When we walked into the very first Purpose Summit, held in an industrial building on Tennessee Street in San Francisco last weekend, the first words I heard were: “Science Points us to Aliveness.”
I was eager to see Duane Elgin who was up on the Purpose Summit stage right after lunch, who had just started his talk. A friend of mine who is a clinical psychologist and was also attending the event had heard of Elgin’s work. His talk? Humanity’s Journey: Becoming Bio-Cosmic.
Duane asserts that for centuries, science has assumed the universe is “dead” or non-living at its foundations and yet new discoveries are transforming this view and science is now beginning to reconsider Plato’s ancient insight that, ‘the universe is a single living creature that contains all living creatures within it.’ Duane says that we are bio-cosmic beings learning how to live in a living universe.
I couldn’t help but take a deep breath as I heard his talk and think to myself: people around us have become so dead and unconscious, automatically responding and reacting to technology like robots, that perhaps new thinking in science can help turn things around if a belief in something higher than ourselves that we can’t see, can’t touch and can’t prove, won’t.
It’s not that there aren’t a growing number of ‘beings’ interested in spirituality who do believe in a higher consciousness (religious, agnostic and atheist all apply here), but without the left brain technologists, scientists and high level thinkers in Washington, Silicon Valley and Geneva getting on board, we’re headed towards accelerating the fear factor in communities who resort to isolation and divisiveness over unity.
You only need to look at what’s happening with the far right in France, the same trend popping up in Germany and some of the implications of the Brexit decision where according to the Independent, the vote points to the highest spike in religious and racial hate crimes ever recorded. Let’s face it, in my own United States of America, it is feeling less and less united every day. Bias, hate and racism have moved from the margins to the mainstream.
What does all of this have to do with our Bio-Cosmic universe and Duane Elgin’s Purpose Summit talk you may be wondering? Duane’s diagram on the three stages of humanity’s journey will get you part way there.
If Science does really begin to embrace Plato’s wisdom that the universe is a SINGLE living creature, aka life within life within life, then a new way of thinking and being can possible emerge from this wisdom, which can take humanity into higher consciousness.
Once we realize that life is so much more than the needs of “self”and although we are but a mere micro-dot in the Universe, our actions have an impact on everything around us. This realization leads to a powerful new awareness. We can then look to a different way of living our life. And, more importantly….treating life.
Science agrees that we are all energy. All energy is connected and has an effect on each other. This ripple effect from our thoughts, words and actions has a much more powerful effect on everyone and everything else around us than we can possibly imagine. The truth is that because we can’t always prove what we can’t see or feel, Science turns its head.
How shortsighted is such thinking when we can only sense 5-6% in the human body? In other words, that which is visible. But if 95% of our senses are actually visible through our intuitive self, then we open up an enormous snowball effect of what is possible if we turn our attention there.
Once we begin to FEEL and therefore KNOW that we are all connected (i.e., life exists within life within life), it’s so much harder to fear what we no longer don’t know or understand, which includes our views about other religions, races, cultures and yes, even dimensions.
Wisdom traditions describe a regenerative universe of astonishing aliveness and our everyday experience points us towards communication and connection with aliveness beyond ourselves.
I felt a sense of peace inside me as Duane continued to speak. “The Universe grows life. The Universe has self-awakening organisms and systems throughout.”
He then shot some stats our way showing the growth of people who say they have had a mystical or religious experience, and it has more than doubled since the 1960’s (22% in 1962, 33% in 1994 and 49% in 2009). While I don’t have later stats, I can only imagine that its well above 60% today. Reflecting on these stats, wouldn’t it be true to say that we are more a nation of mystics than scientists or anything else?
“We are now making a transition towards home.”
He asserts that Earth is at the risk of collapse if the current paradigm continues and that we are in an extraordinary transition in time.
Given that the Purpose Summit is connected to what they refer to as the Global Purpose Movement, it should be no surprise that speakers spoke of initiatives and ideas that could accelerate humanity’s growth towards serving the highest possible good. Fear has no room in a world filled with people who focus on their life mission, and highest purpose for when they’re on that path, it leads to service to communities and to the whole.
The Global Purpose Movement and the Purpose Summit is aimed at organizing spaces and instilling purposeful and intentional thinking so that individuals can recognize their inherent unity with all life, express their unique purpose and synergize to evolve and heal our cultures and societies. I applaud this in spades and was thrilled to attend an event focused on such lofty but important goals.
A Vessel Without Purpose is Just Privilege
It should be no surprise that in the panel of Well of Being: How Our Personal Well-Being Fuels Planetary Purpose, I was most drawn to the topic of fear and what we can do in business and life to keep its evil claws at bay. I loved the energy of Shamini Jain who is the Founding Director of the Consciousness and Healing Initiative and Dr. Cassandra Vieten, the President of IONS who I’ve heard present before.
From Fear to Freedom
One of the panelists assessed fear based on his own experience, which he throws into three pillars: Time, Expectation and Attachment. For example, fears always seem to be in the future or based on the past. The cure, he says is to pull yourself to the present. If you’re truly present, there’s no room for fear to exist. This isn’t unlike the resonance from some of the top Buddhist gurus of our time.
He gave a insightful distinction for the Expectation pillar. If we are dead set on an expected outcome and it doesn’t evolve the way we had hoped, fear may emerge. What if, however, we shifted our mind from expectation to preference? Suddenly, fear goes away and you realize that there are many ways to get to the same place.
While fear is also based on attachment as we can all attest from our own personal experiences, it’s really the “nature” of the attachment and the structure of that attachment which is often at play. When you feel as if you need to hold onto something, friction is always there however when we are free to let it go (all of it go), suddenly the right stuff shows up. In other words, what you wanted all along emerges and then you realize, that’s all you need.
So much of this is about trust, which is so hard for many of us to do when we feel as if our basic needs are not met. Even if you have a roof over your head and can eat well every day, perhaps you feel as if you’re not loved or not enough. It’s the human condition and what often stops us from finding our true purpose.
Those who have been on a spiritual journey know however, that freedom from this entanglement starts with self-love and once we embrace that in all the ways it shows up (all of our imperfections, flaws and guilt-ridden memories of what we have said and done), we begin to find the strength, love, awareness, inner joy, serenity and sense of purpose to give to others. And this my friends, has an exponential effect, and a beautiful one at that.
The last thing I did at the Purpose Summit before heading out was a nose dive into ITP: Integral Transformative Practice, which is a pioneering program for transforming body, mind, heart and soul through long-term practice.
Their holistic approach starts with nine commitments that we can integrate into our daily lives to develop all of our capabilities and all the dimensions of our being. It was founded by Esalen co-founder Michael Murphy and author George Leonard in 1991, who wrote The Life We Are Given, to outline the ITP practice, illustrate Kata and other activities.
The Purpose Summit Agenda
The Purpose Summit agenda was loaded with both head and heart activities, the latter of which were experiential in nature. For example, there was a morning movement practice, an experiential session led by Ajaya Sommers, Kata exercises, and a series of collective meditations led by Jon Darrall-Rew, Dustin DiPerna, Max Gaenslen and DJ Taz Rashid.
A panel of five addressed the future of Spirituality and Purpose, Ken Wilber joined via Skype to talk about Integral Purpose: the Ultimate Truth in Relative Reality, and there was a panel discussion on the Spiritual Rebirth of Democracy.
Mikey Siegel, Mina Lee, Bill Melton and Jeff Parrett chatted about how to Scale Consciousness, whereas Brandon Peele talked about the crossroads of our lives and how to write the next chapter of your life on Purpose.
Laura Rose, Jake Merriman, Sai Mossain, Lisa Chacon and Pam Kramer explored how to Transform Organizations with the Power of Purpose and Emanual Kuntzelman, Holly Woods, Allan Combs and Eleanor Blake took on the Evolution of Purpose.
In this Purpose Summit panel, they discussed on how purpose co-creates itself with the power of our own evolutionary thought, forming a positive feedback loop that reinforces the essence of purpose and pushes it through to generate a higher understanding of humanity’s role in the cosmos. I couldn’t agree more — hear hear!
Daniel Pinchbeck asserts that we have unleashed an ecological emergency that could bring about our own extinction in the short term or lead to a civilizational crash but if we become aware of it and overcome this fear, we can turn the emergency into our great opportunity. It brings us full circle to where Duane Elgin started us Saturday afternoon but from a different viewpoint.
Enhanced consciousness is so necessary to move all of these things forward. As Jonathan Gustin so rightfully pointed out in his talk on the Triple Purpose of Life: “we need to wake up to Spirit, grow up into emotional adulthood and show up with our soul’s purpose as a gift of service to life.” Jonathan suggests that the path of soul discovery opens us up to the experience of the descent to soul where we can discover the most thrilling place ever…..’where our deepest gladness and world’s hunger meet.’
After all, when our heart is full, we live from a place of pure joy, happiness and love and from that place, we have what we need to truly live out our true purpose. If you’re not living your life purpose yet, isn’t it time you did?