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Messages on Growth

ideas to ponder and practice

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How to heal ourselves and the planet we live on


Introduction to the Pondering

How many sides of an idea or situation can you see?

Everyone has a natural movement of how they see or to what sides they naturally give attention. In disagreement or conflict a person sees at most only two sides – the front of an idea and one of its edges. Consider these different movements describing how people make sense of their experiences.

  1. Jack is quick to argue, strong in his positions. He will challenge anyone head on. His mind works very quickly and often he will finish other peoples’ sentences for them. He is in ready disagreement with “the front” of their idea before they are done. In particular, he prides himself at seeing and predicting the consequences of a particular action or idea. He will readily point out with great certainty the side effects of an idea.

  2. Maryanne was also very quick of mind. She has cultivated from childhood an active state of curiosity.  Even as a young girl, she wanted to understand why things worked the way they do; what was inside of them. She carried this approach over to her relationships with people. Maryanne is open to influence if you can explain to her what is behind an idea. She does not trust gut feelings or intuitions and if someone offers these as reasons being their ideas, she will dismiss this information and quickly come to conclusions and judgments. Maryanne is good at encouraging people to explain their ideas fully and gives the time for them to do so. However, Maryann did not suffer foolish people lightly.

  3. Raul believed if there was no passion, there was no creativity. In his family, passions always came out at dinner. His father encouraged disagreements and frequently passion would win over information and fact.  In the business world, Raul learned that his passion could overwhelm people and he must be more patient. He learned to encourage people to discover their passions and to know why they cared about an idea. He believed firmly in win-win problem solving and making sure that everyone’s needs were met. Raul was excellent at asking questions and getting people to talk about what is underneath their positions. Raul loved it when someone took a stand with passion as long as they considered other passionate stands. Respecting each other was very important to Raul.

  4. Katherine was considered thorough by some and indecisive by others. She described herself as “seeing all the angles.” More than once she had saved her company considerable embarrassment and money by accurately predicting the implications of a particular decision. Everyone knew that Katherine didn’t make a decision in a first meeting. She preferred for you to  send her materials ahead of time so that she could have time to think it over. Katherine also liked to ask questions. Rarely did she intend challenge by her questions. More often than not, she was curious. She will often ask multiple people the same questions to “triangulate” on a common view. She tries to make sure projects are successful by understanding the implications. Katherine is good at building consensus and knew how and when to include people in decisions.

  5. Inida is a visionary. Some people said that her head is always in the clouds. Unlike Katherine, she is not bothered by implications, only excited by possibilities. She loves a challenge, especially when someone says it cannot be done. Inida would say she has an idea and often works backwards to how to make it happen. She sees trends and makes predictions. One of her favorite activities is scenario planning. She worries a lot about how we use energy and are polluting the planet faster than we are cleaning it up. Her thoughts are often of what will the world be like when her grandchildren are grown up fifty or sixty years from now.

So in which direction do you “ponder”? Which direction feels the most familiar to you as you read these short descriptions? Often when I speak to you and I say meditate on this, I am asking you to ponder a situation or idea in several new directions. You quickly see the direction in which you are the most comfortable. When your meditation helps you energetically ponder a message or a principle, you are “in-learning”. To ponder is to not just peel the onion. It involves turning and rotating the onion in different directions, looking above it, below it and around it to see different aspects. In order to see the sides, notice the  implications both physically and energetically.  To deeply listen to someone is to invite them, in the telling of their story, to ponder. it.

Pondering creates the space that allows you, someone else, a group, a community to see all sides of  an issue or idea. In explaining pondering I am asking to you to explore the sides and the above; to see the energy that ebbs and flows through everything and to see the future of what might be; what might be if you continue to hold the stance of “in-knowing” or “in-learning.”

You must learn to be familiar with the way you naturally ponder and cultivate new ways or new directions in your way of pondering. This will place you deep into the space of “in learning” and will serve you and all around you well.

Pondering and Conflict

When someone speaks from conflict and you are listening, first try to understand the direction in which her energy is moving. In conflict his energy will frequently move forward or rise from underneath. Also notice any patterns of movement. This could be as simple as she is repeating themselves, not just in words, also in actions. If you are seeking to invite a different conversation you might begin with a question that introduces a new energy — for example,  seeking to understand what is behind someone’s idea or position in the conflict. Often this first step shifts the energy pattern. The person offering a non-violent movement to heal a conflict is trying to shift the energy. Energy shifts occur through being in-learning, not in-knowing. This can begin to occur through questions and listening.

Within conflict the importance of intention is made clear.  If you seek to resolve the conflict this cannot be accomplished from a stance of in-knowing or in-wanting. If you believe you have the answer this is in-knowing. If you desire a specific outcome that benefits you this is in-wanting.  One of the first ways to create a strong invitation for people to be in learning is to hold one intention and to create a strong energy field around yourself to be in learning. This of course means that you are truly curious and open to influence.

Shifting The Energy of Conflict

While there are no rules to the resolution of clashing energies, there are things which are helpful to do in the beginning. Of course the things to do begin with yourself.  Consider these possible beginnings:

  1. Are you of one intention?

  2. Can you see or sense the multiple intentions?

  3. To the energy (intensity) arising from an emotional wound – How much is this wound in the present? How much is in the past?

  4. Are there generational wounds present?

  5. Have you tried to use your core light to heal these wounds?

  6. Are you revealing what is behind your intentions or the intentions themselves?

When two people are in conflict, with both deep in the posture of “in-knowing”,  there is no “invitation to speak.” Each person fights for their own position, pushing their energy forward. There is no invitation and no one to receive the energy and hold it. This is the first of the energetic shifts that you can help with. Create an “invitation to speak” and hold the energy of the person speaking. This can be difficult when the energy is full of anger and pain. Often, just having the intention to hold the energy is enough. It will be sensed by the other person.

  1. To shift a conflict someone must introduce the energy of listening; without this energy, there is little possibility of learning. Without learning there can only be more wounding if the conflict continues to escalate.

When there is no invitation to speak, the energy that is present supports the myth that “you are alone.” This is very, very important. The first of the messages is first for many reasons. It is the foundation energetically for all that we are exploring together. To live in the myth that “you are alone” creates little or no opportunity to be “in-learning.” Being in-learning, supported by listening, is the basic posture from which all possibilities emerge.  

In a conflict, you must watch for a deep sense of rightness or knowing, both in yourself and others (of course, once you watch for it in yourself, you are no longer locked into the pattern of being alone).  You must also watch for the signs of someone in despair, for this must be treated (held) with great care. Discerning what energies are present in the conflict is also one of the beginning areas of “attention.”

This pattern underlies many violent conflicts. When we add to this a cycling pattern of reinforcement by wounding or generational wounding, and the energy of hate emerges, sustained by the wounds, this establishes the energetic conditions for war.


How do you ponder? Pondering creates the space that allows you, someone else, a group, a community to see all sides of  an issue or idea. Pondering invites you to explore the sides and the above and below of a situation or relationship. You develop your ability to see the energy that ebbs and flows through everything and to see the future of what might be through movement or inaction.