Episode 46: Developing a World Consciousness with Anondea Judith
Join OneTaste's Shane Metcalf in this candid conversation with award winning author Anondea Judith. Listen in as Anondea discusses some of the major issues facing civilization today, from the sustainability of society to the development of a world culture and consciousness. Learn about our initiation into planetary adulthood. If you are curious about the changes taking place on the planet today and what direction we as a people are going, then tune into this broadcast and gain a deeper understanding of the world we live in.
Narrator: This program, brought to you by personallifemedia.com is suitable for mature audiences only and may contain explicit sexual information.
Man: This interview was recorded at the One Taste center in San Fransisco on July 1st, 2008.
Woman: Welcome to a Taste of Sex: Guest Speaker Interviews coming to you from the One Taste Urban Retreat Center in San Fransisco. For those of you knew to the show, One Taste is an organization committed to developing awareness in all of those areas of our being where we have shut down. We offer workshops and practices designed to bring more connection to your life.
And every Tuesday night, we bring in a guest educator to share their perspectives in a fun and interactive way. You can join us live at 1074 Folsom Street in the south of Market Neighborhood in San Francisco.
Shane Metcalf: Welcome to a taste of sex. My name is Shane Metcalf. Tonight I will be speaking with Anodea Judith, author of "Waking the Global Heart: Humanity's Right of Passage From the Lover of Power to the Power of Love"
Anodea is the founder and director of Sacred Centers. A groundbreaking writer, thinker, director, and spiritual teacher. Her passion for the realization of untapped human potential matches her concerned for humanity's impending crisis. Her fervent wish is that we wake up in time. She holds Masters and Doctorate degrees in Psychology and Human Health, with life long studies of alternative medicine, yoga, mythology, history, sociology, systems theory, and mystic spirituality. She is considered the country's foremost expert on the combination of chalkras [sp] and therapeutic issues and on the interpretation of the Shakra system for the western lifestyle.
She spends much of her time on the road teaching with workshops and trainings offered across the US, Europe, and Central America.
Shane: Welcome to the show.
Anodea Judith: I am delighted to be here.
Shane: It's my pleasure. So Anodea, can you just give our listeners a little bit of a clue of how you actually got involved in this work? What was the turning point in your life where you decided to devote yourself to these studies?
Anodea: People always asked me that, like when did I have my big wake up. And in terms of studying alternative spirituality and healing, and alternative community, there never was a big wake up. I was always there. And I sort of had to go from the fringe element back to the straight world and get my Masters and My PhD so I would have some authority so people would listen to me. What I talk about is nothing that I learned in those places. It sort of gave me the authority to talk about what I didn't learn there. So I didn't really have any big wake up. That's just the way it was; I was always there.
Shane: You are waiting for the rest of culture to wake up.
Anodea: I have heard it said that the future is already here it is just unevenly distributed.
Shane: Was that Ty William Gibson I think? Yah, that's a great quote. Well that brings us to an interesting topic we were discussing earlier. We were looking at really an inquiry to the intersection between sex and sustainability around how do we take our interpersonal relationships and what's the crossover to being an activist; to being a change maker in the world?
Anodea: Before we go there I can say that was a wake up for me. In that having done personal healing; I was a psychotherapist for 20 years and studied all kinds of healing, there was a wake up where I got tired of bandaging the wounds and decided to stand up and address the slaughter. If Babies are being thrown in the river and you pick them up downstream you haev to go upstream after a while and stop it at the source. So that was my awakening.
So when you ask about sex and sustainability, first of all I think sex is one of the things that makes things sustainable. It certainly makes relationships sustainable. Because it renews peoples energy with pleasure. It renews their intimacy. It renews their connection. So it's actually one of the things that makes our ongoing relationships sustainable. And when we talk about getting to a paradigm of the heart versus...you know I talk about moving from a paradigm based on the love of power which is an organizing principle based on a top down authoritarian parent child model to the power of love, that's an organizing principle based on relationship. And so the question is how do we make those relationships sustainable in a modern world where everything around us is changing at lightning speed.
Shane: So how do we make those relationships sustainable? And for me, we talked about the difference between sustainability and really thriving and that sustainability is something of a downer. I heard somebody ask: "Who would want a sustainable marriage?" We want excitement. We want thrills. We want the juiciness of life.
Anodea: Right. As I was saying earlier that I think sustainability is an important concept but its not a sexy concept. It doesn't get people excited about being sustainable.
Shane: So I guess the new question is "How do we create in our relationships something that is vibrant and thriving that we really want to preserve?"
Anodea: Well first of all, if you look at what makes things thrives at a time of immense change and stress, and there is a lot of stress going on in the world as the old system changes, is what survives through that is flexible. If we stick to rigid dogma, no matter what it is, then we can't survive the changes. So we need a resilience. We need an elasticity. We need to be flexible in our ideas and the way we do things. So our relationships need to have an element of flexibility to be able to last through these changes.
Shane: And what do you see as some of the signposts that we are actually making this transition; that we are actually giving birth to a new world as the old paradigm is fading away?
Anodea: There's many. First of all, we have through the Internet, a way of connecting people that we never have before. That is enabling a collaboration worldwide that has never been available. Now the companies that are working with that kind of collaboration are finding it's saving them millions of dollars. Because they can put out on the Internet that they are looking for a scientist who has studied some obscure little thing about how to attach an adhesive to some sort of substance. And somebody in China just happens to have spent their live studying that and has the answer. And instead of paying a staff of 400 research that, who that wasn't really their thing, they get just the right person for just the right amount of time, they pay him and he can do exactly what he is doing. We have a way of organizing. We have a way of connecting with people far flung across the globe in a way that we learn more about them in real time. That fosters a kind of compassion and concern that they really are people; that they really are alive and we can make relationships-literally make relationships.
Shane: Copra, the author and physicist in a speech in 2002 at the Pioneers conference he said that 3.4 Billion years ago life didn't take over the planet by combat, they took over the planet by networking.
Anodea: Exactly. By symbiosis working together in concert rather than competition.
Shane: So what do you see as the greatest challenge that we are facing?
Anodea: Oh my God. The challenge is that our environment is degrading at enormously rapid rates and the systems that we have going, its like a train going 90 miles an hour or the ship the Titanics; it has its own momentum and we can see the iceberg up ahead but oru society and its beliefs and its practices have such a momentum, the challenge is can we turn it around in time.
Shane: So what are you doing to help us turn it around?
Anodea: Well I've written this book which is really an over-arching thesis about where we are because I think all the little fixes of sustainable energy and hybrid cars and recyclying and all that, those are all important but they are only fixes. If we don't change the paradime in which we are living, they are temporary fixes. They are bandaids. And I'm not putting them down, I'm not putting down sustainability, that's important, but I think we have to go beyond that. So how I look at it is, and I have looked at the whole thrust of history up to the present, looking at the mythologies that people lived by that gave them their belief systems and how we live this way, and how we changed from our hunter gather to an agrarian society that farmed, and how we changed from a farming society to empire which is what we've been living in, and how we are now in one of those cusps to changing to a new form of society. And what I see is that cultural evolution mirrors the steps of an individual. A baby, an infant, toddler, sibling rivalry, our 5,000 years of war have been our sibling rivalry. And at this point in time we are cultural adolescants. This is regardless of whether somebody is 50 or 16. This is where the culture at; its in its adolescance. We are reaching our adult size in terms of population. We haev been growing since the beginning of time and now we are reaching a population saturation. We have had everything supplied by mommy and daddy for us including all the rules to tell us how to live. We are narcocistic and indulgent, suicidal, and we have this incredible libido that has been repressed and now we are experimenting with it. Men and women have lived seperate lives and now they are coming back together and working together in the ome and in the workplace in a way that teenagers start to relate to te opposite sex again after they play seperately through most of their middle childhood.
So there's many parallels. And as adolescents what we are facing is our initiation into adulthood; into planetary adulthood. And that initiation is going to be brought on by the very byproducts of our civilization. By global warming, by environmental destruction, and social injustice, and heaven forbid, nuclear war, but the threat of that; by all of the things that are going on, each one of which is forcing a re-organization of priorities, of values, and of organization.
Shane: What do you think are the factors in this equation that give you the most hope that we can actually tip the balance and we do make it in a century?
Anodea: One of the things that gives me the most hope, and this put out in a book by Paul Halken called "Blessed Unrest"....
Shane: How the largest movement in the history of the world world came to be and nobody saw it coming, is it that book?
Anodea: That's his subtitle, yah. And he really charts out how the largest movement on the planet right now and in the history of humanity is people in non governmental organizations volunteering, by and large, to work for social justice, environmental sustainability, peace, consciousness, you name it; all those kinds of things. And no one is commanding this movement. There is no president saying "Go do this" and making it law.
Shane: I think he says there is not a white vertabrate in charge.
Anodea: Exactly. There's not a head honcho in charge. And people are generally not well paid. They are doing it out of the love of their hearts; their doing it out of their own will and their own desire to save and serve what they love. And that is encouraging if we really look at that.
Shane: Yah, its incredible. I actually heard him present on that in 2004 and at the time he had estimated between 200 and 400 thousand organizations. And just last year he had to update it and its more like 1-2 million.
Anodea: That's right, yah.
Shane: One of the fascinating things about that is the work that we do here at One Taste is really about connection. I would say its more about actual connection and real relationship, authentic relationship, more than it is about sex. Sex is one of the portals that we use because there is so much charge around it and there is so much disconnection around it, but we are looking at how do you have connection with the poeple in hyour immediate life. And the question tthat I have been having is I am 24 and I've grown up half of my life in a digital world where the internet is second nature to me. How do you have virtual connected living? How do I actually have deep authentic relationships with the 400 friends that I have on Myspace? How do I actually deepen my capacity to care so that they actually are my friends and they are not just my virtual friends?
Anodea: Well, much of those relationships rest on communication. You are in communication in some way with these other people. Whether you put out a blog or you're sending email back and forth or you're sending videos or pod casts, those are all forms of communication. Communication is one other things that creates intimacy. It's one of the places where the inside comes out. in other words, I don't really know what's going on with you unnless you tell me. And then you're bringing your inside out and you are saying here is what I feel, here's where I'm afraid.
And so as we have more and more communication, we are actually expanding our consciousness To have a conversation with you right now, the things you say are going to expand my consciousness. I hope the things I say expand yours. So its a different kind of relationship. I think we have to take this narrow archetype for relationship that we have been handed in this culture, which is a relationship of a heterosexual man-woman unit that falls in love at 20 years old, gets married, has a batch of kids and stays together for life for the sake of the kids so they can raise them and give the farm to them is really old fashioned archetype. And yet too many people are using that archetype for gay relationships, for relationships where they're not having kids, for relationships where they're all done having kids and they're still sexually viable and want to go out and live. They are 50 years old and their kids are grown and they are not doing that anymore.
We don't have to have that archetype. That archetype doesn't hold for modern relationships for a lot of them. I think its fairly good for raising kids. We're not even having as many kids. So we need to expand our possibilities of all the different forms that relationship can take. And what I see happening in the world where that is the ruling archetype, is people try it on and then they say: "Well you're not right for me because I don't feel good in this relationship". And they don't stop to question the form of the relationship. And then they get rid of you and they plug in a new person and try to have the same kind of relationship. And then that goes on for a few years and then that doesn't work. And they say "Well that's because that person wasn't right for me" or "I outgrew him or her". Still they don't stop to say "Is this the right form of relationship?"
Shane: We are going to take a quick break. I'm Shane Metcalf and we are speaking with Anodea Judith.
Shane: We're back with Anodea Judith. My name is Shane Metcalf. Over the break we were talking about generations and the baby boomers role in establishing a really song self and kind of an I-centric value system where they were able to break free from the rigidity of the 50's school mentality. Could you speak a little bit about how that process happened?
Anodea: Yes. If we go back to the 50's and before, the social norm was to do your duty and to fulfill your role. So a mother was supposed to be a good mother and a father was supposed to be a good provider. So people did their roles and didn't give a lot of thought to their authenticity. Then the boomers came along, and the whole birth of consciousness and all, and we started going to therapy and saying "Who am I really and what do I really want? What's true for me?", and really started to harvest and create and develop our authenticity. And the boomers have been described as the "me" generation, and there certainly is an element of narcissism in that. No doubt about it. And they have been faulted for that, and rightly so, but there is an important piece in developing a connection with that internal "I", but then raising their children knowing that there was an authentic child in there and gave them the freedom to be individuals. I think the younger generation has grown up with that; not knowing, just taking it for granted that was normal.
Shane: Well I've heard the narcissism's of the boomers called "boomeritis".
Anodea: Exactly. That's what Ken Welber [sp] calls it. Some of the following generations suffered from that because we were so narcissistic and we were doing our own thing. And some people abandoned their own children because their own thing dictated that and the children suffered. But I think by and large it was an awakening of the "I" which then enables us to recongize the authenticity in someone else. And only when people are really in their authenticity can we have genuine intimacy.
Shane: It's an interesting question because I see the narcissism past on to me from my own parents and amongst my generation. We may be the most self centered generation that's ever existed. No ever generation has had so much self promotion. You talk to any young person today and its like they have five different websites describing themselves and promoting their brand of themselves.
Anodea: Yes and what do they put on on myspace but the music they like and the clothes they like and the books they read.
Shane: Right, And so we have this ability....It's an interesting mix. We have this enormous amount of self indulgence and self promotion but we also have this ability to connect with more humans, more people from a greater variety of different lifestyles than any other generation before. So it's like the question is like "How do we reconcile these two? How do we actually use them to work together?" And also, I think, learning from the mistakes of our parent's generation.
Anodea: Yes. Each generation has to do that. Our generation was the one that was going to jail their own kids because they were part of the peace movement or disown them because they smoked marijuana. That generation gap was pretty big. I think every generation....
Shane: There were some serious chains to be broken there.
Anodea: Serious chains. Yes. Serious awakening. And the other one that was between men and women. My parents generation, women were so oppressed. I was part of the generation that just as I was growing up women were starting to awaken. But I had to do a lot of fighting for my rights. Whereas I think the younger generation has that...it's a non issue that men and women have some equality. And I think race too; they are much more comfortable with equality in races whereas our generation had to really fight for that.
So you said how do we reconcile the difference between the indulgence and the worldliness?
Shane: How do we leverage our ability to connect with so many to create positive change?
Anodea: If you look at a child growing up, when it's an infant it doesn't know anything about the world. And its whole world is just this immediate...the mother, the father, and its needs. And then as it grows it starts to become aware of its family-its brothers and sisters. And then it goes to school and it has its classmates. And then it grows up through school and it starts going to social studies and it reads about other cultures.
Shane: Oh, I'm an American!
Anodea: Yah, "Oh, there's Indians and Chinese and this is what they do." As the child grows, the consciousness expands to include a larger and larger community if you will. So as culture has grown, we used to live in tribes, and then you were in cultures where you were a Greek or you were a Roman or you were a Christian or you were a Jew and you were really identified with, and not that that has gone away completely, far from it, but we are becoming a global culture. So we are at a stage where our consciousness includes much more than it every did. Your consciousness I am sure includes a much more awareness of other people in the world than mine did when I was at your age. Just because of the tools that are available to you that were not available to me. So you have a kind of consciousness that we didn't have. And given that you are still young you are going to grow from that consciousness for the next 20,40, 60 years....who knows what you are going to do with it.
Shane: That's exciting.
Anodea: It's really exciting. So we're on the verge of our planetary adulthood. That's really what's up for us. And I think that is what is more sexy than sustainability, than getting to a sustainable culture. That's just like "Ahhh", so we can stop the bleeding and take a breathe. We are on the verge of our planetary adulthood. And I think this initiation....I have a saying in the book: "Evolution is the God's way of making more gods." And that our initiation into adulthood is an awakening of our god like powers. And right now we have god-like powers. When we can blow up the planet, when we can change the gene pool, when we can change the climate, planetary, those are the powers, the stature of a God that we can affect that much. But we don't have the maturity to go with it.
And so to realize that we have all these tools at our fingertips, that we have a spiritual revolution that is harvesting consciousness and all that's capable of, that we can go to the stars, that we can create most anything we want, that is the beginning of having god like powers. And the initiation is going to give us the maturity to hold those powers wisely.
Shane: So what do we do to help this process?
Anodea: What do we do to help it? We work on ourselves first of all. Because we can't live in this culture without sustaining some wounds from it. We can't, even if you had parents that were mindful and conscious and raised you as well as they could, just being in this toxic environment, in the advertising, under the current administration, these things give us wounds. And we perpetuate those wounds if we haven't healed them. So I think the first step is we have to work on ourselves.
One of the things I say is that we are being asked to play together in a grand symphony on this planet. And a musician who plays in a symphony practices on their own before they play with the symphony. So we have to do our spiritual practice so that we have enough maturity to play well with others. And then we are ready to play in the symphony. So the first thing is heal our self of our wounds and then develop our own spiritual practice, whatever that might be.
Shane: Its interesting saying spiritual practice. I have a friend who doesn't consider themselves spiritual at all. And yet I consider them to be a very awake person and a very concerned and engaged person. So how would you communicate this same message to somebody who is atheistic or does not use the kind of spiritual terminology that we are using.
Anodea: Well spiritiuality does not necessarily mean religious. So whether somebody is an atheist or they believe this or the believe that or they don't believe....
Shane: I am clear about that distinciton. I was just giving that as kind of a broad range of cynicism of these terms.
Anodea: I think spiritually is in some ways coming from our own moral authority rather than someone else's. We have internalized our own moral codes of what is right and wrong, and what is healthy, what's benevolent, what's harmful. That we have a connection with something larger; if you want to call that spirit or god or goddess fine. If you want to call that humanity or nature or evolution; I don't really care what you call it but it's something larger than ourselves.
Shane: So do you think that this maturation process that we are going through, on the other side of it, when we reach that, that it will be reflected in our technology, our media, even our sex? How is the maturation of ourselves, how does that actually change these other spheres that we operate in?
Anodea: One of them is that we have more free will to create what we want and we have all the tools. We are not just passive recipients of what was given to us. That's the way it used to be. You went into your father's business. Your father went into his father's business and you didn't question that. You just did what you were told. We now have the free will to create what we want. We can create destruction or we can create glory. And that's an exciting prospect. That's what you get with adulthood. Once you move out of the house you are on your own, you get to do what you want. You can stay up all night if you want, you can take drugs if you want, you can do what you want and suffer your own consequences for good or bad choices. So we are going to be in that learning curve as we experiment with new ideas and new ways of life. I think that's what a lot of people are doing in community. We are pushing the edge and we are experimenting. And we are the experiment. We are the laboratory.
Shane: Sometimes when I am hanging out with a group of peers one of the things that arises in me is "Oh wow, we are strategizing about creating the future that we want instead accepting the future that's being handed to us".
Anodea: Absolutely. Beautifully put. In that way we become activists rather than passivists with a "V". Passive People. Not pacifists which is peaceful. That's why we become activists. We become responsible meaning that we actually have the ability to respond because we have enough power. People today have more power. Individuals have more power than we have had an any time in history. You have the power to go where you want, to do what you want, to wear what you want, to eat what you want, to say what you want for the most part. And sure we have this government that wants to crack down on dissidence and things like that but we still have the power to get on the Internet, to put a bumper sticker on your car.
Shane: I hope that our listeners are actually hearing this from themselves. You are one of the most powerful humans that has ever lived on this planet. This is what you are saying, right?
Anodea: That's right.
Shane: And so what are you doing with it!
Anodea: And we have been given everything that our ancestors had to create. The roads are already built for you, the cars are already built for you. The factories that made your clothes. You walk into any restaurant and all you have to do is pick what you want to eat that night and somebody prepares it for you and brings it to you. These things that our ancestors used to have to slave over. The average person lives as well as kings and queens of old. The average person today. Not the poor, but the average person today gets the wine that king and queen of old would have saved for their marriage ceremony. We can buy it at the 7/11. We have more power. We have more that is given to us. And I say, why? So that we can now serve and give back. Just like a child takes from the parents for the first 18-20 whatever years of their life. They get fed, they get clothes, they get a home provided for them, the get schooled; they don't have to provide any of that. But adulthood is where you start to give something back.
Shane: That's beautiful. If you had a message for my generation, for the Y generation, I'm 24, today's young people. What would that be?
Anodea: I would say that for the first time in history, and this is partly because of technology, you know more than the adults. It always was that something who had done something all their life was more advanced at it that someone who was young. There is a famous Mozellesan [sp] song: " A young man ain't nothing in the world today." Well that's different. The young people have their hands on the dials and they are more technically efficient than anyone in the previous generation for the most part. And they can dial up a new reality out of their imaginations. We can create it on Youtube, we can make a movie of it, we can talk about it, we can create ecstatic events.
Shane: Well Anodea, thank you so much for joining me today. It's been a real pleasure.
Anodea: It's been a pleasure.
Shane: To hear this and other great pod casts, log onto personallifemedia.com. And please visit us at onetaste.us. Thanks so much.
Narrator: Find more great shows like this on personallifemedia.com.