Bill’s travels, Bill’s complaints, and more clarity about development…
In reading your posted comments, I sense that there’s still a lot of confusion about the developmental theory I’ve been discussing, which hopefully I will clear up in this post, so keep reading. First, a few comments about what’s been going on in my life, then a few words about your posts (I was just kidding about the complaining)…
I just returned from a 12-day trip. I spoke at Raymond Aaron’s The Truth About the Secret seminar in Los Angeles along with Lisa Nichols, Jack Canfield, and several other teachers, most of them from The Secret. I then flew to Austin, Texas, where I led our Fall Centerpointe retreat. In addition to all the meditations and all the group events, 90% of what I shared in my talks there was totally new information I’ve never spoken about before.
You’ll have a chance to hear the recordings of my talks in a few months.
Then I flew to Denver for a meeting of Ken Wilber’s Integral Spiritual Center, with some of THE top spiritual leaders in the world. THAT was amazing–some other time I’ll tell more about these incredible people. I’ve arranged to get on the phone with several of them and record the conversations, so you can meet them and learn from them in that way.
I’ll tell you how and when you can hear these conversations that in a future post.
I returned from all of this pretty wiped out and glad to be home and sleeping in my own bed again. Then, I noticed the 300+ comments you guys posted about what I wrote in my previous post about developmental levels and religion.
Let me make a few comments about your comments, and since I’m still learning how to do this, I want to set a few more ground-rules for the blog. Then, in a post I’ll make in a few days, I have something to share with you about The Secret.
First, thanks for your comments. I read every one of them. In fact, it took 8 hours to read them all. Because I just can’t take that much time once or twice a week and still get anything done, I need to ask a favor. As long as your comments are on-point, I’m happy to read all night and all day. But the idea here is to comment or ask questions about what I’ve written about.
This isn’t the place to ask questions about Holosync or tell me about your personal challenges, or to ask me to take care of something you have going on with Centerpointe (change your email, ask about your order, tell me about your Holosync experience or whatever). We have a terrific staff of people who answer such questions and help you with such things.
I wish I had time to help everyone individually, but I just don’t. So please call or email them with your Holosync questions (503 672-7117 or firstname.lastname@example.org) and they will be happy to help you.
I understand that many of you see this blog as a chance to interact with me, but in order to do this blog and share my thoughts with you, it has to be within certain parameters. With hundreds of thousands of people using Holosync, the only way we can do this is if my staff handles Holosync questions, support counseling questions, and general housekeeping concerns, and you restrict restrict your questions to what I’ve posted about.
Here’s something else I noticed. Almost all the questions asked about Holosync are answered in the support material or in the directions! This tells me that many of you aren’t reading the directions or the support letters. The whole reason for this stuff is so you’ll know what’s likely to happen when you use Holosync, why it happens, and how to deal with it–and so you’ll know things such as how long to use each level before you go on, and those sorts of things.
I wrote all this stuff to make sure you get all the possible benefits from Holosync. PLEASE take a few moments to read it. If you do, a lot will fall into place, I promise.
After 18 years, it’s rare to hear a question we haven’t heard before. For this reason, 99.999% of everything you need to know is addressed in the support materials. If you do read it and your question isn’t answered, please call or email support and they’ll help you.
Remember that we receive between 300 and 500 emails every day, and though we’re pretty fast at answering them, sometimes it might take a few days before you get a reply. If you call, we might have a huge influx of calls all at that same time, which means it’s possible that you might be on hold for a little while.
I’m sorry for that, since I don’t like waiting on hold any more than you do, and I don’t like it when Centerpointe program participants are inconvenienced, either. If I hired twice as many people to answer the phone you might never have to wait, but in order to pay them I’d have to raise the price for Holosync, and I’m guessing that you’d like me to keep the price as low as possible. Try calling between 2 PM and 5 PM, Pacific time, since this is the slowest time of the day.
Finally, with so many specific questions about my last post there’s just no way I can answer all of them all–though I do take note of them and will try to address them in one way or another in future posts.
Okay, with that out of the way, here are a few nuances about developmental levels that I want you to understand:
First, let me say that this information about developmental levels isn’t just my opinion. It’s the result of a huge amount of peer-review research extending back 50-60 years, done by incredibly smart people who have no ax to grind and certainly aren’t promoting any particular religious point of view. They are simply observing the way people make sense of their world in different areas, looking for patterns, and noting that these ways of making sense of the world are, indeed, developmental.
Here are a few basic truths about developmental theory:
1) Developmental stages, in whatever area, always occur IN A CERTAIN ORDER.
2) You cannot skip stages. Everyone begins at ground zero and progresses through the stages, in order.
3) Some people go through a few levels and stop, while others continue to develop. This partly has to do with the developmental center of gravity of their culture, partly to do with the demands of their immediate environment, and partly do to the person’s degree of openness to new information and their flexibility in the face of new situations.
4) Each new stage transcends and includes the previous stage. The new stage involves a larger and more inclusive perspective than the previous stage. A totally new perspective emerges, which could not even be imagined before. At the same time, some aspects of the previous stage are retained and other aspects are left behind.
5) Each new stage, each new perspective, appears because you need it in order to deal with challenges, new situations. Life no longer makes sense or works very well with the old perspective, and the new one is a response, a solution, to this problem. Without the necessity of a new perspective, it is doubtful that one will emerge.
5) Each new stage is more inclusive than the previous stage, and offers a broader view.
As I probably said in one of the other posts, in each level we are immersed in our perspective, our point of view, our way of being. By this I mean that we ARE that point of view or way of being. Being immersed in it, we are unaware of it–like a fish in water.
In emotional development, for instance, at earlier stages we are immersed in our feelings. Because of this, we cannot step back and observe our feelings, Nor can we choose them or exert any control over them. They seem to just happen, and we have no perspective on them. If and when we develop into the next level, though, we gain the ability to observe these feelings, and in gaining this new perspective we now HAVE those feelings rather than BEING them.
So a person who is immersed in the preconventional, magic view of religion can’t see that they are immersed. Their view seems to be THE view–the only view. They don’t have the ability to step back and observe what they are doing.
The same for those who are at the conventional level–they don’t see what they are doing. In fact, this is true for all levels–whatever you’re immersed in, you don’t see it. It’s just that as you progress you’re immersed in fewer things (or, you could say, you have perspective on more things), and are consciously aware of more of who you are and what you are doing, as you move to higher developmental levels.
This goes for any developmental line–emotional, cognitive, aesthetic, kinesthetic (physical skills), moral, values, needs, spiritual–or any other. In each new developmental shift, what was the subject (what we were immersed in, and therefore unaware of, in the previous level) becomes the object of a new subject (the new point of view we’re immersed in).
In other words, there is a “you” that sees/feels/cognizes things in a certain way, but you aren’t consciously aware that you’re doing it. That way of seeing things, and the “you” that sees it that way, is the subject. At the next level, though, a new you (a new subject) can see it. What was subject (what you were immersed in) is now an object (something you can observe), and the new and more expanded “you” that observes it is the new subject.
In terms of religion, if you are at the magical, preconventional stage you can’t see it. Instead, you are it. But if and when you develop to the conventional level, the new “conventional you” can see it. The previously unconsciously held point of view is now something you have stepped back to observe, which gives you some perspective on it–and, some choice about it.
Once you have that choice, it will be obvious that certain aspects of the old view are unresourceful, unworkable, while others that are resourceful will be integrated into the new point of view (in this example, the conventional point of view).
So there’s this constant process of being immersed, then stepping back to see what you previously were caught in, which gives you some perspective on it. At the same time you become immersed in something else. Then, if you are to develop further, you eventually step back from that, and the process goes on, each time expanding you perspective.
Often it takes years between these shifts (though Holosync greatly accelerates this process), because once you arrive at a new level, a new perspective, you have to integrate it, become more skillful at it. And, quite often, people move to a certain level and just stay there for the rest of their life (which is fine). This just means that being at that level works for them. In figuring out how to be human and making sense of life, it works.
Okay, a few comments about a few of your posts.
Someone brought up Yogananda and his classic book, Autobiography of a Yogi, and asked my opinion. This is a beautiful book–a spiritual classic–and Yogananda was a beautiful being (and one of the first Eastern gurus to come to the U.S.). In fact, years ago I spent a fair amount of time around Yogananda’s tradition and practiced several of the meditation techniques his lineage teaches.
This tradition, like many Hindu traditions, contains a lot of magical, preconventional ideas, including a strong belief in magic and miracles. Every religion, in fact, has its preconventional stage, its magical aspect. Hinduism is, to my way of looking at it, a bit more stuck in this than, say, Buddhism, where the leaders (in both Zen and Tibetan Buddhism) have been willing to acknowledge the scientific discoveries that make it tough to continue to hold a preconventional point of view.
So while I love Yogananda, I take the magic stuff with a huge grain of salt. It looks great to someone at the preconventional stage, but in subsequent levels it loses its appeal (I almost said “its magic”).
This type of magical thinking, by the way, is one reason why so many people these days find traditional Christianity unappealing (the other comes from the conventional stage, that of religious fundamentalism, where everything is black and white, sin and redemption, “we have the truth/you don’t”). Once a person has at least some scientific training, they either have to compartmentalize some of what the church leaders say, or change their point of view to something such as, “These are metaphors but aren’t meant to be taken literally.”
Famous atheist Richard Dawkins, in his recent book The God Delusion is really railing at magical or conventional religion (most people don’t believe there is a view of God from a much higher developmental place, one that doesn’t ask you to believe in magic, or see things from a black and white point of view). The popular media sees two kinds of religion–magic and conventional–not realizing that there are other more highly developed views.
If you still cling to a lot of pre-scientific views and believe that the laws of physics can be suspended, well, you have at least some attraction to the preconventional way of seeing the world. That’s okay with me, though I’ve noticed that it’s difficult to function well in the world and live this level.
Those who have trouble making money or creating success in the world are very often functioning at this level, hoping to function in the world through luck, magic, or some other sort of pre-rational something.
I made the point last time that the conventional level is one of dogmatism, where some sort of “truth” has been found and a dogma organized around that truth. Some who are operating at this level assumed that I was saying that you were “wrong”. No stages, however, are wrong per se, and I was not saying this. Right or wrong is a conventional way of parsing things, so it’s no wonder that conventional readers saw my comments this way.
It’s not about right or wrong, though, but rather a matter of increased resourcefulness, a wider perspective, and increased ability to function well in the world, not right or wrong.
Seeing things in terms of right and wrong, us versus them, good versus evil, works for people at the conventional level–until it doesn’t. At that point where a person is forced (by life) to see that the world is more complex, more multi-dimensional, and that good and evil is a moving target. At that point they move to a post-conventional view, a view that takes these things into account. Until then, they’re happy at the conventional level. People move to a new level, in most cases, because they have to.
We’re all making sense of what it means to be human, and we use the best way available to us. As (and if) we continue to develop (some people stop at each level and stay there), we develop new ways of making sense of things. We do this because we have to in order to deal with our environment. You don’t move to the next level unless the perspective of the previous level stops working for you. Until it does, you stay there, and if it works for your entire life, that’s fine with me.
An example of this, in the moral line of development, would be convicts who “find religion” while in prison. When they go into jail, they’re usually at the preconventional level, where their point of view is very me-oriented. If they want something, they take it, and to hell with everyone else.
But always being in trouble gets old for some people, so when skillfully approached while in prison by Christians, or Muslims, or whatever, some of them are converted to a different perspective about life. They move to the conventional level, where people tend to follow rules and trade “it’s-all-about-me” (which worked–until it didn’t) for the security of the group and the truth the group is organized around.
This is a significant and positive change. Each level is an improvement over the previous stage. In the 1960s and 70s, for instance, the so-called “Black” Muslims cleaned up a lot of drug use, prostitution, crime, and other not-so-resourceful behaviors in the black communities, and many religions help pull people from preconventional to conventional.
I was asked by several people, “How do I speak to people who are at other levels?” I think this was asked mostly in regard to speaking to those at magical (preconventional) or conventional religious levels. My suggestion would be to respect such people and realize that most insoluble disagreements are insoluble because, by definition, people from two different developmental perspectives will never see things in the same way, no matter what evidence is presented.
There are, as I have said, pathological versions of each of these levels. So when you have someone at the conventional level who is trying to browbeat you into becoming a fundamentalist Christian there may be a bit of pathology behind their pushiness. The super-extreme of this would be the Inquisition, where if you didn’t believe the church’s Truth they tortured you and burned you at the stake–for your own good.
My view is that anyone at any developmental level is free to do or believe whatever they want behind closed doors, but in public you should respect others. If at your level of development you believe that people will go to hell if they don’t believe what you believe, then observe that point of view to your heart’s content at home or at church with others who share your point of view. But you shouldn’t be allowed to impose it on others out in public. (Of course, pathological fundamentalists of any religion can’t help it.)
On another note, several people wanted to know how to access my past Mind Chatter articles. They are still there, though there’s no longer a link from the Centerpointe home page. To view them, just go to /newsletter/archive/.
Zayra Yves thanks all of you for visiting her website. Zayra is a mind-blowing poet. Check her out, if you haven’t already, at http://www.zayrayves.com.
In a few days I’m going to post something rather short, but to the point, about The Secret. Stay tuned, and thanks for reading…
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