The Bigger Life is lived. Yes, that sounds redundant and obvious. But far too often people will have a spiritual awakening or religious experience or flash of deep insight that remains a mental event, with no resulting change of behavior or social circumstances. Reboot! Life Operating System for the 21st Century is precisely that: a system for living, not just thinking. It encompasses every aspect of being: psychological, spiritual, emotional, social, environmental.
In fact, a flash of enlightenment or deep discovery is not enough to affect lasting and significant change. A person may have a sudden, life-changing experience that forever alters their direction and priorities. But in order for this change to have lasting effects, the person must find ways of acting that are in accord with this new direction. They must also redirect their thoughts and attitudes along lines in concert with this new direction. What they need to do is to adopt a set of practices that serve to reinforce their new life and to help establish the change as permanent.
Practice In order to understand this, consider theatre and athletics. In order for any actor to be prepared for an actual performance, they must run through their lines and movements on stage over and over again in order to memorize their part. This is called “practicing.” Similarly, athletes on a team practice together as a team over and over so that they develop their skills and learn how to work as a team. They have certain “plays” that they need to know as a team in order to compete in a game. In order to compete well and effectively, these plays must be so well-rehearsed and practiced that they are second nature to each player and to the team as a whole. In essence, through repeated practice and rehearsal, actors and athletes each internalize their lines, parts, routines and plays to the extent that the actor fully embodies their character such that they seem to actually be that character, and the athlete executes their plays so well that they seem to have been born to the game, or such that they are football or baseball itself.
This is the work of formation. Human beings have as part of their normal developmental process the natural capacity to learn, grow, change, and adapt. Human beings are malleable and formable. This is true physically as well as intellectually, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Human behaviors are shaped by a wide variety of factors . This is because humans are fundamentally shapeable. Neurophysiologists have discovered that the brain itself is malleable at the level of neurons. In order to establish a new physical ability or a new behavior, a person must deliberately engage in learning and repeating a certain action or behavior. Continued repetition of that action or behavior establishes new neural pathways that support that action or behavior. Over time, deeper neural pathways are established within the brain that solidify that action or behavior into habitual actions or behavior that become "second nature."
Because of this malleability, the primary way humans are formed spiritually is through the process of engaging in a set of practices that serve to reinforce and fashion their behaviors and attitudes according to a particular set of values and beliefs about the world. These practices are called spiritual disciplines, but their actual sphere of action is at the neurological level.
Virtually every religious system in the world has developed a set of attendant disciplines aimed at affecting mental attitudes and behaviors through physically enacted practices or disciplines, Most of these disciplines are remarkably similar across the world. Practices such as meditation, prayer, alms-giving or acts of charity, corporate worship or devotional practice, and ritualized activities are among the disciplines most common . There is evidence of these disciplines having been practiced for millennia—a testimony to what humans have found to be efficacious in all places and at all times.
Attentive Awareness: Practices such as mindfulness, meditation, contemplation, centering prayer have been practiced around the world for thousands of years. Focused attention, calming the ever-busy and scattered mind, taming the world horses of thought, directing one's intentions towards that which is of greatest benefit for others - these are all bedrock practices for the expansion of consciousness of Bigger Mind, the justice-oriented compassion of Bigger Heart, and the reintegration into a BiggerWorld. [Read and explore Attentive Awareness Practices.]
Disentangling: In order to "install" the new Life Operating System at the center of Reboot!, it is necessary to do the work of disentangling ourselves from the maladaptive and destructive systems of domination and injustice such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, industrialism, and imperialism. Reboot! borrows the insights of Twelve-Step programs utilizing a process with seven actions to take:
Confession: Tell the truth, listen to the truth
Admit the hold those systems have over us
Recognize the Divine Source that empowers change, growth, and development, and actively engage with this Source, using time-proven practices to manifest change within ourselves and our societies and communities
Seek guidance and companionship of experienced and engaged persons
Make amends for the harm we may have caused, and act in solidarity with persons subjected to oppression, injustice, bias, hate, discrimination, abuse, trauma.
Learn to live a new life with a new code of behavior;
Help others who suffer from the effects of oppressive, dysfunctional, and destructive Life Operating Systems.
Seek Coherence and Integration: All the various systems of domination seek to fragment and disintegrate our lives and our consciousness. Industrialism seeks to separate humans from the natural world by depicting the natural world as "resources" and commodities for human consumption, and then commodifying other human beings as objects of consumption or as mere means to a powerful individual's end. Racism separates humans on the basis of artificially-constructed categories based upon skin color or physical characteristics. Sexism separates people according biological differentiation that exists solely for purposes of procreation. Heterosexism insists that human love can only exist in biologically-differentiated relationships defined by procreative capabilities. All these systems of domination create conflict and division within human consciousness, within human communities, and result in environmental degradation and catastrophes. Seeking coherence between our intentions, our knowledge of what is of greatest benefit to the world and to others, and our actions in that world brings integrity to our lives, and empowers effective action in the world. We counter the destructive narratives of domination systems by reconnecting with persons across cultures, across socio-economic differences, learn about the real-life experiences of persons whose skin color or physical appearance is distinct from our own. Ewe listen to one another's stories engagements with the truth that sets each of us free form systems of domination. We counter those systems by acting on behalf of those who suffer from domination systems in whatever way, recognizing that our own humanity has been compromised and diminished by these systems as well.
Engage: Find ways to change social and cultural systems through political activism, advocacy, artistic expression, creation of new economies, new forms of community, new activities to refresh our minds and bodies, and so on. The systems that exist now have been created by humans, New systems can be created by humans.
Click on any of the images below to read about the components of Reboot!: "Reboot What?" "Bigger Mind," "Bigger Heart," Bigger World," Bigger Life (Practices)." There is also a link to the Reboot! Blog.