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Jean Houston

This interview is an archived recording from our Conversations with Masters program. During this multi-year teleseries, we invited our members to participate in live conversations with a broad range of thought leaders, spiritual teachers, and academics. This series exposed our community to inspiring insights and timeless wisdom.


Rand: So, with that, I’d like to introduce Dr. Jean Houston, who, many of you have seen her bio in the marketing emails for this. She is a scholar, a philosopher, and a researcher and really one of the foremost visionary thinkers and doers of our time. She is long regarded for those who knew her name prior to this call as one of the principal founders of the human potential movement and has written over 25 books and has worked with, collaborated with, connected with, been friends with, so many of the names that we reference in the ILP and that our society references from Mother Teresa to the Dalai Lama, Buckmeister Fuller, it’s a real honor to have her with us today.

Rand: So, Jean I’d like to welcome you to our Conversations With Masters call and are there any, before I jump in with my first question, are there any just opening thoughts you’d like to share?

Jean Houston: Well, I suppose the main opening thought would be that this is the most critical time in human history. I realize other times in history felt they were it. They’re wrong, this is it. This is truly, truly the time of grow or die, evolve or perish. And, I’m very honored to be addressing your wonderful group, because these are the men and women who can profoundly make a difference in this extraordinary time of enormous challenges, incredible opportunities and, above all, a time in which we really have to regrow ourselves, repattern, rewire, if we’re going to be adequate stewards in this extraordinary time.

Rand: Wow. Thank you. I don’t even know where to go now, gone deeper than I had initially expected at the start, so let’s continue with that.

Rand: And, one of the things I was really touched by in our prep call a couple of weeks ago, and we were talking about the visit that you made to several conscious capitalism CEO summits as one of the main speakers and facilitators and I found this reflection in myself after our last call and you were talking about your work with heads of state and your work with leaders of some of the largest institutions in the world with … and some of the characteristics of these leaders, and I wanted to take a little risk here for a business community, not our community, but this idea of the relationship between spirituality and effective leadership, even in a business domain. Can you take us there?

Jean Houston: Well, one of the things that I’ve noticed in working with say, heads of state, heads of companies, and trying to help whole countries. I’ve worked in now, in 109 countries, invited to help, not so much clean up the mess as, though that too, but also to put countries, cultures, people on whole new pathways and journeys. And, it’s to understand first of all, the historical necessity of doing this, because too many leaders that I’ve met around the world had been educated for another time, another place, another way of being and it’s not just a question of playing catch up, it’s understanding the critical importance of their role in these times.

Jean Houston: When I have found a successful leader, really successful leader, almost invariably they have taken depth probings of their own creative process. This has then taken them even beyond the creative process into something that is far more fundamental, whether we call it spirituality, whether we call it the quantum realm. I’ve just finished, in fact, two books working with Deepak Chopra and the great physicist Ervin Lazlo, the three of us doing these books on quantum physics and consciousness.

Jean Houston: What are the implications of the fact that we don’t simply live in the universe, the universe lives in us and because of that, in certain states of consciousness, especially in our spiritual deepening, we access this extraordinary universe within, and we have the ability to tap into ideas, illuminations, ways of knowing, seeing, understanding energies, and above all an intuitive sense of right timing, what to do, where to go, it’s as if one simply is not who one is in space and time. One is way beyond that.

Jean Houston: One also, at certain levels of consciousness and especially these spiritual sourcing places, one feels guided, evoked, made more intelligent, certainly joyous. Joyousness is [inaudible 00:07:04], is a part of this and then all the synchronicities, unusual coincidences begin to occur, and not just coincidence, but capacities that had been latent in our minds and our bodies and our psyches, suddenly rise to be vivified, to be explored and then to be brought to bear upon solving problems, but also in looking at oneself as a steward of this world and time.

Rand: So, Jean, I find myself really drawn to a comment you made around so many leaders are educated for a different time. Yeah exactly, and sometimes I find myself looking into the marketplace and these leaders that you talk about stewardship, but have this deep responsibility and this opportunity, and make a difference. And yet, they were educated to believe, an oversimplified statement here, to believe, to compartmentalize their lives, that there’s business, and what we do at work stays at work.

Rand: And then, there’s personal life, and then there’s our spirituality and our faith and that those belong in compartments, and maybe in a different time, a more industrial age time, that made sense. Why do you think that the marketplace is requiring a more integrated or a more holistic approach? What’s different today than 1930’s?

Jean Houston: Well, I wasn’t quite around at that time, but I think it’s that America was still on the momentum of success of do, of produce, a modality of success. You look at a lot of the New Age, new thought type of thinking and so much of it is directed to outward directed making a very, very good living and the enormous amount of opportunity and energy and resources, and let’s face it, money that is there in the American spirit, especially and certainly in European, and my God, it’s all over Europe, Asia right now, is production.

Jean Houston: Productivity, and so there became the great separation, the great divide between being a producer and being a human being. And, a lot of people have suffered enormously as has the world by that. We’ve seen the avalanche of greed. We’ve seen the aggrandizement of the self, but at the same time, you have organizations like yours, which is out there to evoke, to provoke, to bring people back into the regime of becoming a better, a deeper human being, and then that then affects the whole.

Jean Houston: I know that you’re very familiar with the Wilber work, Wilber’s an old friend of mine, and of course, what he does in the four quadrants as well as his other work, is to really talk about how do we really integrate our human growth, our human possibility with the social field.

Jean Houston: Part of my work is something called social artistry in which the social artist is one whose canvas is not the painting or the music paper, or the clay, but whose canvas is human society. If you bring that kind of spiritual, psychological dynamism and focus that a fine artist brings to business, then you are frankly cooking on more burners. You bring so much more of yourself and this then reflects in the business as well.

Jean Houston: Just on the most practical levels, the fact is, we use so little of ourselves, and in my work, I find that most people, especially business people, interesting enough, the two great groups are business people and indigenous native people I find are so responsive to this kind of thing, and nuns, but that’s another story.

Jean Houston: But, you find that when these people bring this enormous willingness to participate in the greatest adventure, not just the business venture, but the adventure of the business of the deepening of the human self, they find that most people then, these people have access to new being, seeing, living, using their bodies, their minds, you tap into capacities that they little know they had. They live in the kingdom instead of on the outskirts of the human possibility. They are able to aspire realistically within a much larger frame of awareness, and this frame of awareness gives them access to ways of knowing and being that few people in history have achieved, but now we have to democratize greatness. We cannot let it just be there for a very tiny minority.

Jean Houston: So, as I say, I’m thrilled to be able to speak to all of you who are taking yourselves, your life, your work, the planet, seriously. These are either the last days of the human race … there will be a million of us around in 200 years, but we’ll look terrible and we’ll be stumbling over abandoned electronic appliances, or we will really be making a whole new order of possibility and reality on earth.

Rand: So, Jean, one of the words you use is practical and I want to just hold that point of view for everyone on the call, and just business leaders in general. One of the … and you talk about this idea of the great divide between the production consciousness and the human and just being a human being. And, so much of the time, we, and I think everyone on this call with our employees and with our stakeholders, we often are fielding this criticism of, well, it must be nice to actually have the luxury of being able to be a human being at work, but I can’t make that trade off, because I’m not at a place in my life where I have that freedom yet, as opposed to, you mentioned Ken Wilber, who’s the founder of Integral Institute, which informed the Integral Leadership Program.

Rand: And, another close friend of Ken’s is John Mackey from Whole Foods, who wrote a new book, Conscious Capitalism, and I know you know John, and John and others, who are having successes like Whole Foods with this new paradigm and new consciousness, they would say that there isn’t a trade off between this integration, and in fact, by bringing your full humanity to your business and to your leadership, you actually can have, almost a … John wouldn’t say this, I’ll say this, almost an unfair competitive advantage, because you’re bringing your full humanity to work. Can you speak to that a little bit?

Jean Houston: Well, it is a question of a fuller humanity. Let me bring some very, very particular details. People say, “I don’t have time. I don’t have time. My business takes up so much, I have no time.” Well, at a certain perspective, they’re probably right. At another perspective, they’re dead wrong. Why? Because you can learn to work with time in a different way. I can show people how to take, let’s say, two minutes of clock time, equal subjectively to hours and hours, and then in those two minutes, be able to do things that normally would take them hours and sometimes weeks and months.

Jean Houston: You are switching brain hemispheres in this. The right hemisphere does not know time. It knows eternity. The left hemisphere is the clock, the one, two, three, four. If you, really, learn how to do this, and it’s a very interesting and very simple technique. I’ve had people write whole symphonies and books in a matter of minutes and then the real time was spent putting it down on paper, or learn a skill very rapidly, or be able to enter into the deeps of one’s mind, to think in images, to think in words, to think with the whole body, mind, and to do this in a very limited period of time, and then come up with scenarios, product solutions, literally, all kinds of things that relate to both business creativity and art. That’s an example of the tiny amount of ourselves that we use.

Jean Houston: We use a fraction of our human capacities, so time would be one. Another would be … I once made a study of 55 of some of the most creative, productive people in North America. Among them were Margaret Mead, Joseph Campbell, Jonas Salk, Buckmeister Fuller, and people like that. These were my research subjects. They’d come to my house, and I would study the way their minds worked.

Jean Houston: And, what I found in every case is they were fascinated by their own minds. They were spelunkers in the caves of their own creativity. They were archeologists of their mind. And, I remember one fellow who became one of the major scientists … he was at the Rockefeller Institute, he said, “Jean, when I use your techniques and I tap into this incredible warehouse of knowledge that I have, I find that ideas come to me, ideas and solutions that normally would have taken me years, and I wonder, they’re in me, but where did they come from?”

Jean Houston: So, it’s a question, as you have to really turn on more of the aspects of your mind, to think not in linear analytic ways, but to think symbolically, to think in images, to think, as I say, with the whole body mind system. The creative process is operating all the time, it would appear, beneath the surface crust of consciousness.

Jean Houston: Consciousness is not simply one thing. It is a united states of consciousness. To get into these different states is to access whole different arenas of mind, and also as a …to have more time. That’s just a tiny, tiny bit of what we do, but just to give you an example of that.

Rand: I’ll admit that I’m a deep student of this topic of time for my own development, and Einstein’s statement that I just came across recently, and he talked about time is an illusion of consciousness. It is actually not real, and then Maryanne Williamson, when I was doing some background preparation for our call together, I was on Oprah’s site, and you and Oprah and Maryanne Williamson have all talked, and Maryanne said that shallow thinking literally speeds up our experience of time, while deep and peaceful thinking slowed it down. Can you talk a little bit about the shallow vs depth?

Jean Houston: Well, if you’re just in a hurry all the time, you might as well be running on a track, and that’s what people do, they run on a track, and they hurry up, and the time just skitters by, and it’s almost like what Einstein said about … he got to E=MC2 in part by his imagination, by writing, entering into the deeps of himself and into hugely productive, imaginative state and riding the light beam, that then gave him the perspective, which allowed him to do the incredible things in relativity.

Jean Houston: By the way, Einstein also said that time past, time present, time future, are simultaneous. With the universe, redoing itself every nanosecond, and that includes the time globe, that suggests all kinds of things, among other things, one can shift the past, at least in one’s mind so one is not affected in the same way. You can begin to create patterns of probability, to create what is the high intention in the future, but above all, I think what happens when one masters the dynamics of time, is that one has entered, essentially, a whole different universe with regard to oneself, one’s productivity and one’s creativity.

Jean Houston: But, time past, time present, time future, are evidently, at least in the world of physics, simultaneous. When I was very young, I was eight years old, I met Mr. Einstein, because I went to one of those great schools in New York City, where they took us to meet the great elders of the time, and they trotted us across the river, I was seven or eight, into Princeton.

Jean Houston: And, he was very sweet. He was elderly at the time, and he was very sweet. He seemed a little vague. He had a lot of hair. I think he had on a red sock and a blue sock, and one of our smart alec kids said, “Mr. Einstein, how can we get to be as smart as you.” And he said, “Read fairy tales.” Well, we didn’t like that answer at all and so another smart alec kid said, “Mr. Einstein, how can we get to be smarter than you?” And he said, “Read more fairy tales.” And, by that, he meant the imagination.

Jean Houston: Stimulate the deeper stories, which are often there in the myths and the fairy tales, which is why Joe Campbell and I, we worked together for 20 years. We really worked deeply on this whole sense of the larger story that is implicit beneath the surface of consciousness, the greater myth, the greater stories that activate, not only the imagination, but one’s own sense of power and possibility. You are set on the lure of becoming and into the deeper purposes of your own life.

Jean Houston: The great mythic structures, the great fairy tales actually take us into depths of ourselves that we had forgotten we had in the busyness of our lives. What is your story? What is your story? And I can tell you what kind of life you’re going to have.

Jean Houston: Some people, and especially in business now, are in the act, the high act, the sacred act of changing their story along higher mythic realms.

Rand: Yeah, so Jean, one of the things that we’ve done is, in addition to working with Ken, we’ve had the opportunity to really bring Bob Kegan’s work from Harvard into our program and you know Bob, and work directly with Bob on a handful of occasions. And, one of the things that he’s really inspired us with is this idea of who’s writing the story of your life through the term self authorship, the move to … everyone on this call has been introduced to this idea of who’s writing your story? Is your upbringing and how you were educated, is that writing your story, or do you have control of the narrative of your life and can you step more fully into that, and I feel this idea of bringing our full humanity as part of writing our story.

Jean Houston: I’m a great admirer of Bob’s work and I would have to answer both, and plus much, much more, because … let me talk about Padmasambhava. You ever hear about Padmasambhava? He was a very famous eighth century guru, I guess you would have to say, and he is the one who brought Buddhism to Tibet and he’s the one who also said, prophesized … now this is in the year 750, he said, “When iron birds shall fly and horses go on wings …” no, “When iron birds shall fly and horses go on wheels, then the people of the white cloud,” meaning the Tibetans, “will come to the land of the red man and the Dharma, the great understanding will spread across the world,” which turns out to be true.

Rand: Wow.

Jean Houston: But, I think one of the things that we are looking at, this is such a huge question. What would you like me to focus in on?

Rand: I think what I’m noticing the time, and I think this is a great … I feel a little bit selfish that I’m the only one getting to talk with you, and I imagine that you’ve created a lot of questions and hopefully some inspiring ideas for the others to go into small groups, so let’s go into the small groups for 15 minutes.

Jean Houston: Can I just say …

Rand: Oh sure.

Jean Houston: I just wanted to finish what I was …

Rand: And Jean, if you want to, sorry to interrupt, if you want to actually give … they’re going to be in groups of three or four. If you want to finish your thought, and then actually give them something to at least start their small group conversation with, maybe a question, that’d be great.

Jean Houston: Yeah. What he said was, “As viewed, so appears,” and that means, of course this is what modern physics says, quantum physics, that the observer is the one who affects the observation. The way we look at something is the way we dream it up together with the universe. We are co creators with the universe, and the quantum field rises up to meet our intention and then if we have a pretty clear intention, the manifestation happens. The problem is, it’s not just our clear intention for what we want to do or be in our local consciousness, it is also, unfortunately, we’ve got this huge subconsciousness, some of which was cooked in ancient caves with the overseers of the wooly mastodon and the ancient that come up in this modern form. So, part of it is an internal hygiene, to sluice the way, to say what are you really feeding into your consciousness because that is going to also feed how you observe and how the universe will rise up to give you what you’re actually asking for, but that’s another subject.

Rand: All right. Got a couple people that we can put in the queue, so let’s start with Greg Massey…

Greg Massey: Thank you Jean for being here and this is just really awesome. I was with you several years ago in Austin and you this sort of practice of looking at our past and our future. A minute ago, you talked about these stories, these fairy tales of our past, and how do we use those same fairy tales to create our future, so in the present moment we’re allowed to say something … I think in the last part you talked about the observer, so when we observe what we’re observing, it creates a different view.

Jean Houston: Yes. There’s been lots of work about that. Physics says that you can find a particle, you turn a certain particle and it affects its related particles. Everything appears to be entangled in this universe.

Jean Houston: The great stories give us clues to our own possibilities. My old pal was Joe Campbell, and one of the things that we looked at was the hero’s journey. And, a lot of you are on a hero’s journey. What’s in this journey, well, and this is universal as well as in the great stories. Well, first there’s the call. You feel called. You want to leave an outmoded situation. You want to get on with it. You want, above all, to be able to bring more of your self to the world and more of the world into its betterment.

Jean Houston: But then, comes after feeling the call, there’s the refusal of the call. Not now, please, later, later, after I have more money, after my kids are grown. You have all the excuses. And also, when I have more time. That’s the big one and I have more money.

Jean Houston: And then, finally, you can’t stand yourself and so you say, “Well, okay, all right, all right,” and then, according to the great myths and stories, the wonderful ones show up, the allies, either friends, opportunities, or even God, spirit, shows up and says, “Look, we’re here for you, let’s get on with it.” You say, “Okay.”

Jean Houston: And then, what happens is that you cross the threshold between the ordinary, every day reality and great reality, the realm of amplified power, and you’re generally stuck there by what is called the guardian at the gate. All those things, inside yourself or outside yourself that try to stop you, we would call this the law of entropy.

Jean Houston: I’ve noticed in my life, and maybe you have too, that when I’m really about to do something really important, that could have very great benefit, I find that all kinds of little niggling, dreadful things show up to try to stop. And, that’s almost a law of the universe, because entropy is also that which constrains. Entropy is to hone your pluck and cunning and say, “No, you’re not going on until you really begin to strengthen yourself and you really are true to your spirit and your resolve.”

Jean Houston: Well, if you do, you get past the guardians of the gate, and then there’s a whole series of great, great adventures, but also includes deepening yourself. That’s called the belly of the whale. You deepen, you realize that you are a fetus of your higher self. You are a work in progress and you do what you’re doing here, for example, where you really come to greater clarity about yourself. You build your spiritual practices. You grow yourself. You refine your body and mind, and then they say, “All right, you’re ready,” and then you are in the great adventure, which many of you are in right now.

Jean Houston: And, the adventure in the business world can be adventure of opportunities, lost opportunities, plunging markets, what do you do with your employees so that they are part of the larger journey, the larger joyous possibilities together and then you go through this and sometimes there is almost a kind of death or a fading back. And then, there is a renewal and you come and you find that you have what are called spiritual allies.

Jean Houston: And, this is where you deepen your spiritual commitments, among other things. And then, you come to what is called the deeper part of this mythic universe and it is there that you begin to resolve old issues with old time folks. It’s called atonement with the father. You find the beloved of the soul. Now, the beloved can be a physical beloved, it can be the spiritual beloved, your love for God, or it can also be a greater love and joyousness about your work.

Jean Houston: You gain the great boon. You gain … the boon is considered possibilities, capacities in yourself, even a kind of genius that you didn’t know you have begins to arise, and that’s the great gift. And that’s filled with so much experience, filled with all these gifts. You travel back to the every day world and there you become what is called … you’re on the maestro conference, the maestro of two worlds, of the world of space and time, but also having access to the deeper worlds of creativity and the spirit.

Jean Houston: So, that’s the basis of this journey and you can read my friend Joe Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces or, in my own autobiography, a Mythic Life, I talk about that, but you can find that great hero’s journey. We are heroes and heroines on a whole new path, a whole new path that is unexpected, inexplicable, in which, today looks nothing like yesterday, and yesterday looks nothing like tomorrow. So, we are in the constant challenge for which we’ve been unprepared and we are also all heroes and heroines, trying to make a better world.

Matt Lilly: And Jean, first thank you. In the last little part there, I felt like you just peeled back all of the layers of my existence and I was like, “Okay then, what’s left.” And, part of that was going to be part of my question is, what do you see in today’s world that could be most impactful, I guess, for us, for me individually, for us individually, how can we benefit society as a whole, or how can we … other than working on ourselves in working on our companies, where do you see the greatest need, I guess, would be a better way to put that, in the world?

Jean Houston: I think the greatest need is for people like yourself, conscious men and women, who feel the challenge of living in what I’m calling the most critical time in human history, and knowing that you have roles to play, not just in your business, your family, your community, but also in the world.

Jean Houston: We have moved from being ego centric and ethno centric to world centric. How to think glocally … a word I think I came up with originally and then everybody began to use it, meaning both global and local at the same time, that we are part of this … that you’re part of a huge, huge movement, not just of change, but really of deep transformation.

Jean Houston: One of the things that I suspect, let me just tell you a little story. I was present at the deathbed of my great friend, Margaret Mead, the great anthropologist, and she said to me, “Listen Jean, I’ve been lying here being an anthropologist on my own dying, fascinating experience. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of hierarchy to it, but what I’m seeing is if we’re going to grow and green our world,” those were her words, “it’s a question of right minded people getting together in teaching learning to communities, because you’re really in one now.”

Jean Houston: Teaching learning to communities, and what they’re doing is they’re growing together in body, mind and spirit and then as a result of that mutual growth, they figure out things that need to happen. And it is from their enlarged perspective, that they go out and they make a difference. They go out and make a difference. And, she said, “And, Jean, you do that.” “Yes, ma’am, I’ll do that.”

Jean Houston: The most important thing I think is to know that you’re working for yourself, you’re working for God, you’re working for a world in radical transition. So, it’s not just working on yourself, it’s working together and saying, “What truly needs to happen to make a better world at this time. How can I make my judgment so I’m not hurting the world I am enhancing. How do I begin to bring a world of whole system transition.” Frankly, my friend, everything’s up for grabs. Everything is in transition, but you are working not simply for your business and your success. You’re working for a world that has to work, a world that has to work.

Jean Houston: Factors unique in human history, people say what is the most important, I would have to say and that’s not just because I’m a woman, the rise of women to full partnership with men in the whole domain of human affairs is very critical. And, I don’t know that we will survive without it. I founded a worldwide organization several years ago called rising women, rising world with some of the greatest women in the world. They’re not the politicians, even though I know some of them.

Jean Houston: It’s about how that women can bring their emphasis on process rather than product, making things go fair, develop … relationship to really begin to meet men in fullness and to bring a different kind, another kind of mind to bear. I think that’s very important.

Jean Houston: The internet, my God, there’s … the great civilizations grew up along the great rivers, the Nile, the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Yangtze, so it’s along the great electronic rivers of information, the internet that whole new civilizations and cultures are rising. How do we really make these cultures and civilization serve the higher ends of a world that works.

Jean Houston: One of the things I’d like to see you folks do is together, design a world that works from a deeper perspective, a world that really works. You have an enormous amount of human experience, often much more than politicians do, I assure you, and it is this wealth of experience and wealth of caring, to bring your practiced, practical ways and caring to this larger world, to this world that frankly, as I say, we could lose in about 200 years.

Jean Houston: Those to me, are to ask the big questions. What does my life have meaning? What is the higher purpose beyond the things that I do apparently, and where is it that I am seeing called to put my deeper energies and my love in.

Jean Houston: Let me give you an example from your world. One of my students is a woman who is Samoan, but she lives in a northern city not far from Minneapolis, a very good size city, and she would go the usually kinds of … her name is Elizabeth, she would go to the usual kinds of conferences about the city, and the things that are needed, and nothing was happening. People were fighting. Nothing was happening. But, she took this kind of work, and it’s very easy to learn about my work, but she put it … and people got fascinated as they were talking at deeper levels as they were solving problems with deeper parts of their mind, as they were meeting each other at deeper levels.

Jean Houston: And so, she got elected mayor of this rather large city. She then got elected mayor seven times, she’s now the, or was, as of last year, the president of all the mayors in the United States. So, it’s bringing your growth work, both within you and between you, it’s a great betweenness, the togetherness of this growth into what needs to be done and then with your practiced powers, with your energized knowings, with your greater intelligence that is flourishing in you and through you and between you, than going out and making the difference.

Rick Sappio: Hey Jean, how are you.

Jean Houston: How are you?

Rick Sappio: Good. Thanks to working with Rand for the last 20 years, I’ve really gotten hold of what my purpose is, which is to inspire entrepreneurship.

Jean Houston: Wonderful.

Rick Sappio: You said something earlier, which reminded me of a quote. It says if you want something bad enough, the universe will conspire to give it to you.

Jean Houston: Yes. That tends to be true.

Rick Sappio: So, I started this charity called a Billion Entrepreneurs and our vision is to have an entrepreneur in every home. We’ve determined that there’s about a billion entrepreneurs in the world.

Jean Houston: Lovely.

Rick Sappio: And, it’s been a lot of fun. It’s growing on its own, but what I’m finding is, for the leader, they can have a vision, but how do you deal with normal human beings that are stopped by fear? I’m seeing that more and more, and I’m seeing people, and Joseph Campbell talked about it too is, you get confronted, and you either go on your journey or you go to sleep.

Rick Sappio: And, what I’m finding is, that people are going to sleep more and more, and they’re hiding behind electronics and media and news and stuff like that, so as a leader, how do we wake people up to their life?

Jean Houston: You know, I’m talking to folks in Texas right now, isn’t that true? Is that …

Rand: All over country Jean, with a base in Texas, so there’s some Texans on the call.

Jean Houston: Yeah. Some of you may know, my ancestor was Sam Houston, and he was a wild man. He would get into terrible, terrible depressions. Not many of you know about that, and then he’d go off and get drunk. He had his addictions.

Jean Houston: But then, with the help of the native peoples, because his real name was … he was called the Raven, and then he was called Big Drunk, but he was able ultimately, to transcend his addictions, his depression, his despair, and become the truly great being that he was, that had a lot to do with the fact that he created the state of Texas, among other things.

Jean Houston: I look back at my great, great, great, great grandpa’s issues, and I see so many of our own, that you feel greatness within you, and I’m sure many people on this call do, and then ordinary life interrupts, and you lose the momentum. This is where I say, have your own regular meetings groups. This one is superb, and you’re on it for 52 weeks, but then create and maybe, Rand you can do something about this.

Jean Houston: Create your ongoing community where you are response able for each other and where you affirm, you call together people’s excellence. You keep each other going. Now, some of you have this in your churches. And if so, and synagogues too, I imagine. And if so, this is wonderful, or even form these kinds of teaching learning communities, these affirming groups, these groups that are looking for what can we do to do better.

Jean Houston: What can we do to make a better society here. What can we do to regrow ourselves to be adequate stewards. I really think it is to have, to have clubs. The greatest thing that I was ever part of in my childhood was I was a girl scout forever, and we learned so many things and we had so much social service, and that really got me going in my whole life. And, it’s not that you become a boy scout or a girl scout, but that you have ongoing communities of mutual affirmation and growth, keep each other going.

Jean Houston: Well these are the times, we are the people. I think that wherever you are on this continuum, it shows that the energies are rising in you, whether it was three, two, three, four or five, it’s … you’re cooking. You’re part of a whole world shift and change, but you are in the driver’s seat to really make a difference in your life, just knowing that you are part of history. The great philosopher Hegel once talked about world historical individuals, people whose personal passions and interests correspond to the turning of the times. And, out in front or behind the scenes, you become the entrepreneurs of progress, the ones who turn the page of history. So, knowing that and feeling that history is on your side right now with your particular interests, passions, enormous talents, skills, this is where you call upon the larger story. You are part of a larger story.

Jean Houston: I think of a great poem that says, “The human heart can go to the length of God. Dark and cold we may be, but this is now winter now. The frozen misery of centuries cracks, breaks, begins to move. The thunder is the thunder of the flood, the flow the upstart spring. Thank God our time is now. When wrong comes up to meet us everywhere, never to leave us till we take the longest stride of soul men ever took. Affairs are now soul sized. The enterprise is exploration into God. What are we making for? It takes so many thousand years to wake, but shall we wake for pity’s sake.”


Dr. Jean Houston, scholar, philosopher, and researcher in Human Capacities, is a visionary activist. Long regarded as one of the principal founders of the Human Potential Movement, she is one of the leading experts today in the field of myth and archetype.


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