Trillium Awakening: A New Paradigm -- Video Presentations by John Bottone
What is some of your history and how did you get involved in this Trillium Awakening work?
In my 20s I was a Transcendental Meditation teacher, so I pretty much spent my twenties in meditation. Then, in my thirties I raised a family and lived the corporate life as an I.T. specialist. In my forties I came out of the closet as a gay man and became a psychotherapist. In 2008, I wasn't looking for a spiritual path and received an email from a friend with a link to interviews with spiritual teachers. When I listened to the interview with Saniel and Linda Bonder where they were talking about an accelerated path to an embodied awakening...and I just felt this intuitive impulse that this was a path that I needed to explore.
Fax: You went back to school and became a psychotherapist. Could you speak about what kind of psychotherapy?
John: I started doing a lot of Gestalt therapy, which is an experiential therapy as opposed to a cognitive therapy. I noticed that as I got involved in Trillium, I started to work differently. You know, the Trillium work is not pathological. It's being much more present and being with what the client or patient is bringing forth. And I could feel my work starting to shift in that direction. So I started reading a lot about Transpersonal Psychotherapy and the difference between that and other psychotherapies.
Fax: What was it about Transpersonal Psychotherapy that resonated with your Trillium work?
John: It really is trying to integrate the spiritual dimensions. Abraham Maslow, the father of transpersonal psychotherapy started it. He wanted to integrate the spiritual dimensions of human experience into human development. Because ego development is not the final stage, right? Most traditional psychotherapies are really concerned with ego development. A healthy person is one with a strong, solid ego. Transpersonal Psychology says that the development of a healthy ego is not the final step.
Maslow said that the top need on the "hierarchy of needs" was self-actualization. And self-actualization suggests, "I'm doing what I want to do in the world. I'm successful in the world. I've developed a sense of skill." Later in his work he decided that self-actualization in that sense was not the final step in human development. And he added self-transcendence as the highest need of human development. Self-transcendence means that there's a stage when we start to feel an impulse to discover what is larger than the ego.
And that's the transpersonal dimension. You know, there's something bigger than us organizing this, something larger than the ego that is at play here. And there's that impulse to start to explore our spirituality past the self-actualization stage.
Fax: How would you see that exploration represented in our work? How is that kind of growth elicited?
John: The Trillium Awakening transmission is very catalytic. What it catalyzes is embodiment and opening to consciousness, to the larger awareness. That opening to consciousness is very much the transpersonal. We start to experience ourselves as not limited to this human body, that actually we're larger than that. We're more expansive than that. And we start having an awareness of consciousness as holding us and directing us-- something larger that is holding us, directing us--the awareness that we really are spiritual beings. All the dimensions that open up through the Trillium work really are the transpersonal dimensions. They are the spiritual dimensions.
Just the fact that the Trillium process opens that up so quickly as a whole-Being realization is actually a real shift into the spiritual, the transpersonal. That's what's happening.
Fax: How does this functioning beyond a healthy ego show up in everyday life?
John: I'm starting to appreciate that what Trillium really is doing is shifting the paradigm from a head-centered, thinking-centered reality to a whole-being centered reality. It's really quite extraordinary. We've all grown up in this head-centered culture that believes that the head is in charge of everything, in charge of the body and most of our human experience; that we're separate from nature; that we can own trees, that money buys security; that success is what we achieve--that's the cultural paradigm we all grew up in. Now we find ourselves in a place where it's not working any more. It doesn't work because it's actually not real! It's a created paradigm that is not natural. And we find our selves with huge environmental problems; we find ourselves with huge political problems; we find ourselves with huge relationship problems. All because this paradigm that we've all grown up in and continue to support is extremely dysfunctional.
Then we get involved in Trillium and we start getting more embodied, This embodiment process shifts our awareness from our head down to a where our heart and our gut reside.
A lot of systems talk about three brains: there's the head brain, the heart brain, and the gut brain, and that the gut brain should be our primary brain. When we talk about "gut instinct," and "gut feeling," and "trust your gut," that's all coming from this more embodied wisdom that we all have. It's just that we become desensitized to it because of the paradigm we've all grown up in.
So, you start Trillium, awareness starts to drop from the head-centeredness down into the body, and you have more access to heart connection for relationship, and you have more access to the gut brain. This embodied wisdom then begins to direct our lives in the world, and we also have access to the transpersonal, which is starting to hold us in a completely different way.
That's why I see Trillium as really supporting this paradigm shift from a head-centered reality to a Being-centered reality, to a whole-Being realization.
Fax: Does this paradigm shift have a societal component?
John: From my point of view it's really a profound shift that's taking place. In many ways it feels very hopeful that as more and more people awaken and start to live from this whole-being reality, it's going to support a much healthier, more functional way of being in the world.
I think the value is huge. I don't think we talk about this very much. We don't talk about how this work can really influence the world in a significant way. But I think it's really quite enormous. Living from whole-being realization is a shift into living in the present, not just from the head. Being in the present is actually quite ecstatic, but it is also a place of vulnerability. It's a place of openness that ultimately creates compassion for each other. To actually be vulnerable with another person-two people in mutuality when we're really acknowledging each other, that creates tremendous compassion. Imagine bringing that more to this world. That's what we need desperately, in my view, right now.
Fax: I really enjoyed hearing your perspective on our work and it's value. I hope that everyone will view your videos for even greater depth and understanding. Thank you very much!
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