If Truth be Known

From the time I was introduced to Ken Wilbur and “The Spectrum of Consciousness” in his book No Boundary back in ’92 – his ideas fascinated me.  His philosophy has evolved into what he identifies as an Integral worldview.  He connects ideas and perspectives across multiple disciplines rationally and persuasively.  What seems incompatible or contrary, is not – it’s just a different piece of the puzzle.

When he published his eBook Trump and a Post-Truth World after the election, of course I downloaded it.  Took me 9-months before I would sit still and look at it.  When I did, I found an interesting take on what got us to today’s cultural conflicts, and what we might do if we’re not happy about it.

Wilbur’s a bit of a rebel; his theories are bold, original; visionary – and complex.  While they aren’t necessarily written for the masses, they woke me long ago – and continue to bump me out of my mind ruts.

He reminds me that we all travel every phase of growth.  We’re born narcissistic infants … who sooner or later discover how family and community can suffer from our behavior.  As we mature we learn about science and humanity.  We become rational; we discover diversity.  We even begin to see how differences create strength.  We learn there are universal truths.

We move through stages that Wilbur calls “pre-personal,” (magic / mythic) “personal,” (rational) and “trans-personal” (integral).

Depending on the cards we’re dealt, our strength of character – our willingness to examine life; we move through these stages.  But some don’t.  Some get stuck.

Sadly we can’t see beyond our level of development.  Just like parents can’t reason with a toddler – we can’t make people see.  Many remain judgmental and disapproving of things they don’t understand.

Wilbur estimates that ~60% of the U.S. population are in ego or ethno-centric phases of development.  These citizens see little value in a global community, in science; diversity.  What compassion and empathy they have, is generally reserved for their tribe.

Then there are the folks who claim a liberal, progressive outlook.  Wilbur submits that a portion of these progressives took this position to a nihilistic / narcissistic extreme.  Using logic and rational critical thinking, these postmodernists – haughtily and arrogantly disregarded those they felt beneath them.  They forgot that they too once walked related paths.  No wonder the self-proclaimed patriots pushed back.

“Every now and then,” Wilbur says, “evolution itself has to adjust course.”  So we regress to a place where we were once stable – before we can self-correct and move forward again.  That place for us was part of a domination hierarchy.  A hierarchy that existed before we began to believe that hierarchies don’t exist – that all beliefs and opinions are valid; no matter how ridiculous (“flat-earthers” claim the earth is flat – for real).

Hierarchies do exist.  Truth exists.

We embody a wondrous example of a holistic hierarchy.  In No Boundary Wilbur says:

“.. just as, in evolution, a whole quark becomes part of an atom, a whole atom becomes part of a molecule, a whole molecule becomes part of a cell, a whole cell becomes part of an organism, and so on.”

Either we live in a society with a dominating hierarchy, or one with a holistic hierarchy . . . with natural, intrinsic truths.  When we deny any hierarchy at all – that egalatarianism of viewpoints; we get “alternative facts” and conspiracy theories.  When we deny universal truth . . . we deny that there IS a better way.

My preference is to live in a holistic hierarchy.

As I continued to read about the post-truth world, a message sunk in – again; how some of my relationships need a willingness – on both sides, to work toward a middle ground.  Ground that allows authenticity and loving acceptance for the one who holds a contradictory belief.  This can be a hard pill to swallow.

Ken Wilbur says “step one” is for the off-the-rails postmodernists (the “greens”) to reduce their “pervasive hostility and vindictiveness toward all previous stages of development…” – they really can’t see that dimension.

His “step two”— is for “the realization that growth holarchies provide the actual basis of the value judgments that green is already making, and that these growth holarchies also are the only truly effective means to displace the dominator hierarchies…” – we must pursue growth, educate for growth; resist dominance.

Yes; I want a holistic hierarchy – not a dominating one.  The sneering must stop – on both sides.  If truth be known . . . inherent truth, not made up alternative facts – we must bring it to light.  Again and again and again.


“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.” ― Mahatma Gandhi


Turtle on my Knee

Listening to the new song Attention, by Charlie Puth – I had a classic mis-heard lyric moment!

What the heck’s this “turtle on my knee” mean?  Is this some new thing kids are saying?  I’m an old fart now, so I‘m not always on point!

Did a search (love that internet!) – LOL . . . I’m not alone hearing what I heard!  Whew!

What he’s REALLY saying is:

“You’ve been runnin’ round, runnin’ round, runnin’ round

Throwin’ that dirt all on my name”

Personally . . . I’d love for “turtle on my knee” to show up as “throwing shade”  – that would be hilarious!

Lowkey Letters #1091


Am I Willing to Be Misunderstood?

“Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood?” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


When I stop “trying” to be understood and let things be as they are – an interesting alchemy occurs.  First, an immediate tension of wanting to be right . . . to be heard, sweeps over me.  The committee in my head gets agitated – yeah; cause it’s all about me right?!

When I’m able to be still for even a minute, the tension eases.  I relax and acceptance creeps in.  Like magic – stress, tension and annoyance seem to dissolve.

I was reminded recently that I get the honor of learning lessons over and over.  Like an onion, I peel away the layers; discovering subtle nuances in each – that remarkably resemble each other, but are not.

Changing my behavior begins with awareness.  I must be willing to see things upside down and backwards.

My yoga instructor shared about letting go and acceptance.  Hearing her personal lesson that “having to be right” sometimes showed up as the “need to be understood” – and that both can interfere with accepting what is . . . nudged me sideways.  That these two concepts could be connected was novel to me.  Could this be one of those subtle layers?

Stepping out and being willing to be misunderstood is an aspiration of mine.  In some ways I’m quite capable.  In others – I’m finding not so much.  Without awareness I don’t even see the obvious.

Today I have a new awareness.  Now it’s time to make this wondrous shift occur more often than not.  Not easy, but do-able.  When I find I’m explaining myself – when that sweeping need to have someone hear me – know me – get me, shows up . . . I pay attention.  Sometimes I can stop myself and allow that magic moment of stillness to happen; sometimes I wade in knee deep – sometimes I bloviate.

Every now and then I’m privileged with a meeting of minds.  Occasionally I find a precious character who not only gets me but builds on what I say; taking my thoughts or concepts to a higher level.  These conversations are electrifying.

More often my words land with a thud – or worse, return a contrary and obstinate response.  This is when trying to clarify my position only creates friction.  This is when I get to practice my new awareness.

The testing ground of my aspiration – am I willing to be misunderstood?

Taking another step outside my comfort zone.



To Be Understood

The idea planted by one of my yoga teachers that “being understood” may be a symptom of my having to be right.

Having to be right sucks energy and enthusiasm from relationships.

It seems important to be understood for a relationship to flourish.

How important is it that I be understood?

Who do I want to get me?


More contemplation required.

Lowkey Letters #942717


Accept . . . Then Act

Meditation & Yoga practice started today with our teacher sharing her lessons on “having to be right” that sometimes shows up as the “need to be understood.”  Both can interfere with the acceptance of what is.  This set the stage for our intention to live in the moment – breathing and doing yoga.

Letting go . . . accepting what is; not my strong suit.

Thirty years ago I started applying techniques not exactly consistent with acceptance.  The philosophies behind these techniques, they’re everywhere.

  • If you want to accomplish something – write it down. Yes; put those goals on paper.  Being a Psych and Self Help aficionado – this advice is ubiquitous.
  • Visualize the result – it will materialize.  Every New Age enthusiast and reader of The Secret knows this!
  • The power of positive thinking – thank you Norman Vincent Peale.
  • Think it – say it – do it . . .  or as my bestie says:  thought – word – deed

The power of these concepts rests in the strength of our belief.  Some of it is just how our brain works.  Negative people see crappy shit.  Positive people see the good around them.  Our brains focus on what we look for, filtering out everything else.  Takes a nice knock on the head to thump us out of our rut.

After thirty years of writing down my “wants” – creating vision boards, scrap books, life goal lists – how do I turn that off?  Should I?  What is real and when do I follow my bliss?  Can I know when I’ve crossed the line to “magical thinking?”

I’m not opposed to holding contradictory beliefs – we all do to some extent.  A juicy paradox can be so appealing.  It can also make me crazy.

Letting go . . . of things, people and situations.  Not easy, but possibly a key to happiness.  Marie Kondo, in her “Tidying Up” book says I should release anything that doesn’t bring me joy.  Let me live without a bunch of “stuff” that I don’t even use; let toxic people exit my universe; leave a bad … whatever; could mean peace – and yes, joy!

So why do we hold onto every damn thing?  According to Daniel Kahneman in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, we all have a serious aversion to loss.  We “attach values to gains and losses rather than to wealth.”   We’ve grown up with the proverb “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” – so we see the risk as too much.

Well, Thoreau did say that  “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”  Could be they’d rather live with the devil they know.  Ouch.  Let me give risk a try.



“Accept – then act.  Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.  Always work with it, not against it.  Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy.  This will miraculously transform your whole life.” ― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now