14 Feb Exploring the Akashic Experience: My Personal Journey (Part 6)
The Quest for a New Paradigm
This leads me back to where I started: questing for a fundamental paradigm, cosmology, or story of the world that’s inclusive enough to embrace the Akashic, noetic dimensions while not losing sight of what is real and true in the objective and intersubjective realms of lived experience.
We are alive in a time of enormous complexity—how do we make sense of the fact that a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, secular humanist, and Pagan are all using the same grocery stores, public schools, and health care centers? How is it that a materialist scientist can sit with a contemplative monk and consider the nature of consciousness? Are there insights that come when we bridge inner and outer ways of knowing that may help us navigate twenty-first century life and times? For me the answer is yes.
Not long ago I embarked on a project to build bridges between worldviews and ways of knowing. The program focused on education, which is arguably the most influential societal force shaping young people today. The prevailing worldview is that the primary function of education is the development of cognitive skills. Analytical and memory skills are currently esteemed as the highest forms of intelligence (e.g. IQ). But a growing number of educators, researchers, and parents are questioning these assumptions.
Recent advances in psychology and neuroscience indicate that educating for the whole person is an idea whose time has come. From Howard Gardiner’s (1983) theory of multiple intelligences to the recognition of wide variability in learning styles, there is an ever-expanding view of intelligence and human potential with which our mainstream educational programs need to catch up.
What is being called for is a new model of learning that includes global students embracing a new kind of literacy that appreciates and incorporates different worldviews and ways of knowing, including Akashic knowing.
Working with a small team of researchers, educators and scientists, I helped create a curriculum on what we called “worldview literacy.” We define this as the capacity to comprehend and communicate not only our own worldview, but to recognize that our beliefs come from our particular frame of reference, and to understand that others hold different and potentially equally valid worldviews out of which their assumptions, and therefore their actions, arise. This capacity also includes being able to adapt to changes that come through a meeting of different perspectives, customs, practices, and belief systems.
The blended learning program includes multi-media presentations such as video interviews with teachers and masters of the world’s cultural and religious systems, stories for children from different world traditions, video-led practices from diverse traditions, as well as group discussions and art. We hypothesize that we will find measurable differences before and after the program in areas like intolerance, defensiveness to difference, sense of in-group identification, ability to hold paradox, and understanding different worldviews.
The program is grounded in the philosophy of cultural pluralism and a search for the perennial across cultures. Our goal is to help students move beyond simply tolerating diversity to developing a place of deep appreciation for our differences—as well as our points of connection. In a world that’s increasingly divided, this move toward worldview literacy allows us to formulate a new paradigm that values multiple ways of knowing and being—across people and within ourselves.