Vertical Development

The Actor & Character Upon the Stage Metaphor

This is basis for the player and character within The MMORPG Called Life metaphor that I’ve created. I’m just replacing the stage that one is roleplaying upon with a MMORPG that one is roleplaying within.

Vertical Development

Collective Experiences Revealing the Player Behind the Character

There’s something that Rupert says near the end of this video that feels somehow connected to something I’ve experienced in the past.

When King Lear is miserable about his relationship with Cordelia, John Smith’s enjoying himself on stage. He’s happy. He’s not saying no to Cordelia.

So even in the midst of our suffering, the inherent nature of consciousness is shining. All you need to do is take a step back from your mind into the true nature of your awareness and immediately your happiness is restored.

Whenever I’ve experienced a deep realization or almost revelation about something, it’s almost as though the deep emotions from it are catalyzing and connecting a bunch of previous memories and experiences that I’ve had, so much so that it feels like you’ve stepped back from your life and are almost watching it cinematically on a screen as a flashback.

When this occurs, even though the separate experiences within your flashback may have been painful, sad, or frustrating ones, there’s almost this deep profound sense of joy in the overall collective experience of watching the flashback, as it reveals a deeper sense of meaning within your life that reveals who you truly are at your core.

So it’s like revealing the “player” behind the “character” that you’re roleplaying (when we see Life as a MMORPG), just as John Smith the “actor” is behind the “character” of King Lear that he is playing (when we see Life as a stage).

Vertical Development

The Paradoxes of Life Are Beyond Your Beliefs & Expectations

Life is much more paradoxical than we believe it is.

And it is definitely much more paradoxical than we expect it to be.

The first represents what a person experiences when they struggle to shift from a Socialized Mind to a Self-Authoring Mind and begin to realize that life is paradoxical.

The second represents what a person experiences when they struggle to shift from a Self-Authoring Mind to a Self-Transforming Mind and begin to realize that life is even much more paradoxical than they first realized.

Vertical Development

Expanding Beyond the Ego’s Voice of Doubt by Understanding Its Mechanisms

Whenever we expand beyond limits, the ego experiences it as a death. Whenever we go beyond ourselves, the ego experiences a little death because the ego is defined by its limits. That’s what the ego is, a limitation or an apparent limitation on our true nature.

The ego says, “Ah, if Darren gets a job working at a higher level, he’s going to expand beyond his current limitations.”

So the ego says, “I will not survive that expansion. I will die.”

That’s the voice of doubt in you. That’s the voice of the doubt.

It’s the ego telling you, “No, no, no, no, don’t, don’t do that. Don’t do that. Don’t expand. I’ll die. I’ll die. You don’t, don’t do that. Just stay comfortable. You’re fine. You’re well paid. You’re well respected. You have a nice life.”

Really the ego couldn’t care less about you. It just wants to stay. It just wants to stay. It doesn’t want to die.

Fortunately the impulse for truth is stronger than the ego’s resistance to it, sooner or later. To begin with they kind of battle with each other. They go backwards and forth. But sooner or later, truth—our intuition of truth—overrides our fear.

So it’s helpful to have the right interpretation for the doubt because when it rises again. you’re less likely to listen to it, if you understand the mechanisms behind it.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you find that just by having this confidence in this intuition that you have and no longer listening to the doubt because of this correspondence between our inner life and the outside world that just having this understanding will in some way somehow reconfigure the world that you live in and some new opportunity will open up. There’ll be this magical response of the world to this inner change in you and all the inner changes.

You’ve understood the doubt. You no longer listen to it. You’re going to listen to this deeper voice inside you. You’re going to acknowledge it, validate it, follow it, and not let the doubt prevent it. And chances are the world will respond to that.

Rupert Spira

Rupert’s words above are a beautiful embodiment of the hero slaying the monster within the Hero’s Journey. The monster embodies our fears which stands in our way, blocking our progress. But it is created from our limited beliefs which are a part of our current identity, now having become outdated.

So to go beyond it, we have to let go of our old sense of self and our old sense of beliefs which effectively feels like we are killing ourselves by letting go our old sense of self and discarding it by the wayside, thus no longer giving it the attention it feeds from and desires. But in the process of doing so, we are able to expand our sense of self-identity, become more than we thought possible.

This is the struggle I am going through with my old sense of self right now. And the more I struggle with it, the more I realize that you just can’t ignore it and “get busy” to try to overcome it because that’s the very thing it feeds off of. Instead you have to fully stop, turn towards it, stare at it, sit still with it, and say, “I see you for what you are.”

This is why vertical development to me is like playing within a MMORPG. Your True Self is the “player” and your identity, who you misbelieve you are, is your “character.” When your character has achieved enough experience in life to outgrown itself and level up its level of consciousness, it does so without fear or grief of losing itself. Instead it’s seen as a wondrous experience of greater opportunities and possibilities, as it expands itself.

Knowing this is one thing though. Living it is completely another.

Vertical Development

How Our Expectations Rarely Match the Paradoxical Reality of Life

You’re still expecting something to happen. That’s the problem.

Enlightenment is not an event. It’s not a marvellous event. It’s not a mundane event. It’s not any kind of event. It’s not something that happens.

Enlightenment is not something new. It’s not something that was lost and now has to be found. At best, and even this is not quite true, but at best we could say it was overlooked

In fact, awareness doesn’t have problems, doesn’t know problems. Why? Because in order for there to be a problem, there needs to be resistance. There needs to be the, “I don’t like this.” That’s what makes a situation a problem.

But awareness is like empty space. It’s never saying to the current experience, “I don’t like you.” And therefore, it doesn’t have problems.

So it’s not saying, “My separate horrible self needs to be got rid of. I’m fed up with her.” The “I” that is fed up with her is another form of herself. In other words the separate self is perpetuating itself by trying to get rid of itself.

So you’re caught in this mind from which you are understandably tired of trying to get rid of yourself. “I, the separate self, want to get rid of myself, so that I, the separate self, can experience enlightenment.”

And you’re going round and round and round. And you’re rightly frustrated and disheartened because you’re engaged in a never-ending endeavour which is perpetuating the separate self by trying to get rid of it.

It’s just see the situation clearly. You cannot get rid of an illusion.

What can you do to an illusion, what do you need to do to an illusion, just to see that it’s an illusion? Don’t spend your life trying to get rid of an illusion. It’s a waste of a lifetime.

Just live what you understand. Take your stand there.

In other words, enlightenment is a fancy name for the most simple, the most ordinary, the most well-known experience there is. And all seven billion of us know it. However, because it cannot be found by the mind, in most cases it is deemed missing. And as a result of that, the peace and the happiness that are inherent in it are also considered missing. And hence, the imaginary self goes off into the world in search  for the missing peace and happiness.

And as we all know, it doesn’t live there. Where does it live? In the simple knowing of our own being. It’s knowing of itself. That is awarenesses awareness of awareness.

Instead of mistaking yourself for a cluster of thoughts and feelings, just noticed, “Oh no. I am the one who is aware of those. I’m not a cluster of thoughts and feelings. All those flow by. But I’m not flowing by, I’m just always here.”

Just allow that to come from the background into the foreground, more and more.

Rupert Spira

Rupert uses an amazing metaphor for life within this video as thought one were looking at a movie screen and seeing their life play out upon it (which mirrors Plato’s Allegory of the Cave) but then forgetting that what we’re seeing is an illusion cast upon a screen. (I, myself, prefer a more modern metaphor for this whereby life is playing out upon a VR headset screen that is covering our eyes which is why it’s hard for us to realize this.)

Thus this “screen” is what is often overlooked, as he notes.

Compared to the woman who Rupert is speaking to, who is experiencing this problem, I would say it mirrors my own experience in that I’m seeking some transitory and transformative event that will shift my perception but that in looking for it, even expecting it, I’m actually preventing it from happening.

In effect, so often how we think things will turn out is completely different than how they will because we often misinterpret the meaning of the experience itself, thinking we know it. When it’s actually much more paradoxical than we imagined it would be.

At the same time though, the reverse of this also happens! In effect, we often do things that we think are “wrong” but they are actually naturally right. Like I kept feeling like having a blog and taking things only one step at a time and just writing that thread of an experience separately, wasn’t enough. So I put a massive expectation upon myself to try to force it all out at once which only made it worse and made me stuck even more.

Yet you can’t force a seed to grow. You have to give it time, space, and room to grow on its own. Thus when finally in the right fertile environment and conditions, it flourishes rapidly upon its own.

It’s funny. I remember saying something a while back about the quote, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I said that the teacher is actually always there, they’re often just not noticed. This is remarkably similar to what Rupert is saying here. Our awareness, which is constantly with us, is always there.

BTW Rupert’s mention of defusing your vision to become aware of our awareness is also remarkable close to an experience I had many years back, while I was in a liminal state while preparing to fall asleep. Effectively my deep rhythmic breathing and a state of focus that was out of focus, both between what was I looking at and what I was, caused this experience to occur. But as I noted before, I never replicated this experience, even though I knew I could, because I was too afraid of the feeling of the experience of not being my “self” and thus potentially losing my “self” permanently in the process.

Vertical Development

Devoutly Resting in the Being of Your True Self

When it comes to poetry, we should not demand that the poet uses words in too literal or rational a way. The words of a poem don’t operate on the rational mind, they operate on a deeper level. And the same is true of a prayer.

So the main thing to understand is that the god to whom we might pray, if we’re inclined to pray in words like that, the god to whom we might pray is the god that we are. It is a prayer of ourself to our self, couched in the limitations of language.

Sitting in abidance, abidance as being, is the ultimate prayer. Liberate your idea of prayer from the belief that it is something that is contained in words or expressed in words.

So abidance, being knowingly the presence of awareness or resting in being, is the highest form of prayer.

Understand you are the one you are praying to. It’s a way of speaking to yourself. It’s a way of personifying yourself, so that you feel that you can, in some ways in your mind, objectify yourself and have a relationship with yourself. But at some point that has to go, so that you feel that you are the being that you pray to.

I remembered a while back reading something that mentioned that people are “seeking something larger than themselves” and I intuitively realized at the time that this “something,” that was “larger” than themselves, was actually their True Self which lies beyond their current limited sense of “self.”

This video above by Rupert Spira mirrors this realization.

In fact, Joseph Campbell’s The Hero Path mirrors this realization as well.

And where we had thought to find an abomination
we shall find a God.

Where we had thought to travel outwards
we shall come to the center of our own existence.
And where we had thought to be alone
we shall be with all the world.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero Path

That Rupert also mentions that it’s about having a relationship with yourself is also poignant, as I’ve noted before that this is what vertical development is really about at its core. It’s about beginning a lifelong journey of getting to know yourself by being within an intrapersonal relationship with yourself.

Why? Because when we reach a point of being able to truly accept and love ourselves as we are, thus truly becoming at “home” with ourselves, then will we be able to accept and love others as they are as well. This is the oneness, the “god”, within us all, as Joseph Campbell speaks above about.

This also poignantly ties into what I intuitively felt like was required to “level up” one’s level of consciousness. In effect, one has to completely trust one’s larger sense of Self would catch oneself, as one falls back into its embrace which occurs when one turns around and steps back from one’s life to understand it better.

Vertical Development

Today’s Tower of Babel With Different “Languages” of Meaning

It is also work I believe is crucial in understanding our world with full of strife and clashes among different world views. Knowing about developmental differences can shed light on why some of these conflicts are so intractable and longstanding, and it invites compassion and hope

All major change can create anxiety as we are habit creatures. Growth includes the unknown, sometimes intimated to some degree, other times utterly unimaginable. While possibly exciting, stage change is also likely accompanied with considerable discomfort, pain, losses, and uncertainty. Most aspects of living include relationship to other people – people who may be attached to the familiar way we were and who wish us to remain familiar. Moreover, our own strongly held values have to be renegotiated when we enter a new view of reality. In the extreme, we can say that with each transformation we are actually entering a new reality with its own rules, laws, and language.

Susanne Cook-Greuter, Nine Levels of Increasing Embrace in Ego Development

Never before in human history have we had people operating from so many different paradigms all living alongside each other.

Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organizations

What this is trying to highlight is that we are effectively living a present day Tower of Babel but instead of everyone speaking different national languages (i.e. English, French, etc), people are all speaking different languages of meaning.

This actually amplifies the confusion in our world today because when someone speaks a national language you haven’t learnt, it’s immediately apparent that you can’t understand it. With a language of meaning though, I may say the word “leadership” in a conversation with you but you may misinterpret the meaning of it as something completely different. Thus the misinterpretation doesn’t become apparent unless the meaning of the word “leadership” is actually brought up and discussed in detail within the conversation.

BTW this is also why The Future of Work is so confusing and often misunderstood by people. It’s because they think it’s just more of the same type of work but with newer technologies. It’s not. Yes, there are newer technological innovations but it’s really the social innovations of it that will require a radical leap in our thinking to understand it correctly.

So as I noted above, “leadership” is no longer seen as a strong, controlling individual telling others what to do. Instead, “leadership” is seen as more of a collective attribute of the organization which requires everyone to take leadership and contribute in different ways. So work becomes less command and control and more symbiotic and self-organizing in nature.

For those who are used to just sitting back and being told what to do though, this can be very unsettling because it requires them to discover an intrinsic sense of motivation within themselves, rather than relying upon an extrinsic sense of motivation previously dictated by someone else.

BTW this is also why I kind of laugh at the absurdity of the “wars” being waged online right now between the political left and right. They’re effectively missing the bigger picture of how our differences are really more psychological in nature based upon our current needs and values. So I no longer see left or right, democrat or republican anymore but just people at different stages of development trying to meet their current needs.

And that, if anything, is why there is so much strife in the world, especially within our own supposed “First World” nations. In effect, until we can actually start caring about people’s basic needs to survive and how they are no longer being met by today’s outdated systems of work, they won’t have the potential to learn how to thrive and grow in the process, contributing to our society in greater ways beyond what we currently know.

Vertical Development

Major Life Challenges Trigger Growth

What triggers a person to open up to a later, more complex stage of consciousness? According to the research, the trigger for vertical growth always comes in the form of a major life challenge that cannot be resolved from the current worldview.

Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organizations
Vertical Development

Humanity Evolves in Stages

In their exploration, they found consistently that humanity evolves in stages. We are not like trees that grow continuously. We evolve by sudden transformations, like a caterpillar that becomes a butterfly, or a tadpole a frog.

Human consciousness evolves in successive stages; there is no wishing away the massive amount of evidence that backs this reality.

Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organizations
Vertical Development

Why People Stop Evolving Their Worldview

3 Ways People Become Stuck, Undeveloped, and Unsuccessful
Are you born the way you are and never change?

The main idea is that, while growing up, a person often has powerful and emotional experiences that inform their worldview and personality development.

According to the Heath brothers (and all the research they cite in their book), most of these “paradigm shifting” experiences happen during a person’s teens, 20’s, and begin tapering off during a person’s 30’s. They become almost non-existent for people over 40. And thus, people become frozen at a certain stage of their personality — and assume that’s how it’s supposed to be.

However, the Heath brothers explain that this doesn’t need to be the case. You can actually manufacture these experiences regularly, and throughout your entire life.

The reason most people stop having “peak experiences” — which according to Dr. Abraham Maslow, is required to become fully actualized as a person — is because they settle into societal norms.

They stop growing.

They stop putting themselves into wildly new and demanding situations. They stop exercising faith after having life experiences — and grow to become skeptical or cynical.