Transforming Consciousness and Worldview and Understanding Theories of Development

People far wiser than I have researched and written about transforming consciousness and worldview, and they know more than I know about integral theories of development. However, I have learned how important these areas are, and I am including them in the SPIRIT section, because they are so fundamental to our inner development and ways of looking at life.

Though not thinking about ‘consciousness’, as a teen I began writing a daily journal, and I also started documenting and working with my dreams. These activities have continued throughout my life and have been sources of great insight and growth. In the 1980s I also started attending Ira Progoff Intensive Journal(R) Workshops, which expanded my skills and deepened this way of learning for me.

Still not focused on ‘consciousness’, but while completing a Masters in Religious Education at Creighton University in Omaha, I was introduced to theories of moral development (Kohlberg and Gilligan) and faith development (Fowler). That learning brought new insights, which helped me start to move beyond frustrated negative judgment toward understanding how we all grow and evolve in these areas.

Among other things, I learned how important community is in supporting us, when our comfort zones are challenged, and we face new information that appears to overturn our existing ways of thinking and being. In time I began to realize that those developmental experiences are related to the transformation of consciousness and to how we might shift our worldviews. They also help us develop compassion.

What I have come to appreciate about James Fowler’s work in faith development is his definition of faith and his commitment to compassion when working with people at different stages of development. For Fowler, faith is ‘an integral, centering process underlying the formation of beliefs, values and meanings’. It is what we consider dear to our hearts and what provides us with a way of leaning into and making sense of life – regardless of our religious, spiritual, or philosophical perspectives.

Though growing a holistic perspective, learning about systems thinking, and developing an appreciation for whole systems change have powerfully influenced my perspective in the last couple decades, I also have found Ken Wilber’s four quadrants of personal and collective meaning and value, coupled with personal and collective behaviors and systems/processes, helpful in understanding those interconnections.

What follows are resources with which I have some familiarity and knowledge, usually because I have explored them myself.



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