Evolution Is My Religion (Pt. 2)

Posted: August 31, 2011 in Integral Studies, Pedagogy & Education, Personal Whining, Philosophical Debris, Religion

Continuing from the Pt. 1 post found below.

On my trip through Europe in the early 70s, I sat down one day in Vienna because I was aimlessly lost in my life goals.  I swore that I wouldn’t get up until I had achieved some kind of understanding of what I should do with my life.  (Yes, I was reading Siddhartha at the time.)  The result of that exercise was that I realized that humans could only truly affect the things that they could reach or touch.  Few might reach further, but the further you reached, the more diluted or twisted your influence.  That was when I chose to become a teacher.  At that point I already had experience with youth groups, having volunteered my time with a local Cub Scout Pack; but the experience only provided a taste and a foundation of what was possible within such a group.  The next 20 years was spent struggling to find the right program and the right ideas with which to better achieve my goals.  In the classroom, as well, I was always striving to find those keys which would unlock awareness in my students, although my tools in the classroom were shackled by the constraints of the job.  I still managed to find ways to accomplish what I wanted in most classrooms, encouraging critical thinking and promoting more general awareness, especially of the environment.

In the last few years I have been intrigued by the theory of Spiral Dynamics and of Integral Psychology as presented by Ken Wilber.  These theories shape everything from physics to politics, to business to education to spirituality.   Integral Spirituality, I have found, is the spirituality of evolution.  It is a dedication to the improvement of self, of others, of society and of the universe.  It is an incomplete theory, but in it I have found a spiritual home.  To be truly committed to Integral Spirituality is to be truly committed to evolution, -of self, others and mankind.  Ultimately it serves the evolution of the universe.

I am an evolutionary and have been so since about age 20.  I have dedicated my life to finding programs and experiences that will build character and foster awareness.  After almost 40 years of searching I believe that I have found both an inner fulfillment and a means to encourage the evolution of others.  I also believe that in the past 20 years or so I have seen enough success to convince me that I am on the right track.  When you see a success in an endeavour so important, you don’t abandon it and you are willing to sacrifice much in its name.  It becomes a passion.  When I see potential, I consider what kind of input I can provide to move the situation in a positive direction.  My track record gives me confidence that I am often right.  By doing this work I believe that I am doing the will of the Tao, of the universe, or of, if you please, God (though not in any sense that a traditional religion would understand).  However I’m not really experiencing any “God”, but rather a compulsion to evolution.

Humans are such fragile creatures.  Having had a long career as a teacher and youth group leader, I’ve had a ring side seat in the circus of life.  I’ve seen many beautiful young people grow into adults, some achieving honourable, lofty goals while others succumbed to the follies, temptations and vices which kept them firmly anchored to the ground.  They are beautiful in their potential.  One person’s failure may be the inspiration for another person’s success.  They are all experiments in evolution, but that doesn’t mean that a poke here or a well planned experience there won’t make a huge difference.  Chaos theory teaches us that the smallest difference can magnify to the greatest result.  The Tao is like a raging river.  To struggle against it or approach it with a lack of awareness is to be swept up by forces beyond your control.  But a careful wisdom about the nature of the river leads to the ability to dance amoung its eddies, currents and rocks with safety and minimal effort.

The trick is when and how to poke.


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