Alan Gordon is the creator of the Cycle of Mind “system” which looks at the subconscious mind as a gateway to change thoughts and behaviour. He explains in our interview how the subconscious, as opposed to the unconscious and conscious (which really have invisible boundaries), holds our most basic beliefs on what’s possible for us as human beings. It is mind-boggling that notions picked up at by the tender age of three years old still run our adult lives — and they are well below our conscious awareness, so we have to take extra care to be able to change them.
Human beings are now driven more by thoughts and the internal world than ever before to be able to navigate, and this is likely due to both evolution and culture. Since we are small, we are taught that we are “a person” with a specific set of unique characteristics, unlike anybody else. This creates a separation between self and other and creates the internal monologue — which is not wrong but natural, but the next stage is to go beyond this limited perspective.
The Buddha always mentioned that we can change our world by changing our minds. Alan has the same idea. He draws on ancient wisdom for the realisation that we are able to expand out of our limited ideas about our thoughts to create
“a palace… instead of a prison.”
Without further adieu, I present Alan Gordon and his Cycle of Mind in our episode above!
Rob Cobbold is the founder of a global mind-heart-spirit movement called Conscious Evolution. Rob’s work focuses on the higher evolution of human beings and as a global conscious structure — indeed, as the entire human family we are. His upcoming podcast will bring in guests who talk about this greater perspective and what it means for us. Catch him on his Twitter at conscious_evo.
Humans and the entire cosmos seem to be evolving into endlessly more complex systems. Think about when you were ten years old and what you knew; now you can see that with each year, more complexity on your worldview has become accumulated based on a vast number of personal experiences, education, and social interactions. Of course, some peoples’ worldviews do not necessarily change that much over a lifetime. However, it has become easier to communicate across the globe with enhanced technology and travel, so open-mindedness is coming to a peak. (We’re not there yet, but my feeling is good that we are co-reaching this stage of development).
This is where spiral dynamics comes in. Spiral dynamics is an observational “theory” that Ken Wilbur and others have created to explain how humans evolve beyond biology. The stages are ordered by colour:
Beige for survival: Babies are in this phase along with some animals. Those in poverty and war-torn areas can be here. Also, when extreme conditions arise requiring sacrifice of moral boundaries in order to stay alive push otherwise comfortable people into this phase.
Purple for security: Tribalism is at the root, where survival is taken care of but the needs of the tribe have to be kept sancrosanct. Ritual, magic, and patterned behaviour make sure the tribe is safe and grounded. Organised religions fall here.
Red for relentless power: The red phase comes in when purple gets cocky. Red societies realise their security is met but they still see a threat from somewhere out there, including other tribs. Red will do whatever it takes to gain more control, including murder. Powerful and ruthless dictators are here along with government officials who care only about their own interests and not their brethren.
Blue for nationalism and rule: Blue is more civilised than red, because it has learned it can use the power of the mind and subtle tactics to keep order and control. Rather than rule by sword, it can also rule by manipulation and word. Blue societies are highly ordered so that members keep their belief. Laws, regulations, religious sectarianism, absolute right and wrong / black and white thinking fall here.
Orange for individualism and success: Individuals are seen as key players who rely on themselves for success. Egocentrism, self-image, and mental strategising to gain prestige, fame, or wealth lie here. Goals, achievement, and planning rule orange. This is the current phase the western world is in on the whole.
Green for cohesive community and environmental concerns: When orange begins to notice there’s not much to get ahead of, it will seek the green phase to worry about other people and the natural world. Individuals organise themselves into communities and express themselves freely and compromise on what the other wants and needs. Egocentric behaviour still governs green, as it does not yet see the larger picture of the whole; it still relies on small tribal behaviours within an in-group, such as political liberals or a specific charity organisation.
Yellow for holistic integration: Yellow is the phase we want to see in our lifetime. We realise that human beings are not the centre of the universe but a cohesive part of the universe. Strategies for picking up the pieces from the other phases will be thought-through (such as un-doing the damge from the industrial revolution) with the power of intelligence, working together, extreme open-mindedness, and taking all sides into account. It is like holographic or diamond-thinking, looking at all angles and stepping in one anothers’ shoes. Creativity and invention and innovation without profit rule. When yellow makes a mistake, they admit it wholeheartedly and move on to a better way of behaving.
Turquoise for compassion and harmony: Turquoise is the highest level we can imagine thus far. It is the total integration of all it has learned from the other stages and is the embodiment of peace and harmony on earth and universal systems. When body, speech, mind, spirit, and all the factors that make a person come together in perfect synchronicity, then we have this stage. It’s likely the garden of Eden but nobody knows yet!
Spiral dynamics takes a step back and looks at how complex humans and their conceptual creations have been and can be in the future. This is one way of looking at human evolution in the new sense of the word. As complexity increases, so does novelty. When novelty gets boring, then peace and harmony will be the outcome.
Did you ever get that sinking feeling that this is the true purpose of life?
What is true non-judgement? First of all, it is love at the root of all things. Love for all experience, love for every situation, love for each landscape you find yourself in, and love for your emotions, reactions, and actions. Then there’s love for other people you come into contact with daily.
Other people are not “other” — they are YOU. You created everything you see here on earth and every interpretation, no matter how subtle or gross. So owning them all, including what we call “evil” will help you move past delusisons and unnecessary pain, frustration, and avoidance. There is nothing that is not you. So each time you come in contact again and again, do not hurt yourself.
Secondly, if we still see other people and their behaviour that we dislike or are judgeing, then we can ask ourself if what we assume is actually true. The Buddha and Jesus were great role models for teaching non-judgement; they hung out with harlots, they hung out with regular people, and they hung out with the most high spiritually. It didn’t matter, because they knew that formwas not the reality.
Form is simply part of materiality that we should use to express the divine.
We should be expressing Nibbana; Bhakti; Love; Kindness; Understanding; Reflection; Creativity; Flowing; and Foresight. Noble qualities!
If you read the Buddhist suttas or go back to my past 3 episodes, I have uploaded brilliant suttas to begin to understand the Dhamma and the Buddha talks about form and the truth about form.
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi at Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s monastery. Then Ven. Radha went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “‘A being,’ lord. ‘A being,’ it’s said. To what extent is one said to be ‘a being’?”
“Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for form, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be ‘a being.’
“Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for feeling… perception… fabrications…
“Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for consciousness, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be ‘a being.’
“Just as when boys or girls are playing with little sand castles: as long as they are not free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for those little sand castles, that’s how long they have fun with those sand castles, enjoy them, treasure them, feel possessive of them. But when they become free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for those little sand castles, then they smash them, scatter them, demolish them with their hands or feet and make them unfit for play.
“In the same way, Radha, you too should smash, scatter, & demolish form, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for form.
“You should smash, scatter, & demolish feeling, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for feeling.
“You should smash, scatter, & demolish perception, and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for perception.
“You should smash, scatter, & demolish fabrications, and make them unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for fabrications.
“You should smash, scatter, & demolish consciousness and make it unfit for play. Practice for the ending of craving for consciousness — for the ending of craving, Radha, is Unbinding.”