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Living in the World


Living in a world of contemplation may seem like a luxury. I have the privilege of sharing my home with around 100 other souls who have made some level of commitment to clarifying their thinking, feeling, and opening to the possibilities of spirit. I understand the gift I have been given but of course it is up to me to take that gift to heart.

At Sunrise Ranch, we live in the change of themes, as if topics for contemplation drift in on the wings of seasonal winds. Lately I have felt a breeze in the swirl of considerations that has blown in from other communities with which I have connections. The topic of which I refer is well stated in the Integral Philosophy of Ken Wilber, and the flavor of it recurs in the processes at Sunrise Ranch; Evolution of the individual moves from Waking Up, to Growing Up, to Cleaning up, to Showing up.

Recently, David Karchere spoke to participants of the Full Self-Emergence class about the two channels through which we experience the flow of life spirit; the emotional and the mental. They both are receiving the gift of animating life force in different modalities.

This roughly equates to the right-brain and left-brain functions in the human physical body. Right-brain is concerned primarily with a feeling and connection mode of experience, closely tied to the messages from the heart and emotions. The left-brain is the discriminating, calculating, and measuring side of the brain, much more connected to abstract concepts and learned patterns which it applies to the perception of the senses. If you have experienced ‘being’ as the blessed spark of awareness, you may interpret it when if flows through you as emotional or conceptual on the way for acting in the world. Mental, emotional and spiritual eventually ground in the physical as we flow through our modalities (be they concepts or feelings).

Obviously a ‘whole’ person needs to also have a holistic complementary interaction with left and right brain and not a fixation on one way of being. We are manifesting from these channels and if we are stuck on the ‘thinking’ left brain we might feel as if we live only from the neck upward.

I want to consider the notions of the Integral Philosophy in this context.

When we Wake Up, it is a faculty of mental acuity, we recognize from the perspective of the Being we are what the present moment offers. The opposite of waking up is ‘asleep and dreaming,’ in which we sleep-walk through our lives, programmed by the past. Waking up is also a faculty of the feeling capacity, we don’t have to conceptualize the present moment from a past perspective but can instead have the stark clarity and appreciation of ‘the now’ as a feeling presence. The appreciation of the present might be an appraisal of sorts but the quality of the present is the feeling of appreciation itself—a sincere curiosity about the phenomena in the world. The quality of the feeling of appreciation could also be called Unconditional Love, it is a connection with what we are experiencing and not separate from it. Waking Up!

Growing Up requires that we awaken to the possibility of something outside of our condition-response way of living. No matter how sophisticated we have become at crafting a great personality, if we cannot get outside the safety zone of that personality to experience creative possibility then we are trapped. I consider ‘growing up’ to be the development of an orientation and attitude. As such, it is a mental exercise of logic and also a feeling of empowerment.

The orientation of growing up, I see in the moments when I recognize that the world is not ‘happening to me’ but in fact, I am experiencing the world through my filters. I am creating that world. The attitude of growing up is that instead of protecting my wounded parts, I can see those tender triggers as what they are, false limitations in a limitless consciousness. In other words, my attitude can be one of appreciative inquiry instead of defense mechanisms. Another way to explain this is that when I am riled up emotionally about what others are doing, it’s a good clue that the irritation reflects something I am protecting in myself which I am hiding from my awareness by blaming the external world, aka ‘the shadow.’

Cleaning up is all about the invitation from our evolving consciousness to stop being self-centered. That appreciative impulse of tempered unconditional love needs to be radiated outward to our world. We must see where our perceived limitations have caused damage, be accountable, and love that into repair. Cleaning up is action born of understanding the growing up we have done and appreciating the quality in others and the environment. Cleaning up requires compassion for our sorry state and if possible a sense of humor. It requires a sense of caring for the world of which we are a part. If you have not grown up, you probably are still focused only on your own personal needs and are likely not cleaning up.

Showing Up is a wonderful term. To me this is akin to the sense of equanimity and grace that lets you channel your future self into the present world. You no longer hide the brilliance and uniqueness that makes you wonderful. You let it out into the present moment and in showing up you also exercise knowledge about the other stages; you see what needs to be cleaned up in the moment, you see where others are in their process of waking up and growing up. You perceive these factors in others and yourself without criticism because showing up requires that you are IN THE FLOW of the moment not two steps back judging what is occurring.

These principles are so dear to all the personal and community work that we are doing on this planet. They deserve some contemplation time.

I have the great opportunity and privilege of sharing my home with 100 other souls who have made some level of commitment to clarifying their thinking and feeling and opening up to the possibilities of spirit.  I have the opportunity to practice waking up, do you?


-Atom Terpening


Atom Terpening has over 30 years of experience as a software and database developer and project manager in the healthcare and non-profit, association-management industries. Most recently he worked as the Corporate Information Officer of a company, CMI, that manages membership and events for non-profit health care associations. Atom is a proud father of two grown children and a new granddaughter named Ziggy, and he has spent most of his adult life developing a practice of awakened consciousness through mindfulness, heartfulness and appreciation for the miracle of life.


One Response to Living in the World

  1. Nice to meet you, Atom. There is an event at Findhorn near the end of the year with Ken Wilber and Doshi allaround the new spiritual communities. Ken has a new book out too.
    Integral thinking and action has come into my life like a whirlwind through a young man who was at Findhorn himself. He left when he could see all the levels at the community via Integral happening and the need for the next stage, but the management would not/could not do it. Findhorn might well dissolve if the newness isn’t allow d to come in.
    What is your email address?
    Kind regards
    Tessa Maskell

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