This past Sunday, Stephen Busby joined me for “Cultivating Higher Consciousness through Awareness of Subtle Fields”.
One of the reasons I invited Stephen to the show is that there’s something important going on right now in the worlds of Integral and non-dual spirituality in relationship to the subtle domain.
In the pre-rational past, much of western spirituality (often called “spiritualism”) was full of fascination with psychic and other non-ordinary abilities that can be developed through subtle sensitivity.
It was a big breakthrough to recognize that radical consciousness is a senior principle. And for the last 30 years, the kinds of progressive spirituality that have been ascendant among educated westerners have been strongly aligned to non-dual dharmas like Advaita Vedanta and high Buddhism, and other contemporary teachings like those of Eckart Tolle, Byron Katie, Gangaji, Adyashanti and many others.
But in my view, a truly integral spirituality recognizes consciousness AND energy. Consciousness is, indeed, the senior principle, and over-fascination with subtle states and capacities needs to be understood.
However, the subtle, no less than the causal and non-dual, is an essential dimension of our being-in-the-world, and awakening to subtle information fields is a natural part of us awakening into what Stephen, calls a “depth relationship to life”.
Stephen has realized this higher awareness and can transmit and teach it to others in very gentle and useful ways. Also, he’s an advanced student of Thomas Hübl with his own style. Thomas often draws people to read the information fields of others as a way to begin discovering their intuitive capacities. Stephen teaches people to begin by reading themselves. And there’s something about that with which I intuitively resonate.
I was particularly taken by what Stephen had to say about tuning in to the deeper urge that’s discernable over the trajectory of one’s whole life. He described layers of life’s richness, which we can allow to penetrate into our “personal” life such that we experience life (and purpose) as coming through us, and even nourishing us.
But Stephen cautioned that we can’t step over the work of the personal container or it will subvert the higher work. To become receptive to this richness of life living through me, I have to be honest with myself about the ways that I succeed in not being fully present to that which is here now. And this initially can be a mighty undertaking. Most of us are powerfully conditioned and habituated to focus anyplace except here and now.
But by cultivating self-awareness and shining light on our shadows, consciousness can relax its fascination with the personal container, and expand to pursue the work in collective containers. I can begin to look at the larger current that seems to be coming through me as an individual. And as we step outside of identifying with our individual container, we become more instinctive, we feel guided, and we cultivate a quality of consciousness that goes beyond “usual” awareness.
The experience of being aligned with a higher stream as it is expressing itself through me in the moment becomes available in the ordinary course of the day.
I asked Stephen to consider the critique by some that staying with “inner work” is misplaced; and that this critical juncture in our history calls for outer action first and foremost.
Stephen said that from his perspective, it’s quite the opposite—not focusing on inner life is a luxury we cannot afford anymore. In doing the inner work, life becomes less and less “mine” and more about an inner stream unfolding through me and other people. This is the outer action, the activism, that he believes we most need. And it is more focused and efficient.
Listening to Stephen, I felt invited to feel into the impulse, the stream, that is deeper than the outer expression of the forms of activism that have found their way into my life so far. And to tap into what might be the “nextness” of my own expression and evolution.
That impulse, according to Stephen, is the source of life as it is expressed through my embodiment. The extent to which I consent to become embodied in this life is the extent to which I become more available to life’s higher impulse. And more in service to that impulse as I experience it.
You can listen to the rest of this inspiring dialog, including Stephen guiding us through a subtle field process here.