Blog 5. Breathe (Love What Is). Evolution Video. Ken Wilber. (May 2014)


Breathecolorful-hummingbirds-21.   Just stop and breathe I tell my students and myself.  Wake up from the ego-trance whenever you remember during your day — and especially when you are agitated or doubtful:

1. Take a deep breath and relax.  Just let go of thought — and rest for a few seconds in the warm clear aware presence of your heart center.

2. If there is time, take a second breath and connect and rest deeply with the peace, power and infinite possibilities of God’s loving presence deep within.

3. If more time, take a third breath, let go of judgment, and with a warm smile BE HERE NOW – in your body, in this room with the other bodies, and in this world with all our fellow adventurers on planet earth.

In doing this we can cut through the swirling negative momentum that can blind us to clarity and love — and initiate negative habitual patterns (often learned in childhood)– from angry attack to sullen resentment to spiraling down into a deep depression.

Just one breath can wake us from our ego attack so we notice that the seeming enemy in front of us is actually the spouse or child we love — or the boss or cop we need to respect.  It can remind us or wake us to our spiritual wisdom such as:

  • to “love what is” since all suffering springs from our egoic disagreement  with what-is right now.
  • that every expression of anger (by myself and others) is really a call for love (i.e. —  our angry spouse is calling for our love and understanding).
  • that we are truly spiritual beings who have chosen to have a human adventure on planet earth.
  • that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, the real solution is for us to change (to connect to our center instead of our ego).

kids balancingSo every incident where  I get upset/uptight provides me with a “wake up call”  to practice these teachings – to stay in balance.

For the last 6 months I have been the caretaker for my wife as she has gone thru the two painful surgeries and painful neuralgia.  I am not a natural caregiver and each of her frequent needs for help has provided me with the opportunity to let go of my initial irritated judgment and habitual selfish reaction — take a centering breath and respond from my loving center.  It has been a powerful practice time for me.

Every incident or any random moment is an opportunity to:

  • Breathe in — loving (with clarity and joy) — the aware, infinite, source presence of my “true self” deep within.
  • Breathe out — loving (with clarity and joy ) “what is” — all of the arising objects,  sensations, and even thoughts of my “small self”.






Last November,the Buddhist Geeks Conference put out a request for talks — requiring a 2 minute video introduction to a proposed 20 minute TED type talk at the conference.  Three winners would be selected by votes on their website.

I thought it might be fun to see if I could put together a video on  the research I have done on our evolution of consciousness.

For many years I have researched the rather surprising thesis that over the long term (50,000, 5000, 500, or even the last 50 years) our driving expansion of technology has led to (or allowed) an expanded sense of moral values — or who we respect and care about. (We are becoming far less apt to eat, enslave, kill, or degrade each other). And this trend shows every sign of continuing — and even spreading to other species.

To watch the video go to  “Higher Tech drives Higher Morals by Carter Smith”

The video was voted number 2, and the conference really liked it,  but it did not fit well with the overall theme of the conference.  Next Year.

If you want more information on this subject, go to the Accelerating Evolution page on the right hand panel  of this web site.

It is likely that  I would not have made this video or become a meditation teacher if I had not encountered Ken Wilber in 1995.

KenWilberKEN WILBER is a mapmaker.  As a philosopher-writer, he makes maps of the development or evolution of consciousness — including philosophy, culture, morality, and spirituality.  In 1995, I really needed a map. I had been thrashing around in confusing thickets of spiritual seeking for many years.

At that time I was:  practicing twelve step shaman-visions-300x225  recovery– speaking, counseling, helping (20 years);   practicing the non-dual spirituality of Course in Miracles (10 years);   taking both healthy and dying folks on shamanic journeys to find guidance and healing from their power animal or inner teacher;   consulting to large organizations — utilizing the latest technology and management techniques;   keeping my MIT physics and math training current in physics, computers, cosmology, genetics, physics, economics, and technology;   ruminating on my past explorations of  philosophy, death and dying, 50 rebirth sessions, 20 past-life regressions, channeling, est, NLP, Human Potential, psychological therapies, fire-walking, Buddhism and more.

I was hoping that out of this swirling mishmash of thoughts, images and ideas that I could encounter the peace and clarity of a spiritual awakening.  Shamanism gave me glimpses, as did Buddhism and The Course in Miracles — but I was disturbed by their pre-modern and even pre-rational view of the modern world. There seemed to be a naive longing for the simplicity of tribal or feudal life. There was a total lack of appreciation or respect for the amazing creations of humans: cars, highways, water systems, toilets, space ships, jets, legal systems, poetry, language, mathematics, computers, democracy, modern medicine, rational thought.

So, I wondered, why this magnificent evolution, if we need to seemingly regress to find the peace of true spirituality — if we need to even disown the physical world completely?  Why bother with evolution if we needed to devolve back to find peace?  Why bother developing from embryo to baby to child to adult?  Why not stay in happy embryonic bliss?

And how do all these spiritual and psychological teachings fit together?  And why is the life of a human on planet earth so damn difficult?  And even if I achieve nirvana, how do I deal with difficult children, demanding bosses, and clogged freeways?

Ken Wilber had the maps to clear thru this confusion.  I devoured his just published 850 page tome, “Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality” (SES)  — and then five earlier books.

Wilber's AQAL ModelTrying to understand his ideas better, I made my own charts — clearly showing how the drumbeat of the evolution of consciousness is beating faster and faster:  5 billion years ago – the earth cooled and microscopic cellular life began;  500 million years ago – the Cambrian explosion of complex animal life – eyes, spines, legs, brains;  50 million years ago – a meteor wipes out the dinosaurs and allows  the complex brainy emotion driven mammals to thrive;  5 million years ago – Lucy walks upright on the Serengeti plain;  500 thousand years ago – Archaic humans — fire and spears;   50 thousand years ago – the upper paleolithic explosion culture and language a- magical thinking;  5 thousand years ago – plow agriculture, writing, civilization – pre-modern traditional or concrete-operational thinking;  500years ago – science, printing, democracy, market economy – modern or rational thinking;   50 years ago – informational global economy  – post modern multi-perspective thinking – moving toward integral and trans-rational stages.  Consciousness development, it seems, followed Moore’s Law long before the age of computers.

Ken Wilber helped put many of my swirling ideas into perspective.  For instance early spirituality, like Shamanism is Descending — bringing spirit into the physical world to (magically) guide aor change or fix things (find food, kill your rival, attract a lover).  Middle spirituality like early Christianity or Buddhism is Ascending — escaping this nasty brutish world of suffering for the pure clean world of spirit (ascetic withdrawal from sex, food, money, commerce).  Non-dual spirituality recognizes that Spirit is the Source of all physical and once one has a spiritual awakening or enlightenment, one sees all sensations as arising from and not separate or undifferentiated form Spirit-Source-God of self or Self. So all evolutionary development springs from  a flowering of Spirit

Ken also cleared up the pre/trans fallacy.  Early spirituality seems non-rational  — but it is pre-rational.  Non-dual spirituality is trans-rational — beyond, but inclusive of rational thinking.

Meditation.  I went to a Ken Wilber conference in San Francisco in 1996 and further studied his Integral approach.  In 1999, I was reading a Wilber’s diary book “One Taste”. On page 69 he says

 “I had been meditation fairly intensely for twenty years, when …[following] an intensive Dzogchen retreat … the separate-self seemed to radically, deeply thoroughly die … there was no I to be moved; there was only unwavering empty consciousness, the luminous mirror-mind, the witness that was one with everything witnessed … it has been so, more or less, ever since.”

 I was electrified upon reading this.  Wow! I thought. If I want to achieve that kind of awakening I had better stop diddling around and get into meditation now.  I’ve been avoiding serious meditation for the last twenty  years and will be over eighty in another twenty years.  But it’s not too late if I start now.  I called the local  Shambhala Meditation Center and signed up for their weekend Level 1 course that very weekend.

Its been 15 years, and now I teach meditation.

A spapshot of two crows on Mt. Everest's Teng Boche Monestary -- contemplating the mystery.

A snapshot of two crows on Mt. Everest’s Tengboche Monastery — contemplating their next adventure.

I am a long way from achieving Ken Wilber’s deep experience — but the confusion and suffering of the Carter-character-self is gradually dissolving and being replaced by clarity, peace and even joy.  And the adventure continues!

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Living life as an adventure, not as a trial — one breath at a time.

WELCOME.   This website and blog is dedicated to exploring ways and views that can help us better remember or awaken to our essential spiritual nature — and to really appreciate and enjoy our human surfchildpinkadventure on planet earth — to thrive rather than survive each precious day. The site has several parts:

My bio or story describes some of my personal adventures and explorations on planet earth — how to live life with a sense of fun and curiosity.  The best view I have found so far starts with a deep sense that I am actually an infinite spiritual being that is having a creative human experience — an extension of Source energy. In growing up I become so embedded/ fascinated/ frightened with this physical world I totally forgot my connection with my True Self;  I became convinced I was this vulnerable separate mind and body called Carter.  This website is dedicated to discovering views and practices that help us reestablish or remember our True Selves and the true joy it can bring to every moment of our lives.

Accelerating Evolution describes one of those explorations. The integral theories of Ken Wilber freed me from the idea that to connect with spirituality I had to drop my rationality – to regress to medieval or tribal times.  Instead, I discovered that our desire for a better world and life has led not only to higher technology and economics but to higher stages of morality and spirituality. The Accelerating Evolution model I developed predicts that by the last half of this century these powerful creative forces will open us to the mature rational or integral stage and even spiritual levels of consciousness — and soon racism, sexism and even violence will become as morally repugnant as the infanticide, cannibalism and slavery of our earlier stages. [But the process getting there, like most changes,  may be bumpy!]

Russia Blogs. In the fall and winter of 2010, my wife Franny and I went to Germany and Russia to help build out a new theater in St. Petersburg. I wrote a series of blogs on that adventure.

Current Blogs will deal with my ongoing explorations and adventures. The first one will be based on an email I sent to a friend who was struggling with the spiraling doom of depressive thinking — it recommends, among other things, some of the tools of positive psychology

Carter Vincent Smith