We currently live in a very Orange, Post Modern world. (In Integral Theory – orange is the stage of development that is about achievement, success, status, having the right house, the right car, kids at the right schools, setting and meeting goals. It is the home of modern science, and measurement of all things. It is a very rational world.) Do this, and you get that. Eat too much food and you get fat…… Linear, rational, very sensible, explainable, scientific. Black and white.
I was 24 years old when I first had this rational world unplugged as an adult and learned something about the transrational world. I was working at a very specialised Health Retreat, and my role was to be sure guests lost weight. Every Sunday when the new guests arrived, we would weigh them. They would then spend the week eating a strict non fat, no carb, vegetarian, mostly raw food diet. They also had to walk up and down a steep hill three times a day to get to the dining hall. Low low calories and more exercise than usual. That should mean weight loss, right?
It seemed that pure science of energy in – energy out and what is left is stored as fat worked often but not always. I am sure you have met people who eat large quantities and never gain an ounce? Or people who only have to smell food and they seem to gain weight?
Every Wednesday I would get a call from the gym where the guests were weighed. “Christine, the guests are not happy–they are not loosing weight.” Most did, but some people would not shift even a few grams. After observing people who did not loose weight for some months, I developed the skill of being able to pick those guests who would not be able to shift their kilo’s. Their weight was part of who they were – emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually – and until they let go of the weight they carried in these domains, they would not shift the kilo’s on their physical body. This challenged all of my scientific medical training. It was not rational, or linear, or evidence based. It meant that there was something else going on. The transrational world applied here.
We want our world to be rational and evidenced based. It makes it simple and keeps it from falling into confusion and chaos. It makes us feel we have maintained some level of control, and keeps the fear of not knowing, or understanding, or it not making sense, away from us. And we are terrified by the very thought of chaos and lack of control. The transrational world is not a place of comfort or any level of certainty.
Even in the coaching world there is a large movement built around evidenced based coaching. And definitely the corporate world wants nice neat little formula’s as to the returns on all investment.
While most things can be measured, and a degree of measurement is good, not all things are able to be measured, nor should they. There must be a place were we are required to let go and embrace the mystery….to live in the transrational.
Love for example, or compassion, creativity, beauty..these things often make no sense at all, and yet they are also the most important aspects of life.
In coaching, when we work at the level of a persons deepest truth, it would look to a rational, evidence based, outcomes based HR/Training manager, that we are wasting time and money. If we understand the principle of precession we would know that by focusing on working with the person at this level would have precessional effects in all of the desired areas, without actually working on any of them.
Precession is a transrational model.
Even while I lived and worked within the domain of Integral Theory, which at least considers the four domains of the interior and exterior of the individual and collective–or in plain English, our beliefs and values, our relationships and culture, plus the world of the measurable and scientific, I had lost connection with the world beyond the rational scientific. The world that doesn’t follow human rules that can cause a terminal illness to disappear in a nanosecond, or someone you were just thinking about to call you. This is what occurs in the transrational world.
I had reduced my world to steps and processes. Do this, get that. Set a goal, take action, get the result.
The problem was that this old trusted method stopped working for me. It is no surprise, as the work I do is often in the world of the transrational. Transcend and include the rational. Somehow I had to be booted out of the rational world I had applied with success to this point to my own life.
My work is often in the transrational world. I know that there is all of the logical elements….the vision, the goals, the strategy and action steps, and then there is this other transrational element. The unexplainable. The space that holds it all together. “Space has shape” Bucky would say.
The mysterious, miraculous, unexpected.
Mother Teresa worked from this world every day. All the great mystics worked with this world. They did not shirk the work on the physical plane, and embraced the work going on behind the scenes on the spiritual plane. Buckminster Fuller, certainly a mystic in his own right, lived in complete surrender to this world. Albert Einstein, another great example.
Call it God, Spirit, the field, source, light…by whatever name, it is unexplainable because it escapes comprehension and language.
Humankind will continue to attempt to explain the mysterious – to convert the unknown into the known. And we may come ever closer. However, to try to reduce everything to rational sense making equations leaves nothing for the unexpected, heart breaking, heart making experiences that give our life real meaning. It is the kind smile of a stranger, or the phone call from a friend out of the blue that we remember forever.
*Why do we fear the unknown so much?
*What is the healthy benefit of embracing the mysterious component of life?
*How would our life be if we had everything in neat little packages of knowledge? Would the adventure remain? Our exploration into the many realms of time and space?
*Would we become the very mechanistic beings this model is seeking. No randomness, spontaneity, synchronicity? Boring, dull, automatron’s?
In the past few months my transformation out of the meltdown has been through a daily application and reconnection with the world of the miraculous..to fully embrace the transrational.
While I have never been afraid of work, and will work all the hours needed to get things done, re-learing how to be in surrender to the world of the transrational..to grace..to let go and let the mysterious play a vital part, to invite that in…is requiring a level of self awareness and discipline that is challenging my deepest thought structures daily.
Sometimes the best work I can do is to sit completely still and do nothing.
In our postmodern, Western Orange level world and work place, the act of being still is unacceptable. Yet the truth is that the solutions to our current global problems will only come from the transrational mind. We cannot reason our way through these problems. It was reason that got us here. Divorcing ourselves from the transrational spiritual domain and relying only on the linear, mechanistic world.
Leadership development for the 21st Century requires schooling in the transrational domain. It requires skill in contemplation, silence, prayer, mindfulness. Show me an MBA program that has “Mystical Contemplation” as one of its core subjects?