by Jean Houston: When I was about two and a half years old, and my father and I were walking along a curb in Hollywood…
Suddenly I began to kick the cars along the side of the road. “Stop that, Jeanie,” he admonished. “Why are you doing that anyway?”
“Because where I come from, we do it much better.”
“Oh, you mean that you move people around better? No wheels, no gas, no piles of junk like these babies?”
“Well how do you do it? If you can answer that one kid, we’ll make a million bucks.”
Consider the mystery and magic of this – how small children seem to retain some memory of past or present or future possibilities.
The recollection on the part of many societies of a golden age far in the past when people were different than they are now; they moved beautifully, they were without stress, they sensed and experienced the world exquisitely, they conferred with archetypes and angels and knew each others souls, had natural wisdom, loved greatly and lived long lives in a state of constant celebration of the enjoyment of their optimal existence.
Maybe its the memory of what we all have stored within us from the start. After all, a myth is something that never was but is always happening. And the fact that so many of these early myths and scriptures tell us much the same story about our potentials, shows us not just where we may have been but what is coded within us–a second nature that is so much greater than our usual one. The nature of evolution may require that we go back to the future, exploring in ancient myths the future of our own possibilities.
This requires that we move beyond the structures of regret – acid bath of forgetfulness. The remembrance that we are in the kingdom, the kingdom is in the midst of you. In the Gospel of Thomas, his followers ask Jesus, “Where is the Kingdom?” Jesus, A very merry and original fellow in this gnostic gospel says- “Well, if you look for the kingdom up there in heaven, the birds will get there before you do…if under the sea, the fish will get there before you do ” The kingdom is in the midst.
With these issues burning inside of me I launched my work into remedial transformation by looking for this inner Eden disguised as latent human capacities and calling them into play. At The Foundation for Mind Research, my husband Robert Masters and I have sought clues to this latency in many fields–history, literature, anthropology, psychophysiology, as well as research into the nature of the brain and consciousness. Using various techniques, ancient and modern, and applying the human potentials garnered from my research and travels all over the world, I have guided thousands of research subjects and well over a million seminar participants to redesign themselves as more possible humans. Our studies show us that the fall from paradise is no mere metaphor, that we humans endure the loss of many exquisite abilities, and many balanced and beautiful ways of functioning have become distorted, inhibited or blocked. Since we humans are infinitely variable, so too the losses are individually different from person to person, and culture to culture. But few of us have escaped serious crippling of body, mind or psyche. Almost everybody is much less than he or she has the demonstrated capacity to be. That’s the bad news. And yet our brains are stargates, our bodies celled of mysteries, which invite us to enter into a Larger Body, a richer field of Mind, and a Spirit that comprehends them all. That invite us to live in the kingdom. In the course of our research at the foundation over many years and also in our mystery school programs, and now in our Social Artistry Intensives, we have explored so many ways to answer this yearning that besets us all. We have tried to do this by attempting to unshackle natural powers in adults and to preventing their initial inhibition in children. For in this time of change and complexity we need to use capacities that we never knew we had — or ones rarely used, even perhaps lost since childhood. We might refer to these capacities as evolutionary accelerators. They serve to propel us from beneath the surface crust of sleepy consciousness and our own human nature and biology.
Such statements may sound utopian, the fancies of a lobbyist for Atlantis, but nothing is more urgent today than our need to overcome the archaic constraints of tribalism, nationalism, and ecological mayhem. Time is warping, space is shrinking, and we have entered a period of global interdependence in which the human species may not survive if we retain our lethal habits of consumption, aggrandizement, paranoia, and manipulation. The human species may end in a blaze of blinding light if we continue to restrict its mind, thwart its potential, refuse its willingness to be prepared for life in a universe larger than its aspiration, more complex than all its dreams. It is time to educate or even re-design ourselves to the web of kinship and fellow feeling necessary on this endangered planet–to awaken all those dormant potentials that were not necessary to humanity in its role as conqueror of nature and other people. We are challenged, as never before, to achieve a new humanity and a new way of nurturing the species to achieve its genius in harmony with nature and each other. As the poet Ranier Maria Rilke says, “We must assume our existence as broadly as we in any way can; everything, even the unheard-of must be possible in it. This is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us: to have courage for the most strange, the most inexplicable.”
Consider my notion of the possible human a once and future person, who may be both what we always were in potential and what we may yet become:
The first thing that you notice about her is that she enjoys being in her body. A fullness of being inhabits that body, with its flexible joints and muscles, its movements fluid and full of grace. One senses an ebullience in the bones, an appetite for celebrating life. She loves the world and sees in every small design = be it plant or flower, or rock or smile or simile –the greater design of Her Creator. And if her natural zippiness and boundless curiosity entice her into situations where she gets physically hurt, she is able to control any bleeding and accelerate her own healing.
LLike the yogi adepts in the Himalayas, she can voluntarily control involuntary physical processes and stay warm in cold weather and cool in hot. (This is true in emotional climates as well as physical ones.) She can also self-regulate skin temperature, blood flow, heart and pulse rate, gastric secretion, and brain waves. Indeed, she can consciously enter into alpha and theta brain wave states for meditation and creative reverie, drop into delta whenever she wants to go to sleep, and call upon beta waves when she needs to be alert and active. Scanning her body, she self-corrects any function that needs improving.
You as This possible human celebrates acute senses, which are not limited to five, for she enjoys synesthesia or cross-sensing, the capacity to hear color and touch the textures of music, capture with her nose the smell of words, and taste the subtlest of feelings. Since her sensory palette is so colorful and wide ranging, she engages and is engaged by the world as artist and mystic, seeing infinity in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower. The splendor of her sensory life graces her with an accompanying gift, an excellent memory, for she is so present to the perceptual richness of everyday life that little is lost or disregarded and all is stored in her memory banks for later review and delectation. She can time travel into these memories, walk around in them as if they were happening now–talking to this friend, reliving that moment of joy, even holding the hand of a long-ago loved one. Thus she need never feel lonely, for the past is as present as the present.
And wherever in the past wounding occurred, she can visit that time in her mind as the wiser version of her former self and bring understanding, compassion, and wisdom to the occasion. This practice can free capacities that may have been frozen in the painful past yielding fruitful consequences for her present and future development. She is, thus, a time player, able to speed up subjective time when she needs it to go faster, or slow it down so as to savor lovely moments or have more time to rehearse skills or review projects.
Now, let me say that the possible human is not a member of some collective elitist group but a profoundly individual and precious demonstration of life in its infinite variety. This is certainly true on the physical plane and unimaginably more so when it comes to experiencing the internal realms. Indeed, the possible human can think in inward imageries and experience subjective realities as strikingly as she can know objective ones. She listens to inward music as complex as any symphony, in fact often richer, for instruments and sounds are added which are unknown or too expensive for any formal orchestra. She views new movies on her inner screen whenever she wishes, for she knows that it is the nature of the brain to provide stories, well wrought novels for the Inward Television Station (ITS). She uses these imageries to entertain herself as well as to provide the materials of creativity and invention. She is already an adventurer into a vast reservoir of virtual realities and doesn’t need any machine to assist her. She makes use of the fact that self-creating works of art are always budding out of the fields of her mind, and she can capture and rework them as she wishes.
Consciousness for her is a continuum of which she can travel the length and breadth at will. She travels the inner highways into the United States of consciousness, entering the state of meditation here, the region of deep prayer there, finding creative ways into the realms of imagination, spelunking her way into the caves of creativity. She continues to discover the many cultures of her psyche and has matriculated in the Innerversity, studying all manner of knowledge and wisdom that these cultures within provide.
She has a deep relationship to the beloved of the soul, the spiritual friend who is her archetypal partner and companion of her depth reality. Describe. And, daily, regularly, she renews herself in the source places of her soul, where she partakes of the everlasting waters of life and spirit. She lives daily life as spiritual exercise, and her radiance affects all who meet her, for she is deeply empathic, knows herself as part of a seamless kinship with all living things. Being more, she feels and cares more deeply about the decay and degradation in the social and moral order. In spite of evidence to the contrary, she recognizes the spiritual depth in others, and in whatever way she can, calls them back to their own possible humanity. She is one about whom we might say that, “the human heart can go to the lengths of God.”
This possible human is not mere fantasy. Processes to develop these capacities have been developed in our work for many years. I have found that most people, given opportunity and training, can learn to think, feel, and know in new ways, to become more creative, more imaginative, and to aspire within realistic limits to a much larger awareness, one that is superbly equipped to deal with the complex challenges of modern life. True, we have never achieved the fully functioning person described above, but we are getting closer.
Clearly we are living in a time in which our very nature is in transition. The scope of change is calling forth patterns and potentials in the human brain-mind system that are far as we know were never needed before. Things that were relegated to the unconscious are becoming conscious. Things that belonged to extraordinary experiences of reality are become ordinary. And with the coming of so many realities and ways of being from all over the planet many of the maps of the psyche and of human possibilities are undergoing awesome change. Thirty years ago Marshall Mcluhan showed us how the electric media continued a total and near instantaneous transformation of culture, values and attitudes. Whereas, in the culture of cold print psychically we became colder with speech caught on the page as symbols and the visual sense elevated over all the other senses. We found that we lived within principles of continuity uniformity and repeatability elevated over the more organic principles of discontinuity, simultaneity and multiple associations found in pre-print, oral cultures. Now much further along in the electronic environment, our inner ecology has undergone far more substantive change so that new factors are elicited, latencies called forth. Not only do discontinuities and multiple associations again become important but also chaos theory, and fractal resonance become lauded as the way things work. We look for flow patterns rather than for linear cause-effect explanations. Resonance becomes far more important than relevance. The world becomes one of colossal busy-bodyness with quanta of energy affecting everything simultaneously. And with this resonance nothing is truly hidden anymore. What had been unconscious is pushed up into consciousness, what had been relegated to isolated societies now becomes everybody’s business, everybody’s potential.
There is no question but that a larger life is latent in the human species and that we live only a small part of the life that is given. For the first time in human history perhaps we can begin to live that life which we are given. Our summer intensive in Social Artistry joins some of this discovery of the larger life to the complexities of social change and new ways of being.