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Center for Action and Contemplation

Levels of Development: Week 1—Weekly Summary

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Levels of Development: Week 1

Summary: Sunday, December 6-Friday, December 11, 2015
(Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe)

Learning about levels of development can give us understanding and compassion for ourselves and for others. It can also give us hope, especially during the dark times when things seem to be falling apart, personally or globally. (Sunday)

We need nurturing: mothering and fathering, loving, and partnering at the critical stages of brain development, which are almost all in the first twenty-five years of life. (Monday)

The simplest indicator that someone is living at all of the brain’s levels is that they are not violent in thought, word, or action. (Tuesday)

“Let us seek to be like Christ, because Christ also became like us: to become gods through him since he himself, through us, became a man. He took the worst upon himself to make us a gift of the best.” —Gregory of Nazianzen (Wednesday)

We do need to understand development so we can see where the trajectory of growth is heading—toward union with God, others, creation, and our own mind, heart and body. (Thursday)

At the Wisdom levels, there is a cosmic humility and a “rediscovery of hierarchy” whereby you are fully open to people still growing up and the possibility that there are people far beyond where you are now. (Friday)


Practice: Heartful Decision-Making

When you are feeling anxious or stressed, try these simple steps, adapted from HeartMath’s “Freeze-Frame” technique, to help you connect with your heart’s intuitive wisdom. Set aside five to ten minutes when you can be alone in a quiet place. Choose a posture that is comfortable, perhaps sitting or lying down, and close your eyes.

Recall the stressful situation and “freeze-frame” the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that arise. Observe where and how the stress appears in your mind and body.

Shift your focus from your anxiety to your physical heart area. Imagine your heart pumping each breath through your body. Relax into your breathing and feel your heart warm. Hold your attention here for about ten seconds.

Now remember a happy time or picture someone you love. Feel the sensation that comes from such joy and love. Send that feeling to your whole being.

Ask your heart, “What would be an effective response to this stressful situation that would help reduce future stress?”

Listen to what your heart says. Visualize yourself taking this action and feeling peaceful. Say to yourself, “I am letting go of tension. Peace is within me.”

When you are ready, open your eyes. You might want to journal about this experience so you can return to these insights later and act upon them.

Gateway to Silence:
I am open to change.

Adapted from Doc Childre and Howard Martin, The HeartMath Solution: The Institute of HeartMath’s Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart’s Intelligence (HarperCollins: 1999), 67.

For further study:
Joseph Chilton Pearce, The Biology of Transcendence: A Blueprint of the Human Spirit

Richard Rohr, Levels of Spiritual Growth (CD, MP3 download)

Richard Rohr, Where You Are Is Where I’ll Meet You (CD, MP3 download)

Image Credit: Insula dulcamara (detail), 1938, Paul Klee, Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Switzerland
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