Sunday, January 15, 2012


Apparent CHANGE typically appears to occur slowly and, therefore, often goes unnoticed or is written off or rationalized in some manner. For example, although we witness extreme floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, intense wildfires, often we don't take much notice of these occurrences happening 'somewhere else'. In 2011 the year was promptly 'kicked off' with the first of many citizen uprising; the entire year has focused on on-going screams for Change! from Tunisia, to Egypt, Libya, and, finally in the U.S. and then Syria. Many of us are more likely to take notice as the sights of demands for change by ordinary people begin to rock our 'own' world. Facebook friends seem more likely, these days, to share political posts than they are to share the frequent trivia that seemed important prior to one year ago.How do we manage to Notice these gradual changes that are occurring while also retaining this awareness in our consciousness so as to see and Remember this on-going puzzle/bigger picture. One possibility may have to do with the degree that "busy-ness" tends to interfere with our Noticing.

A paradigm can be understood as an accepted norm or perception of 'reality' or world view that controls and dictates how [we believe] things work. This view is based on teachings we have received from those who influence the masses from positions of “authority” on a global or national scale on down to what we're taught in our professional life or our church. For example, our current paradigm holds that we are all "unique individuals'. The shifting paradigm, however, is the recognition--from millenia ago -- that we are All One... that there is Only One, that 'individuality' is an illusion. Interestingly, the First People of this land appeared to come the closest to this paradigm whereby their way of life did not tout the individual - rather, they lived in honor of the Collective. There is also the paradigm asserting that God is "out there" or "up there" -- separate from 'us'...  while the shift is moving into the realization that there is Only One - there is No Separation.

Paradigm is formed from a mixture of current scientific ‘fact’, best guesses and the comfortable fictions of belief. Most people are deeply ingrained with their paradigm and changing it in even the slightest way causes deep anxiety and fear. Clearly, groups murder in the name of their sacred paradigms.
Paradigms can be personal or global. Theoretical frameworks exist within a particular paradigm.

Donella Meadows author of Limits to Growth states:
Your paradigm is so intrinsic to your mental process that you are hardly aware of its existence, until you try to communicate with someone with a different paradigm.”
Examples of paradigm shifts in history:
  • Columbus (late 1400's) disturbed and upset the conventional paradigm of his time when he proved by his voyages that the world was not flat.
  • Galileo (early 1600's) very much upset the powers-that-be when he proposed, accurately, that the earth along with other planets were orbiting the sun—disrupting the paradigm that the sun and planets orbited the earth. Galileo was in big trouble with the Church for disrupting the accepted paradigm.
  • Darwin, (1800's) disrupted the religious paradigm belief of creation by God, but rather proposed how life form evolved over millenia from more primitive forms.
  • Two photo images of the Earth from space (1968 & '72) are thought to have created an emotional shift in attitude toward our planet giving birth to environmental issues.

Our present perception of reality may be undergoing a seismic shift. Globally, we are experiencing dramatic revolutions, externally—as we witness in the outer world of appearances. However, more compelling is the possibility for inner revolution—the potential shift in inner world of psyche and spirit. 
Gandhi reminds: “BE the change you want to see in the world.”

The “settled” world view: duality consciousnes – You and Me – we are separate..of course, we believe this on an emotional level! 
well, just look! I have a body and so do you—and they are separate, so that settles it! Well, not so fast! A growing consciousness over the last several decades has realized the ultimate nature of reality is Oneness, or non-dual consciousness. The world of separate objects, the world of 'Appearances', of things, from this perspective is realized as a superficial illusion, that masks the deeper reality that all is One, Only One.
Many are becoming aware of this truth Intellectually - the question is how to Realize this truth.

Over the past decades New Age ideologies have opened doors for further understanding of the invisible world; however, not without its own form of duality consciousness... for example, supporting the belief that somehow “you caused your illness”, —an unfortunate belief to impose on one who is ill or with dis-ease.

However, on a day-to-day basis with the demands and the rush of the work-a-day world, how do we maintain the mindfulness and deeper truths on the true nature of reality that we 'know' on an intellectual level? 

Also apparent is that the 'powers-that-be' have set up the design for the maintenance of the status quo for the masses. Think about it: How many people do you know who work [too] long hours each day, feeling exhausted, little time for reflection--never mind knowing what they truly need or want, believing they must cart their children around to countless activities in order for the child to be 'productive' or 'well-adjusted', having little time to connect with each other, always yet another thing that must be done or another place to be.

Consider-- if we don't have time to think - and if the super-rich control the political system with their wealth - THEIR democracy is safe -- for they pull the political strings with their wealth and we, the people, have little time to think. This is why the belief that change from the outside is an illusion. Externally, we bounce from one polarity to the opposite. Nothing seems to change - it all seems to be more of the same -- because the Opposites are on the SAME coin!

The [mistaken] beliefs many still find themselves attached to, unwittingly:   that change happens from the outside, that change happens from the top down [certainly not in our political system], or that in time things will improve, or that the body and the mind/spirit are separate. Consider how we tend to compartmentalize our lives—God is for Sundays and a materialistic focus on striving / accomplishing leads us through the rest of our week. The media publicizes that the mind is the brain. Depak Chopra states that contrary to popular hopes, materialism cannot explain cancer or depression. It cannot tell you why talking to somebody can help your free-floating anxiety while tranquilizers may fail, or why memories haunt us. 

Depak Chopra states: “The modern world isn't about to throw science out the window. Instead, science must expand, so that we look at cancer, depression or the Big Bang and say, "Now I see." In particular, the mind-body connection with cancer needs exploring. A worldview succeeds when it explains more than the old one, when it opens people's eyes and when it achieves practical results.” 

And, then there is the whole issue of race--'whiter' skin is considered normative. One topic that continues to be avoided is that of race--one of the most challenging concepts for European immigrants in this country to grasp (or, perhaps more accurately, one that they are most reluctant to grasp) is normative whiteness. The idea behind normative whiteness is that white people are socialized to perceive white skin as "morally neutral, normative, and average," to quote Peggy McIntosh. That is, when white people see other white people in print advertisements, on television and movie screens, on the street, or elsewhere, they do not perceive those white people as having "race". Because whiteness is the default category, white skin does not register as being "raced" in any way.
            Conversely, when white people see people of color, they immediately perceive them as having race because people of color do not fall into the racially-neutral or normative category. However, for white people who have never grappled with issues of race and white-skin privilege, the concept of normative whiteness also challenges their perceptions of themselves as "colorblind," which makes comprehension even more difficult. This issue is hidden deep in the American psyche as a paradigm believing in 'colorblindness'.  Racism is denied in America--perhaps because our country was founded upon the dominant culture's 'rule' over non-whites. This topic is ticklish in a damaging way - and, as long as the topic is avoided, not discussed... the issue does not go away and negatively impacts possible advancements in social justice, employment, legal system, prison name a few.

Paradigm shift – increasing realization with the idea that All is One, and that "The One" is consciousness. An otherwise difficult concept that Byron Katie has popularized is the notion of 'projection' – everything you believe that you see on the outside is really a projection of your own mind. You are the storyteller, the projector of all stories, and the world is the projected image of your thoughts.

Today, some farseeing speculative thinkers in physics are exploring the possibility that we live in a conscious universe. I recall many decades ago reading about the notion that the outer planets in our solar system were 'vestures of consciousness'. A tiny handful of neuroscientists are grappling with the possibility that the mind controls the brain and not vice-versa. Eastern wisdom has taught of the various levels of consciousness from the ordinary every-day consciousness of the personality and physical body with its five senses to the causal body-- the receptacle and treasure house of all that has been assimilated from the life (at the so-called end)." (Annie Besant, Ancient Wisdom, p. 161)

How do we, individually, participate in this paradigm shift? Is it in part the spreading of new ideas? Is it the shifting of realization? Is it the shifting of behaviors that impact one another and the planet? Your impressions, experiences are most invited and welcome.


  1. Thank you, Nancy, for your insightful and thought-provoking paradigm-shifting post! Thank you also for your comment on my Open Heart Blog. As you suggested, our two posts do dovetail nicely. I also agree with your observation that "loving what is" definitely is an important element of personal empowerment!

    1. dear Carol... i appreciate your taking the time to share your impressions here... and engaging in discussion...

      i love what byron katie says about "reality"...
      what is happening IS what's happening... even when we think it "shouldn't" be happening!... or "should" be happening. Remembering seems to be Key... "it IS what it IS"...
      otherwise, she says, 'we're arguing with reality' :)
      do visit again, carol...

  2. Wonderful discussion! I've been studying the principle of non-duality for years and yes, it's easier to understand intellectually than it is to put into practice. Every time I've attended a retreat, workshop etc. where this topic was being contemplated, everyone felt renewed and inspired. But towards the end, the question from the audience was always "..but how do we maintain this wonderful awareness when we return to our lives?" As you say, it takes place over time...with focus, effort and patience.

    You touched on science. More and more, I am hearing/reading about scientists exploring the same themes that spirituality deals with. How did this begin? What's the purpose? God vs. nature, etc. Different packaging, same questions. And oddly enough, same conclusions. They may use different semantics but they're all discussing the same principle.

    I recently heard a most enjoyable and wonderful interview with Lawrence Krauss, theoretical physicist/professor at ASU, on NPR. He's recently written a book on the topic of "something out of nothing". Fascinating stuff! He discussed the theory of a "multiverse" instead of universe. Multiple universes, each with their own set of physics. Now, I had a good chuckle over this since my guru in India has been mentioning this as long as I've known Him! I always wanted to ask Him if He was being metaphoric when referring to these "other universes" or "lokas". Were they a state of mind or a physical place? Well, looks like they may be more than just a metaphor! What does THAT paradigm shift do to my path, attitude, daily life?!

    If you're interested, here's a link to the podcast.

    1. dear ro... i SO appreciate the thoughtful comments and questions you are sharing, here ! Wonderful Questions you share.
      I took note on your first paragraph - so true about our desire to "maintain" our wonderful experiences !... and the 'Belief' that it takes place over 'time'...

      This is a Fabulous observation!, this tendency of which you speak... this desire to 'maintain' an experience that we Love...when we "return" to our daily lives...

      the realization is that the 'experience' is now in the Past... what was the 'inspiration' ? other than to BE in the Present Moment, yes?

      and, another paradigm shift: 'Effort' may Not be Required ! Western thought BELIEVES in Effort ! while Eastern approach subscribes to non-effort... and, also the shifting paradigm about Time...

      TIME is a construct of the world of Appearances! Yes, we have to pay attention to time - get to work on time, get to bed ect. However, our Inner World may not be subject to these 'time' constraints - and in a flash we may come to a realization creating a shift whereby some old way of being drops off... Our Belief in Time can limit us...

      I so enjoy what you have shared with us, Ro...engaging in the conversation...
      do visit again...

  3. Hi Nancy: great post that covers a lot of bases. I like looking at the world from the perspective of the Tao--the way things ARE and doing one's best to discover what that is. The one unity (Tao) includes the duality, the five, the twelve and the "ten thousand" things. What are all these things and how do they relate to each other, that’s the question that inspires consciousness.

    Yin flows into yang, yang transforms yin, change is constant. Paradigms seek to make sense of system and individual perceptions, feelings and other inputs as they change. Most people's "paradigms" are not monolithic. They include conflicting elements.

    Tom J

    1. i appreciate your taking the time to comment, tom... Yes, thank you for the reminder of the Tao... the way things ARE is how they are ! May i 'notice' my objections in the present moment and simply Breathe :)

  4. Hi, Nancy,

    Thank you for sharing your new post! Very nice! You are quite a writer! I will follow your blog!

    I am very much appreciating the snow for the past few days. Nice to have a break and able to sleep in and read......

  5. i feel honored that i may touch others in a way that invites them to follow my posts - and, my wish is that we all touch each other in this way... inspiring and realizing... Yes, i love the way you describe the art of "non-doing" ...

  6. Dear Nancy,

    So much to ponder in your rich post! I’m especially glad to see you address Whiteness as normative. That has been the most illuminating part of my school studies. It is pervasive in our dominant American culture. M.B.

  7. i appreciate that you picked up on the issue of 'race' and 'normative'... there's no speaking of it. i saw an advertisement recently for a tropical resort - a 30-something white couple were standing together when, out of nowhere, a young black woman rushed upon them and hugged them. it just didn't ring true - and i've seen this ad several times now and wondering, what is this ad trying to say?