This article was originally presented as a paper for "Conscious Diversity," a course in the East-West Psychology department at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
In this essay, I present a concise overview of how I understand relational, process-based cosmologies, embodiment practices that affect the laws of physics, and spiritually based, justice-seeking activism to interpenetrate in one coherent whole, as informed by the work of Arnold Mindell. This work is a composite and repository, a witch’s brew, of many multi-varied threads that have been moving me during my time in the East-West Psychology master’s program at CIIS, particularly during these last months of 2016. By its very nature, the spirit of this paper is one rooted not in presentational certainty but rather in uncertainty; I will seek as a means of these ideas’ conveyance to express myself in a way that honors both synchronicity and aliveness. I have a sense of the points I wish to convey, but will be listening for and following the words that arrive to give them expression. There are limitations to language, particularly English, to express the nature of what I am seeking to communicate. This communication longs for and deserves its own living vitality, and my prayer is that ironically, paradoxically, this language somehow, partially, succeeds.
As an orienting vector of inquiry, I will be exploring some key elements and implications of the core concept in Mindell’s teachings and practices, of existence and everything within it as an all-encompassing process (Mindell, 1995/2014; Mindell, 1992/2014). The emphasis on and primacy of process here is contingent upon certain cosmological observations, and implicates the means and quality of undertakings in both inner and outer work for change. I am particularly drawn to this inquiry because of a vibratory spark it awakens in the heart of my being, and am composing this work now with the notion that the confluence of ideas investigated may serve in future times as a seed for further writings, inner contemplation, relationally-oriented change work, and my own doctoral research. As part of this inquiry, I will be referencing several topics and thought leaders that I also feel to be embedded within the work of Mindell himself. These include: mystery, contradiction and paradox (the vanishing point) at the heart of existence; relationality and the primacy of relationships and values (Zehr, 2015; Wheatley, 1992; Buber, 1937); participatory theory (Ferrer, 2002); embodied learning and understandings of Daoism as expressed through Qigong and Qi (Tze, 2014); trauma theory and the storage of psycho-energetic blockages in the body and field (Levine, 2010; Van Der Kolk, 2014; Tze, 2014); restorative justice, circles, and indigenous healing processes as necessary extensions of embodiment (Ross, 2006; Pranis, 2005); an implicate order that unifies subject and object, matter and mind (Bohm, 1980; Hartelius & Ferrer, 2015) and contains the aforementioned processes; a Zero-Point Field anchored in the “heart” that activates these processes and bends the laws of time and space (McTaggert, 2008; Jain et. al., 2015; Tze, 2014, Mindell, 1992/2014); and, synchronicity as a tool for inquiry and healing (Peat, 1987; Peat, 2014). It may initially appear that some connections drawn are far-fetched or outlandish; it will also in the space here only be possible to broadly sketch the connections of these interlocking perspectives. However, I believe they are all necessary for fully grokking an overall message of dynamic embodiment and comprehensive healing in a diverse world, and I will do my best to explain why I believe that to be the case.
One question driving this paper is this: “what qualities and awareness make healing work comprehensive, rather than superficial?” As an addendum to this, one might also ask: “what does ‘healing’ truly mean?” Mindell deeply challenges us in this regard, and in doing so provides us with invaluable resources. His process-oriented perspective puts philosophy into action, demanding that we forego so-called neutrality and surface-level harmony and instead embrace polarity and conflict as a “basis of awareness” (Mindell, 1995/2014, p. 235). From this orientation, it becomes necessary that we welcome all aspects, and particularly minority perspectives, present within an individual and/or group field, in order to “make peace with war” (Mindell, 1995/2014, p. 240). This orientation is based on the principle that “[t]he war can be shortened by encouraging the battles” (Mindell, 1992/2014, p. 136), which, while on one level presenting as heresy, contains a profound and timeless teaching. This path is not for the faint of heart, however Mindell highlights the imperative that we walk it, for “[i]f we continue as we are going now, we will eventually be demolished by the very world we have created” (Mindell, 1992/2014, p. 157). By charting out some of the terrain indicated here, I will seek to walk some of this path myself. In doing so, my intention is to highlight the extent to which inner work and outer work are inextricably linked, and point toward the potentially vast implications this holds for compositing teachings both ancient and modern, and transforming the problems we face as a diverse global culture today.
Intricacies of Process
Few would take particular issue with the truism that life is a process. But what does this really mean? As mentioned above, the notion of existence as process is based on other implicit positions, which I will seek to first elucidate here. As one ancient teaching on process, the Dao De Ching, indicates, Dao – the Way (i.e. process) arises out of a paradoxical, unknown ground of mystery: “The name that can be named is not the eternal name/ The nameless is the origin of Heaven and Earth…The unity is said to be the mystery/ Mystery of mysteries, the door to all wonders” (Tzu, Chapter 1). Similarly, in Chapter 42, the author Lao Tzu writes that “The Dao gives birth to one/ One gives birth to two/ Two gives birth to three/ Three gives birth to all myriad things.” In this case “one” is a knowable unity from which existence (“two,” “three,” and “myriad things”) emerges, but is itself preceded by an unknown Dao. While arising from a different cultural and cosmological context – a context that remains highly significant and alters the paths of each tradition – this understanding can be seen as similar, and perhaps even analogous to, among others, First Nations beliefs in a Great Mystery/Creator, and the ancient Hebrew conception of Yud-Heh-Vav-Hey, a God of Unknowable Names. These and other traditions point to an origin of life, whether conceived spiritually or scientifically, that has as her most fundamental essence the paradoxical contradiction that she cannot be known. It is worth noting that such a fundamental proposition undercuts and disavows fundamentalist perspectives, including those inadvertently expressed in this paper, because any system of Truth inevitably loses itself, eventually, in mystery.
Within this context, the process of relating, whether with an abstract philosophical Mystery or the mystery within one another and the world, takes on primary importance. As Pranis (2005) puts it, “it is not the content of matter which defines it but its relationship to other pieces of matter” (p. 59). This is reflected in Ferrer’s (2002) participatory theorization of diverse, located cultures engaged dialogically with a mystery, a process that produces a cornucopia of context-specific belief systems and spiritual-cultural structures, each valid within their own domain. Because the ultimate object of knowing is surrendered, it becomes necessary to let go of the clutching impulse to grasp “it.” As this shift takes place, the orientation toward and engagement with life can come to focus not on nouns, or objects of matter, but rather on verbs, or processes of becoming. This is reflected in the traditions mentioned in the previous paragraph. In Aboriginal cultures of central Canada, “every person is seen as a ‘thing-which-is-becoming’ as opposed to a ‘thing-which-is’” (Ross, 2006, p. 104). Sakej Henderson shares that, as relayed by Rupert Ross (2006), “‘For some reason, English-speakers seem to have chosen to live under the rule of King Noun. We Aboriginal people, on the other hand, would rather think of ourselves as being in bed with Queen Verb’” (p. 129). Similarly, First Nations people often speak of life as an interconnected web of relations (Lane et. al., 1984). In the Daoism of traditional Chinese culture, Dao is both originating mystery and “the Way,” that is, the process of said mystery unfolding in the world. The Unknowable Hebrew God’s Name, to the extent that it can be known, is a composite of multiple forms of the verb “being” (and thus becoming, too). And in Rabbinic Judaism, developed (and still developing) in a profound dialogue between generations of scholars over 2000-plus years, God’s Law is known as halacha – “the path,” or perhaps even more appropriately for our context here, “the walking.” Martin Buber (1937), the Jewish mystic and scholar, expresses something akin to this in his seminal work I and Thou.
With this, we have some preliminary insight into the interrelationship of mystery, relationship, and process, and how Mindell’s process orientation is reflected in ancient traditions, as well as shared by other contemporary movements and thinkers. For his part, Mindell’s comments on Processwork and Deep Democracy affirm the perspective sung here: “It’s process, not perfection, which counts in nature” (Mindell, 1995/2014, p. 231), and “Deep democracy is awareness that the world can only partially be understood. Its inexplicable nature leads us to interact with the mysterious powers of the field in which we live” (Mindell, 1992/2014, p. 174). Mindell takes this material, however, into the realm of group facilitation and conflict transformation, and in doing so pushes the process perspective deeper in a number of crucial ways. Due in part to the ultimate Unknown, he challenges the equanimous mediator, pointing out that “absolute neutrality and objectivity are Newtonian dreams…we must learn to accept our limitations as participants in our planetary process” (p. 46). So-called “peace” can often mean false harmony and repression, as “[e]ven a harmonious and balanced system must have a dynamic fluctuation between equilibrium and chaos if it is to grow” (p. 41). This perspective is echoed by Mayer (2004), who points out that “[o]ur challenge is to change our focus from conflict resolution to constructive conflict engagement” (Mayer, 2004, p. 3). For Mindell, conflict is itself often the process, so attempting to resolve (i.e. fix) conflict can actually be quite problematic. “[Y]ou suffer more if you conflict with conflict,” ((Mindell, 1995/2014, p. 193); it becomes necessary to “accept conflict as your fate” (Mindell, 1992/2014, p. 66). By “[g]oing consciously into battle…You are renewed in hope. You find not only solutions to issues, but something more precious. You find that a battle does not mean the end of the world, but the beginning of the river called community” (Mindell, 1995/2014, p. 223).
Minority awareness forms a third crucial leg, for our purposes here, of Mindell’s process perspective. The intuitive motion to welcome and give voice to the minority reflects a value of wholeness in life or any microcosmic aspect thereof: that we cannot truly be happy, cannot truly evolve and grow, if we do not know how to “live congruently with access to all parts” (Mindell, 1992/2014, p. 143) of a field or who we truly are. In order to approach this vision, “[t]he first requirement is that we must be able to identify all the various parts and timespirits in a system. The second is that we have to allow them to speak” (p. 42). What we inevitably discover, however, when embarking on such an exercise, is that certain voices and parts of ourselves and systems in which we participate are privileged, while others are repressed and disavowed. This marks the majority-minority split, “basic to all fields… It is inevitable for individuals and groups to create minorities by creating an identity that demarcates an accepted from a rejected form of behavior” (p. 114). This is true within the individual, for example as explored within depth psychology’s treatment of the shadow. And, it is true within sectarian social conflicts, whether expressed along lines of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and any number of other insider-outsider phenomena. For Mindell, the problem here is not so much that such a split exists, but rather that we do not understand how to skillfully navigate it. When we suppress, outlaw, and denigrate our minorities, “they become incongruent, rigid, and lifeless” (p. 43), not to mention terrorizing and enraged. Such a response arises out of the majority’s inability to acknowledge and honor the life-blood and humanity of what it has rejected, inevitably demanding that misunderstood part, person, or politic to engage in a death-struggle to correct the devastating injustice. Learning skillful means to engaging minority-majority dynamics becomes essential, of utmost importance; “The minority position contains nothing less than the key to the future” (p. 109). In this, we are counseled to “know thy monster…feed thy monster” (p. 116). Otherwise, in seeking to help or assert principles of “goodness” we unwittingly come to occupy “the tyrannical spirit of a field” (p. 133). Such a perspective extends the position embracing conflict and calls out where the focus of our efforts should lie:
“We should remember that there are two types of status quo. One is the oppressive manner in which the ruling power maintains life the way it is. The second is the bloody way in which history has often proceeded, where one group eventually overthrows the other. A real change would be developing a new method of transformation” (p. 114).
Process in Practice
I would like now to depart from the realm of ideas and the ground we have been walking to explore what such process-oriented work can look like in actual practice. Through this exploration, I will also discuss some approaches that I understand to help make this sort of practice more positive and successful. For Mindell, such transformational approaches to process and conflict are embodied in the practices of Processwork, Worldwork, and Deep Democracy – group and field- or systems-based inquiries that listen for “hot spots,” “edges,” “double signals,” “timespirits,” changes in the collective field, expressions of “rank,” and “primary” and “secondary” processes, among others, (e.g. Mindell, 1995/2014, p. 42), in order to tease out the unspoken forces that can help transform for the better the group or system in question.
The application of process into practice, however, does not necessarily require in-depth knowledge of Mindell’s jargon and system. Once the basic aspects of process are understood, putting it to active benefit can actually be startlingly simple. There are two main domains in which this work can take place: Inner, and Outer. More specifically, there are personal, embodied inquiries that focus on internal integration, healing, and healthy inner processes, and, there are community-based, relationally-driven processes that deal with conflict transformation on the external, inter-relational scale. Both are essential, as the two inform one another. As one actively draws consciousness and intention into one’s process work, they may also find the inner landscape interpenetrating with the outer, whether in the form of resonant themes, overlapping patterns, or synchronicities (Peat, 1987; Peat, 2014) – a phenomenon explored in more detail in the next section.
As a Qigong practitioner and teacher, I have been taught and come in some partial way to understand that true healing requires being willing to begin with the internal process, rather than the external one. Mindell affirms this in noting that “Taoism recommends that in order to be connected to nature, we should follow our inner feelings instead of the outer appearance of things” (Mindell, 1992/2014, p. 26). Inner inquiry centers us back upon our closest expression of process patterns – our home base – which are also the patterns we have the most autonomy and agency to positively transform. By being willing to engage the process within ourselves, we become more aware of the emotions, edges, repressed voices, beliefs, memories and so on that are unconsciously driving our behavior.
At the same time, taking a purely internal approach to transforming problems cannot be whole in and of itself, unless one understands “internal” to mean approaching external challenges in a mindful or embodied way. As Mindell is astute in pointing out, “[t]herapeutic communities in particular are racist and sexist if they focus solely upon inner or individual issues, because only those with enough money to eat can afford to devote a lot of time to themselves and their intimate relationships” (Mindell, 1992/2014, p. 109). Especially when principles of Eastern spirituality are applied in Western contexts, ideals such as tranquility and detachment can be interpreted as a “prescriptive program for humility, introversion…noncompetitiveness” (p. 84), withdrawal, and willful avoidance of world problems. This creates an exclusionary, fallacious “enlightenment” based on unacknowledged privileges and disavowal of the repressed monsters in the field.
Given this, I personally feel that making a commitment to spiritual or personal growth must eventually come to include some form of social activism and radical engagement that helps and benefits others. Without this crucial ingredient, spiritual practice is at best ineffectual and at worst deeply hypocritical, as it unconsciously perpetuates the systems of illusion, separation and ignorance that it purports to transform. This denigrates both practitioner and practice. Real change, while beginning within, also requires witnessing the external power structures-that-be and staking actionable political positions, based in values that can be observed to support the evolution and flowering of Life Herself, that protect the relational web of life and make possible health, consciousness, and liberation for as many individuals as possible, and crucially for the field as a whole.
In making such a claim, however, I wish to underscore that I feel we should be slow to pass judgment on others: approaches to collective transformation can look any number of ways, and do not always present like traditional activism. Tze (2014), for example, calls this practice simply “helping others.” In this context, it is helpful to bear in mind the totality of the whole, and remember that in some sense, very little is actually external: the evil powers-that-be “out there” are also forces that lie await within. Such awareness need not preclude us from confronting oppressive demons such as institutionalized racism or sexism. Instead, this awareness may positively influence how such confrontations take place, and what outcomes emerge.
The emphasis on inner process as the gateway to change can be further and more comprehensively understood as a practice of embodiment. That is, healing processes become real praxis through embodied, embedded experiences. It is necessary to take the conceptual paradox of process into our bones, blood, Qi and tissues, and into the relational lines between us, including human to human, group to group, and human/group to nature.
One example of this on an individual level is the practice of Qigong. By engaging in a practice like Qigong, a practitioner can improve their energy levels, clarify their consciousness, and develop newfound sensitivities to subtle realms of experience (Tze, 2014). As a result, this sort of practice can make one more aware of repressed bodily content and unhealthy patterns unconsciously living themselves out within. In doing so, we depart the conceptual realm of the intellect and begin to directly experience our own monsters, not as notions but as definite entities and forces within our body and field, which makes actual change possible.
In the process of accessing such content and engaging in inner change work, the principles emerging from the field of trauma treatment become particularly significant. As Levine (2010) and Van Der Kolk (2014) among others demonstrate, traumatic experiences remain rooted in the physical body in the form of “our unfinished, instinctually rooted protective actions” (Levine, 2010, p. 22). This creates layers of physical, emotional, energetic, and psychological armoring that inhibit one’s natural flow, resulting in a wide range of disturbing symptoms. Only by equipping ourselves with sound techniques and gently immersing ourselves into the sources of blockage can we begin to replace relatively unhealthy patterns with relatively healthy ones (Tze, 2014). In this way, we gradually reaccess “our ability to get into Tao, to follow the energy of the field we are in” (Mindell, 1992/2014, p. 142).
And yet, this trauma healing work extends beyond the realm of the individual. Both Mindell (1992/2014) and Tze (2014) discuss the importance of fields, and in the relational processes mentioned above, such as Worldwork or restorative justice, we might understand that it is transformation and healing of trauma in the collective field that is taking place. In Aboriginal healing practices, for example, the healing process involves not only the victim and perpetrator, but anyone and everyone directly implicated by the pain that has transpired (Ross, 2006). Healing requires repair to a complex relational field, and from this perspective, it may be worth asking whether our society has underestimated the extent to which trauma is endemic to our culture. As Breton & Lehman (2001) argue, it is because of “collective, multigenerational trauma [that] we’ve adopted a paradigm designed to guide us through what is perceived as a violent, predatory, meaningless world” (p. 18). Trauma is significant within the context of this paper because the trauma survivor’s “energy…becomes focused on suppressing inner chaos, at the expense of spontaneous involvement in their life” (Van Der Kolk, 2014, p. 53), an impulse that echoes groups’ deeply seated impulse to repress the minority perspective (Mindell, 1992/2014). Considering this overlap, we might ask ourselves to what extent behavior and beliefs considered in our society to be “normal” are in fact excruciating blockages that continue to unconsciously perpetuate harm. How deep does the trauma vortex go?
Considering the state of world affairs in December, 2016, it appears individual practices like Qigong may not be enough. Indeed, it would seem we are tasked with an imperative to ripple reconnection through and beyond the individual healing process, and actively engage in field-restoring techniques such as restorative justice practices (Zehr, 2006), indigenous healing circles (Ross, 2006), grief rituals, community forums like those pioneered at ZEGG and Tamera, and facilitated “Living Room Conversations” like those recently explored by Bernie Sanders and Van Jones. Such processes inevitably invoke the sacred circle and its “marvelously paradoxical nature” (Pranis, 2005, p. 67), and rest upon value systems that honor the mystery and keeping respect for the wholeness and diversity of life. They can lead us collectively into honesty, empathy, forgiveness and compassion, after they have let us rage for a while. And, they can lead us into protest and war, when pitted against stubborn powers of the old paradigm who do not wish to change. This is protest, however, powered by prayer. It is rooted in non-violence. It takes its cue from reverence for Life and her Great Mystery.
This time, it seems, may be upon us. Perhaps more than confronting existing power structures in bloody and frustrating struggles, it may be this is what “external” approaches to process-based healing really mean.
Some Additional Perspectives and Implications
In this section, I feel it important to expound slightly further (albeit as a sketch) on the implications of the process perspective in action, and all we have discussed above. I am not really versed well enough in the ideas in this section to discuss them with anything approaching scholarly competency, and truthfully, it would probably be a better idea, from the vantage point of coherency, saving face and the assignment, to simply finish the paper with the paragraph above. I am nervous and embarrassed to share what is next to come. However, I am choosing to do so because I feel these added details provide significant context for the ground we have covered so far, and offer future possibilities for where such inquiry and efforts might lead.
In the previous section, I noted that inner and outer landscapes can interpenetrate in the form of synchronicities (Peat, 1987; Peat, 2014). This is in part because the delimiting line between inner (psychic) and outer (material) realms is actually quite superficial, with both realms co-participating in one whole, total reality, conceptualized by Bohm (1980), for example, as an implicate order. Tze (2014) shares that “all Qi is connected, as is all information” (p. 32). Subject and object are in fact not separate but part of a unified field of located, limited participants (Hartelius & Ferrer, 2013) who each nonetheless contain the whole (Tze, 2014). As Mindell (1992/2014) puts it, “[t]erms such as personal and impersonal, individual and collective, me and you, inner and outer are relativistic terms without absolute significance. Every feeling, thought, movement, and encounter is simultaneously an inner and outer event. Thus, meditation or innerwork is a form of worldwork, just as world events are also personal ones” (p. 26). Contemplation of paradox can help elucidate the point being made here.
As we saw in the previous section, inner approaches and embodiment practices, even when practiced relationally, help to make things come alive and become “more real.” I believe this to be the case with embodiment practices and the phenomena of synchronicity and unified field work as well. These embodiment practices serve to shift our attentional posture (Hartelius, 2015) out of our heads and into our bodies, our relationships, and our hearts. “Such changes in our concept of awareness will not leave global events or the laws of physics untouched” (Mindell, 1992/2014, p. 170). Rather, as I believe has already begun happening at greater and greater speed, awakenings in our heart consciousness will bend the field of space-time.
Consciousness might be conceptualized here as a 5th dimensional force around which the four dimensions of space-time organize. This consciousness is not abstract or devoid of feeling, but is instead rooted in the empathic, embodied heart. This core of our being is actually a black hole, a loving Void, a tesseract, with cosmos and tori spiraling out. In the present-moment of heart-based awareness, we begin to recognize that each one of us has a personal connection back to the Mystery from which all of this was originally derived. As our soul-spark, this essence is a link to our original Mystery, which asymptotically presents us with our very own paradoxical center that can never be reached. As we dive into this mystery and come to identify with this mystery, we access new dimensions of reality and may even learn to step out of time. As we speak and reflect this experience to one another, and engage practices designed specifically to further activate our awareness, the heart-soul of each one of us as well as the collective whole begins to awaken out of the illusions that had kept it identified with the fabric of four dimensions. Here we are “stepping out of time and into the Tao” (Mindell, 1992/2014, p. 154), a new dimension of reality.
Within this context, we can imagine synchronicity as a valuable tool for awareness and healing. As Mindell (1992/2014) describes, “we are living in a universe in which all events are coupled to one another in a symmetrical fashion. Thus, we cannot tell what events cause each other, only that connected processes happen to us” (p. 156). If synchronicities are communications from the other side of the veil, we can imagine them as signposts and beacons of awakening, taking us out of the entanglements of space-time, flexing the muscles of the heart, and calling to us from the future to come back home. In this sense, healing may depend on more than just good technique. It may also come down to timing; that is, it may be correlated with growing awareness (Mindell, 1995/2014) and depend on one’s position in space-time. However, if we choose to, we can trust into such processes with greater and greater subtlety, interpreting nearly any synchronous experience as a communication from a future, more evolved reality, and make use of them to crack open further the doorway into this other domain. By listening to the confluence of every time-space-thought-impulse-feeling-memory-event and the intuitive insight that accompanies her, meaningful synchronicities may multiply, and we may be able to uncover powerful tools that greatly accelerate the healing process on the personal level and within the relational field. We may be able to trust ourselves back into Life at exponential speeds, learning to with a moment’s notice “step out of time and space, reverse entropy, and flow with nature” (Mindell, 1992/2014, p. 166).
As we do so, I believe it is only natural that we will be struck more and more by the immaculate awesomeness of existence, as well as the timeless idea that the deeper nature of reality is love. Clairvoyance and prophecy may become somewhat ordinary. We may also develop truly skillful ways of working on our problems in comprehensive ways, perhaps signaling, as some prophecies say, the advent of some new planetary culture while the old culture falls away. As Mindell laments, “Few, if any, of us have ever had teachers who could work on city streets and who could also be real, inward, effective, and heartfelt at the same time! Our high priestesses, gurus, and wise men are patterns for leaders, but many do not provide patterns for how to deal with street scenes” (Mindell, 1992/2014, p. 82). If approaches like those charted out in this paper, of an embodied, interrelational, values driven celebration of Life Herself in all her myriad diversity and complexity, can help develop such leadership, we might consider that this phenomenon may itself be a refracted echo of 5th dimensional heart-songs from past lives. The co-creative dialectic between mystery and all of us, in this sense, and at this time, might contain implications nothing short of messianic. This would be a messianic impulse disentangled from the traumatized, egoic clutching of a messiah complex, of a boy-king that seeks to elevate himself to the seat of the divine. This is something more approaching the original meaning of the Hebrew maschiach: m’siach – “from conversation.” This is a quality of consciousness that emerges in the space between, embedded dynamically in the field, perched and moving between polarities in flux, including us and yet always somehow beyond. It is an embodied, relational process, at home in the ever-mysterious, healing web of life. If such is truly accessible and to be accessed in our times, we must at least consider the contextual implications of what we are witnessing and participating in when “what culture calls conflict becomes spirit” (Mindell, 1995/2014, p. 193).
Now, considering all of that can be very confusing! Not to mention it can go to the head! For my own part, I know very little of what to do with any of this, beyond the ongoing longing to keep contemplating and researching such possibilities, in the form of Qigong, conflict studies, perhaps writing a dissertation, and engaging in other embodiment practices of the moment, both inside and out. The uncertainty is unsettling! Sometimes, it is downright scary. If and when things become overwhelming, I comfort myself by remembering we can return to our point of departure. “It’s process, not perfection, which counts in nature. Enlightenment accepts unconsciousness as a temporary part of the flow” (Mindell, 1995/2014, p. 231). Nourished by that, we can return to the heart. We can sit at the edge of the shores of mystery and cast stones into the paradoxical sea. In doing so, we can recall that all this has emerged from a riddle, the nature of which necessitates that for all the supposed known-ness expounded here, there is an equal unknown poking out from the other side. If I peer out that direction, I see no process, no theory, no messiah. I peer into that unknown and just see something else, nothing at all.
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