The Society for Consciousness Studies is a professional scholarly organization that honors quality in all authentic scholarly and practicing traditions. It also celebrates the many dimensions of the liberal arts that are embraced and enriched by the study of consciousness.
I cribbed the above from their website. It says it all. Except the part where my good friend Jonathan Bricklin and I were invited to present to this impressive group. It is organized by the wonderful Allan Leslie Combs (co-author of the Wilber-Combs Matrix with Ken Wilber). The Keynote was given by the amazing Ervin Laszlo (who had just addressed the UN). And the Plenary addresses were by the prolific Robert Forman (author of Enlightenment Ain’t What It’s Cracked Up to Be) and none other than my tennis partner, Jonathan!
JB had just received the first shipment of his new book the day of his address (in a wonderful piece of sychronicity) and he was tagged to give the first annual Eugene Taylor Lecture. Jonathan is a passionate William James scholar and is recognized as an authority. His book is The Illusion of Will, Self and Time: William James’ Reluctant Guide to Enlightenment. JB lit the place up with his description of the satori that inspired his 25-year journey to write his book. He was electrifying.
The next day (Friday) I got my chance. I demonstrated the power of meeting another with your whole being. Of course, the most powerful and important effects can’t be seen or demonstrated, but meeting is the essence of my martial art as well. I have figured out ways to show how we weaken ourselves when trapped in the Trance of Objectification, and awaken to our true power when we incorporate authentic encounter into our lives.
Part One of the video records my opening remarks and my initial demonstration. I am grateful to Nick and Al Collins for their help. Below the video is a copy of my opening remarks, including a lengthy quote by Martin Buber.
Finding You in a World of It
SCS Conference at Yale University
June 5, 2015
In his seminal work Ich und Du, Martin Buber let us know early on that he considered the world of experience—the It-world—to be an entirely different mode of being than that of relation, where I meet You as a partner. He wrote:
Those who experience do not participate in the world. For the experience is “in them” and not between them and the world.
The world does not participate in experience. It allows itself to be experienced, but it is not concerned, for it contributes nothing, and nothing happens to it.
The world as experience belongs to the basic word I-It.
The basic word I-You establishes the world of relation.
He goes on to say:
When I confront a human being as my You and speak the basic word I-You to him, then he is no thing among things nor does he consist of things.
He is no longer He or She, limited by other Hes and Shes, a dot in the world grid of space and time, nor a condition that can be experienced and described, a loose bundle of named qualities. Neighborless and seamless, he is You and fills the firmament. Not as if there were nothing but he; but everything else lives in his light.
Even as a melody is not composed of tones, nor a verse of words, not a statue of lines—one must pull and tear to turn a unity into a multiplicity—so it is with the human being to whom I say You.
When I first read these words as a teenager, they made my head swim. I was intoxicated. I only had a glimmer of what they meant, but I knew he was on to something.
I now compare these two modes of being— I-It and I-You, the experiential and the relational— to two different operating systems on a computer. Like the one’s that drive a PC and a Mac. I can’t run my PC programs on my Mac, and vice versa. It’s not like they just use different symbols for the same things. They process information differently.
In the experiential, I-It mode, we objectify things (that is, we turns them into objects in our minds) and in the relational, I-You mode, there are no objects. There is only NOW. In my object-based (experiential) consciousness, I do not participate. I encounter the surfaces of things only. I concoct a story to make sense of what is happening. In my non-objective awareness, there is no story. I and You resonate together, “neighborless and seamless” says Buber.
To fully participate in the world I must use both.
I have been studying Chinese internal martial arts, mostly taijiquan, for over thirty-five years. And I’ve been practicing energy medicine in various forms for longer than that. They are two sides of the same mountain.
Both slow things way down so that you notice things that are not apparent at ordinary speeds. Both create demonstrable effects by addressing subtle energies and states of consciousness. And at their finest, they bring about a heightened state of body-mind-spirit integration.
To be effective in either internal martial arts or energy healing, you have to be pragmatic. You go with what works. And a lot of that is ineffable. Only a small part of what works in either of those arenas can be written large enough to share with a group like this. I put together a demonstration that I hope you find entertaining. I’ll do the demonstration and then break it down.