I recently spent time with Integral Chicks Kelly Sosan Bearer and Nicole Fegley while participating in the Integral Leadership in Action Conference. Over the course of three days a deep sense of intimacy, trust and shared purpose flowed effortlessly between us and we struck up a beautiful friendship. After the conference Kelly and Nicole suggested that I write a series of posts for the Integral Chicks blog entitled “Taking Off The Jacket” so that I could express my “more wild and feminine side.”
I can’t say that I am totally comfortable with the notion of expressing my “more wild and feminine side,” (I know some would say that is exactly the reason I should) mainly because it is hard to know exactly what I may be endorsing in the term ‘feminine’. My dear friend and colleague Elizabeth Debold, along with Cindy Wigglesworth, have asked the Integral community to simply drop the use of the word along with its counter part, masculine. I agree that these are sloppy terms vaguely denoting qualities of character that are then associated, often in unflattering ways, with one or the other of our genders. Eventually the terms will likely end up in the same dustbin that has captured so many other gloriously unflattering generalizations that have fallen out of favor. But I can’t resist the spirit of the Integral Chicks. They are bright, energetic, un-jaded and passionately committed to making a difference.
And then this past weekend I had the opportunity to spend time with another group of enthusiastic and spiritually inspired women – this time Roman Catholic Nuns at St. Joseph Convent in London, Ontario. I knew my first post for the Integral Chicks had been born when I found myself flowing for a second time in the same field of intimacy, trust and shared purpose.
On the surface these two encounters look quite different. At dinner with the Integral Chicks we laughed so hard we cried swapping tales of the stresses and storms of overzealous bouts of transformational mayhem. Late into the night Nicole and I danced while Kelly spun tunes at the #ILiA12 dance party. Seven days later I was sitting in a circle of nuns speaking earnestly about love and surrender to God as the Evolutionary Impulse, and contemplating how two communities as seemingly different as the Roman Catholic Church and EnlightenNext could collaborate to evolve consciousness.
Both of these occasions were meetings of kindred souls relishing in the discovery of their shared aspirations for a world united in spirit. The Integral Chicks and the Evolutionary Sisters are all inspired to see the dissolution of the boundaries that separate people and groups who are, in fact, all dedicated to the evolution of consciousness. This ‘Trans-Lineage’ sentiment is something I have been pursuing whole-heartedly in different ways for some time now.
The trans-lineage idea is simple. So many of us now see that human history is the story of the growth and development of consciousness. And we realize that there are ways that we as individuals and collectives can actively and deliberately accelerate the process of conscious evolution. Different paths and systems may have brought us to this point. We have different masteries and sometimes even different worldviews, but we have all dedicated our lives to the evolution of consciousness.
The trans-lineage vision has been with us for some time now, at least since the 1893 World Parliament of Religions. It was at this event held in Chicago that an Indian swami named Vivekananda spoke to an audience of 7000 delegates and expressed his trans-lineage vision. His oration is famed to have been so sincere and moving that it spurred over three minutes of standing ovation. A few short paragraphs from Vivekananda’s famous speech will show that he was transmitting a transcend and include model for spiritual integration.
Much has been said of the common ground of religious unity. I am not going just now to venture my own theory. But if any one here hopes that this unity will come by the triumph of any one of the religions and the destruction of the others, to him I say, “Brother, yours is an impossible hope.” Do I wish that the Christian would become Hindu? God forbid. Do I wish that the Hindu or Buddhist would become Christian? God forbid.
The seed is put in the ground, and earth and air and water are placed around it. Does the seed become the earth, or the air, or the water? No. It becomes a plant. It develops after the law of its own growth, assimilates the air, the earth, and the water, converts them into plant substance, and grows into a plant.
Similar is the case with religion. The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth.
In 1893 Vivekananda brought the house down with his rousing words. Now it is our turn. Here at the frothy edge of evolution it is time to surrender to the emergence of new cooperative spiritual formations that will take all of us to the next level.
The Integral Chicks are young, fun loving, irreverent, AND serious. They intend to make a difference. Integral Theory is not a hobby for them – it is a way of life. The evolutionary sisters at St. Joseph are of a different generation; many of the nuns I met had already spent fifty plus years living in community. They are remarkably open-minded AND they are also serious.
The excitement and energy that I shared with all of these women is probably similar to the excitement that roused 7000 people to a standing ovation in Chicago in 1893. It comes from the deep desire to reach across the aisle and meet as human beings who are inspired by a better possibility, and have put their lives on the line for it.
The trans-lineage vision is the recognition that right now, for many of us, the real growth opportunity comes from extending our spiritual families to include one another. It is not a call to give up our roots. It is an invitation to embrace our hard won truths while continuing to honor the paths and teachers that have brought us to this point, AND simultaneously building new relationships that can bind us. A nation of transformative tribes you could call it – a vision cemented in the conviction that we grow faster in relationship than we ever will in isolation.
What’s Hot for Jeff Right Now…
Currently Reading: Goethe, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Margaret Fuller
Practice Focus: Inter-subjective awakening.
Currently Watching: Currently impatiently waiting for the start of season 2 of NBC’s “Smash”
Shadow Element or Emotion Discovered While Writing This: Image protection/brand management.
Link of the Week: Fair Observer
Jeff Carreira is the director of education at EnlightenNext where he works closely with his spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen creating a global network of spiritual education programs. He teaches the principles of Evolutionary Enlightenment worldwide and has trained over one-hundred others to teach as well. Jeff recently joined forces with his friend and colleague Patricia Albere as her co-teacher in the Evolutionary Collective and he leads trans-lineage seminars with Clint Fuhs of Core Integral. Jeff has a long standing interest in the American philosophical roots of Evolutionary Spirituality and gives talks on that subject in academic settings throughout the US and in Australia. His ongoing philosophical inquires can be found at www.evolutionaryphilosophy.com.