January 23, 2018

Consciousness Precedes Form


Being green has been around for a long time. However, in the last year a tipping point was reached and green is now visible everywhere. Governments are doing it, business is doing it, schools are teaching it, and even the “bad” guys, such as the petroleum industry, are dabbling with it. We are still on our way to the tipping point for universal design.

Much like being green, the tipping point is reached once we recognize that the box we are living in is just too small. Like any box, it’s fit is limited both by space and time. As our natural state is growth, the logical evolution is that at some point we need a bigger box, just like a hermit needs bigger shell. In the field of universal design, we are just beginning to feel the limits of an outdated box, yet, we’re not aware of the limits that we have outgrown; we just feel the pinch.

The typical behavior of living inside a box that has grown too small is to look for answers inside the box. It’s absurd, but it’s what we do. The irony is that the answer to expanding the box is outside the box. The other paradox is that from inside the box we can’t see outside the box. This experience is frustrating and the first results show up as conflict. Without a method or trick, the state of conflict grows until we experience is as a pain so great we collapse in defeat and surrender to the change.

The good news is that there is a trick/method for accessing expansion, and, it’s ridiculously simple: ask a guiding question. If we want to kick the petroleum habit, an outgrown and limiting box, we could ask, “How are we gonna live well without petroleum?” That’s not a good question and perhaps you can see why, it’s still inside the box! Here’s the good and guiding question: “What would life on this planet look like if our energy needs were met through healthy and safe means?” You can answer that question, can’t you? The answer feels pretty good doesn’t it? You can even see an action to take. The box just got bigger, didn’t it?

The technique is based upon preceding the form with consciousness. The access to consciousness is through expansive questioning. The answer shows up through insight. A garnish of patience adds ease to the process. Frustration and conflict can’t and don’t exist in this environment; wisdom, creativity and genius do. One beckons the consciousness, which is then answered with form.

Here are some universal design questions:

  • What is possible for us all when we live in an inclusive and human centered society?
  • What are the gifts I have that would contribute to those less able-bodied?
  • How can I manifest this higher vibration of a society that leaves no one behind?
  • What does design look like that profoundly supports our sense of joy, independence, security, confidence and comfort?
  • What lifestyle is possible for me if I have taken steps to include universal design in my life?