Disruption & Comergent Wisdom

figure 6.38

The Tower: Disruption

One of the archetypes in my book, Archetypal Imagery, is The Tower, which I term disruption. The actual image in the book and my accompanying cards is a tower. In the image the tower is getting ready to break up. Recall an archetype is an energy pattern that conveys a given characteristic.  In this case it is disruption, the old is breaking up, making way for a new form to emerge.

Confusion: Making Others Wrong

 It is a timely archetype for the current U.S. zeitgeist. Each day a shocking piece of news shakes us. For me personally, I get so upset when people and politicians want to limit women’s health care. My thoughts are, “This is horrible, I don’t like this, these people are wrong.”  Or “Why can’t people see that it is better for all to have health care for all, and women to be able to be in charge of their health. Abortions go down when women have reproductive health care.”  I taught in India, and one morning I woke up screaming from a dream that the U.S. had turned into India. There were so many poor, and so many without health care, that nothing worked. At that time in India, people were more apt to die in hospitals than staying at home. Of course, this is an overstatement, and there are many fine doctors and hospitals in India. But maybe the point is made, if a society doesn’t take care of the poor, and provide health care for the sick, the whole of society degrades.

Health care particularly for women is my thing. For others, it is a different issue, but the feeling is the same, disruption regardless of being to the right or the left politically.

Out of Confusion: An Inclusive Perception

Things are shaken up, and there is a seismic change in the very core of people’s beings. It feels awful.  But not all is lost, out of this can come a transformed being. The result can be comergent wisdom, an idea coined by Thich Nhat Hahn, a Zen Buddhist teacher, who teaches peace.

When there is disruption, people are very confused and can’t figure things out. People think, “What is right or wrong, I can’t figure it out.” In the best possible outcome of this confused state, the ego which controls our conscious mind, has to let go of its delusion.  It can’t be in charge in any more. The ego likes to make things good and bad, right and wrong, but that isn’t the real world.  Reality isn’t about making others wrong. As the ego gives up defining reality, a more inclusive perception opens up.  Thich Nhat Hahn might call it a “right view”. Through the confusion, a right view emerges that actually perceives reality as it is. It allows a person to choose the right path. How are humans connected, and what is the  path that a person is uniquely gifted to travel?

Transforming to Comergent Wisdom with Compassion

Comergent wisdom is transforming knowledge through compassion. When people have compassion for themselves and others as they experience disruption, they see beyond the opposites of right and wrong, white and black.  Compassion brings the realization of the interconnection of all of life.  That’s what the word comergent conveys, people and life on the planet are interlinked and changes affect the whole of life.

As I experience disruption, and feel the anger to make others’ wrong, I can use my compassion to realize I am interconnected with all of life.  With this awareness, I can gain  awareness on how to act on my values. In my case I see how to move forward  towards health care for all. Instead of being angry at others who disagree, my energy shifts to what’s best for me to do.  It clears my perception, transforms my emotions and gives me clarity on my next actions.  I become wiser. I become unified with other life. The energy in making others wrong is redirected to give me the right view and the right action.  Comergent wisdom.


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