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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Phases of Translation and Transformation (Paradigm or Worldview-change)


Phases of Translation and Transformation
(Paradigm or Worldview-change) 

Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D.

Head Minister, “Amplifying Divine Light in All” Church



Here is one possible model of the phases people go through in shifting their awareness around various chunks of life, or shifting their stage of consciousness maturation, or shifting their paradigms, large-scale or small-scale. Phases can overlap.

In terms of the concepts of "translation" and "transformation" of stages of maturation of consciousness, these phases span both. Phases 1-5 can be said to be "Exiting" and "Entering" of a transformation, Phases 6-10 can be said to be "translation" into the healthiest version of a stage.

Knowing these phases can facilitate transformation by facilitating translation into the healthiest, most fully-inhabited version of a stage, which is the place from which momentum to the next stage is generated. Transformation happens more easily, faster, and more healthfully, when translation is most thorough.  (Of course, as Spiral Dynamics (see below) teaches, some of us are wiser at facilitating one, and some of us have more talent about and interest in facilitating the other. There is division of labor here, a diversity of expertise. Spiral Dynamics suggests there are different "wizards" at translation for a particular stage, at particular stage-transitions, and at overall Spiral-health facilitation.)

As just implied, this schema can be applied on any scale, from entire "stages" or "state-stages" of maturation of consciousness, down to any of the particular "paradigms" one might have within a stage, or even down to a finer-grained level of any topic, subject, interest, skill, etc. 

This schema is an off-the-top-of-my-head list, certainly with many influences over the decades, but no direct sources that I am aware of, 

  • except for Phase 10 which is based on a thought from Ken Wilber in his recent talk to the Integral Leadership Collaborative-sponsored Integral Community Call in which he pointed out that just because one inhabits a worldspace, doesn't mean one has all the skills and knowledge available in that worldspace, which require specific study and learning, and 

  • except for one thought I got from Terri O'Fallon, described below and

  • except for what I absorbed but don't recall consciously, from various phase-change discussions in Spiral Dynamics: mastering values, leadership, and change by Don Edward Beck and Christopher Cowan. I don't think they went into this much detailed differentiation of the stages. My description of Phase 1 definitely owes a lot to the Spiral Dynamics book's description of that phase.

So this schema is based primarily on introspection and speculation, not directly on any research.

I offer this schema because I have personally found it quite useful to apply to myself. It is particularly easy, for example, for Phase 7 to imagine it is Phase 8, and for Phase 8 to imagine it is Phase 9!! And for Phase 9 to forget it is not yet in Phase 10!

Also in looking at others, I find I have more patience with them if I can identify which Phase they are in, and facilitate THAT phase for them, without either over-estimating or under-estimating where they are, which gets frustrating for both of us.

Also, if you are a teacher, guide, counselor, etc. it is helpful to know where you are with respect to any new paradigm, and to realize that the folks you can be most helpful to are those just behind you. Not ahead of you, and not too far behind you such that there is no sense of kinship or rapport. (In some respects, we're talking about "target markets" here.)

Folks way ahead of us can be inspiring, but they aren't necessarily our best teachers, so this model also facilitates picking our teachers. 

This model also helps us "move on" by naming where we might go, and it also helps us be realistic in not UNDER-estimating where we are, as well as not OVER-estimating where we are.


1. Dissatisfaction/frustration/disappointment/bogglement

Things don't always work out as anticipated, using the current mode of thought or approach, and the reason why is unclear. Insoluble problems appear, nothing available works. Discrepancies appear, unexplainable. Some "truths" suddenly appear open to doubt, as exceptions are encountered and can't be explained away or assimilated into the paradigm. Doubts creep into crevices in awareness.

Things that seemed compatible suddenly seem to have significant and troublesome differences. Questions appear to which the answers are not available. New phenomena come into awareness which don't "fit" anywhere in the current paradigm. Generalities don't seem quite so general, anymore.  Things/people/situations/circumstances change, and the old ways of dealing with them no longer work, despite tweaks, adjustments, and modifications, plus no new ways are apparent. 

2. Openness, Receptivity

Experiences in Phase One create an openness, a permeability in awareness.

3. Awareness of something new

Running across an article, or someone remarks about something, or you stumble across a webpage, etc. 

4. Curiosity

Rather than let that new thing slip on by, there is some kind of spark, which leads to a bit longer attention. There is a movement of attention toward the new.

5. Exploration

Spending some time and attention looking at the new, but not yet studying, learning, nor even regarding it as a potential solution to one's problems or challenges, nor regarding it as a paradigm-shifter. There's just an kind of instinctive, subconscious pull or draw to pay attention. Here and in Phases 6 and 7, resources around the new are gathered and appear, and teachers are evaluated.

6. Study, Learning

At some point, there is a commitment to go further than exploration. Spending more time, diving in, really choosing activity aimed at absorbing the new as information. Glimmers of relevance to the problematical situations of Phase 1 happen, but any attempts to really apply the new are still awkward and can be discouragingly unsuccessful. 

One might read books, attend lectures and workshops, spend time discussing with people who know more. This is a cognitive phase, unless the new is something like yoga or dance. The new is still just information.

Starting here, and in Phase 7, flak from friends, family, and co-workers and bosses who are not yet in Phase 1 around the old paradigm can range from unpleasant through distressing to life-threatening. So this is a vulnerable Phase, because the advantages of the new are not yet solid, and disadvantages of continuing to study, learn and practice, are becoming quite evident.



7. Practice, Adoption

The new shifts from information to something of personal relevance, and begins to affect one's behavior. There is a commitment to "make this part of my life" through further study and through practice, because there are experiences which show that the new holds some keys to the unpleasant experiences of Phase 1. 

One engages in exercise of the new, making it part of one's life, not just cognitively-held information. Many people spend a lot of time in this phase, doing exercises, practices, and continuing learning. As problematical situations in Phase 1 are gradually clarified and solved, motivation to continue is reinforced, and perhaps eventually sufficient to overcome the social disadvantages being experienced.

At this phase, and the previous phase, community of support is important. One actively seeks "like-minded folks" to help overcome the negative flak and the internal resistances to change which most of us experience. 

This is the prime phase of "epiphanies" and "miracles" which also increase our motivation and decrease our resistance to change.

The scope of application of the new widens to more of one's life, and the integration with all the rest of who one is, deepens.

8. Automatic Habit

The exercise of the new becomes habitual, rather than constantly conscious and deliberate. New ways of thinking, feeling, and acting emerge spontaneously, often, and "practice" begins to merge into ordinary living. The new is clearly of relevance to particular problematical situations of Phase 1, and the advantages of the new show up regularly and satisfyingly, increasing motivation to continue.

The scope of application of the new continues to widen to more of one's life, and the integration with all the rest of who one is, continues to deepen.

9. Being

The new has gone deeper than automatic, deeper than "habit," and is simply an unquestioned part of one's Being. The new in thought, feeling, and action is a matter of 'self-expression' rather than habit, or anything learned or practiced. The new has dropped below the level of the conscious mind, and has gone 'invisible' to that mind. 

10. Mastery

There is a phase AFTER the 'Being' phase in which one then goes on to acquire all the skills and knowledge potentially available to someone who "is" "being" that new paradigm. This is study and learning, again, but it is a broadening, rather than a deepening. It amplifies a paradigm and makes it more useful, but does not change the paradigm.

Ideally, in this phase, one deals with potential "shadow" unique to this stage, so that one ends up in the healthiest possible version of the stage.

I speculate that during this phase, the elements of the "new" can begin to move out of being invisible to the conscious mind, where they went in Phase 9; thus they begin to go from being "subject" to being "object" and one can work WITH them rather than FROM them. (This corresponds to what I've heard Terri O'Fallon describe as early and late sub-stages of, for example, "context-aware" and "construct-aware" consciousness.)

1. Back to Phase 1 moving to the next stage of maturation of consciousness. 


by Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D., Head Minister, Amplifying Divine Light in All Church
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