Science of The Spirit
Systems Science, Naturalistic Spirituality,
and the Return of a Sacred Reality
Spiritual Practice Now:
Experiential Network Spirituality
Emotional and Somatic Engagement with Emergent Ordering and Agency
Embodied Consciousness and Direct Experience of Complex System Dynamics
Ordinary states of mind tend to perceive self and world mechanistically, as sequential processes
Non-ordinary or 'altered states of mind' can provide experience of more complex dynamics
These are intentional or inadvertent encounters with conditions that alter normative thought, perception, or sensation
Some such states foreground concurrent interdependency, emergent ordering, metamorphic transformation, etc.
These can give us a more tangible feeling of the 'hidden dynamics' discerned by complex systems science
Experiential network spirituality is the engagement of these 'mind/body' events through systems science concepts
Configuring Practices to Induce Overt Experience of Network Dynamics
Experiencing Ineffable Dynamics
It is challenging enough to logically think about complex systems dynamics. So how can these ethereal activities be directly experienced? Most confoundingly, our selves and much of what we encounter in the world around us, as forms and functions, are emergent properties associated with network agency. Our very capacity to think at all is network agency at its most influential level. Yet our normal awareness of 'how things happen' seldom registers these strange dynamics. It is not surprising then that some special efforts are required to orient our awareness toward this 'invisible aspect of reality and thereby register it as some form of tangible experience.
Applying the Three Part Structure of Traditional Practices to Network Spirituality
There is a basic structure observed in cross-cultural studies of ritualized spiritual practices. A 'trajectory' is established by a formalized 'departure' from ordinary mentality, leading to a period of 'betwixt and between' or liminal status associated with a 'spiritually altered state of mind,' followed by a formalized 'return' to ordinary status. So there is a deliberate preparation for a change in one's 'state of consciousness.' That leads to a period of immersion in the 'other worlds' of myth or 'the spirit,' as represented by specific cultural symbolism, meant to induce the altered state. There follows a similarly deliberate 'recall' back to the the habitual ordinary state. This aspect includes efforts to maintain some awareness of the liminal altered state experience, generally by the presence of spiritually symbolic images or language usage . In this basic manner, awareness is maintained that one is deliberately disrupting and disorienting ordinary states of mind for the purpose of experiencing 'hidden aspects of reality'. A simple example is the entering of a temple, identified as a 'sacred precint' because it is associated with some spiritual agency. What happens inside such a sacred zone is different than what happens outside. Entering and exiting the temple are an inherent trainsition in ordinary awareness.
Established ritual structures, and the guidance of people skilled in conducting this transit, both emphasize its importance while assuring participants that they will indeed return to 'ordinary existence.' So the non-ordinary or liminal status is 'para-normal' in the sense that it occurs 'along side' or 'in between' ordinary states. This structure of traditional spiritual practices indicates the goal of reorienting ordinary awareness to include the existence of the normally hidden dynamics and agency of 'spiritual influences,' considered to be the primary 'forces' generating the ordering of the world. In the traditional context, experience of the 'spiriutal realm' does not contradict ordinary states of mind or awareness but rather 'expands' awareness of this ordinarily 'invisible' aspect of reality.
From the perspective of systems science, this traditional model can be understood as an overtly induced shift in our 'dynamical experience.' That is, a profound change in the habitual way humans perceive and interpret, thus experience, their selves and the world around them. In scientific terms, this involves a change from a predictably mechanistic mode of experience to one focused on unpredictable emergence and autonomous network agency--then back again. However, the science does not provide us with any explicit methods for inducing this change in dynamical experience. What it does provide are terms and concepts useful in identifying the dynamical characteristics of our experience. Its criteria for linear versus nonlinear, predictably causal versus unpredictably emergent, and chaotic versus self-organizing dynamics, can assist in interpreting our sense of 'how things actually happen.' Applying these to the traditional three-part structure of spiritual rituals, these can be understood as a transit of dynamical experience from an emphasis on linear, predictably causal dynamics to nonlinear, emergent, and self-ordering ones--then 'back again.' This 'move' can also be considered shift in our overt awareness toward 'the edge of chaos,' that turbulent dynamical 'nether world' where emergent properties and agency mysteriously manifest.
But, since our experience is not a quantifiable event that can be expressed in mathematical terms, the science cannot define it explicitly. It can only give us references for categorizing our 'sense of how things happen.' These then configure network sprituality practices as a conceptual framing that assists in distinguishing shifts between these modes of dynamical experience. This framing allows us to place qualities of experience in an appropriate dynamical context, relative to what is happening and how we experience it. There are two general ways to apply this framing to promote overt experince of nonlinear, emergent, and self-ordering dynamics. It can be used to re-frame many existing types of experience, including traditional spiritual practices, so as to emphasize awareness of complex system dynamics. It can also be employed to frame and structure novel practices that promote more direct experience of interdependent interactivity, emergent properties, and network agency "at the edge of chaos."
Altered States of Mind and Psycho-Somatic Engagement with Emergent Network Dynamics
Imaginal Reality and the Leap from 'Tame' to 'Wild' Mind
Systems science demonstrates that most of the ordering of our selves and the world around us arises from emergent dynamics and network agency. But that is not how people tend to think about or experience events. Thus the aim of experiential practices for network spirituality is to prompt a sense self and world which emphasizes the dynamical characteristics of agency-driven, complex adaptive systems. This involves a change in how we experience 'the way things actually happen'--from controllable mechanistic dynamics to uncontrollable complex dynamics involving emergent ordering and network agency. To be effective in affirming the evidence from systems science, such experience must have some somatic or embodied aspect. Whereas scientific and intellectual network spirituality emphasize logical mental states, experiential practices necessarily involve emotional states associated with non-normative sensations, perceptions, and cognition--creating experience that can be associated with relevant scientific concepts.
This shift from our normative state of control-obsessed awareness to one that is immersed in the interactive interdependency of emergent ordering can be characterized as 'tame mind' versus 'wild mind.' The contrast here is between the familiar sense of self and world, established by civilization's preoccupation with manipulative control, or 'domestication,' versus one immersed in Nature's realm of disorderly ordering and reciprocating system networks. 'Tame Mind' perceives the world in terms of predictably sequential cause and effect. 'Wild Mind' experiences it as concurrently emergent and agency-ordered--thus as 'spiritual.' These are logically incompatible modes of knowing. Thus the shift is more of a 'leap' than a simple transition in mental processes. 'Wild mind' is a state in which the 'invisible' and ultimately mysterious dynamics of complex adaptive system networks somehow becomes 'direct experience.' Such experience is enhanced by an interplay of sensory perception, cognitive imagination, and emotional response.
States of Tame and Wild Mind on the dynamical spectrum from ordered to self-ordering and disordered:
Mental states both influence and are influenced by physiological or 'embodied' states. Thus we can think of mind/body states as how mental systems are interpreting bodily experience. To make the 'leap' to 'wild mind' the dominance of 'tame mind' must be diffused.
The lessening of our reflexively mechanistic mentality can be promoted by entering into a 'play of the imagination' or a 'state of make-believe'. This can also be called the 'suspension of disbelief'--according to normative expectations and assumptions about reality. Such an 'imaginal state of mind' is necessary in the sense that we are attempting to 'experience' what seems impossible to our ordinary mentality.
Where as the mechanistic perspective of ordinary mind/body states can easily be demonstrated in a physical manner, as in using a lever to move a rock or hammer to drive a nail, the 'invisible realm' of complex system dynamics is only directly accessible as 'imaginal reality.' We must imagine something that 'moves like' emergent dynamics. That is why metaphoric representation and symbolic experience are useful in inducing immediate, tangible experience of it. The 'Wild Mind' state allows itself to be 'overwhelmed' by seemingly chaotic and paradoxical interplays of factors, events, meanings, sensations, and agency. Metamorphic imagery and stories, such as found in mythic imagination, facillitate a more complex 'sensinig' of 'how things happen.'
Dynamical Experience through States of Consciousness and Embodied Awareness
The actual definition of "consciousness" remains a fervently debated topic. In its most basic meaning, consciousness is the sentience or awareness of both internal and external existence common to all humans. As such, it includes perception, feeling, cognition, and a 'sense of experience.' These general attributes include reasoning, intuition, emotion, memory, prediction, and self-awareness. Obviously, such aspects of awareness are generated through embodiement. "Seeing' is often said to be 'believing.' What 'feels real' seems actual. But how awareness is configured, what it tends to take notice of, and how it tends to interpret what is percieved, are aspects of each person's mental network. As in any complex adaptive system network, mental ones develop in response to their interactions with their environments. Culture and experience influence the biases and preoccupations of our awareness. Over time a person developes a normative sense of what it is like to be 'this person' in 'this body' in 'this world.' This can be refferred to as our 'ordinary state of consciousness and embodied awareness.' Being interdependent, the systems of body, brain, and mind all participate in the configuration of how this normative attitude filters and interprets our experience as 'embodied consciousness.'
What is relevant here, is how that habitual sense of self, world, and reality condition our awareness of 'how things happen' or 'how the world works'--our dynamical awareness. As animals, the first concern of overt awareness is to protect and preserve one's physical existence. That fundamental purpose for one's network agency emphasizes a pragmatic view of the world. It is essential to know how to physically avoid threats or pursue opportunities. Humans, who survive by highly intelligent manipulations of their environments, devote much of their cognition to analytical mental operations. We are after all a tool making species that has engineered empires. Thus normative conscious attitudes tend to perceive the external world in terms that faciliate manipulation, as discrete objects and sequential sequences of cause and effect.
This reasonably pragmatic state of mind percieves self and world in a reflexivley reductive, mechanistic manner. Such an attitude is fundamentally useful to our daily manipulations of our selves and environments. Highly technologized modern life reinforces this basic attitude, as our existence is permeated by mechanisms. We have become 'masters of manipulation' obsessed with technological control of everything. By extension we tend to experience our own embodiement in such terms--our bodies are mechanisms that we 'operate.' Consequently, normative mental states are generally configured to ignore complex interdependencies and synchronically emergent phenomena. It seems inevitable that our ordinary 'state of consciousness' and embodied awareness experience the world in dynamically simplistic manner. And that bias has much to do with our currently unsustainable manipulations of the biosphere that are creating catastrophic ecological collapse and climate chaos.
Expanding Dynamical Awareness by Inducing Non-Ordinary Consciousness and Embodied Awareness
As systems science makes evident, this reductive normative attitude is delusional. Despite being practically useful in our daily tasks, it leaves us ignorant of a vast amount of interactive interdependency both within and outside our selves. We are habituated to not think or feel the actual complexiy of our own internal systems, much less the agency of those around us. It is evident that this is not just a modern problem. Even archaic societies lived by technology and could disrupt their environments. But, unlike we moderns, they typically addressed this dynamical ignorance through traditional methods for altering ordinary consciousness and embodied awareness. Somehow they understood that ordinary states of mind and body had to be overtly disrupted on a regular basis if humans are to think and perceive 'how the world actually works.' These ritualized disruptions are often associated with some spiritual reference that emphasize the ultimately un-controllable agency of non-human systems. Similarly, the 'magic' and metaphorphic symbolism associated with these practices serve to indicate that the associated shift in one's embodied consciousness transforms both sense of self and experience of the world.
Imagining the relative embodied experiences of mechanistically
sequential dynamics versus of synchronically emergent ones "at the edge of chaos":
Sensing the world as separate things and sequences versus
as interdependent relationships and emergent properties
Somewhat related disruptive practices exist in modern secular societies, but these tend to be regarded as forms of entertainment rather than means of accessing 'hidden spiritual dynamics' obscured by the pragmatism of ordinary awareness. Modern practices that alter embodied consciousness, like drug use and sports, appear to relieve the stress and monotony of ordinary states of mind. But these shifts are rarely engaged to enhance experience of complex dynamics such as synchronistic emergence and network agency. It seems that the archetypal character of our human network agency, its 'soul,' is obsessed with 'command and control.' Even when we study complex adaptive systems through our scientific method, our motive often is to discover how to control even these ultimately un-controllable systems.
'Para-normal' Experience as Opening to Complex Dynamics and Network Agency
Any overt disruption of ordinary states of embodied consciousness which alters sense of self and world have some potential for enhancing awareness of complex dynamics and network agency. In the broadest sense, these could be termed 'paranormal' in that resulting thought and experience challenge one's familiar sense of identity and reality. That is, some sense of normative thought and experience remain while non-normative sensing, feeling, and thought are also experienced 'along side' the normative (thus para-normal). Such a state is not overtly schizophrenic or delusional if one maintains some sense of ordinary status and reality at the same time as that staus is being challenged. This partial disruption of ordinary states of mind and embodiement create an opportunity to experience more complex dynamical aspects of self and world.
Alteration of one's normative sense of certainty, control, physical orientation, body sensations, identity, and social context, along with challenges to one's normal explanations for events, can render embodied consciousness more receptive to novel observations, thoughts, and emotions. When overt awareness focuses on questions such as, 'exactly who or what am I,' 'how can this be happening,' 'what does this mean?' an opportunity arises. Traditional spiritual practices use various methods to induce such a para-normal state as preparation for suggesting spiritual references through mythical symbolism. With a science-based network spirituality, the provocation for more complex dynamical awareness involves corollary concepts and images from the science as well. .
From the Para-Normal to 'Altered States' and Network 'Gnosis'
The term gnosis is used to indicate "knowledge of spiritual mysteries." Used in reference to spiritual traditions, gnosis can have the sense of 'knowing through experience,' rather than simply 'believing' a doctrine is 'true.' The goal of experiential network spirituality is to induce tangible psycho-somatic encounters with the self-organization and emergent agency of complex adaptive system networks. That involves inducing disruption of normative states of conscious embodiment, or ordinary reality, in such a manner as to maintain an 'altered state of consciousness' contexted by concepts derived from the relative science. Intuitive understanding of this association between the experience of an altered state of conscious embodiment and network dynamics is readily amplified by graphic imagery and physical actions, including mythological symbolism. In this way, an experiential understanding or 'network gnosis' of emergent phenomena and network agency can be promoted.
However, since human agency is so reflexively preoccupied with control, thus dominated by a mechanistic state of normative consciousness, it is inevitable that such efforts must be repeated on a regular basis. Our ordinary states of mind will always frame self and world in simplistic dynamical terms. Thus efforts to disrupt that normative state and induce an altered state contexted by a dynamically complex network worldview are an on-going necessity--if we are to appreciate 'how the world actually works.' Archaic societies understood this eternal need to punctuate the pragmatic reality of everyday life with spiritual rituals. To be fully human, to exist as 'master manipulators of environments' AND as creatures who experience integral participation in the self-ordering agency of the biosphere is a profound challenge. Only a culture that deliberately transgresses our human obsession with control to reveal the primary importance of agency and inter-system reciprocity can regulate its behaviors in a sustainable manner.
Tending the Emotional Qualities of Network 'Gnosis'
Network gnosis, or an experience-based knowledge of how networks create and maintain both self and world, has an essential emotional component. Surrendering our sense of control over self and world is inherently threatening to ordinary mental states. But it is only by doing so that we can fully experience the complex dynamics of our actual existence. Rudolf Otto, attempting to describe religious or spiritual experience, observed a range of emotional qualities, from gentle tranquility to awe and fear. He used the Latin phrase "mysterium tremendum et fascinans," translating something like 'a mystery so tremendous it is terrifying yet fascinating.' Such is the potential emotional impact of direct experience with a world ordered by the uncontrollable dynamics and purposeful agency of complex system networks. Thus, just as traditional spiritual practices involve careful contexting, those of a science-based spirituality also need to create ritual 'containers' for the emotional affects that can arise. For our logically scientific society, a primary aspect of this framing for emotional response is the overt use of systems science concepts. Being scientific, these concepts have the cultural potency to assure us that direct experience of network dynamics and agency is not delusional, that loss of familiar sense of self as a discreet, unitary entity can be an affirming encounter with 'how the world actually works.'
Thus the science can confirm that, 'Yes, this experience is strange, even bazaar, but it correlates with what we know about how the world orders itself out of disorder and through purposeful agency.' However, that can induce a kind of "cognitive dissonance," in the form of experiencing two contradictory sensings of 'how the world works.' The challenge of practices for network spirituality is to enable us to consciosuly 'hold the emotional tension' between our contradictory experiences of linear and nonlinear, predictably causal and emergent dynamics. Oddly perhaps, this tension seems capable of inducing extremes of ecstatic euphorea as well as fear and anxiety. Given how the science describes the turbulance of chaotic and self-regulating ordering, both such emotional states can be reagarded as 'equally reasonable.'
Varieties of Altered States of Consciousness and Complex Dynamical Experience
There are likely an infinite number of possible ways to disrupt normative conscious embodiment which induce an 'altered state of mind' more open to perceiving the complex dynamics of adaptive system networks. Indeed, many inadvertent disruptions of ordinary mentality have this potential. Illness, injury, grief, falling in love, psychological distress, sexuality, and dreaming could be contexted by the science to draw our attention to the complex dynamics of being an 'interdependent network of networks mysteriously emerging from disorderly conditions.' Thus, experiential network spirituality is primarily about the ritual framing of non-ordinary experience within the perspectives of systems science. As an interpretive framework, it can be applied to a broad range of existing experiences that prompt non-ordinary thought and stimulus.
In the broadest sense, types of non-ordinary dynamical experience can place more emphasis upon active doing or on passive reception, as in playing mustic versus listening to it. Focus can be placed upon personal thoughts and sensations, or upon experiences of different people interacting, as in personal psychotherapy or group psychotherapy. Additionally, focus can be placed upon the dynamics and agency of social or natural system networks.
Re-Framing Traditional Spiritual Practices as Network Spirituality
Many existing spiritual rituals can be framed within this notion of network spirituality. The existing symbolism of diverse mythological imaginations can be approached as valid metaphors for the emergent properties and network agency of complex adaptive systems. Mythical creatures, monsters, and personifications of spriits or divinities are potent archetypal characterizations of the ways network agency manifests in different systems or sets of relationships. In one regard, this framing deflects literal belief in these symbols. But in another, it enhances their 'reality' as appropriate imaginations of the mysterious dynamics and pervasive agency which the science reveals 'at work in the world.'
Practices as simple as prayer can be framed as moves from ordinary dynamical awareness toward the self-orgnizing dynamics out of whitch meta-system agency emerges, Rites focused upon life transitions, from birth to marriage and death, can be framed as shifting our experience toward the transformative, even metamorphic dynamics of our selves and relationships as complex adaptive systems. So also can many existing religious practices be experienced within this framework as network spirituality.
Specific Contexts and Experiences Suitable for Framing as Network Spiritual Practice
The three part movement from ordinary states of dynamical awareness to extra-ordinarily complex ones, then back again, can readily be used to create a ritualized frame around many familiar features of life, making these aspects of network spirituality. Viewed thusly, there are numerous contexts in which we are altering our 'dynamical state of mind' but do not have existing perspectives from which to appreciate the implications of the resulting experiences. Some examples:
Psychotherapy: From a systems science view, psychological reflection is 'network agency reflecting on network agency.' Psychological terms, such ego and conscious versus subconscious mind, differentiate presumed aspects of one's mental systems. Diagnostic terms, such as narcissistic, bipolar, and sociopathic, identify characteristic archetypal formations of mind and associated behavior. Thus psychotherapy is readily framed as a shift in awareness from ordinary experience of one's self as a singular, unified entity, to a non-ordinary encounter with the interacting psychic subsytems from whose fluxuating interdependence a 'sense of self' emerges.
Mindfulness Meditations: The self-observing focus of meditative practices associated with the concept of "mindfulness" necessarily involve a disruption of ordinary states of mind. Focusing self-awarness on one's own mental activity, on the 'upwellig' of thoughts and feelings that 'arise' as if 'from out of nowhere,' often in a adisturbingly disjunctive, even obsessive manner, can be a disturbing experience. Concepts such as "no self' and "thoughts without a thinker" suggest how an ordinary sense of 'being me' as a singular, self-controlling mind are illusory. Thus, like psychotherapy, meditative practices can readily be framed as experiential network spirituality.
Dreaming, Hypnogogic States, and Active Imagination: Dreaming, along with hypnogogic states between sleep and full waking, are regular, if unintentinal, transits from ordinary mental states to non-ordinary ones invovling strange dynamical events. Thus the experiences these generate are intrinsic encounters with the emergent dynamics of mental systems. Similar experience arises in the practice of "active imagination," where one allows mind to 'play' with some image or event while fully awake. Remembering, analyzing, and interpreting such experience can be framed as an experiential network spirituality practice.
Artistic Expressions: Definitions of art are numerous and conflicting. But in so far as this term indicates a human activity intended to emphasize aspects of life and existence that are somehow 'hidden' from normal percpetions, art invovles an implicit transit to some non-ordinary state of mind and experience. Both the activity of 'making art,' as well as the more receptive condition of experiencing artistic expressions, have qualities of engaging unusually complex dynamics. Even the most literalistic art forms, such a photography, have the effect of focusing attention on aspects of objects or events that one might not normally notice. This redirecting of our attention becomes more overt in highly abstract or fantastical styles, such as surrealism. Poetry tends to violate normative language usage to convey 'something more' than dictionary definitions. Music does not 'sound like the normal world' yet seems to express potent aspects of it. Dramas focus our attention on the actual complexities of how behaviors express agency.
Music involves the concurrent experience of multiple notes, as in chords, or on multiple instruments that create an intedpendently interactive whole in each moment. Paintings and sculptures have no 'beginning, middle, or end.' Everything about them is 'happening all at once,' interactively. In general, art challenges ordinary sensations, assumptions, and interpretations--partly because it is not an ordinarily 'realistic' event. Ordinary reality is often disregarded, even contradicted, in ways that have potent symbolic meanings--meanings that cannot be reduced to logical statements. It is not an exaggeration so say that 'art can be a mind altering experience.'
Specific art works can prompt varied and contradictory experiences among those who encounter them. Vast volumes are written about the interpretation of meaning in art. People are fascinated with the 'creative process' of making art. Art spans diverse genres, involving language, images, dance, sculpture, music, and architecture. Yet most 'art works' have no practical usefulness. All this suggests it is about something extra-ordinary, something elusive yet of profound importance. When approached as a means of expressing and experiencing interactive interdependencies in relationships between things, events, and our sense of meaning, art readily appears as access to complex dynamics "at the edge of chaos."
In traditional spiritual practices, the full range of artistic expression is engaged in creating the symbolic context for the transition to dynamically 'altered states of mind.' Images, performances, music, poetic language, song, and dance can assist in 'bringing to life' the symbolism of emergent properties and network agency--or 'spiritual animation ordering the world.' So the framing of experiential network spirituality fits appropriately around both creating and engaging 'the arts.' Entering the museum is, like entering the temple in traditional spiritualities, an implicit transit from an ordinary sense of reality into an extra-ordinary one.
Somatic and Emotionally Induced Shifts of Conscious Awareness: Many common experiences in life affect our awareness self, others, and the world in profound ways. Changes in either the body systems or emotional states can create intense pain, pleasure, sorrow, and delirium. Illness, grief, and love have long been approached as 'spiritual events.' Perhaps the most common experiences that shift ordinary states of mind toward a more complex extra-ordinary state are sexual ones. Thus again, as in traditional spirituality, these 'common' disruptions of normative attitudes and sense of self can be given greater importance and meaning by framing within the notion of experiential network spirituality.
Psychotropically Altered States: Humans are thought to have used plant substances to alter ordinary states of mind for millennia--typically in traditional spiritual practices to induce awareness of the 'other worlds of myth.' What are now termed psychotropics, psychedellics, hallucinogens, and entheogens, are still used in many cultures. These substances can stimulate a wide range of extra-ordinary sensation and cognition. Depending on dosage and the mind set of individuals, the experience might involve euphoria, paranoia, awe, and hallucinations. The term entheogen refers specifically to psychoactive substances that tend to generate a distinct experience of autonomous 'spiritual agents.' But most of these drugs are reported to produce novel feelings of 'participation' in an 'agency ordered' world, a sense that 'the world is alive and one belongs to it.' Is all this an illusion? Not if regarded as dynamical symbolism for what is, to ordinary mentality, impossible.
The metamorphic character of thought and sensastion associated with hallucinations impart a sense of emergent properties and 'fluid dynamics.' People have reported profound changes in their ordinary sense of self and world after experiencing the affects of these substances. Research indicates some are proving more potent than psychiatric pharmacology or psychotherapy in addressing conditions such as PTSD, depression, and end of life anxiety. In most any context, psychotropically altered states of mind and body could be framed as experiential network spirituality--or, engagement with the complex dynamics of emergence and network agency. Doing so can provide more insight and meaning to the experience by giving it an association to the factual science.
Creating Novel Practices for Network Spirituality
Whether in one's private personal behavior or in concert with others, the three-part framing onf network spirituaity can be the bacground for deliberate shifts in dynamical awareness. As the example of traditional spiritualities indicates, maintaining some overt awareness of how spiritual animaion, or the sefl-organizing dynamics of complex adaptive systems, orders our selves as well as the world around us, is a constant, on-going struggle. Obviously this effort would be greatly facilitated if it had broad cultural baisis--if every one was involved in shared practices. But in the abscence of such a cultural context, individuals can still create their own practices that enhance the range of their dynamical awareness.
Most aspects of the world, human and non-human, involve complex adaptive systems, thus animating network agency. So, deliberate practices of 'paying close attention' to 'how things are actually happening' can bring one into more overt experience of complex dyanamics. The primary point to remember when setting out to increase the complexity of one's dynamical awareness is the need to restrain or defer one's ordinarily reductive, mechanistic, sequentially causal assumptions. That is what the three-part framing of both traditional spiritual practices and network spriituality can assit in doing. Yet, if one seeks to actually 'live in realtionship' with the dynamically mysterious 'other world' of emergence and un-controallable network agency, one must make a regular practice of shifting away from one's ordinary states of mind.
Enhancing Intamacy with Dynamical Complexity in Human Systems: Developing overt practices or rituals that emphasize awareness of network dyanmics can be focused intra-personally upon one's self-systems, on one's interactions with other people or inter-personally , or upon large scale social systems such as corporations, schools, governments, etc. For example, visits to the grocery store can be made into such a ritual by focusing one the networks invovled in creating, processing, transporting, and selling such a variety of itmes in one place. Here, the familiar things you purchae become transparent symbols for the vast array of emergent properties and network agency required to place them in front of you. One can then experience one's self as one autonomous system network interacting with and enabling a meta-system of such sytstems. Thus the framing can be: entering the store is the prompt to shift from normative states of mind to non-normative dynamical awareness. The time in the store becomes the 'journey through complexity's dynamical other world,' and departure from the store marks the return to ordinary consciousness.
Enhancing Intamacy with Dynamical Complexity in Natural Systems: For the technologiically empoered and insulated modern person, Nature can feel like a vague, distant context of secondary importance to civilized, urbanized contexts. Paying closer dynamical attention to the natural systems of plants, animals, and the ecologies these interact to compose, can create potent attects in our emotional states. Though it is relativley common for people to venture into unurbanized contexts to "recreate," this is seldom done with the overt purpose of surrendering the control obsessed, manipulative reflexes of ordinary states of mind. Using the perspectives of systems science and the framing of experiential network spirituality can make these ventures encounters with mystrious dynamics and animating network agency.