Consciousness and Spirituality

This article is based on my ideas about the Great Turning Movement. If you aren’t familiar with them, click here. It is linked to from my article Visions of a Regenerative Society. It  describes how consciousness and spirituality might look in a transformed society.

In a regenerative culture, there will be a revitalization of aspects of consciousness that have been suppressed–emotions, intuition, creativity, body awareness, and connection to nature. These qualities will be integrated with the best of cognitive understanding. People will appreciate what science has learned about the nature of reality without believing that science can comprehend everything. Other forms of knowing will be welcomed without disregarding the importance of intellectual understanding.

There is already widespread interest in personal growth, psychological healing, and spirituality, in the U.S. and other developed nations. Increasingly people are taking charge of their own growth and healing, as evidenced by the popularity of 12-step groups, Focusing, and my book Self-Therapy, which teaches people how to use Internal Family Systems Therapy to work on themselves.

Experiential spirituality has become popular. Up until recently, for most people, spirituality meant following a set of religious rules or ethics, while experiential spiritual practice was relegated to the few monks and nuns at the mystical core of each religion. Now spiritual development is becoming democratized, with large numbers of people engaging in practices as part of a path to develop their connection to spirit and awaken to a higher consciousness.

In the new emerging culture, there will be more emphasis on collective spiritual awakening rather than only individual awakening. The Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh has said, “The next Buddha will be a sangha,” meaning that the entire spiritual community will be the next enlightened one.

Religions will be ecumenical and open to connection and cooperation with other religions. Each religion will recognize that it has one valid spiritual perspective among many.