Inner Landscape, Integrity and Wow what a Reality?

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Inner Landscape, Integrity and Wow what a Reality?

Skye Hirst, PhD~ July 2010 Inner Tapestry

There's a realm of wonder, mystery, energy, infinites of infinite creative possibilities. It's a inner landscape where value processes are constantly forming and mixing, changing as we navigate our uniquely creative way through life. We each are unique and within each of us is an inner landscape, an inner tapestry formed of our identity, our experience and our particular value lens that combines to give us what I call our value intelligence, our VIQ. It guides us as we act, find effective actions for ourselves in different contexts as we live and find our way. What I've been learning over the years is just how unique we each are at this inner landscape level. Norm has helped me discover through life as creative organisms philosophy ( ) that a reality exists unlike anything we collectively talk about, yet we create it moment by moment. It's our own very private world-view and intelligence from which we feel our way.

In doing research with the Hartman Value Profile (HVP) (, working with hundreds of individuals I discovered this inner landscape. The HVP would provide immediate access to these inner relational realities formed within each individual and how that person's world-view had developed up to that point. What is so powerful in the HVP are the particular frames of focus provided about tensions, strengths, and blindness and how they all add up in each individual absolutely uniquely.

Due to the last 20 to 30 years of emergent insights about living processes, organisms and organismic laws, it is my belief that something is being discovered unlike anything we've thought or known about how we human beings function, form world-views and find effective action. It is not merely a brain process so much as an infinite multitude of events forming and un-forming, making up a whole organism event. And we each can know these events by using our "felt sense" integrity.

It is my belief that each individual is so individual we cannot even imagine it. We are changing and evolving creatures. We create ourselves ( and out of this creative process we contribute what is ours uniquely to contribute. Consider psychiatry today being faced with all this complexity they cannot even fathom except to call on categories generated by pharmacies in which they must find a niche and then medicate accordingly. Think of educators who are force-feeding children "facts" to memorize to be tested on -facts, that in and of themselves, provide the individual nothing but passive data, no meaning. Then what of our business models of planning strategies that never can be utilized because life unfolds quite unexpectedly unlike anything previously experienced.

We are creatures born to create and create and originate our living process as needed for the situations and conditions we find ourselves. We are not fixed. There is nothing fixed in nature and yet today's world is bound up in materialistic notions of reality that lock us up and take away from the awareness of this glorious freedom of life creating anew through each of us. Our originality is all too often beaten out of us by institutions of religion, business, education, health-care and so on. I recently heard of a business who told their workers they could not go to the bathroom on company time. They had to do it on their breaks or lunch-time.

So let's go slow for a moment and "feel" our way on this topic. Inner landscape - yours. You may not know of this realm because you haven't had anyway of accessing it consciously. But consider, how did you learn to walk, talk? Did anyone get inside you or outside you to make all your bones, muscles and will come together to take that first step. Perhaps there was encouragement yes, but there was a realm from which we "sensed" within that we were ready to take that step. Ok, consider that you are thirsty. You reach for something to drink. It satisfies something in you that says, "that was an effective action." You move on to other activities. How did you know you were thirsty? How do you know you are no longer thirsty?

You see, there is a reference point within us that we've developed against which we know what we know as right action for us. Yes, there are many reference points and sometimes they conflict when we are trying to make a decision about what action to take. As children we taste, smell, feel everything that comes into our reachability, and we grow our experience with the world in which we are living at the time. Mom comes along and gives a name for these "felt senses." Early on, we have preferences and proclivities that seem to be active from birth.

There was recently an article in The New York Times Magazine on The Moral Life of Babies, can they really tell right from wrong? There we learn that children as young a 1 year old have a "feeling" about what I call the value realm. "Well I feel this way, but I think that way," we'll say. How do we resolve these many differences within us? It appears that we draw from all our experience of what we have found was "good" to us, what we "felt" was good for us. However, here comes the kicker. Who says this or that is good for us? Some people take their guides from what others have told them for a while, but eventually they will try to find the meaning for themselves or become very cranky.

Being a living organism comes with its own laws for functioning as we are finding out. Acting in ways that get our needs met may be learned from those around us for a while, but most likely it comes from our own inner trial and error working from this inner landscape of "felt senses." It's like a soup of value resonances that get mixed and combined until we "feel" it's right and then we act from that sense however right or wrong it may be for someone else. Where does this process come from?

Philosopher, Robert S. Hartman discovered it in the 1950s when he asked the question, what does good mean and developed the Hartman Value Profile to help each individual access their inner landscape of what good means to them at any given moment. In the 1978 Eugene Gendlin introduced us to the concept of a "felt sense" in his book Focusing a way we could access our inner landscape. A psycho-therapist named David Grove, worked with this inner reality of children suffering from post traumatic stress. He discovered a whole world of rich detailed images coming out of trapped "felt senses" in that landscape that could be accessed and freed without the need to relive the horror of the trauma.

In living processes within each of us human organism is a reality beyond words, beyond things, outside what we share in common conversation. It's more like energy, chi energy and it obeys its own set of living process laws.

I like what Pema Chodron says in her book When Things Fall Apart..."We don't know anything. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don't know." We bring meaning to what happens in our lives, but our integrity comes when we have acted from this inner landscape awareness of what we've experienced as good or bad, what led us to know something no one else knows because it is truly our experience alone. That we share many common "felt senses" like what the one-year-old babies know about bad and good bahavior is perhaps a good place to begin recognizing just how amazing we organisms are.

How we each pull together the infinite of infinite inner relational felt senses seems perhaps more like a miracle at this time since we are only first beginning to recognize and work with this inner landscape of what I call a value intelligence, a VIQ.

What is this potential that lies within each of us human beings? It's the meaning we give to what's happening or not happening, meaning formed from infinite of infinite inner felt sense relationships. We cannot know these in an isolated way. It's that intersection of value processes where we create the meaning and experience integrity (to be continued in next article).

Norm was sitting watching me play a game of gin rummy with a friend and when I kept losing, he said, intend the cards you need and see what happens. Well I won the next three hands. What happened? Did I just become more focused and attentive or did my holding the space for the intension bring about a magic shift in the cards so the very card I needed would appear? You may call this all kinds of things, but there is a reality revealing herself that just may knock our socks off. OOOh where did that expression come from?