About Quest for Emergence

Just cut to the chase, man...

And then there was that

Growing up in the middle of 8 children in a strict Catholic family and in the midst of an often-insane post-WWII boomer-generation world, I really learned about the strangeness of things. Nuclear bombs and Vietnam and that tortured man on the cross dying for me?  I mean, what’s up with that? It all seemed like a bad nightmare that everyone was agreeing was real.

One particularly inane belief I was taught was that God only knocks once in life, so you better be ready or you’ll miss your chance. Yeah, kinda dampens the fire. I dragged that one around for a long time, without even knowing it.

Thankfully there was music, birthing that consciousness explosion in the 60s and 70s. Just goes to shows the power a good soundtrack has to shift reality frames. In my teens, music and drama gave me a much-needed outlet — even saved me in a way.

I grew up achingly shy and with short legs, I was the last to be picked on any school sports team. But my brain picked things up pretty fast, and I enjoyed the solitude of nature and long bike rides as I got older. I have always felt like the odd man out, the ultimate outsider, which has given me compassion for anyone who doesn’t fit into the mold.

My own life’s self-created soundtrack has had a lot of skips and starts, dramatic pauses and heart-rending melodies. I’ve weathered periods of life-zapping depression, paralyzing fear, cratering self-worth, til-death-do-us-part resistances and (wait for it! ;-)… persistent procrastination. And I’m a virtual expert on the variations of not-enoughness sufferings.

But in the end what a gift all of that has been! It pushed me to unearth the mycelial mass of fear-based programming and patterning that had been steering my life. Once  I saw it, I could no longer be totally identified with it.  And that opened the door to something distinctly different, not predetermined, not made-to-fit.

You see, however dark things would get, there was always a glimmer of light coaxing me forward  to keep the dream alive, to be and to become more. Always the fragrance of a deeper purpose operating. Always a sense of some hidden force craftily orchestrating things, even if I wasn’t sure what it was or where it was sending me.

Through it all, I have always felt a different world calling out to be born. A deep sense of “no, not that, but this,” where I could see what love or wisdom or patience could do — and the pain left in its absence.

Then one day, that new world showed up.

a page from my journal

I was 27. After a particularly intense period of inner work to resolve my fear and depression, I had a breakthrough into what is now commonly referred to as nondual awareness. To the nondual mind, there are no objects, all is part of a glorious is-ness that is not separate from me…. Well, words fail here. But it was like the world, having been a flat, black-and-white 2D frozen picture, suddenly sprang into a full technicolor, moving 3D hologram. I experienced Life and Love and Creative Flow beyond the straitjacket of my customary fear-encased self-identity.  I encountered  a realm of chaos and creation, beauty and truth, love and emptiness. I call this state Superflow.

seed, leaf and tree are one

I think of this as my deep taste of heaven on earth.  And I absolutely know it was a glimpse of our true potential as conscious beings.

Important disclaimer: This is not about a promoting a belief system. It’s not about a religious or political system. This realm is beyond thought, beyond language. This is meta. It transcends all of that. It’s what’s left when you leave all the other anchors behind. It’s a realm of pure being, connectedness, light, truth. It’s experiential, numinous, palpable. A domain of aliveness that cannot be denied or doubted, once you’ve tasted of it.

My life since my blasting open experience has never been the same. Shortly after that, my two children came into my life and also changed me irrevocably, teaching me about love and trust and life as few others can. Wow, what a ride. Divorce later broke my heart, and picking up the pieces has been a longtime effort.

And will there be this?

Can we allow and see that somehow, in a way that defies our rational compre-hension, a more deeply sacred and beautiful world is awakening, right from within our deepest hearts?
Through these and many other experiences, I have come to see that consciousness, reality — yes, life itself — are emergent phenomena.  There is a force within creation that could be called joy… or beauty or love or truth or goodness… that is actively seeking us out, or that is emerging as who we are. Maybe it’s “the energy of life.” Or “the fountain of creation.” Whatever its appellation (words are only pointers, after all), it draws us inexorably to rise up and ascend/emerge in Life as sovereign beings, and to create the world that wants to be born.

Right now, things are unfolding in this world — socially, economically, politically, technologically, and environmentally — that we have no idea about how to handle. Life is throwing so much at us that we are being forced to evolve, rapidly and profoundly. The gravity of events and the scope of change that is upon us invites us to be  in a vastly higher level of authorship of our own reality, and to join with others at a much deeper level than we’re used to.

The indigenous tribes and the 13 Grandmothers and the wisdom teachings of the ages have long been calling us to  remember what we forgotten of this. They’ve been calling us to awaken and to get on with the Great Work of creating a world that works for all.

The critical role  each of us has to play is to show up as that new world.  And to bring it into being, we must embody it in heart, mind and deed.

Indeed.

A transformation of this magnitude won’t be like learning a new skill. It will be more like making a quantum leap, joining a revolution even… Will this be Humanity 3.0? (Barbara Marx Hubbard calls this a shift into Homo Universalis or the Universal Human)… I honestly don’t know. But what I do know is that I hear the heart’s ever-present call to a life beyond fear, beyond polarization, and into a love-centered response that sees and protects Life and what serves Life.

And just so we’re clear,  this new world is not like some carefully placed target across the hayfield.  It’s not a “thing” that we have the blueprint for, or that any person or group or nation has a corner on, contrary claims notwithstanding.  Instead, this world is revealed through the opening of our hearts. We encounter this world only when we walk towards it, when we open to it, when we seek it, when we find it.  Quite simply, we allow/wake up to/create this world, individually and together.

Can we allow and see that somehow, in a way that defies our rational comprehension, a more deeply sacred and beautiful world is awakening, right from within our deepest hearts? Can we be fully present for that, and weave it together as the best expression of who we are?

And anyways, anything less is the long way around, wouldn’t you say? Where’s the fun in that?

Where do I fit in? you might ask

It’s simple. You are already are “in.” The real question is, how conscious and self-authoring are you willing to be?

I believe we each embody deep soul image of ourselves dancing in a beautiful, loving, works-for-everyone world.  It calls us to live the kind of life that we want in our deepest hearts, where we are at peace with our ourselves and with each other, and creatively and fearlessly engaged in this experiment called living.

Your life is your canvas, and you are learning to become the master painter.
Your desires, your questions, your loves and your pains are all a part of this journey of awakening. These are your interiorities, your inner subjective realm of I, of beauty, of dreams, and of poetically felt realities. The call of soul is to quest through these realms, uncover the “pearl beyond price,” the spark that lies at your center, and to carry it forth into the world in a balanced and compassionate way.

Your life is your canvas, and you are learning to become the master painter. How and what you paint is mediated by your mind, heart and body, and by your connection to the inner realms. Mastering these is, therefore, of prime importance.

There is nothing that is happening in your life on this day that is not a part of your journey. Visionary ideas, deep desires and vexing problems all serve to focus your attention to “resolve” their creative tensions. You do this by entering into the flow of life with them. Even the worst of experiences — fear, cynicism, boredom, and yes, rage too — all are your teachers. But you have to turn around and look at them, see them for what they are. When you do, you will start to become free of them, and recognize what they are helping to birth within you.

Your deepest desires — to be at peace, to be whole, to love and be loved, to be creative, to be meaningfully engaged with life, to uplift the world — are helping to guide your journey by calling you to something greater, something beyond your locally-defined identity. Your current life offers you the perfect context for manifesting what you most desire. But you have to believe in yourself enough to challenge all of the lesser patterns that would have you sinking towards the comfort zones of safety and conventionality.

You are more than you ever thought. The world is waiting for your spark to ignite you into the next level of your manifestation.  Are you ready to embrace that?

So, what’s next?

OK. So to get there, we’re going to have to be different than all of our previous moments, yes?  Being emergent means we cannot look to our past to determine our future. (Cue scary or inspirational music, depending on where you stand.)

We have to find a way to individually and collectively wake up from this dream of fear and separation, of materialism and meaninglessness, of incoherence and alienation.  We have to find a way to build trust,  and establish a mutually functional  means of assessing reality and making decisions. The days of relying on “them” (if them is not us), are over.

And we need the activation of powerful co-creators to Speak and Sing and Dance and Draw and Organize and Build the space for this world to come into being.

Let me ask you this: what are the alternatives if we do not?

If we truly want to experience our deepest aliveness and co-create the world that we know is possible, we will be served to grow in these three directions simultaneously:

  1. Connecting to the deeper dimensions of our heart and soul to experientially reveal our core truth as consciousness and our purpose for being.
  2. Stepping forward courageously to manifest our higher vision for ourselves and the world; in other words, making it real and leaving a legacy for the 7th generation.
  3. Managing change through creativity and self-development and transforming anything and everything that keeps us stuck and non-responsive to life.

Connecting with the Source Field and Activating your Purpose or Calling.
Manifesting your Vision and Desires and 
Developing your Legacy.
Navigating Change and Transforming Fear and Resistance.

This is the agenda of Quest for Emergence.

(see more details about these at the top of this page)

Key Practices

There are a number of key practices that I  share and teach, that fall into the following basic and naturally overlapping categories:

  • Inquiry/ “questing” – any number of methods for going within, especially through well-framed questions. Such methods bring the light of consciousness to the deeper goals and questions you are holding for yourself at the moment. Journaling is  a highly beneficial form for practices in this area.
  • Process/procedural – these are more formalized ways of questing, such the  Chillax Process, the 3-2-1 Alchemy Process, and the Soul Play Process, as well for developing skills such as nonviolent communication.
  • Direct Access – this covers a broad range of methods for inviting expanded consciousness states directly, including: meditation and contemplation,  visualizations,  zero point (no-mind/non-dual) techniques,  breath work, energy work, toning etc.
  • Integrative/Structural –  this area addresses practices that integrate all aspects of your being – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual – and how you can develop a  maximally supportive set of habits for your growth and transformation.

On the quest

It’s up to each of us to take this heroic journey and return to the world to contribute to its transformation and flowering. If we wish to be truly happy and fulfilled, nothing less will be enough.

Are you up for the trip? Well then grab your compass and mapmaking materials cuz this is gonna be a wild ride through terra incognita. You will forging a new path for yourself. And for everyone who follows.


Over the last several years I have been on my own quest, gathering together everything I’ve learned, all the direct consciousness access and transformational tools I have found helpful throughout my life, ground through the mill of my life and the play of my creative outpourings. Quest for Emergence is my offering back to the world, from all the teachers and healers and helpers and co-travelers who have inspired and uplifted me.

What you see on  this website now is just the beginning. I choose it to serve as an opening, a space through which dreams can be liberated.

Deep thanks to our ancestors who dreamed and sweated us into being, upon whose shoulders we now stand. And thank you to those today who share their deep hearts and open minds to continue to point us towards the doorways, windows, skylights, cave exits, and cracks in the walls. Deep blessings on our journeys.

In Lakech Ala K’in.
I am another you, you are another me.

John-Michael
(More about my professional background here)