Comments by RISN

Showing 57 of 57 comments.

  • Bonnie, thank you for this. When I was 12, my mother was hospitalized and shocked. When she returned to us, she kept a dairy and fought for her memory. She returned to teaching. At the end of her life, I disgarded years of dairies. The entries consisted of the weather and purchase prices and records of phone calls and letters from me and my brothers. At the end of the year she would total how much she spent on each of us. I searched in vain for some indication of the inner turmoil. I looked for a key to unlock the emotions.

    When she had hip surgery, the anesthesia induced psychosis. Her physician told me, “Your mother had a hard life.” The dairies never told me that. Your novel records what she could not. Thank you!

  • Bonnie, thank you for this. When I was 12, my mother was hospitalized and shocked. When she returned to us, she kept a dairy and fought for her memory. She returned to teaching. At the end of her life, I disagreed years of dairies. The entries consisted of the weather and purchase prices and records of phone calls and letters from me and my brothers. At the end of the year she would total how much she spent on each of us. I searched in vain for some indication of the inner turmoil. I looked for a key to unlock the emotions.

    When she had hip surgery, the anesthesia induced psychosis. Her physician told me, “Your mother had a hard life.” The dairies never told me that. Your novel records what she could not. Thank you!

  • I was recently in a meeting pitching a proposal for psychiatric alternatives for our community. I was told that they did not understand “the jargon”. Couldn’t understand my jargon? Will you point out the problem with the psychiatric jargon around human suffering and adaptation. It appears that we have to develop our own language thus becoming a linguistic group with our own history, culture, rituals, etc.

  • “To what extent is it appropriate today, to open a dialogue about the cultural relevance and effectiveness of shamanic practice?” Check out
    The author discusses spiritual expression, and the religious organizational formats in which context it will take place, as always embedded in a social structure. If our current social structure is peer to peer based social relations, this will affect spiritual expression in fundamental ways. The author states, “Broadly speaking, we would argue that peer to peer is the outgrowth of deep changes in ontology (ways of being), epistemology (ways of knowing) and axiology (value constellations).”

  • Deep bow to your work! At our university the northeast of the USA the only bridge is the spirituality and social work courses and our chaplaincy. What you appear to be calling for is integral methodological pluralism. There have been several attempts within academia: Naropa in Denver, California Integral Institute, the Integral Program at JFK and several in Europe. Outside of academia there are various wisdom schools using evolutionary mysticism and other post metaphysical perspectives.

  • John writes, “However, I don’t take much stock in the magical realism part.” Having read the book from an Integral perspective, I would not conclude that Dick is stuck in the magical stage of consciousness but rather includes and transcends both the magical and the modern stages. Integrating the magical is an important step in the evolution of consciousness. What Dick has written is an emergent perspective on extreme states which is not addicted to modern nor allergic to magical stages of consciousness. Perhaps in future articles Dick might expand on the last chapter of the book for us. Deep bow to Dick, Malidoma, and Frank for their work!

  • I met Malidoma Some once. He did a group reading based on the 4 elements. A friend noticed that her partner and I had not received a reading. Malidome replied, “They are the witches who harmonize the elements. ” If the elements are out of harmony might it be because we have discounted all the witches?

  • The piece that hooked me in this article was the need for Atonement. I am a spiritual practitioner (I identify as Integral Christian) and I practice the Rosh Hashanah ritual. This year that practice included the 12 biblical myths of tears. My spiritual teacher, Marc Gafni, writes: “In the vision of Rosh Hashanah, God is as concerned with the evolution of our tears as with the rightness of our actions. Indeed, the former shapes the latter. At this level of Rosh Hashanah consciousness, we seek to learn the language of our tears. Tears emerge as the major currency of evolution in the deepening and transformation sought on Rosh Hashanah. At this level of consciousness, the human being is called not only to right action derived from obedience to the Divine will but to right action that emerges from the depth of one’s newly realized Divine center. And this Divine center is realized when one becomes a Master of Tears. These two levels of understanding Rosh Hashanah are not in discord. Rather they dance and deepen into each other in an ascending melody of realization.”

    So, I wondered what any of this hook of atonement had to do with the missing schizophrenia. In the biblical myth there is this horrific story of the Binding of Isaac. Read simply it is the story of God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on the mountain as a sign of his absolute commitment to God. There are four characters in this story: Abraham, Sarah (his wife), Isaac, and God. Abraham hears God tell him to sacrifice Isaac and so he and Isaac climb the mountain, Abraham binds Isaac with a rope and raises his knife to kill him. Abraham hears God speak, offering a ram as a substitute for Isaac. Abraham releases Isaac and kills the ram instead. No tears. No one cries. Abraham does not cry. Isaac does not cry. Sarah starts to cry but drops dead before she can complete her crying. No tears. No schizophrenia.

    At a deeper level of consciousness, the practice of Rosh Hashanah is the practice of at-one-ment. This is the level of non-duality. The great spiritual experiment of Abraham is to learn to disambiguate the voice of God. In the deeper reading, Abraham’s shadow is the first voice of God that demands the sacrifice of Isaac. And when Abraham learns to disambiguate the voice of God from the shadow, there is at-one-ment. This is the place of Eros. God in the first person. This is the place of ultimate realization. Not only is Abraham (and I am also) in conversation with the Divine, not only are we in relationship, but on a deeper plane of reality, I AM. Here, I realize my ultimate identity with the ground of all being, with the All, with God. The only true solution to your identity crisis is to realize your identity with All-is-One.

    It seems that this practice to disambiguate the voice of God is one that might be helpful for the psychiatric system to engage on a daily basis. If I am at-one-ment with the person I have bound for sacrifice to the system, I will see other options. My eyes will fill with unshed tears and my perception will clear.

  • This is a great video! I have been thinking of all the ways we might use it at Rutgers Integral Spiritual Nexus.

    At RISN House we have a children’s book which reframes the biblical myth of the Fall into an issue of ripeness and unripeness, not good and evil. From eating from the tree of consciousness, humans carry a special gift which will be “a blessing seed. It will leap from your hearts into the hearts of others.” Michael, you are manifesting the blessing seed in this video. It leaps from your heart into the hearts of others. Thank you.

  • Melissa,
    This is a timely article for me. I just returned from Wisdom School in which we examined and embodied the different types of tears invoked by Rosh Hashanah.

    Twelve stories of crying are set in the center of the ritual over a period of days. The tool of Rosh Hashanah is the shofar, a wailing instrument. Tears are transformative if consciously examined. Tears can evolve levels of consciousness.

    I am sure that other faith traditions have a ritual for tears (confession and Good Friday for Christians, perhaps?). Spiritual practice is an important part of recovery in my opinion.

  • The level of consciousness associated with capitalism evolved out of a correction to the pathology of pre – modernity. This emphasized exteriors and what could be measured by the scientific method. The pathology of modernity is that it ignores interiors. Sanity is to know who we are, including both interior and exterior, and to play a bigger game than specialized revelation and scientific method. That bigger game will involve the evolution of a meta mind of a democratized enlightenment.

  • Therapists have the same problem as spiritual gurus. They can be awakened (special revelation, education, training) and still be a dick. It is not enough to reach a state of consciousness. One must grow up in the levels of evolved consciousness in order to show up as the unique self who can hold the outrageous pain that is beyond one’s ability to heal except by showing up as an outrageous lover.

  • Yes, conflict is a lost art for the non-expert but big business for the experts (read attorney, psychiatrist, clergy, etc.). We need to democratize conflict and put it back into the hands of the artists. May our children never fall into the hands of the family court system (all communication stops once the lawyers get involved) and the psychiatric system (Resisting shaming? Here, take this pill)!

  • Someone Else, I have to agree. I have naively thought that I could work with some doctors in the psychiatric system (especially those within my faith community). But today I have to confess that I was wrong. A fellow believer posted this story to their FB page: I pointed out that it was a nice recovery story and wondered about the child’s withdrawal from Seroquel. I also pointed out that for the last 4 years, Seroquel has a warning about eye problems associated with it. I was unfriended. I had been warned before that I could not post anything that might make the parents of his patients feel guilty (the mother of the child is a minister of word & sacrament and acquainted with guilt and recovery from it). I also suspect that I may not post anything that might inform the parents of his patients.

  • While living in a large urban center in Latin America, my family had a real crash course in “urban shamanism.” For many reasons, a tribal group stopped sending their young men into the Amazon for the vision quest and starting sending them to the city. They would live on the streets in a highly altered state of consciousness until the government would round them up and send them back by bus. My son had several encounters with the young men and then witnessed the murder of one of them by a police officer. I have often wondered about what cultural shift they may have been attempting. How did they interpret the murder of one (and perhaps many more) of their own? One thing I think I took away from their quest was that it was deeply embedded in community. Perhaps in the jungle they were more alone, but in the city, they lived and explored the spiritual territory as a group. Before I go questing, I want to ask, “Where is my tribe?”

  • Hi, Laura,
    Our children are in the International version of The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life and Education. We were in Venezuela. Our son returned to the US for a BFA when he was 17. He was captured by the psychiatric system. You have a good chance of meeting him in the Mad Pride Movement.

  • Yes, Steve, it is threatening to the elite and so why don’t we challenge and withdraw children from their system? There was a definite backlash from teacher unions. Deschooling was the legal arm of the movement and was able to join liberals with fundamentalists to get freedoms for families. Charter schools were the alternative (with teachers and parents given the freedom to create the educational environment). However, there are many charter schools today that look no different than the public system, except with no union, and are run by professional charter school administrative corporations. Why?

    I see the attempts to start Soteria Houses as similar to the unschool/democracy school movement. Only 2% of the USA participate in unschooling. A similar situation is in Sweden where anyone who wants to start a cooperative can find others to join except for educational cooperatives. Too much work!

    Are the alternatives to the psychiatric system too much work for the American public?

  • It was with great interest that I read both articles. In the not so distant past there was a movement to “rethink schools.” This movement was firmly rooted in liberation theory. After it got going it became obvious that we couldn’t just pull learners out of the education system and expect them to carry on. They first had to have a “withdrawal” from the system. Depending on how long they participated in the system, the more difficult the withdrawal. So we started an organization called “unschooling.” All three of my children are unschoolers–never took the SAT, no grades, narrative evaluations, studied science by working with a scientist, etc. My youngest has never taken a standardized test. And all three went to college (a progressive one with no tests and narrative evaluations). It was the way off of the steamroller.

    There is something disturbing about this. There is a great similarity between the liberation from the educational system and liberation from the psychiatric system (We had our battles with the courts and legislation too). Unschooling never took off and never became the dominant system. The “Rethinking Schools” zine folded. It might be helpful to explore why the unschooling movement failed to become the dominant system.

  • I watched a show on TLC last night “Our Child Was Born Schizophrenic”. As her story unfolded from birth, the parents noted that she stopped sleeping at age 3 weeks ? but their pediatrician did not take them seriously. Then as she deteriorated she was started on the drugs. The biological psychiatry story was rehearsed by the parents, doctors, etc. repeatedly throughout the show. Propaganda that the American public buys.

  • Given what gravities or potential charge some of these discussions will inevitably have I welcome a degree of messiness among the earnest searching. If we would avoid triggers and trauma all together, then we also shy from the risks of broaching, thus tapping into, how these topics, the details of our statements, land with each of us, in our diversity of perspectives.
    There is an inevitable risk of entering these discussions at all. Messiness is and never has been the issue for me. It is the context of relationship, and the lack of real container in online spaces that I often see leading to continual dead ends. It’s something I’ve witnessed over time and a lot of experience (I’m not even specifically talking about this forum). I sense that to do the deep juicy and messy conflict work that I agree is important, we need some sense of container. I’m not sure what that would be in an online forum. Maybe it is possible online, I’m just saying I’ve rarely seen it. It’s not about taking away the risk, I’d just like to improve the level of container, as I’ve seen so many of the same debates and weird dynamics emerge on so many forums on this topic.
    I had hoped that the UU church could form the container. I understand that they could not. Still need a container.

  • Very sad, Jon. Yesterday I read a blog ( about David Hilton by Ken Braiterman. Ken wrote: “As an activist team, David and I played good cop/bad cop with the bureaucrats. As the good cop, I sat in the room talking to them, and David Hilton stayed out, feeding me facts and ideas. Part of my job was to translate his good ideas into proposals I could sell. Politics is the art of the possible. You settle for a little at a time until you have all you want. A good change is better than a great idea…Our adversaries liked and respected me because I treated them like I wanted to be treated, and brought in reasonable ideas. He never stopped to enjoy seeing the enemy adopt his ideas. Like Jackie Robinson, who also died young, David Hilton did not care how about far we’d come, only how far we still had to go.”

    After 35+ years working in the church, I have learned how much it is like politics. And it is an art. And you settle for a little change, rather than a great idea. And the ideas must be reasonable (read “we can finance this”). And most psychiatric survivors and their families have been too financially devastated to finance this. It does make me angry and that anger could kill me unless I do some self care.

    We are in this for the long haul. So let’s take a moment to celebrate how far we have come.

  • We at Rutgers Integral Spiritual Nexus House are also visioning such a place here in New Brunswick, NJ. We discovered recently that another group is opening a Respite home in New Brunswick and thought we could collaborate. The only problem is that the new Respite home is for those over 21. I assume (and perhaps I am wrong) that this has to do with seeking parental consent and the other issues that the New York Times piece articulated.

  • I am not really sure what it means “psychiatric housing issue”. Our interns work with Dr. Allisonson Zippay (PhD, University of California, Berkeley). She is Director of the PhD Program and Professor at the Rutgers University School of Social Work. Her research areas encompass community planning and community practice, and the ways in which place and social connections affect life prospects, including economic opportunity and social service utilization, for various subgroups of the poor. Dr. Zippay received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health to examine the ways in which communities and service agencies plan and locate psychiatric housing. This research identified ‘geographies of opportunity’ that promote social and community inclusion, and factors associated with community opposition to special needs housing. Other research examines resource mobilization and employment among low-income groups. Dr. Zippay has served as Associate Dean for Curriculum, and was a participant in the Management Development Program at the Harvard University Institute for Higher Education. She teaches graduate courses in the areas of policy and management. She is a recipient of the Rutgers University Susman Award for Excellence in Teaching.

  • Yes, very cool! We live in the shadow of Johnson and Johnson (not just bandaids and baby shampoo, my friends!). Many of the Rutgers School of Social Work professors are working on the psychiatric housing issue. So much more to do.

    I would like to see students have an advanced directive for extreme states when they come to Rutgers. But who gets the directives? Resident Hall advisers? Counseling Center? Parents? Roommate?


    There will be one Respite home in New Brunswick. Joe Meany is the Respite Coordinator at Collaborative Support Programs of NJ. It was to open in April but is not open yet. Another is to open in Passaic County. One must be 21 so I am guessing that our Rutgers University students will not be residents. Students will have to disclose extreme states to the staff at the counseling center–a risky choice since that can flag one for special conditions (read drugs) to continue as a student.

  • I find it interesting that she is getting her Master’s in psychology. Is the motivation to understand where the system went wrong or to be in the field in order to change it? Or is abnormal psychology (study of the pathology of psyche, soul, spirit) not the servant of psychiatry (medical branch dealing with the psyche)?

    I listened to your interview on the talk show. Good stuff! New Jersey is about to open 4 respite homes (fingers crossed!). Perhaps Laura could add them to her list.

  • I concur and would add a third question: What has happened to Earth? Many in the environmental movement would argue that we need to return to an earlier time, a paradise that we lost through progress and development. Some point to early agricultural societies as the first step in our “Great Mistake.” Others believe that it is only with the start of the industrial era and the extraction of non-renewable resources that we plunged headfirst into the present ecological crisis. Perhaps all are mistaken.

    The transpersonal psychologist and philosopher, Ken Wilber, suggests that the pattern of evolution is to differentiate and integrate, to transcend and include. From this angle we can see that our “Great Mistake,” is actually an important part of a much larger process which leads on to ecological integration. That is to say, the real challenge is not to regress to a time before differentiation but to face those parts of ourselves that we have disowned and reintegrate them. The evolution of the mind required a differentiation from nature and with that greater complexity came the capacity of greater pathology, i.e., disassociation. We are now witnessing first-hand the consequences of that disassociation.

    One way of explaining the ecological crisis using these terms is that the ecological unconscious has become repressed and placed into the individual and collective shadow of the human species and that we are bound to act out this shadow in denial what we cannot integrate into our conscious being. Ken Wilber writes:
    Every neurosis…is a miniature ecological crisis…Neurosis in this sense is an assault on the biosphere by the noosphere…and the neurotic symptoms disappear, or are healed, only as consciousness relaxes its repression, re-contacts, and befriends the biosphere that exists in its own being and then reintegrates that biosphere with the newly emergent noosphere in its own case. This is called “uncovering the shadow” and the shadow is… the biosphere (Wilber, 2000, p. 231).
    The biomedical model is based on an assumption of a skin-encapsulated self separate from the ecological crisis of Earth. We need bigger questions about the context in which we live.

  • I taught social skills at a residential school K-12. The Boys’ Town’s “Teaching Social Skills to Youth” was the program we used. Another helpful book is Lavoie, Richard (2005-08-15). It’s So Much Work to Be Your Friend: Helping the Child with Learning Disabilities Find Social Success . Touchstone. Kindle Edition. One of the many strategies that Rick offers is called the Social Skill Autopsy. Using this technique, an adult assists a child to improve social skills by analyzing social errors together and designing alternative strategies. This technique also works well in examining and identifying behaviors that contribute to positive social interaction.

    Lavoie, Richard (2005-08-15). It’s So Much Work to Be Your Friend: Helping the Child with Learning Disabilities Find Social Success . Touchstone. Kindle Edition.

  • Monica, this is wonderful news!…I think. Our family was in Venezuela during the revolution and the bombing of the capital city. When we returned to the USA, one family member had flashbacks and was captured by the psychiatric system. After 15 years of the system, he was able to break free. When I woke up one morning and realized that he was now free, we discussed how freedom was going to be a difficult state of mind…can old dreams live again, how to recover financially, do you identify openly as a psychiatric survivor, etc.? I wish you the very best on your journey!
    I dedicated many of the 15 years searching for alternatives, including an encounter with Findhorn. I am not very sensitive but I was very interested in the healing of the plant/human relationship. I tracked the idea of plants “speaking” for some time. I finally found an ethnographic study which reported that a Native American shaman was asked what a plant sounded like. He responded, “Heh Ya, Heh Ya, Heh…” I should have known…it is vibrational!

  • The purpose of RISN House is to address and integrate the four quadrants of human experience: the exterior of the individual, the interior of the individual (which includes altered states), the interior of the plural, and the exterior of the plural. We too are attempting to create a unique We that can serve as the support for psychiatric survivors in our context. I recently read a book by Bruce Levine, “Get Up, Stand Up” in which he suggests that we unite populists (the WE) against the Corporatocracy. He does a rather interesting analysis of how we (in the United States) learned powerlessness. The list is very long! So long that it feels overwhelming and induces powerlessness. I believe that one place to start which has been used well by MIA is the survivor’s autobiography. When we can tell our story as outrageous love in response to outrageous pain in the world, we become audacious actors and not powerless victims. We meet in our stories. (Which is the point of my story about the 2 psych residents above: one listens to story and the other does not). The first time someone in the psychiatric system does not listen to your story, run.

  • Carina,
    This is such a wonderful model! I am the mother of a psychiatric survivor. Our first encounter with the psychiatric system was in the ER of our teaching hospital for the state university. A new resident saw my son and listened very carefully to his history. He said, “This is very complex and I am too new to have any idea what to say to you. But thank you for sharing your story with me.” A seasoned resident came in glanced at the chart for all of two seconds and said, “I have seen this before. Bipolar. Admit him.” I said, “Over my dead body.”

  • Yes, how to fund this? The state of PA has two programs which were offered to my son instead of SSI: Works for Me and Think Beyond the Label. He was assessed and scored very high which meant he was encouraged to take out student loans and “retrain” at a Pennsylvania college. The student loans provided housing costs. The catch-22 is that if the student does not comply with the counseling center’s “recommendations”, enrollment can be terminated. The SSI attorney questioned the assessment of my son. Rightly so. He now has student loan debt without a degree. If it were not for RISN House, he would be in a group home still drugged or on the street. So, I struggle with the purity issue of the funding.

  • Hi, Iden!

    I am the mother of a psychiatric survivor and living in the belly of the beast, so to speak (Johnson & Johnson headquarters are just outside my window). I have just read Bruce Levine’s book “Get Up, Stand Up.” I, like so many other activists, am asking, “How to we find our way and fund our way out of this mess?” Do we shut down the psychiatric system first or do we open alternatives first? Do we fund this using government funds that are so enmeshed with the Big Pharma or do we stay pure? I believe that Housing First is a helpful directive.

    I am the chaplain at a university intentional community with a second floor that could be used for a Respite center (thinking Soteria-like). It seems like we can do housing first and then focus on alternative modalities. The university setting is a portal from which young people, separated from their support systems, can be introduced to the psychiatric system for the first time. Often their continuing enrollment in the university is based on a medication plan (which is a form of compulsion). When I was just starting to feel really overwhelmed by the work to be done, you have provided a clear guidepost for next steps. Thank you!

  • Sera,
    I am so glad that you are a kick-ass mom! What to do about the Kelseys of this world? I just finished Bruce Levine’s book (see below). He writes: “It certainly makes sense that the corporatocracy would try to use schools to transmit the corporatocracy’s “social and political values,” as Bennett says, and “breed and train a standardized citizenry” in the words of Mencken. 160 Members of the elite would rather a student learn in school that elections mean that a society is a democracy , but they can tolerate students learning some radical content, such as Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. The elite know that far more important than the subject matter is the actual nature of school life.” The whole chapter on “How Schools Teach Powerlessness” is worth a read.

    I have worked in non-schooling endeavors and start-ups. All three of my children were unschooled because my son had a near brush with the psychiatric system when he was 5. Yes, 5! He told me on the walk home from school, “I give up.” A five-year-old was ready to give up on life after several months in the schooling culture. My greatest regret is that I did not realize that college was just as dangerous an entry portal for the psychiatric system as the public education system.

    Where are our collective efforts best directed? At the battling of political legislation, at the dismantling of Big Pharma and all of corporatocracy or at the energizing of the defeated? We cannot wait until adulthood to start energizing, in my humble opinion.

    Levine, Bruce E. (2011-04-11). Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite (Kindle Locations 1872-1877). Chelsea Green Publishing. Kindle Edition.

  • Richard,
    I work in the state of New Jersey. In 2010 Division of Mental Health and Division of Substance Abuse and Addiction were combined into one department. There was an RFP from DMHAS for three Respite houses in NJ (New Brunswick, Haledon which is near Paterson, and in Ocean County; the last one will be run by Drenk Behavioral). The funding is coming from this source and we’ll also have to bill Medicaid. I was working to start a Soteria House in New Brunswick. While I could collaborate with the Respite house, I have concerns about how the Medicaid billing would influence treatment options. Any advice?

  • We live in a world of outrageous pain. This generation is the first to be digitally intimate every moment of every day with outrageous pain. One response to global outrageous pain is to close down. Close the heart. Don’t feel. Don’t think. Numb out. Any surprise that 1 in 4 have an encounter with the psychiatric system?

    The only response to a world of outrageous pain is outrageous love. We need to become outrageous lovers. What does that mean? It means to see with Love’s eyes, and to let Love see through your eyes. To be enlightened means to move from your perspective to Love’s perspective.
    Bill Clinton said that only a shift in consciousness will allow us to take the necessary steps to heal our future. The mystical and political are coming together because that is the invitation and demand of this evolutionary moment.
    Marc Gafni said that the shift in consciousness that we are invited to is no less then the awakening of the outrageous lover that lives in us. The outrageous lover shatters her mistaken identity as a skin-encapsulated ego, loving only what serves her superficial survival and prosperity. The outrageous lover expands beyond the contractions of ego, into larger and larger fields of felt caring and concern. The purpose and trajectory of her life is the evolution of love.
    Mysticism is a technology of daily practices and injunctions that result in the evolution of consciousness. An altered state of consciousness can be practiced and sustained as an altered stage of consciousness. Every generation is responsible for its own evolution of consciousness. This generation has the potential to transcend to the kosmocentric stage of consciousness. Every village must support this generation’s evolution. It is our covenant with them. Nothing less will do.

  • Jonathan,
    I like your analysis of this. I disagree with #4. There is a widespread alternative to the medical model. It used to be called spiritual formation. It was overtaken by the medical model but there are still those who will walk beside you through extreme states and dangerous gifts. There were properties and buildings dedicated to this model all over the world. I collaborate with a group of diminishing property and building owners who would love to see these properties to be re-purposed for Soteria-like purposes. There is probably a building in every town in my state. They would need a proposal and an organization that would dispel the myths of the medical model for them. Would you be interested?
    RISN House

  • James,
    A non-egoic non-dual realization of unique perspective includes and transcends all the ethical contexts of former generations. I am encouraged that today’s generation has an ethical context that includes and transcends the anthropomorphic ethics of former generations.
    I appreciate the writings of C.S. Lewis. As this is a website challenging the medical model and its use with children, I would like to note that when we had a stillborn son, Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia were the center of bibliotherapy that we did with our surviving grieving children. Several years later, we added another child to the family and when I pulled out the Chronicles to read to her, the elder siblings joined us to continue the tradition of reading them aloud together.

  • I just read a piece about billionaire Warren Buffet this morning which reminded me of our covenant with the next generation: Buffet reports that his dad gave him a wonderful gift: “He told me, both verbally and by his behavior, that he cared only about the values I had, not the particular path I chose. He simply said that he had unlimited confidence in me and that I should follow my dreams.” Buffet chose to raise his own children with that example. Their “It’s your life” message to their kids had an interesting consequence: not one of their three children completed college.

  • So how do we fund our way out of this mess? I have one strategy (not really mine as Seth Farber advocated this before me): What if religious institutions that are diminishing repurposed their buildings, properties, and staff for the purpose of Soteria-like housing and intentional communities for the mad in America? I have a collaboration with a diminishing Christian denomination on the East coast of the USA. They own buildings, properties, camps, educational institutions, and nursing homes that are going unused or underused. They have developed a community development corporation for the vision of repurposing these buildings. Some now house foster children who have aged out of the system, victims of domestic violence, and homeless people, in short mad folk. Just today, a notice came across my desk from a diminishing church looking for someone to lead them forward. There are no people under age 35 in this church. They would love to have some. Could we form an organization that could contact and collaborate with these property owners? Seems like a better bet than contacting Big Pharma, but I could be wrong.

  • In an evolutionary analysis of parenting, development is a matter of pull, not push. We are pulled forward by the evolutionary impulse of the future, not so much pushed by the past. The task of parents is to create the environment in which the child feels safe in their aloneness. And we need to integrate and transcendent the level to which the past generation evolved. As a Boomer, I think my generation had a great deal of difficulty with including the dignity of the previous generation. There was more of an allergy to the past generation. Gaffni writes, “You join the great symphony of Being and Becoming–first by mastering your own instrument, and second by listening deeply to all the other instruments.” Basically, I was agreeing with what you wrote but with a more positive and hope-filled perspective.

  • You wrote: “But I would suggest that many parents today do not feel they have evolved in a positive direction.” Every person evolves. In the same way, every generation is responsible for its own evolution of consciousness. So there is an agreement of relationship between the generations. Each contributes its own unique insights to the ongoing evolution of consciousness. The center of gravity for my father’s generation was modernity. It has its dignity and its disasters. The center of gravity for my generation was post-modernity. It has its dignity and its disasters. The center for today’s parents is po-po-mo and, again, it has its dignity and its disasters. When I was developed to the stage of magical faith development, my father’s modernity meant very little to my spiritual and moral development. The best position for influence is one stage above the child’s stage. When I was at the conventional stage of development, modernity had a great deal of influence on my development. So, when I had a daughter, my father got smart. He chose to regress to one level ahead of her and he related from always one level ahead, until she passed him by, much to his delight. The goal of the evolution of consciousness is the evolution of love. It is a pretty positive goal for parents, in my humble opinion. “Critical moral practices” also evolve. When you are aware and awake, you do better. The po-po-mo generation is on its way to unique self perspective. They are going to evolve to a post-egoic nondual realization of unique perspective. They are going to do better, if the other generations keep their relational contract.

  • I took this as my jumping off space to think about this issue: “What would be possible if Mental Health Conditions were viewed as gifts that require effective management and responsible use? How would healthcare protocols and delivery be impacted? How would spiritual formation best practices and delivery be impacted?” I did so because I believe that at one time…long, long ago…these gifts/sensitivities were viewed as “spiritual gifts” and were developed by spiritual formation. What ways have spiritual formation facilitators been funded? At first, spiritual formation was done within the extended family. With the evolution of the tribe to village and the evolution of money, there was the recognition that 10 families could support a spiritual formation facilitator by contributing 10% of their income to the facilitator. This is a proactive stance. Of course, if there are 30 families then they can either hire 2 more facilitators or they can drop their percentage of support (How many facilitators do we need?). In some communities the role of facilitator circulates through the community each year. In some communities, spiritual formation is done by a community development corporation which does its business separate from the spiritual community, using grants. Some corporations are hiring chaplains for their businesses, as an extra benefit for their employees (My spouse is the chaplain for the ferries from NJ to NYC). Other spiritual formation facilitators are bi-vocational or volunteers. I have contributed in this way (and while the spiritual community to which I belong rarely pays me directly for my services, I have received housing, education, travel, etc.). And in some countries, spiritual formation is funded by the State. All of the above has worked and no longer works well as the story of money has changed. As we change the story of mental and spiritual health, we will also need to change the story of money, in my humble opinion.

  • Sharon,
    To paraphrase Charles Eisenstein, “What story of the world is a Bitcoin user creating and how will Bitcoin embody and reinforce that story?” I don’t think I know enough about Bitcoin to know what it values. What story does Bitcoin tell about Mental Health conditions (i.e., gifts)?
    RISN House