situated in the ship ‘Titanic’ which is situated in the North Atlantic which is situated in a flow of drifting ice-bergs which is situated in the Earth’s biosphere. The astronaut’s eye view would have placed the person in the thin blue film of the biosphere, a spherical space 1/300th the radius of the earth, a continually transforming space that has no problem recycling large ocean-going vessels and all on board. The power of choice exercised by the man that walks towards the roulette table as the ship strikes the iceberg concerns his actions within a Fiktional reality, an ‘idealized’ world that he tends to ‘confuse for reality’.

    Thus the power of choice of the would-be roulette player is within a certain limited type of consciousness. It is not the same consciousness that Sharif refers to where he says, “our consciousness gets in step with the dynamic of the Earth, then our daily actions get in step with that consciousness” Nietzsche calls the inside-outward asserting consciousness of the roulette player that orients to ‘material forms’ and ‘what they do’, ‘Fiktion’, while Schrödinger calls it ‘schaumkommen’ (appearances) and the Vedics call it ‘maya’.

    While it may be true that; “A society (old or new) is grounded in and created by our daily actions. Philosophy about it comes afterward…”, there is the question of ‘which reality are we picturing society in’? Is it the reality of the man in the casino [which is out of step with the dynamic of the earth], or is it the reality of the astronaut’s eye view that would include it in the continually transforming biosphere?

  4. Shirlene says:

    Wonderful discussion. Which reality? Perhaps it is not an either or question?

  5. emile says:

    Re –‘which reality’. [please excuse the length, … it ‘just came out this way’]

    In Sharif’s comments on ‘values’, he observes conflict between our philosophical values and our values as implied by practice (we ‘see ourselves’ as people whose philosophical values would have us say; ‘give us your tired and poor…’, but whose societal values have us send out the Coast Guard to turn them away).

    The related ‘conflict’ emerges in the gap between our personal experience and what we take to be ‘reality’ (idealization based on material ‘being’ (objects and organisms) and ‘what material-things do’). That is, there is a conflict between the reality of our experience (of situational inclusion in the transforming spatial-plenum, … the ‘astronaut’s eye view’) and the idealization of reality by way of absolute local material objects and absolute local material organisms that notionally move about and interact in absolute fixed, empty and infinite Euclidian space, an idealization that is well-suited to the architecture of our language (nouns and verbs) but which reduces the energy-charge spatial-plenum in which we are ripple structures, to empty void that is incapable of sourcing animation. In this idealization, we re-locate the ultimate animating source that underlies change/transformation from the energy-charged spatial-plenum (which predominates over the material forms that gather and regather within it) to the material objects and organisms, i.e. to ‘doers and deeds’ (Nietzsche). Just as we idealize contemporaneous hurricanes as local material systems by defining and naming them (making them over into language-entries), so we do (when we use language to try to capture our experience) with all material forms [as John Stuart Mill observed; ‘every definition implies an axiom, that in which we affirm the existence of the object defined’].

    In the language-based picture, the man in the casino, given by his knowledge of biological science, has ‘his own motive power’ (his ultimate animating source is his internal biochemistry and his direction derives from his knowledge, intellection and purpose/values). His material reality is populated by similar local material objects and organisms whose motion is ‘their own’ and portrays change in the only manner that a reality based on material objects and organisms can, by changes to the material objects and organisms that come about through their internal biochemistry (e.g. aging) and by their interactions (construction and destruction, or ‘genesis and degeneration’). This language based reality renders the colonization of the Americas, for the ‘colonizers’, in terms of the construction of a new world/civilization (‘genesis’), at the same time as it renders colonization of Turtle Island, for the ‘colonized’, in terms of destruction of a highly evolved world/civilization [Howard Zinn]. Meanwhile, both of these peoples who have no doubt in THEIR MINDS, as to ‘which reality’ prevails, are living in the same place, in the same common space. From the astronaut’s-eye-view, they are living in an energy-charged spatial plenum called ‘the biosphere’ where the spatial medium is the ‘ultimate animating source’ of the material forms that gather and regather within in; – the ‘ripple structures in the spatial-plenum’ of the ‘new physics’.

    That is, our habit is to declare the ultimate animating source of the human organism to lie in the interior of the human organism [this ‘declares the independence’ of the material form, making it over into a ‘material being’], rather than acknowledging the spatial-plenum as the ultimate engenderer/animator of material forms. This habit has been infused into the biological and social sciences, and is as Nietzsche says ‘total Fiktion’ but ‘necessary and useful Fiktion’ (‘useful’ as long as we don’t forget that such pseudo-reality is thanks to the tool of ‘idealization’ and allow ‘the tool to run away with the workman). When we let the tool run away with the workman; i.e. we let the natural predominance of ‘becoming’ over ‘being’ be hijacked by ‘being’ so that instead of acknowledging change as originating from the transforming spatial-plenum, we are forced to explain ‘change’ in a manner that is logically consistent with the world seen as a fixed, empty and infinite void (Euclidian space) populated by local ‘material beings’ (inanimate and animate ‘material beings’ or ‘things-in-themselves’). Instead of the human material form participating in the evolution of the spatial-plenum, in the manner of the hurricane-in-the-flow (Mach’s principle of space-matter relativity suggests that “The dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat.”

    That is, in the development of material form, behaviour and organization, the outside-inward influence of the habitat-dynamic (spatial-plenum) predominates over the inside-outward influence of the inhabitant-dynamic (ripple structures). The biological sciences, by modeling by means of a language-supported pseudo-reality that purges the spatial plenum of its immanent powers of transformation and invests all creative power (of engenderment and animation) in ‘material beings’, gives us the (upside-down) sense that an inside-outward driving sourcing-power predominates in the development of material form, behaviour and organization. According to Nietzsche, this comes from our ‘ego’, from our sense that our ‘I’ is absolute, and by infusing that egoist’ notion into our scientific definition of ‘organism’, the science we develop is ‘anthropomorphism’.

    What about ‘values’?

    In the anthropomorphist scientific view, what ‘becomes’ of the world is fully and solely ‘in the hands of’ the material beings [things-in-themselves] that inhabit the world [space is conceived of as void], so it is well within the realms of the possible, that human collectives that confuse this thing-in-itself biological sciences worldview for ‘reality’, see themselves as having the power to ‘take charge of the evolution’ of the space they are living in. If space is an infinite void populated by local material things-in-themselves, then ‘taking charge of evolution’ translates into coming up with technology that will govern the continuing development of form, behaviour and organization of the material entities that populate this notional ‘otherwise empty where not occupied by material entities’ void space.

    Out of this view, we get the values associated with the notion that we are the engineers of the future state of the world and thus, given that we have this power, are obliged to use it wisely. We must therefore step up to the plate and assume our human responsibilities for engineering the future that we desire. This was the value of the colonizers of Turtle Island, as Ayn Rand has captured it. These values derive from the creative/productive power of human beings [seen as originating absolutely from within the human being]. This view, which is laughable to the astronaut’s eye-view observer, is taken very seriously by Ayn Rand and social Darwinist thinkers. Those people living in harmony with nature rather than transforming it into ‘something useful’ (to humans) are seen, by Ayn Randians [social Darwinists] as parasites (meanwhile, the colonizers, in destroying the harmonious habitat-inhabitant relationship of the indigenous peoples by monopolizing ownership of the land and interposing themselves between the land and the indigenous peoples, made the indigenous people ‘dependent’ on ‘handouts’ from the colonizers, and left them with one pathway out of their disempowerment, to climb the ladder within the colonizer’s [highly crony-ized] hierarchical value/belief system.)

    It seems evident that different ‘realities’ lead to different ‘values/beliefs’ systems. The pseudo-reality that derives from reducing the transforming spatial-plenum to void where it is not otherwise occupied by material beings; i.e. imaginary entities that come-to-mind by way of anointing material forms with their own ‘being’ as ‘things-in-themselves’, … places primary value on engineering a desired future state of the world. And who is ‘best informed’ on how to engineer the future?…. ‘Scientists’ since ‘engineering the future state of the material world’ is decidedly a scientific understanding based enterprise that depends on knowledge accessible only to the few. Social Darwinists such as Richard Lewontin put it as follows;

    “It is one of the contradictions of a democratic society in a highly advanced technological world, … to make rational political decisions, you have to have a knowledge which is accessible only to a very few people.” [Lewontin continues by noting;] “that different people have different interests, and therefore the struggle is not a moral one, it’s a political one. It’s always a political one, and that’s the most important thing you have to recognize… that you may be struggling to make the world go in one direction, … [while] somebody else is struggling to make it go in another direction, and the question is; who has power? And if there’s a differential in power, and if you haven’t got it and they have, then you have to do something to gain power, which is to organize. “ – Richard Lewontin

    Thus, the demoting of the reality of our experience (of situational inclusion in the transforming spatial plenum) in favour of the pseudo reality wherein space is an absolute fixed and infinite reference frame populated by material entities and which is void where not otherwise occupied by ‘material beings’, notional ‘things-in-themselves’, leads to a beliefs/values system wherein it becomes a ‘moral imperative’ for us to engineer our desired future. As politicians, we must ensure that ‘the right people’ take control of this collective social enterprise, and thus ensure that ‘science’ [and therefore ‘the experts’ at the leading edge] are the ultimate providers of direction to this ‘engineering’ effort.

    Within each of us, there is a notional astronaut’s-eye-view observer who sees that the transforming biospheric spatial plenum predominates over whatever derives from notional local ‘material things-in-themselves’. That is, spatial transformation is one dynamic that includes the engendering and animation of material forms. The continual balance/harmony restoring/sustaining ‘ethic’ of the atmospheric/biospheric spatial-plenum gives rise to continual gathering and regathering of convection cells (hurricanes) that, as ripple structures in the spatial-plenum, are full participants in evolution, but are not ‘in charge’. Their inhabitant-dynamics shape the dynamics of habitat at the same time as the dynamics of habitat are shaping their dynamics. They are inescapably bound up in the ‘circularity’ (evolutionary spiralling) of this dynamic and without knowing where it is going, and without trying to take control of it, can let themselves be orchestrated by nature, and, as cells within a transforming flow, put their behaviour in the service of sustaining balance and harmony.

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