"There is a single, underlying, philosophical understanding at the core of the Conscious Tribes Vision of Cultural Transformation - the principle of Radical Subjectivity: the recognition that we each only have our own unique perception and experience of any given moment."
Adapted from LOVE & REVOLUTION Creating Conscious Tribes Chapter 2, Non-Biological Siblings
(To listen to "The Path of Radical Subjectivity" first download, then double click the download to ´unzip´ it.)
RADICAL SUBJECTIVITY: THE PREREQUIISTE FOR CONSCIOUS RELATING The quote above, from ´Love & Revolution´ chapter two, continues:
"And there is a single, central practice, or ´method´, or ´technique´, that I will be recommending as a starting point for forming a Conscious Tribe, and helping its journey get underway....
The Conscious Relating practice begins as a "meditation for two", and then becomes a meditation for the whole Tribe. It is an exquisite practice, involving not only silence, but also conversation. I believe it is an absolutely excellent way of forming and evolving a Tribe - because it´s a Relational Meditation. It's not like Buddhist meditation, for example (which I don't mean to put down in any way) - which is individualistic. Buddhism itself is not an individualistic path, because it returns us to our Oneness with the support the Sangha (the community of practitioners) - but it´s an individualistic way of meditating. You sit in meditation alone. Whereas Conscious Relating is about meditating together, and learning to relate to each other in presence and intimacy - from Essence to Essence.
Conscious Relating opens us to the Wonder of the Moment, and to Universal Love. And it is an experience we can "duplicate" - with anyone who´s willing! We can practice it with friends, with our biological family, with people who live locally - and gradually form our Tribe."
But The Practice of Conscious Relating, which refines and heightens our ability to relate consciously in our daily lives, is based upon, and depends upon - not just an intellectual understanding of Radical Subjectivity (the conceptual acceptance that we only ever experience our own, unique experience) - but our ability tolivein Radical Subjectivity, our ability to stay present-to our own, unique experiencing of the moment .
To be-present-to, or to stay-with, the sensations, thoughts, emotions and energetic shifts within our experience is to neither repress our experiencing, nor drown in it. As we walk the Path of Radical Subjectivity we strengthen our ability to remain present-to our own, actual, felt experience - and our reality transforms! We begin to see ´the person we thought we were´ as our avatar - having sensations, thoughts and feelings that seem to appear out of we-don´t-know-where - and we begin to sense our true selves as indefinable.
We come to see ourselves as the navigators of our unique, beautiful, confused, brilliant, conditioned human-avatars. And as we come closer and closer to the actuality of our moment-to-moment experience, we appreciate how sacred and amazing everything always already was. And continues to be.
To weave Conscious Tribes we need to practice Conscious Relating - but to practice Conscious Relating we need to be individually practicing-living in Radical Subjectivity - living in presentness-to our own, unique experience. Conscious Relating requires us to be cultivating the ability to stay-with our own, felt, present-moment experience. Without it, there can´t be any Conscious Relating - because Conscious Relating is the revealing of that experience to each other. And if we´re not experiencing our experience - how can we reveal it to each other?!
"ALL I HAVE IS MY OWN, UNIQUE EXPERIENCE"
So if we want to Relate Consciously we need to set out upon the Path of Radical Subjectivity. But before we take our first step we need to check our conviction. Do we really conclude that all we have, in any given moment, is our own, unique perception and experience of that moment? And would we say that about any moment, ever, anywhere?
And if we do conclude that, for us, this position of Radical Subjectivity is indeed the most humble, open and honest position we can take. And if we do decide we want our lives to be congruent with our understanding. And if we do commit to the experiential path of congruence... Then (in the way that doors sometimes open to other worlds in science fiction films), we come face to face with the challenging, perhaps-perturbing, perhaps-thrilling possibility of walking through life in complete authenticity. And then, if we do set out upon our own journey of uniqueness - practicing living this new way of being - we discover that the Path of Radical Subjectivity is the path of both Aloneness and Oneness, the Pathless Path of Homecoming.
So we begin with self-enquiry. We ask "What is really true for me?" We hold up the mirror to ourselves, and ask ourselves some serious questions...
"Do I agree intellectually, or even intuitively, that ´all I ever have is my own, unique present-moment experience´? And if I do - am I present-to it? Am I present-to the only thing I´ll ever have - my own experience?!! And if not - what am I doing with my life?!!! If I am hardly experiencing it - who is?! Anyone?!"
We ask ourselves "do I feelmy unique experiencing? Or do I live mostly in my mind - behind the veil of conceptuality? Or do I feel my experience so intensely that I loose myself in it - making it very difficult to stay-present-to-it?
And when there´s anger, grief, fear... do I resist the emotional climate of my unique, subjective world? Or can I stay-with-it? Can I even stay-with, for example - my numbness?
And if I can stay-with my own experience - how do I express it? How do I communicate that which only I am experiencing in the exact way in which I am experiencing it?
And how do I receive others - who may, or may not, feel, or agree, or want to become congruent with "only having their own subjective experience"?
None of these questions need be answered yes or no, black or white. They are ´enquiry questions´- questions we use to initiate an enquiry inside ourselves. More poetically: they are the sound of doors opening - onto new worlds - offering us a path: the Path of Homecoming. The Pathless Path. The path that teaches us not to move, even an inch, from what we already are...
If we choose to embark upon this pilgrimage to ourselves - then the understanding that "I only ever have my own, unique experience of anything" gradually gathers emotional texture and wealth. And staying close-to, and feeling, our own unique experiencing becomes a continuous, timeless, daily, existential path. And the further we go down that path, the more we are able to Relate Consciously.
This path will ask of us, as T.S. Eliot wrote "not less than everything"! But let´s look at that ´everything´ in terms of what it asks of The Will and The Heart.
If we want to relate consciously we need to practice returning continuously to our own, subjective, felt-experience of the moment - in order to be able to relate from it. In what ways is The Will important in that?
Will is the courage to embrace our Aloneness - while still not knowing for sure whether the embrace of our Aloneness really does, as the mystics promise, open us to our Oneness.
Will is the willingness to accept total responsibility for how we relate to everyone and everything.
Will is the commitment to keep opening, more and more deeply, to our actual experience - and through doing so, to come into deeper and deeper connection with Sacred Not Knowing - with the sacred mystery of it all.
The Strengthening Will is experienced as the arrival of an increasingly-unshakeable Commitment to One´s Uniqueness - and therefore, to only-ever acting and speaking as self-revelation.
The Strengthening Will gradually gains the reins of one's conscious attention - and whenever necessary, gently directs our attention back to the present moment, to witnessing the experience of our avatars, to witnessing from beyond them - from within a sense of Belonging, and therefore, of Oneness.
THE WILL MARRIED TO THE HEART
The Will is important on the Path of Radical Subjectivity, Conscious Relating - and the co-creation of a Conscious Culture. But not a pushy, mind-driven, goal-fixated will, but rather a surrendered decisiveness: "OK. Well, if all I have is my own experience, and if I am at all interested in myself, if I at all care about myself - then I want to be fully present-to my experience, and explore what it is! What other intelligent, sensitive choice is there?!" It is what Joseph Campbell calls listening to ´the call of the soul". It is what Leonard Cohen calls "the innermost decision that we cannot but obey". It is The Will married to The Heart. Why do we need The Heart?
The Heart is the ability to look softly upon one´s avatar - the unique character one is playing in the tremendous, terrible, dazzling drama we call Life on Planet Earth. It is to look upon our character - our one character within the vast, perhaps-infinite array of characters on Earth - with honesty, with acceptance, and with kindness.
And just as, if we look with the Eyes of the Heart, we look softly upon ourselves - we look softly upon others. We offer them the same understanding and forgiveness, and admiration and respect, we are learning to offer to ourselves.
The Strengthening Heart sees the Essence of Others, The Mystery They Are - both within and beyond their avatars. It sees, and feels, how that Essence radiates through every avatar, through everyone - making everyone a Unique Face of God, of the Goddess, of Life.
The Strengthening Heart feels, or intuits, or concludes somehow in a way that needs no thinking - that the Essence of Others is the Essence of Oneself, and of Us All, and of all that lives. (And everything lives - even ´objects´ are alive at the subatomic level!) And so the Strengthening Heart loves indiscriminately, unjudgementally... One loves everyone as one is learning to love oneself - because everyone is oneself.
The Strengthening Heart gradually becomes able to open to the Totality of any situation - to the Total Energy Field that holds everything, even the most seemingly trivial - the Energy Field within which billions and billions of human beings, insects, fish, trees and creatures of all sorts have lived and died - and are living and dying right now. The Strengthening Heart feels our Belonging. It cares for The Totality, and it feels cared-for by The Totality.
So to relate consciously, and be a contributing member of a Conscious Tribe, one has to have embarked upon the Path of Radical Subjectivity - for oneself. In fact, the Path of Conscious Relating to each other, to the other creatures, and to life itself, is founded upon, and depends entirely upon - our personal, individual commitment to the Path of Radical Subjectivity.
This Path of Radical Subjectivity - this path of profound honesty and total self-responsibility - is not a path of self-isolation, detachment, self-absorption and spiritual superiority. No! One enters the Conscious Tribe in humble recognition of one´s need of others with whom to walk the path - with whom to learn to relate consciously...
And so we sit together, and in deep trust, I reveal my sensations and feelings to you - and you reveal yours to me. And I share my subjective opinions with you, and you yours with me. And both feeling strong and held enough to be vulnerable - we let our avatars be totally seen... We let our avatars be-seen with all of their conditioning and craziness - simultaneously resplendent with the One Life that shines through Us All.
This dance between your self-revelation and my self-revelation is Conscious Relating.
It is the Dance of Universal Love.
Mark the Mystic Activist www.markthemysticactivist.com
Seeds of a New Culture
Catalunya, March 2023.