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Schouborg, Gary (1994).

"Dialogue: A Mystic's Approach to Social Healing".

 

Dialogue

 

A Mystic's Approach to Social Healing

 

by

 

Gary Schouborg

 

 

In the mid-90s, I participated for two years in Dialogue (D) groups inspired by David Bohm, the renowned physicist. Over a 20-year period, he engaged in a famous series of conversations with Krishnamurti, one of the century's preeminent mystics and exponents of non-dual consciousness. I never attended a D group where we were clear what we were doing. In every session, someone complained that she had been to several and still did not know what D was. Or someone observed that "we are not in D" and tried to get the group back on track. I believe the reason for this confusion is that D is very subtle (indeed, it is at the heart of all mystical traditions) and can take many forms.

 

The key to understanding D is Bohm's statement that it is not just a suspended attention to one's "thoughts," a term he uses generically to include beliefs, images, memories, feelings, emotions, desires, intentions, decisions, or any other conscious process. What is more fundamental, D attends to the process behind thoughts so that deeper, collective meanings can unfold. Similarly, for centuries individuals have employed Vipassana or Insight Meditation (IM) to develop a suspended awareness of one's ordinary conscious processes (functions of the ego or self) to allow a universal Self to emerge. The unique and important contribution of D is that it extends to groups what has been primarily an individual path toward enlightenment. It is therefore helpful to first understand IM on its own terms before trying to understand D as an application of it to groups. Furthermore, doing so allows practitioners of D to learn from centuries of experience with IM.

 

Insight Meditation

 

Put simply, IM is "just sitting": being alone and still, while allowing any thoughts that emerge to just occur, without clinging to or being engaged by them. (For convenience, I will use "thoughts" in Bohm's generic sense.) Think of transmission gears in neutral----moving but not engaged, so the car stays still. Similarly, while "just sitting," I allow any thoughts to pass through my awareness without engaging them: without inquiring about them, drawing conclusions, making decisions based upon them, trying to put them out of my mind, or deliberately taking any other action, mental or physical.

 

Although I engage in the process of meditation for a reason (instrumental goal), I have no aim within the process itself (intrinsic goal): I do not cling to anything in the process. What, then, is the instrumental goal of IM? To develop a non-clinging, conscious relationship to my thoughts----a relationship that I can eventually extend to ordinary activities. The aim is not to withdraw from the ordinary world, though that may be temporarily necessary until I become sufficiently skilled at getting out of the way so this consciousness can emerge. The primary benefit is a joyful, loving awareness of life in the moment, the deepest possible answer to the question of the meaning of life. The secondary benefit is that such an awareness makes me as productive and efficient as possible by pushing aside the defensive clinging that unnecessarily clutters up my efforts to achieve my goals.

 

In being intrinsically non-directed, IM is distinct from all intrinsically goal-directed processes such as: stress reduction techniques, creative fantasy, psychotherapy, mindfulness or other kinds of concentrative meditation.

 

IM instrumentally reduces stress insofar as it reduces clinging, which is itself stressful; however, it is distinct from the usual stress reduction techniques, which are intrinsically goal-directed (e.g., chopping wood, aerobics, guided fantasy). Chopping wood to reduce stress is a series of actions intrinsically structured to produce chopped wood, but instrumentally employed to reduce stress. Aerobics is intrinsically structured to exercise the cardiovascular system, but instrumentally structured to reduce current stress as well as to develop the cardiovascular system so it can respond efficiently to future stress. Guided fantasy may be used for various instrumental reasons, such as to reduce stress, facilitate creative thinking, or explore psychodynamic causes of anxiety. Although relatively unstructured, it nevertheless intrinsically aims to achieve specific goals. For example, I might relax (instrumental goal) by directing my imagination to produce a vivid, felt scene of me floating on a cloud (intrinsic goal).

 

IM is distinct from creative fantasy, which, though less structured than guided fantasy, nevertheless intrinsically aims at some creative product. Although I give my imagination very free rein, I nevertheless structure it according to the product desired. For example, I might freely associate around a theme or event in a short story that I am writing. IM, on the other hand, sets no agenda whatever for what passes through consciousness.

 

IM is distinct from psychotherapy, which employs a variety of techniques with vastly different degrees of intrinsic goal-directedness, from free association to a tightly organized set of behaviors. Ultimately, however, any psychotherapeutic process is intrinsically structured to ameliorate or resolve some targeted problem.

 

IM is distinct from Mindfulness (M) and other kinds of concentrative meditations, which control thoughts to achieve specific mental states. For example, I might try to take on the viewpoint of someone I find particularly annoying, so I can transform my hostility into compassion. Some meditation teachers use the terms IM and M interchangeably. I am distinguishing them by using M to refer to meditation that focuses on a particular object of consciousness. Whether you call this sort of meditation M or use M and IM synonymously is not crucial; what is important, however, is to distinguish two distinct processes: M, a process of dual consciousness in which the self focuses on an object of consciousness that it experiences as outside itself; and IM, a process of non-dual consciousness that experiences objects within an enveloping Self that has emerged through the non-clinging process of IM itself.

 

Although IM and goal-directed processes are distinct, they can mutually support each other. Goal-directed processes can facilitate IM insofar as they undermine clinging in specific forms. Think of such processes as way stations along a path that ultimately leads to the non-dual consciousness (ND) that emerges through IM. I am in ND when I cling to nothing. Short of that, I am somewhere along the path: desperately clinging to some things, strongly clinging to others, weakly clinging to still others, and free of certain other attachments. Along this continuum of clinging, goal-directed processes can help me let go of specific attachments and thereby prepare the way for the complete letting go that is ND. Stress reduction techniques can help me become aware of habitual ways in which I tense my muscles to stop a natural flow of energy throughout my body, and thereby allow me to relax the specific muscle and perhaps even to stop the psychological clinging that is behind it. Creative fantasy can provide an alternative to my ordinary thinking, opening my world to less structure and thereby to possibilities of less clinging. Psychotherapy can help resolve painful memories that I am clinging to, so I can let go of them and move on. Concentrative meditations, which include the prayers of various religious traditions, can produce a series of increasingly subtle mental states that are proportionately easier and easier to let go of.

 

IM, on the other hand, can facilitate goal-directed processes. By letting go of clinging in any of its forms, IM attacks the root cause of all stress. It also undermines the defensive denial that inhibits: forging new paths in creative daydreaming; remembering painful experiences, understanding them in more constructive ways, or developing new behaviors in psychotherapy; or the control that one seeks in concentrative meditation.

 

IM as well as any goal-directed process is only a means toward the goal of ND, a non-clinging awareness that exists in every waking activity. Any of these means can help move me toward ND, depending on circumstances. None is necessary, however, because anyone can achieve ND in this instant independently of any of them. The difference between a master and the rest of us is the depth of ND and how long it lasts. For most of us, it is fleeting; the press of ordinary reality easily triggers defensive clinging, which takes us out of ND and into ordinary consciousness. The reason is that for most of us the non-clinging state we experience is only the conscious tip of the iceberg; beneath the surface is a world of clinging habits or dispositions of thought that are ready to pounce at a moment's notice. Unlike us, the master has rooted out a significant portion of that clinging underworld, either through a lifetime of ruthless effort or, in rare instances, a sudden radical transformation. That underworld can be an extremely complex mix of chronic muscle tension, protective thinking processes, defensive beliefs and attitudes, and conceptual confusion----which accounts for the variety of methods, from shamanism to academic philosophy, that have been created before and since the dawn of human history to cope with the human condition. None of them would have lasted to this day if it did not work to some extent under certain conditions. The task for each individual is to discover what works for her----and when.

 

Another way to think of ND is as a ship that can weather any storm. Sailing in a ship that is foundering (living a life dominated by clinging), I rebuild it to weather any storm (to achieve ND). Many people in that situation will continue foundering, unaware that they are not really getting anywhere (grasping only part of their situation, they take it for the whole of reality). A few will recognize that they are foundering (are unenlightened) and will want to rebuild (to achieve ND). Few of them will be able to rebuild while at sea (achieve ND while involved in the marketplace of ordinary activities); most will have to take it into dry-dock (withdraw temporarily from the marketplace). Some will become so enamored with rebuilding the ship that they will never return to sea (permanent withdrawal); they may even so forget their original purpose that they consider dry-dock to be inherently superior to the sea (the cave or monastery as a higher calling than the marketplace). Others will return to sea too soon and sink (forget the possibility of a non-clinging presence); or maybe just founder and have to return to dry-dock (surprised by the clinging they thought they had overcome, they withdraw to strengthen their skills). A very, very few will completely rebuild the ship in dry-dock and then sail successfully to sea, able to weather any storm (remain non-clinging no matter what the provocation). A few will return to sea gradually. They will take the rebuilt ship through a series of tests in increasingly larger and more challenging waters (take on increasing responsibilities), until they are ready for the open sea (full involvement in the marketplace).

 

Dialogue: Extending Insight Meditation into Groups

 

We can take everything said previously in the context of individual mental processes and straightforwardly apply it to D by restating it in a group context.

 

Whereas IM is "just sitting," D is "just talking"----communicating orally in a group without intrinsically aiming to solve some problem, to obtain consensus, to be entertaining, to be intellectually stimulating, or to pursue any other task people usually engage in when they get together. D's equivalent to my letting go is my refusal to persuade others that my opinion is true, and my willingness to examine my assumptions and to attend to the process behind my thoughts. Like IM, D in its purest form has only an instrumental goal, an awareness of Self that envelops the group. Like IM, D's objective has the primary benefit of being gratifying and meaningful in itself; however, as a group process D has a secondary benefit of social healing. Like IM, D's goal is radical but can be attained in degrees. Like IM, D allows of a huge variety of methods that help different individuals achieve different degrees of D under different conditions.

 

Just as IM is distinct from goal-directed processes like stress reduction techniques, creative fantasy, psychotherapy, M or other kinds of concentrative meditation; D is distinct from goal-directed group processes such as bonding, group brainstorming, group therapy, or group ritual.

 

Bonding is an instrumental outcome but not the intrinsic aim of D, which allows feelings of harmony or of conflict to arise as they may. D is after bigger game: an awareness of Self that envelops both the group and the collective meanings that participant selves share. (To my knowledge, "collective meanings" has never been adequately explained. I take it to mean that participants come to know and accept----but not necessarily agree with----assumptions held by other group members.) I must not try for agreement; indeed, I must be particularly wary of it, because it easily seduces me into using the opinions of others so I can support and cling to my assumptions rather than suspend and examine them. I must not try to resolve conflict, but allow my feelings of conflict to act as a goad to identify  my assumptions and especially to awaken to the process of forming them.

 

Examining my assumptions does not necessarily mean abandoning them. D's intrinsic goal is not to discover the truth, but to become aware of what my thought processes are and, particularly, the process that is behind them. D allows me to take responsibility for what I believe or feel. If I am angered by someone who speaks dogmatically, I can pay enough attention to myself to see that the person's dogmatism is my perception and that my anger is my response to the individual's (perceived) dogmatism, not that her (perceived) dogmatism made me angry. This path of greater self-awareness makes me freer than I would otherwise be to repeat my angry response or revise it in similar situations; in short, it can make voluntary what was otherwise involuntary.

 

D is also distinct from brainstorming, although new ways of thinking are a possible instrumental outcome. Although brainstorming can be very unstructured, it is still intrinsically structured to address the issue being brainstormed. D, on the other hand, has no agenda, no topic to be discussed.

 

Similarly, D is distinct from group therapy, which employs methods that vary from extremely unstructured to extremely structured. In every case, however, the process intrinsically serves some therapeutic goal. By its radical, intrinsic non-directedness, D does not.

 

Finally, D is distinct from group ritual (secular or religious), which intrinsically aims for group cohesion. Again, because of its radical, intrinsic non-directedness, D does not.

 

Like IM, D and intrinsic goal-directed processes can mutually support each other. Goal-directed processes can facilitate D insofar as they promote an awareness of my assumptions. Bonding may require me to accommodate the thinking of others. Brainstorming may promote new thinking. Group therapy may reveal unconscious assumptions and challenge conscious ones. Group ritual may promote certain behaviors and thoughts that facilitate a non-clinging awareness of my thinking; its group nature may also require me to accommodate the thinking of others.

 

D, on the other hand, can facilitate goal-directed processes insofar as a non-clinging awareness of my thoughts and the process behind them allow thoughts and behaviors to occur that defensive clinging would otherwise inhibit. By becoming aware of my assumptions, I can change those that prevent bonding. I can also let go of those assumptions that narrow my thinking and reduce the effectiveness of brainstorming. Similarly, in group therapy I can move on from assumptions that made sense earlier in my life, but which are now non-productive. Finally, I can discern which rituals facilitate awareness and which inhibit it.

 

Like IM, D has guidelines about what practices tend to work. Some examples that I have heard in D groups, offered sometimes as suggestions and sometimes as rigid rules, are:

 

•     Express yourself in I-statements (e.g., instead of saying, "Men are pigs," try saying, "I have this really deep conviction that men are pigs").

 

•     If you wish to speak, leave a few moments of silence after the person currently speaking finishes.

 

•     If you tend to talk a lot, give others a chance to speak.

 

•     Speak from your heart.

 

•     Listen from your heart.

 

•     Don't agree or disagree with others. Just speak your own truth in your own way.

 

I have never been in a group where the D police did not show up: participants who were concerned that what was going on was not really D. I have played that role myself. Some participants are grateful that someone has had the courage to speak up and get the group back on track; others object that there is no room for D police, since whatever is going on is D. They point to the fact that someone can use I-statements disingenuously while dogmatically clinging to their belief, or speak dogmatically while really being open to another's point of view, or react defensively at the moment but later consider the issue fairly, when they have collected themselves (interesting expression, isn't it; makes me think of "Self-remembering" used further on). Here, again, there is a clear parallel with IM. Sitting in the full lotus position my whole life will not by itself assure me of ND, and assuming a different position will not by itself keep me from it. Effective guides will have a rich toolkit of suggestions that I can try; but ultimately I alone must travel my unique path, and must therefore be the final judge of what works for me and what does not. Similarly, there is no royal road to D, nor any guaranteed blind alley. Guidelines like those bulleted above can be helpful, but ultimately each D group must find its own way.

 

I must take care not to let the parallels between IM and D mislead me into thinking of a D group as simply a room of individuals each doing IM. Participants are affected by one another's attitudes and behaviors. That truth is probably behind the question about whether the group is in D; participants assume that they are benefited if it is and harmed if it is not. However, I must clearly understand the nature of that mutual influence. Rather than ask whether the group is in D, it is usually better to ask if I am. After all, that is the question I must constantly ask myself if I am to participate authentically in D, since I can be in D even if no one else in the group is. That is, even if everyone else is dogmatically clinging to her assumptions, I can examine mine without clinging to them. Others cannot take me out of D; I can only respond to their not being in D by taking myself out of it. That is, if everyone else is defensive, I may become defensive in turn; but that is my response----they did not make me defensive. That having been said, it remains importantly true that by being in D others can help me get into or maintain it. They can model it for me and their energy can inspire and feed my efforts.

 

Like IM, D's instrumental goal may be just the tip of an iceberg. A vast complex of thoughts usually lies beneath the surface for each participant. Consequently, involvement in D can take many forms that appear to be incompatible with one another and with D itself, but that may be working for a particular individual. D can itself open me to seeing that there are many valid paths other than my own. But as the group continues in D and the skills of the participants grow, the group should increasingly feel in D together. However, this group development does not last forever, since D is only meant to be transitional. Bohm warns against institutionalizing D by making any group permanent. In terms of ship rebuilding, D is only dry-dock, a relatively protected environment in which to begin communicating in a non-clinging way. Eventually, I should move on not only by starting other groups as Bohm suggests (start other dry-docks with new rebuilders); I should, according to the inner logic of D itself, begin to communicate in increasingly challenging situations in the marketplace (test my ship's seaworthiness in increasingly larger and more challenging waters). This is possible because others do not have to be in D for me to engage them in open, non-clinging communication; on the contrary, their defensiveness can be an excellent goad for me to acknowledge my own assumptions. Hopefully, by being open myself, I can encourage them to be open as well. We never have to call ourselves a D group for improved communication to grow.

 

Rabbit Trails

 

I can clearly grasp the nature of IM and D only from the perspective of the non-directed awareness that is their instrumental goal. The less experienced and adept I am in them----that is, the less clearly I experience non-clinging awareness----the likelier I am to mistakenly take paths that will unnecessarily delay or prevent my progress. Some rabbit trails are: misunderstanding non-clinging, misunderstanding pain, misunderstanding the universal Self, an all or nothing mentality, and misunderstanding rabbit trails themselves.

 

Misunderstanding non-clinging. The instrumental goal of IM is to develop a non-clinging awareness that can exist even during ordinary activities. The object is not to withdraw from the ordinary world, though that may be temporarily necessary until one becomes sufficiently acquainted with one's conscious processes. The false impression that withdrawal is the ultimate goal of meditation or the ultimate result of enlightenment has two sources. First, practitioners can easily confuse non-clinging with defensive aversion. The latter, however, is only a negative version of clinging: to avoid clinging, I push away or withdraw from the object that I am clinging to. Either way, I disrupt the natural flow of conscious processes. Second, the usual English translations of enlightenment have misleading connotations that support that confusion. The state of "no-desire" suggests a non-caring, unemotional, non-involved passivity. So does "detachment," "non-engagement," or (less so) "suspended awareness." Non-clinging, however, is true involvement, in which I allow conscious processes (including setting goals and pursuing them) to run their course. The reason this is difficult to do is that no process is permanent, as I discover in IM. Clinging tries to maintain a desirable or satisfying experience, whereas defensive aversion inhibits another experience from supplanting it or wards off an anticipated unpleasant experience. Either strategy is disruptive of natural process flow.

 

Activists who misinterpret ND as withdrawal from the ordinary world will not even begin IM or D. They need to understand two things. First, it is possible, though still rare, for non-clinging consciousness to be maintained in ordinary activities----in other words, non-clinging awareness is in principle compatible with activism. Second, short of that ideal, some Self-awareness, even if it requires temporary withdrawals from the ordinary world, is necessary to distinguish true involvement (non-clinging awareness that I have freely chosen) from hypnotic involvement (a highly focused awareness of an object in which self-awareness is lost) and from obsessive involvement (fanaticism, in which I am possessed by what I am involved with). History shows that obsessively involved, unenlightened activists often cause more harm than good. Hitler and his minions were activists.

 

Those who insufficiently understand ND may be seduced into stopping at way stations such as (for IM) relaxation exercises, creative fantasizing, psychotherapy, M or other concentrative meditations; or (for D) support groups, brainstorming, group therapy, or group ritual. As already indicated, any of these processes can facilitate letting go. But if I do not clearly understand the radical nature of letting go, I can mistake any of them for the goal rather than the way stations they really are. On the other hand, if I have a deep and clear understanding of the goal I can remain committed to it through the most intense periods of confusion and suffering, understanding that these are inevitable obstacles along the path and are not to be taken seriously.

 

Misunderstanding pain. A common misunderstanding is that if I can rid myself of all clinging I will rid myself of all pain. Alas, this is untrue. Yes, I can escape much pain that I now unnecessarily cause myself by overestimating the importance of things to my happiness. Nevertheless, non-clinging is not a desensitization that is unmoved by stepping on glass or having my leg blown off by a mine; nor is it unmoved by the suffering of others, whether unnecessarily self-inflicted or not. As true involvement, non-clinging leaves me open to any pain that occurs, but it simultaneously opens me to healing resources that my clinging would otherwise inhibit.

 

Misunderstanding universal Self. Although "universal Self" sounds exotic, the experience to which it refers is profoundly ordinary. Yes, it is different from the ordinary awareness that I usually experience while conducting my everyday affairs. And because it is not an experience that we all have ready access to, it is difficult to describe. Nevertheless, masters from every tradition assure us that it is an awareness found in the most ordinary events of life. It is an experience of mySelf that is universal in that other beings are enveloped within it----unlike the ordinary experience of myself in everyday life, in which I experience others as separate from me. As I write this passage in ND, I can intellectually distinguish among my typing fingers, the computer screen, the prospective reader, and me the writer. However, I do not experience them as separate, as being at arm's length from one another; I experience all of them as enveloped within, and in that regard indistinguishable from, mySelf.

 

Failure to understand universal Self will mislead me into confusing the emergence of Self with self-development. The latter involves the development of skills which enable me to cope with and enjoy ordinary reality. That enjoyment, however, is never completely satisfying, because the reality is ever changing and the self constantly thirsts for more. In contrast, the emergence of Self is a Self-awareness that is absolutely satisfying, which is why the image of returning home is so often used to describe it. In self-development, letting go is a grief and replacement process in which I first deny and struggle against some loss, then decide to accept the loss and make up for it with something new (hopefully, better). For the emerging Self, on the other hand, letting go is an awareness (an experience, not a belief) of a need that cannot be satisfied by ordinary, changing, conditioned reality----a need that is both recognized and met only in Self-awareness itself. As the Self emerges, clinging proportionately decreases----not because I decide to let go but because I increasingly see a preferable alternative, one which paradoxically is attained only if not clung to. This is not an alternative to ordinary reality, but an alternative to clinging; it is a different way of being in this world, not an abandonment of it.

 

All or nothing mentality. Americans, especially, like to hit the home run. Although there are occasional dramatic steps forward, non-clinging usually begins and proceeds in small steps. I may see this as a dreary series of bunts, become faint-hearted, and give up the journey. I need to understand that achieving the permanent ND of the master is not the only kind of home run. The opportunity for enlightenment, for hitting a home run, is now! I can stop clinging this very moment. True, I may relapse the very next second; but is that any reason to opt for anything less than liberation right now, when it is available? I should remember that I am unaware of most of my clinging and that the first step to awakening is becoming aware of my plight. Therefore, my very discouragement is the harbinger of awakening, since it is the very awareness of the depth and constancy of my clinging. In that awareness is the possibility to wake up and let go----to hit a home run right now! Most of the time I don’t have that choice, because I am not aware that I am not aware.

 

With the proper guidance, anyone can achieve this radical non-clinging awareness in this instant. The problem is that she usually cannot maintain it. It is not so much that the enlightened master is experiencing something entirely different from the rest of us. It is that she experiences (strictly, non-clinging is not something that she does) such non-clinging over time, in situations that are extraordinarily stimulating or frightening. The novice, on the other hand, can experience very temporary glimpses of non-clinging awareness, but usually in relatively safe and low-key situations (like typing this article) where any danger is not so great as to cause defensive aversion (negative clinging) or where pleasure is not so great as to cause a clinging possessiveness. There are those rare experiences when joy or danger is so great or of such a nature (for example, near-death experiences), that individuals have experienced an extraordinary, non-clinging awareness. But these, again, usually do not last, even when they have lasting effects, like a change in one's priorities (for example, realizing that one's family is more important than one's career; or, in the case of some creative geniuses, that one's gift is more important than one's family). In this light, the path to ND is not so much going from ordinary conscious to some extraordinary awareness as it is going from brief glimpses of non-clinging consciousness to the same state extended over time and maintained in the face of stronger and stronger stimulation from the outside world. I traverse such a path by letting go often and in different situations, so that what was important to me is now less so in light of the perspective achieved by previously letting go, and by building both physical and mental habits that support that process.

 

Misunderstanding rabbit trails themselves. If I have mistakenly taken a literal rabbit trail, I must laboriously reverse my steps until I get back on the right path. If, on the other hand, I am on a metaphorical rabbit trail on my way to ND, all I must do to get back on track is recognize the fact (hit a home run). Understanding this allows me to avoid a lot of self-recrimination and anguish over wasted effort. After all, the wasted effort is now past and no longer exists. I could not recognize that I am on a rabbit trail unless I simultaneously experience ND, however dimly, because it is necessary for me to recognize that I am off track in the first place. Recognizing a rabbit trail is therefore an experience of Self-remembering, a cause for celebration like the return of the prodigal son, not a time for self-recrimination (another rabbit trail).

 

The Future of Dialogue

 

As a movement, the future of D is absolutely predictable. It follows the basic law of the universe, entropy: all processes wind down. Every human movement in history begins with a creative impulse followed by a deteriorating process like the slowly fading ripples on a pond. First there is the initial impulse from within some creative genius, which disciples in turn understand to varying degrees. In their attempt to assure themselves that they understand the "true message" and are following the "right path," they develop formulations (much like this article) as guides. Some find the guides helpful in supporting this creative impulse within themselves. Others are not sure they properly understand the guides, so they formulate guides for the guides. This process continues until the guides are helpful to no one, because they have created an impenetrable jungle of verbiage standing between the seeker and the original creative impulse. In some cases, guides are turned into rigid formulas for behavior. Untouched by any creative impulse from within, the rule-dominated individual hopes to achieve true discipleship or authenticity by imitating the behavior of the movement's founder and leaders.

 

But is entropy the final word? I do not believe so, but the antidote is neither renewal nor a new movement. Renewal of the current movement is an illusory solution. For the creative impulse behind it will be subject to the same law of entropy. Disciples will have to know if the creative impulse is orthodox or heretical, and answers will involve formulating guides to distinguish one from the other, with the ensuing process being simply a variation on the theme just outlined. A new movement only repeats the process----though repeated cycles of creative impulse and deterioration are better than just one instance.

 

The reason why repeated cycles are desirable is found in the creative impulse itself. Repeated enough times, creative impulses may reach a critical mass and begin to feed on one another. This is not a movement, where I measure my authenticity against the founder's creative impulse. In this non-movement, my standard is within my own creativity. Insofar as you and I have access to our own creativity, we can be open to and feed upon each other's to create a synergy that will be greater and more satisfying than the awareness that either of us could achieve alone. Neither of us is disciple of the other, because each of us has his or her own standard of authenticity, of enlightened awareness. Yet here we learn from each other more deeply than a disciple learns from the master, because we process what we learn not through our normal, relatively external self-awareness, but through our creative Self-awareness. By taking us beyond IM, D opens us to the possibility of such synergy.

 

Although deteriorating movements are already being spawned from Bohm's words, D is not essentially a movement, as is clear from Bohm's admonition against institutionalizing groups. D is an invitation to creators to convene and create a synergy that will carry them to who knows where. There is no guarantee that such a synergy will emerge, but creators leave guarantees to movements. Instead, they follow their own inner guide, a process which D attempts to facilitate.