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(THIS POST BECAME CHAPTER 14 OF THE SECOND EDITION OF "LOVE & REVOLUTION"!)
"Conscious Tribes are groups of perhaps 10, or 20, or 30 adults and children united in spirit, united in heart, and united in their action: in the co-creation of locally-empowered, nature-embedded, conscious cultures."
DEPTH AND INTENSITY
"Today is a good day to die!" Roman Warriors would declare when they went into battle. I can imagine they walked or rode onto the battlefield in what we would call ´an altered state of consciousness´- utterly alert, hyper aware, ´in the zone´, face-to-face with the prospect of death, face-to-face with the Great Unknown.
Similarly, the more we awaken to the indefinable reality of the present moment, the louder we declare "today is a good day to live!" - and we too are ´in the zone´, face-to-face with the uncontrollable, magical mystery of the Sacred Unknown.
The deeper we go, the more intense life becomes. The shallower our lives, the duller they are. Perhaps most of us live somewhere between the two extremes of divine intensity and bored mundanity. But towards which of these extremes do we choose to direct our lives?
The Dominant Culture pushes us relentlessly towards the extreme of meaninglessness and numbness. It does not promote reverence and gratitude. If a Politician were to extol Universal Love, or Oneness, or the Eternity of the Moment - people would think they´d gone mad! But is that the direction you or I choose to be pushed in? Or do we choose to orient our lives towards appreciation of the adventure of the ever-unfolding mystery? Do we choose to say "today is a good day to live!" - and taste and smell and touch the day with wonder?
The point I want to make in this article is that if we choose depth and intensity, and want to live deeply and intensely together in this world - then our Groups of Friends need to become Conscious Tribes. True friends are a blessing - no doubt about it! But if we want to stand together before Life as the Roman Warriors stood before Death, then we need to take friendship to another level - to the level of a shared existential journey, a shared transformational journey, and a journey of shared purpose.
SPOKEN AND AGREED
There is an amplification when we unite. When football fans cheer, or we dance together, or pray together, or protest together - our individual cheering and dancing, and praying and protesting, is amplified - intensified - by our togetherness.
In the same way, when a group of friends unites around the intention of becoming more conscious, of opening their hearts through both the pleasure and the pain, and sharing an evolutionary purpose - the depth and beauty of their friendship is amplified, and they become a Conscious Tribe.
So how, realistically, can we do this? By making agreements. By making strong yet flexible commitments to each other. By disregarding the social norms propagated by the Dominant Culture (images of friendship as Pizza and Netflix, a helping hand from time to time, and perhaps a shoulder to cry on), and boldly and bravely defining our own norms, and making agreements that evoke and support our deepest needs - agreements that unite us in the presence of God, or the Goddess, or the Tao, or the Great Mystery Itself - agreements that unite us in honesty and vulnerability, and in passionate purpose.
And I mean spoken agreements - not assumed agreements. I mean agreements spoken aloud in each other´s presence - philosophical, psychological, purposeful and practical agreements. This is not something Groups of Friends usually do, of course. It would be a new departure for almost any Group of Friends - but it would rebirth everyone´s life.
PHILOSOPHICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL
There are all sorts of tribes and clans and sanghas and congregations. Many endure the generations by virtue of their fundamentalism, and rigid hierarchy - which keep people bound in faithful obedience. But for those of us who refuse to sacrifice our own perceptions and intuitions and bow down to dogma - such tribes are not an option. So what are the philosophical, psychological, purposeful and practical agreements a Group of Friends would need to make to become a Conscious Tribe? Let´s begin with the philosophical, or spiritual, or existential agreements...
The first and last philosophical/existential agreement we need to make is that "all each of us has is our own, unique experience of the moment". I speak about this in my article ´The Path of Radical Subjectivity´, and I speak about it frequently in my book ´Love & Revolution´. It is, in my opinion (of course!), the most honest, obvious, undeniable, inescapable, naked fact. You see your moment, and I see mine. Neither of us sees the whole. Nobody else sees our moment as we do. We are all unique. And we are all, therefore, existential equals.
And the honesty that leads us to the conclusion of Radical Subjectivity (that "all I ever know is my own, unique experiencing"), also leads us to the recognition of our disassociation from our experiencing. With presence comes the recognition of our absence. Our honest self-observation leads us to see our fascination and obsession with thought - and how we tend to live behind a veil of ideas. We also come to see how often we are kidnapped by our emotions - how we don´t have emotions, but how our emotions have us - making it difficult, of not impossible, to be with the actuality of the moment. And we see how our thoughts and emotions have entered our blood and cells, and conditioned our bodies to react in inauthentic, predetermined ways to each other, and to the world.
In short: the introspective honesty that leads us to the understanding of Radical Subjectivity reveals our inability to live our understanding - and the need to bridge that gap. Which is why, if a Group of Friends wants to become a Conscious Tribe, they need to make the psychological, or psycho-emotional agreement to walk across that bridge - individually (each for themselves), and collectively (supporting and being supported-by each other).
I am sure you can see how these philosophical and psychological agreements would transform the energy field of almost any Group of Friends. Especially if they had precise methods for living these agreements - so that they weren´t just shared ideas or good intentions, but became a dynamic, visceral, profoundly intimate, experiential journey. In ´Love & Revolution´ I suggest one such methodology - a tool or technique that can be used, at the very least, to get started.
And there is another, crucial area of spoken agreement that will unite and energise the new Conscious Tribe still further: agreement on a united purpose...
Just as the Dominant Culture encourages spiritual/philosophical and emotional/psychological unconsciousness - distancing us from our own direct experience - it promotes industrialised agriculture, plastic and poisonous foods, competitive economics, artificial lifestyles, absurd fashions, junk medicine, information-acquisition rather than education, laws rather than justice, and endless tragic needless wars - all of which alienate us from the Sacred Mystery we inhabit together with the Earth´s other animals, the fish, the insects, the trees and the birds. And as if this wasn´t enough, we are now being pushed into even further alienation by the worldwide glorification of technology, Technocracy and Transhumanism!
So, obviously, if we have chosen connection and appreciation and gratitude, we are going to clash head-on with this mainstream of disconnection, mechanisation, arrogance and self-destruction. And although there are thousands upon thousands of amazing people opposing this insanity, even if they all succeeded, and we brought the monster to its knees tomorrow - then what? Do we have the necessary alternative community infrastructures in place? Have we built alternative infrastructures imbued with our love of life, with wonder and gratitude, and with kindness? Not really. So here is our purpose.
It is not a random or imposed purpose. It is the purpose that arises naturally when we live in our own experience of the sacred moment, and relate to each other with dignity and respect. It arises naturally as we seek to bring our everyday lives into alignment with our awakening consciousness. Our agreement to co-create decentralised, locally-empowered, nature-embedded cultures is the natural extension of our philosophical and psychological agreements.
This third spoken-agreement will unite and transform a Group of Friends into an evolutionary, if not revolutionary force. The Conscious Tribe will come to see itself as a seed of a new culture - with a loving sense of responsibility towards the generations to come.
Finally, if all of this theory is to become our lived reality, we need to make simple, practical agreements - like how often we meet, how we structure our time when we meet, how we include the children in the Tribe, and so on. I have made lots of detailed recommendations in ´Love & Revolution´, but of course, each Group of Friends has to organise its own transition into becoming a Conscious Tribe.
I hear the word ´tribe´ being tossed about a lot. Self development facilitators invite us to "come to such-and-such a workshop, be part of the tribe", festival organisers promote their events as ´tribal gatherings´ or ´gatherings of the tribe´, trendy clothes designers advertise their trousers and T-shirts as ´tribal chic´, and so on. I feel this is a trivialisation of the term. To become a Conscious Tribe is no small matter. It will take clarity, emotional maturity and commitment.
Very possibly, if you´ve been interested enough to read this article until here, you and your friends are already somewhere along the path towards becoming a Conscious Tribe. You probably have your individual spiritual practices, and endeavour to live as ecologically as you can. Here I´m talking about the next step. I´m talking about the spoken philosophical, psychological, purposeful and practical agreements that could turn your Group of Friends into a spiritually united, heart-woven, powerfully purposeful force for personal and collective transformation.
This is not something that has been tried before. This is a new kind of revolution. Please - talk together about it. Perhaps you´re readier than you think.
Mark the Mystic Activist Catalunya, Spring 2023 www.markthemysticactivist.com Telegram: t.me/conscioustribes