Well.org is a project of Pedram Shojai (an “Urban Monk” by his own telling) which started addressing the problems in our medical/health systems and has broadened into an amazing project addressing the economic systems of our times.
Pedram has created a new movie called “Prosperity” and it so very inspiring and stimulating to creativity to watch it. It got me all revved up, motivated and excited because it profiles a lot of GREAT projects that are happening in the world that I didn’t know anything about! Now I need to get busy and put them all up on this directory. There is so much good happening out there!
This particular movie is about how economics can be sacred… can be an expression of our highest consciousness. We can support with our earning, our spending and our investing, the good works in the world – the businesses, banks, projects that are creating the new earth right now in our midst. No longer do we have to give our money to those businesses that are harming our environment or putting profits over the well being of their employees. This is such good news.
I will give you some of my background, although the intense transitions of the last few years have left me feeling like a new person. Hmm, I wrote that sentence two years ago, and it is still true today. I was born in 1967 and was a very sensitive, intellectual and dreamy child. I was always consumed by questions like, “Where did I come from?””Why am I here?” “Where am I going?” so of course, embedded as I was in a culture that sees science and reason as the source of truth, I tried to “figure out” the answers. I graduated from Yale University with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy, but my development of reason and intellect brought me no closer to any truth I really cared about.
I didn’t know what I was searching for, but I knew that none of the usual options life presents a Yale graduate attracted me. I went to Taiwan, learned Chinese, and soon found myself working as a translator. I spent most of my 20s there, educating myself broadly (though not at all rigorously – it was more through osmosis) in Eastern spiritual traditions. I also read voraciously: books on health, nutrition, globalization, physics, and biology. Translation led to other business opportunities, and I became familiar with this dimension of the human experience. In Taiwan, I met my dear friend and ex-wife Patsy, with whom I have three children, all boys.
In my late 20s I entered what was to be a long period of intensifying crisis. It started when all my professional work became intolerable. It became excruciating to do work I didn’t care about. Even though a million reasons told me why it was irresponsible, impractical, and foolish to quit, I eventually could not make myself do it anymore. An irrepressible feeling, “I am not here to be doing this!” took control of my life. So I entered a long period of searching. I spent time teaching yoga, learning about herbs, and teaching at Penn State’s department of Science, Technology, and Society. All of these endeavors have contributed to my present and future, but none were really me.
The next five years were much like a birthing process. The old world dissolved, and the contractions birthing me into the new took the form of a collapse of all that I once held onto. Crises in health, marriage, and money forced me to let go of a “life under control.” In my helplessness, I accepted help, discovering a generous universe that has always met my needs, somehow, in unexpected ways. I have never made much money, but I have become rich in connections to other people. Friends and strangers from all over the world write to tell me how my books have affected them; they sustain my faith and nourish my passion for my work.
In addition to writing books and essays, I have been doing a tremendous amount of public speaking. Sometimes, especially when I am tired from traveling, I wonder if the world needs yet another man performing “speaker up in front of an audience.” Why not stay at home and use technology? But I find that something happens in person that is irreplaceable. For one thing, at live events I can see the expressions on people’s faces, and I respond to that in real-time, engaging in a sort of dialog. Secondly, my speaking is not just about conveying ideas. Something else rides the vehicle of the words, even if the topic is something mundane like steady-state economics. I sometimes describe my experience as a speaker as being plugged into a field that is not my creation, but is generated by the audience and by something beyond the audience. Besides, I find that my thinking stagnates and my heart atrophies when I am in front of my computer too much. I need to interact with real people, face to face. That’s why I travel and speak.
On the other hand, I am increasingly drawn to developing the non-verbal, embodied gifts that I’ve neglected. Like many people, I have a feeling that there is a Next Step about to happen, in my work and beyond. I don’t know what it is, but I do know its revelation will come through transforming experiences that reveal and heal things I was blind to. My work, my play, my family, my deep soul connections, my wholeness, my wounds… all of these are bound up together, evolving as one.
I am now remarried as of 2011 and have a baby, my fourth son, Cary, with my wife Stella. Besides mothering, Stella practices Chinese Medicine and other healing modalities. The two teenagers, Jimi and Matthew live with us too; the 9-year-old Philip only sometimes. My favorite moments are watching Jimi and Matthew play “pass the baby” with Cary, who thinks it is the funnest game in the world. Of course we have our challenges and I have occasional moments of seeing my whole life as a father as a collision-course of errors, but overall I feel extremely lucky to have such amazing, sensitive, talented, kind children.
Lately people sometimes treat me like a celebrity, which makes me feel uncomfortable, because I know I am just me. On the other hand, it has become impossible to answer every email and say yes to every offer to interact. I have to turn down most offers to speak, travel, write blurbs for books, and so on. Also the attention focused on me can get overwhelming. I understand why real celebrities need to insulate themselves. Even receiving appreciation can be too much to handle sometimes, although it has sustained me too through periods of setbacks and doubt. I do my best to stay accessible and answer as many contacts as possible.
I can’t really tell you my plans for the future; it all depends on what is revealed to me in the next phase of my personal exploration. Besides, the world is approaching a state of flux that could easily render most plans irrelevant. I will continue writing and speaking for at least another year or two. My main interest now is in exploring the boundaries of what is “possible” according to our received beliefs, received habits, received technologies, and received ways of knowing. For humanity to take that Next Step, we are going to have to violate what is politically practical, socially practical, and even technologically practical. The same holds on the personal and relational level. I have caught glimpses of the impossible in all these realms and I am excited about what lies ahead.
The Gaiafield Project promotes the study and practice of subtle activism, which affirms the power of consciousness-based approaches like global meditation and prayer events to support social and planetary transformation. The Gaiafield Project develops subtle activism principles, practices, and programs, builds connections between leaders in the field, and co-creates a global network of subtle activists to support a shift to a global culture of peace.
“Subtle activism is an umbrella term that describes a wide variety of spiritual or consciousness-based practices intended to support collective transformation.”
David Nicol, from his “Subtle Activism: The Inner Dimension of Social and Planetary Transformation” book.
Another quote I liked from David’s blog in February 2017:
A Way Forward through Chaotic Times
A Way Forward through Chaotic Times David T. Nicol, February 2017
One of the characteristics of our strange new post-‐US election world is that things are in such flux it is difficult to orient ourselves to the new environment and know what actions to take. It is as though a bomb has blown open a gaping hole in the established structures of thought, leaving most of us scrambling to make sense of our new reality.
We are being required to re-‐ evaluate our most fundamental assumptions about how things are and where we thought we were going. In this psychic maelstrom there are real dangers. We can hear in our times the echoes of previous traumatic episodes of history, and many of us are working hard to assess whether or not our situation will likely unfold in similar fashion.
However, this opening also creates an unprecedented space for the influx into society of radically creative ideas and energies. Thus we also have an opportunity to make rapid, non-‐linear progress in our collective evolution. Much of my work over the past ten years has involved tuning into and working with collective fields of consciousness.
What I sense emerging on a deep level in the collective right now are new energies of unprecedented creative power. It is as though there is virtually unlimited support for completely fresh ideas and directions, whereas old, habitual arrangements seem by comparison almost lifeless. We are all up-‐leveling to a fundamentally new world and are being asked to discover our new shape in this emerging reality.
The sense is that creative evolutionary forces are vigorously engaged in a process of absorbing, metabolizing, and re-‐calibrating to the shock of the disruption. The depth of the blow will in due course catalyze creative responses of equal and opposite magnitude.
But these responses will not arise from the same states of consciousness we currently identify with. In grappling with the crisis, we ourselves will undergo a fundamental transformation. We are all being called to a higher level of integration, individually and collectively.
The light of awareness is strongly illuminating the shadow right now, at both personal and collective levels. It is an opportune time to look unflinchingly, but with great compassion, at our own places of personal weakness and egoic resistance. Where do we drag our feet in our process of becoming awake and whole? What dysfunctional patterns of behavior and thought do we tend to indulge, even after years of inner work? What places do we feel deep down are ‘impossible’ to shift? Where do we stubbornly hold onto our defensive structures, although on some level we know better? Just holding these questions sincerely can invite a more pristine awareness into even these extremely challenging parts of our psyches.
In this process, it is crucial to understand that we are not doing it alone, nor are we doing it just for our own benefit. The crisis into which we have been thrown has made it clear that we are linked together in an epic evolutionary drama, and we all need to do our part. As we heal and integrate the places of deepest resistance in our own psyches, we contribute to the development of a collective psychic capacity to integrate the most fearful and defended aspects of our society.
To accomplish this inner work may require a certain level of individual courage, but it is not occurring in isolation. We are rising in awareness together, and we can all help each other lean into the hard places. Much of the work involves simply having the humility to acknowledge that we, like everyone else, have our shortcomings, and then allowing ourselves to receive the support of our fellow travelers and the heightened energies of transformation available right now.
The threat of losing that which we hold precious about human civilization and life on Earth is indeed precipitating a collective awakening in human consciousness. Our shared sense of vulnerability is bringing a greater poignancy and immediacy to all our connections. There is a widespread sincerity to ask real questions and a willingness to go to a deeper level. These conditions can lead to the emergence of something truly remarkable in collective human awareness, even while we face grave dangers.