Our Great Undoing


We are ordinary people with a passion for solving relationship difficulties. We are curious people who have done our best to live full out and to help others along the way.

We reserve the right to be “imperfect” according to others’ standards, so that we may continue our personal exploration of the Great Mystery.

We have discussed with one another the merits of revealing the next part of our development as people and as teachers. It feels a little risky because it is deeply private. But, we think if you want to know us, it’s an important piece.

Our hope is that it may somehow be helpful for you as you travel your own road toward being all that you want to be. If you have followed this series to this point, we imagine that you are kindred spirits on a similar and yet unique path of discovery.

Facing the Mountain of the Great Unknown

Facing the Mountain of the Great Unknown

Personal development, spiritual growth, conscious evolution – or whatever name you choose to call it, is not easy. It is demanding, serious work.

The very process of transformation is disquieting. Being undone and remade at a higher level of awareness is disorienting. It’s usually laden with self doubt and an uneasiness that can seem to last entirely too long.  We have laughingly come to call this experience “the green slime stage.”

The caterpillar transforming into a butterfly has become a widely accepted metaphor for the human transformational journey. Most people focus on the beauty of the butterfly emerging from the cocoon and fluttering majestically into the breeze.

Little is said about what is happening inside the chrysalis as all the cells of the caterpillar are reorganizing themselves into a new body. If you open that cocoon too soon what you will see is neither a caterpillar nor a butterfly – it’s a bunch of green slime. And when we were undergoing our evolutionary process, that’s pretty much how we felt. Slimy and green – YUCK!

Our life as we had known it was being systematically dismantled. No one had told us about this part.

Empyrean began to unravel and the whole split into parts. The centers disaffiliated and became independent organizations. Our vision was crumbling and we didn’t know why and we couldn’t stop it. In many ways it was like watching a beloved child dying.

Something you may not know about us is that we had been serious students of esoteric spirituality since 1976 – and we still are. The metaphysical teachings we studied were gleaned from the esoteric teaching of Christianity, Buddhism and Sufism.

We may also have had a little genetics going for us, too.

Layne’s father was gifted with powerful healing and psychic abilities. Paul’s father had advanced through the Masonic Order, and later studied privately under an Archbishop for the Episcopal priesthood, becoming a Biblical scholar in the process, and then emerging later as a mystically oriented spiritual teacher.

So, both of us had an ingrained inclination for deeper truths and pushing the envelope of consciousness.

Confronting the limits of our expanding consciousness was startling. We were victims of a “New Age” social mythology; a mindset that said we could intentionally create our own reality, through the power of prayer, visualization and affirmation.

We could build wealth, spiritual power and all the goodies we could conceive of. The unspoken promise was that we would be invincible and in control.

These ideas had served us well on the early legs of our journey, but a greater truth was waiting in the unseen mists ahead.

We learned that in this three dimensional realm of time and space, conscious thought is creative – BUT, it doesn’t create absolutely. Absolute thought creates. Absolute thought issues from the ten dimensional Being that is our soul.

Learning the deeper workings of the co-creative relationship between our soul and our conscious mind was significant for us, especially as teachers of radical personal responsibility. Knowing the limits of what you can take responsibility for seems important to know.

It is more true to say, we as individuals have the power of consciousness to influence our reality and to interpret events. We also have the power to create the quality of our relationships and a variety of wonderful experiences, from businesses to communities. But, we do not create in a void.

We alone are not the cause of every event in our life. No matter how pure our consciousness, our conscious mind would never (and should never) be running the whole show. There is an Unseen Intelligence behind many of the events of our life and the world. None of us are the puppet masters of the Creative Intelligence of the universe.

At this point, we believe that after we have learned to observe the power of our consciousness to create, we then get to learn to co-create with a higher power than ourselves. Now, we thought that’s what we were doing all along, but what we painfully discovered was there is a whole lot more to it than we ever imagined.

We live in an evolving universe. No matter where we are on the evolutionary spiral there is an infinite stretch of knowledge and understanding before all of us. That means no matter how much we think we know about the Great Mystery, we always only know a part. There is a kernel of truth inside all of the sacred myths of our world cultures. But none of them could possibly tell the whole story.

Outgrowing the sacred myths we live in is painful for any of us. Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”

Our prayers for spiritual wisdom were working, but not in the way we had imagined they would.

We needed to confront the big gap between our spiritual ideals and our true capacities and it hurt. We had become arrogant without even noticing we had. Arrogance doesn’t feel arrogant – it just feels right.

We imagined we knew the whole Truth with a capital “T”. Yet, Spirit was determined to show us our limitations, so we could grow beyond them. Ouch! Triple big OUCH!!!

In hindsight, it makes perfect sense that if we pray for wisdom, it is inevitable that we will outgrow our current understandings. But, what we were finding out was that the “ultimate truths” we had believed in, taught and had worked so well for us, up until now, were flawed. And it brought us to our knees.

We tried to look with new eyes at ideas and beliefs we had taken for granted. We had to find a way to sort out the valuable from the valueless and the partial truths from the greater truths.

We withdrew from public life to take stock of our spiritual life. Paul got a job with an international corporation and Layne stayed at home and saw a few occasional clients. We yielded to our “undoing” and quietly entered our metaphorical chrysalis.

Would our relationship survive or would it be part of what was lost in our undoing? We really didn’t know. We couldn’t know. We knew we still loved one another, but we were visionaries without vision and nothing was for certain anymore.


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