split reality: feeling the future, reflecting the past

Thursday, April 9th, 2009 | Uncategorized

i just returned from a three week road trip that reconnected me with a number of people and leadership communities that work on prototyping profound innovation and societal renewal in asia, europe, africa and north america. while all these initiatives differ in many respects, there is one common characteristic that really struck me: reconnecting with these emerging leadership communities means reconnecting with a very powerful field of energy. its an energy that emerges from the presence of these groups, from their connection with each other and themselves. that connection elevates each and everyone in that group to a higher level of awareness, aspiration, and clarity about what really matters. that field of energy functions like a conduit to our future that is wanting to emerge, both individually and collectively.

this is one powerful impression: the increasing presence of that “feeling the field of the future” experience that happens when you enter the sphere of these groups. you can feel the future. and that is deeply inspiring and uplifting. but then, there is another experience that shows up in many faces these days: reflect on the current situation. global meltdown. the economic, ecological, social and spiritual crisis of our time. take all of that in. and then you are either depressed or in denial.

thats the split reality i find myself living in: the heart feels the future, while the head reflects a depressing current reality. depending on whether your thinking emanates more from your head or your heart, you end up operating in a quite different world.

that said, there is no substitute for really engaging in both of these types of thinking. one of the best pieces that i have read on the current global finanical meltdown is Simon Johnson’s “The Quiet Coup” in the Atlantic:


Do you also experience such a split reality in your life and work?

11 Comments to split reality: feeling the future, reflecting the past

Terry Chapman
April 11, 2009


I read your comment about the in-between feeling of this split reality. I write as a person whose context is within the Christian tradition (although most of these ideas transcend contexts). Ironically today, as I write, is Holy Saturday, the day between death and resurrection, between the current sphere and the one to come. I can best express my feelings about this split through a poem about a walk I took at a local state park named Double Trouble. I am very grateful for your work.


dawn at dawn at double trouble — Holy Saturday

the day wanted to come 
through the close opaque air
the silhouetted tree-line longed for depth
but the fog kept it to only two dimensions
while the geese and the ducks 
seemed at home on the dreamy waters
my soul wondered with me when
the mist would clear so I could 
welcome the breaking day

that is how the Day will come
not like the canvas on a painting
that has been peeled back to reveal
what has been underneath all along
but like the dawning sun
its light will pierce the pigments
of all that is—burning, cleansing away
rearranging the old to make all things new

the Light even now shines through the life-scape
it’s brilliance bedazzles now and then
when the hungry are fed
the aching listened to
the cast out brought in
the nameless blessed
the weary rest
the sleepers awakened . . . 

my soul bids come away with me
through the incarnate fog
deeper into the liminal sabbath—
smooth, watery, womb-like, holding place
to be at home, like ducks and geese
who while waiting too glide freely 
on water through a place once thick
now made thin by the encroaching light
revealing dimensions once hidden
the new day at double trouble

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 

Toni Stafford
April 13, 2009

Otto – I too feel caught in this split. I attempt to be present to both head and heart. Where my head sees reality as depressing, my heart knows that we can find awakening and connection by sharing this suffering. Before long my head attunes to the heart’s trust and many days I’m optimystic (intentionally misspelled).

Optimystic because in my deepest presence Eye can see that we’re creating a new world, and Eye know that we must allow the old to crumble.

And some days it’s just little me. And I don’t feel so optimystic… I eat a few too many cookies and trust that we are finding awakening and connection by sharing our suffering.

Thanks, Otto, for your work in the world.

And Terry — beautiful poem!

Tamara de Callatay
April 17, 2009


The Quiet Coup,

I love the fact that the picture of Persephone was demonstrated, Queen of the Underworld, of death. What many people don’t want to know or hear is that the world as it has been constructed today was all done with the knowledge of how the Universe works. The laws of the Universe and manifestation have been known to a very select group already for a long time. Freemasonry, means building freely, playing with the forms and knowing how the universe functions, something that was called the fourth dimension by John F. Kennedy. So enlightenment was considered not for all. Humanity has been molded into structures and boxes, beliefsystems accordingly to what certain elites assumed to be ‘good’ for them. Through lies, manipulation, projecting fear & scarcity the world needed to be controlled and dominated.


The split your witnessing is indeed on one hand, humanity is waking up to the innersource, the discovery that the divine, authentic I lies within, Consciousness is all there is. And on the other hand old institutional pyramid structured thinking. Us knowing what is good for them, imposing rather than creating an atmosphere of encouragement and exploring our curiosity.

The barb wire expresses very much the lost real Soul that the founding fathers once had for the US. Wills of all people, thy liberty at law…it has been exchanged, for greed, powerplay, personal gain over prosperity for all. And humanity is being kept ignorant over the real powerplay that goes on around the world, beautifully exposed by the Zeitgeist Addendum movie.

I hope you can also see the divine of the whole concept in the downfall of this insane pyramid that we have created (as many ponzischemes ar still covered up)that the ego attribution of ‘the smart intellect’ will be for once and for all cured. Reason over heart, the serpent was the duality created by boxing our minds. All people have amazing potential, there is so much beauty and quantumpotential to be found if we truly would have the ‘guts’ to allow people to find their true path -technologically all possible-, rather than telling them that they are not able or capable. When people are given responsabilities they will take it and just as much will they exercise their rights to explore their own Consciousness. But ever since governments started providing and controlling, most of humanity has been put asleep, by cultivating the Self, with false needs.

So we are the end of a long Cycle where many people were kept in darkness or ignorance, through fear and scarcity. At this moment, simultaniously with the collapse of the old, at a rapid pace now the want for real change accelerates, beautifully said by Krishnamurti, freedom comes when you have no other choice. And the veils are being lifted -we don’t die, we are an ongoing proces and there are many more dimensions-, the veil to the experience of consciousness, the power of love and the experience of the real light and the Oneness that we all are. And than you’ll get to the true essence of E pluribus unum -under Persephone’s statue-, out of many into One. A new chapter where humanity opens up to it’s enlightened principle. But for that we have to learn to let go of the old and as we have been chasing the illusion of domination of this world for so long, this ‘negative’ decline that we witness is actually an amazing opportunity for humankind to really renew. But that doesn’t come with the understanding that Consciousness is all there is, and the revelation of God, being love and light, to be found from within.






Change of Era,

Jim McShane
April 20, 2009

I have the same split feeling. For some years now i have known that a shift in thinking is happening. As an IONS member, I share the stage with many creative individuals searching for a belief system that will sustain humankind and not diminish it or the natural world in which we live.
I know that when I create that sacred space where emerging ideas and creative thoughts will march ahead. I like Tamara’s and Toni’s comments as well as the poem from Terry.

Our world if filled with blessings and yet so many chose to see the worst. Our hearts know that the answers lie in the creative space you have taught us, and not in the status quo.

Like the movie “What the Bleep do We Know” we are part of a unified field of consciousness expressing itself through the experience of time and space. We are living in a time when institutions and forms made from greed and dilusion are devolving and failing. The cycle is ending and a new noonsphere (Tielhard de Chardan) is about to be breached. I often think of the movie 2001: A Space Oddessy and the ending with the newborn child playing with the solar system.

We are truly torn with the practical world crumbling and the eternal timeless world emerging. The false self has proven its failings on a global and catastrophic level. And the very shaking of these institutions will lead meany to seek the interior life and find the truth that has always been with us. We are One.

Debbie Asberry
April 20, 2009

Otto, Thanks for your post. I just returned from a six day event that I facilitated…about 150 people in all. The split I noticed was the ability on one hand to dream and imagine together an emerging future, but equally, the ability of a group to be subverted by fear, or distracted by a few who embody negative intentions or are unable to name their Vof; Voc; or Voj. I am left only to trust that the goodness, over time, will emerge, or that the possibilities of the future that is yet to manifest will be realized in other gatherings, other groups who will be better able to hold the opening. So, the split for me last week was that of ‘presencing’ and ‘abscencing’. I can tell you that after 6 days of being in front of that energy field, I am exhausted!

Thanks everyone for the good work you are doing in the world!


Michael Hynes
April 22, 2009


This message is for you and other who read the wonderful blogs about this very important work….I truly believe the absence of something is the presence of something else. Split reality or not…once I am (or others) are at the bottom of the U, I find that they have a difficult time going up the right side. They are either scared, have difficulty continuing to being vulnerable, etc…This work is the continuous evolution of paying attention to yourself and others. I have understood that you can have the will and open doors for yourself but true leadership is influencing others to take risks and create safely dangerous space for others.

Victoria Crawford
May 4, 2009

Hi Otto,

Yes, I too feel this split.

Your note invited me to reflect on polarities in general that I’ve experienced to see how they apply to this current one we face collectively.

For example,I feel polarities in my body when beginning to practice yoga. Feet grounded and rooted down….while the spine lenghens and the crown of the head extends upward. At the start they are opposites/polarities and then balanced by the breath they integrate and exist together and apart. When this happens I am moving, opening and in action but not pulled in different directions…the integration allows for flow and a sense of ease even though the polarities still exist.
On a personal and esoteric level, my birthday falls on March 21st and is on the cusp between the end of the astrological year and new beginning….between a water sign (emotional, sensitive and intuitive) and a fire sign (let’s make it happen, go for it, my way). For years I felt pulled between them both and ashamed of the indecisiveness I felt (can’t you figure out who you are!!). Yet over the years through practices I’ve integrated these two polarities in a more respectful way and it’s been similar to yoga..In work it is there through a deep love of the intuitive and mystery in life….and a love of results and practicality. I image many have had similar experiences.
I wonder how to apply these experiences to these times and this polarity we face. I wonder What is required to bridge the polarities of fear and hope and still lead from the heart and in case of the U..what is emerging? I have some thoughts but will hold off. I’m sensitive to an old habit of ‘going on and on’ :)

Duke Stump
May 4, 2009

Working from your heart to bring the possibility for what could be. Inspiration versus desperation.

Is there any other way?

Thanks Otto…nice piece.

rachmat susetyo
June 14, 2009

Dear Otto,

I am one of IDEAS member.
Frankly speaking, I can feel the future will be, by seeing the all groups result when your last visit in Bandung. And it was a promising future!
But then after I went back to real life with “normal” people” (just kidding) and saw political campaigns, I began to doubt about future again…So it is quite clear that in order to preserve our “very powerful field of energy” and optimistic/positive feeling, we need to keep reconnecting with our group periodically.

John Allison
July 21, 2009

“It’s coming from the feel
that this ain’t exactly real,
or it’s real, but it ain’t exactly there.”
(Leonard Cohen, Democracy)
These words keep coming back to me (I saw and heard Cohen in February). I believe this feeling of being split is important to nurture as it means we’re right on the “starting-line” of the future. My intellect can only play with the “already-known” and by extension the “could-be-known” – but the future is a “vocation” – a “calling”, a “voicing” of the “as-yet-unknown:, the “new” – which actually touches right into my will, and becomes perceptible as feeling. It can’t be articulated clearly as it’s come form the opposite end of existence from the intellect and the customary bag of words… John Keats wrote in a letter nearly 200 years ago of “Negative Capability – that is, when a man (sic) is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason”. That’s the prerequisite for modern existence – letting go and not grabbing for the letting come.
It’s edgy stuff! Because “it ain’t exactly there…” Still, it calls…

Louise Jørgensen
July 25, 2009

The split to me once opened the lesson, that presence is depressing if we choose to perceive it like that. Putting our awareness towards what is attainable in the future, rejecting the possibility that it already exists (potentially) in our presence is to me a very natural way of expressing our human nature; our desire to develop within and outside our own skin.

However natural this tendency, it is important I think to enter the presence even more strongly with our trust in a bright future reality – beginning to implement the understanding, that this future is already happening. Thus, it becomes much more enjoyable right now!

I should maybe bring an evidence. I have been working for two years to create a communication and development platform for the worlds to come together – the “system” world, academia, the old, whatever quality we choose to add to it…. and the new, the intuitive, the bright, the fast, the future. I was so busy I didn’t (till one week ago) realize this platform already exists, here, with theoryU and presencing. Far overruling what I could ever imagine being possible in this time.

Now; past, presence and future all happen AT ONCE, right now, and here. And it IS bright, fast, old, new, glorious, depressing, outstanding.



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