ions I'd like to share about how we can each make the most out of the coming year. It's not that I think 2012 is destined to be an extra special cosmic year. It's that, despite the Mayan prophecies and all the excitement they've catalyzed within the new–age movement, I'm pretty sure it won't–at least not on its own. A quick scan of the press surrounding the arrival of 2012 tells us that we can expect everything from a cataclysmic increase in natural disasters to an unprecedented global shift in consciousness ushering in a new era of peace on earth. And while I lack the advanced scientific education I would need to weigh in on the likelihood of imminent geological or meteorological Armageddon, I do have a few thoughts concerning the potential for a "global shift in consciousness"–and the role each of us might play in it. First of all, as you probably already know, I am a passionate advocate for the evolution of consciousness and culture. And, in my mind, any myth or narrative that has the potential to galvanize people toward positive change is a good thing. So, the fact that so many are feeling ignited by the notion that everything could change in one year, and are even feeling called to participate in catalyzing that change is good news for all of us. The world needs a lot of change, and that is going to require a lot of passionate change agents, whatever their religion might be. However, the popular notion that, with the arrival of a key "tipping point," we're all going to pass through a momentous and noticeable collective shift in consciousness (from "fear" to "love" or from "separation" to "oneness") needs some updating in light of what we now know about evolution. Studies of how consciousness and culture evolve have consistently shown us that human beings and human cultures evolve through predictable stages on what psychologist Clare Graves called a -
"never–ending upward quest." Integral developmental theory also tells us that these stages can't be skipped. You can't, in other words, jump from a "pre–modern" or "traditional" worldview to a "postmodern" worldview without first embracing a "modern" worldview. Put more simply, you aren't likely to get from tribalism to "global consciousness" without first embracing individualism–at least for a while. SO, the problem with the notion of a "collective shift in consciousness" is that, as a species, right now, we are spread out across a broad spectrum of at least five distinct stages of development: "tribal," "traditional," "modern," "postmodern," and "integral." If you do the math, that means that for humanity to go through a collective shift in consciousness, we'd really have to catalyze at least 5 distinct shifts in consciousness at once–and even if we did, we still wouldn't all be going through the same shift to arrive in the same place. So, if we're interested in helping consciousness and culture evolve, rather than hoping for a single global shift in consciousness, we would probably do well to turn our attention to the kinds of changes that are actually within our collective reach. As individuals, we can each engage in the challenging transformative work to evolve own consciousness-and more importantly, our own behavior –– beyond the ancient, survival –driven habits that still influence us every day.
We can also band together with small groups of other people and work together to evolve our collective consciousness and our collective behavior. And if enough individuals and enough small groups do enough work to transform their consciousness and behavior, we can certainly begin to generate a positive collective momentum in the direction of real evolutionary change. We might even begin to exert what Andrew Cohen calls "evolutionary tension" on the larger collective, visibly and invisibly pulling everyone in the direction of humanity's emergent higher potential.
Could such a momentum eventually lead us all to a "tipping point?" It's not outside the realm of possibility. The good news is that tipping points are a well–documented phenomenon. Social diffusion research pioneered by sociologist Everett Rogers consistently shows that when a key "social innovation" is adopted by a certain percentage of the population, that innovation begins to rapidly permeate the broader population through a process of diffusion that also proceeds through a predictable series of stages. It's not exactly a "global shift in consciousness," but it does mean that if enough of us begin to embody a new level of consciousness, the motivations and values of that new level will gradually be adopted by many others who have not necessarily themselves awakened or evolved to the same degree. As Ken Wilber has recently pointed out, the percentage of the population that has reached "integral consciousness " is rapidly approaching 10%, and that number has been well–documented as a key tipping point threshold. So, if you're excited about the possibility of a large sector of humanity embracing a more integral perspective, then now might be a very important moment to lean in and make a little more effort to help us get to that threshold. So, whether you're galvanized by the 2012 spirit, or simply eager to use any leverage you can to help serve humanity's higher evolution, it's hard to imagine a better time to seize the moment and use that energy to fuel your own commitment to doing everything in your power to make this year count. What can you do? Make it the year you go all the way every day with your own spiritual practice. Make it the year you close the gap between your highest ideals and the life you're living each day–even when things get challenging. Make this the year that you finally commit to evolve beyond your own ego–for real. Make it the year you show up consistently as an example of the kind of human being the world needs most–a courageous, passionate, committed evolutionary–an inspiration to everyone around you. If enough of us make the choice to go all the way to our own evolving edges, then indeed we might look back on 2012 as the year when an important threshold was crossed, or at least the year when a new momentum began. Thank you for your commitment to the evolutionary path. I look forward to sharing the journey with you, through this year and beyond. To our evolution, Craig Hamilton
Founder, Integral Enlightenment…
lly quit. So why did I drop out? It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at ghe last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: „We've got an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?“ They said: „Of course.“ My biological mother found out later that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would go to college. This was the start in my life. And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no ide what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So i decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked far more interesting. It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for $0.05 deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example: Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, aobut varying ghe amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and i found it fascinating. None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. Is I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path and that will make all the difference. LOVE & LOSS
I was lucky – I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents' garage when I was 20. We worked hard and in 10 years Apple had grown form just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation – the Macintosh – a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew, we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30, I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating. I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that i had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even though about running away from the valley. But something slowly began dawn on me – I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been recected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over. I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. During the next 5 years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world's first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at heart Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together. I'm pretty sure none of this would happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don't loose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. And don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don't settle. DEATH When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: „If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certanly be right.“ It made an impression on me. And since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: „If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?“ And whenever the answer has been „No“ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Steve Jobs