An End of an Era & a Post-Guru World
An End of an Era & a Post-Guru World

Aviv Shahar and Kyriaki Nikandrou

December 13, 2023

An End of Year Appreciation

Greetings, friend. Kyriaki and Aviv are writing for the Portals team.

As the year draws to a close and a new one approaches, there is a natural nudge to review our experience; to assess where we are, and to calibrate our direction.

What conversations do you initiate for your end-of-the-year ritual? How do you renew yourself in the face of adversity and challenge, to embrace development opportunities?

At Portals we celebrate moments of joy and friendship. We treasure lessons learned, including the struggles and pain we are turning into growth and development.

Thank you for your support. You can help us get the word out about Portals by sharing this site with people you feel will appreciate the project.

Here is our year-end gift in appreciation of your interest and support. We are just publishing the three parts of the recent Portals event with David Price Francis; normally this would be members-only content but we thought to share it as a mark of our gratitude: The Post-Guru Quest: Unlocking The Three Octaves of life. Let us develop these realizations further.


An End of an Era

As we reflect on the state of the world, much is disconcerting. Why does it seem conflict is mushrooming everywhere you look? Why are so many people at war? Are these symptoms of a deeper meta-crisis?

The global economy may be entering a recessionary cycle, but it seems we are also experiencing social, political, and cultural recessions, and even an evolutionary recession.

So, we ask, could we already now be in the long-anticipated epoch transition? Furthermore, what could be the function of a regressive cycle? Could a regressive evolutionary cycle unlock a remedial development potential as humanity travels through the liminal transition from a dying epoch to the birth of a new epoch?

For instance, dark and challenging times bring out the uglier side of humanity; they also unlock and release heroic beauty latent in people. Could this release be one of the functions of this in-between-epochs process, as we strive to discern what we want to give credence to and support, and what to leave behind because it has no useful functional part to play in what will arise next?

Could it also be that the liminal struggle is how this process awakens in us dormant capacities, helping us birth our own next evolution into a Universal Human,  a self-authored, emancipated and self-responsible being? Are we opening a way to a new renaissance of a luminous togethering?

Whatever your viewpoint, including all the shades in between, one thing is irrefutable: we are living at the end of an era, and are midwifing a new one. The new epoch that’s emerging is unknown, uncharted, unexplored, filled with shape-shifting and complex problems and possibilities.

The Post-Guru Quest: Unlocking The Three Octaves of Life explored two inroads into these new times. The first is through the intuition that we have entered a Post-Guru Era. We inquired what this may mean. What was the job of the guru, wisdom traditions, and mystery schools throughout the ages, and what is changing now?

The second pathway is the inquiry of what knowledge and capacities naturally arise in the Three Octaves of Life. Life one is the survival drive that keeps us going; life two is the propulsion for learning and growth; and life three catalyzes an evolving spiritual purpose.

We explored the virtues we nurture in each of the three lives to offer a compass in this liminal time, and how we balance these three octaves to find agency and be accountable for ourselves. Let us dive deeper into these inquiries.

The Homo Universalis Project #1

Girl in a jacket



What is the Post-Guru World?

What was the job of the guru? In a broader sense, what was the project of wisdom traditions, mystery schools, and spiritual teachers, both in the East and in the West? The three functions they performed were to:

  • Keep humanity tethered to a higher source of connection. Different theologies, languages, symbology, and perspectives all recognized there is a source of truth, goodness, and beauty. Wisdom traditions encouraged humanity to stay engaged in these deeper purposes of life.
  • Offer a safe initiation path to knowledge. The guru’s job was to paint a map or system of development and refinement and help us access these to find meaning and purpose. People throughout the ages searched for enlightenment to realize goodness, truth, and beauty. Wisdom traditions and teachers offered a path to these possibilities.
  • Codify and update the evolutionary process. Spiritual teachers at times were on the cutting edge of the evolutionary story, and offered the updating codification of knowledge, instigating in the process spiritual, religious, or philosophical movements.

Many traditions anticipated that we would enter a transitional momentum, bridging between the end of an era and the birth of a new one.

The Individuation Project

Imagine the last thousand years we have gone through an initiation journey, a gradual fermentation of an individuation process. It has been a long and arduous journey from our tribal pre-individuated selves to the emancipation of our unique significance and innate freedom to be self-authored creators of our own life choices.

The birthing of a new self is a much bigger story than economic liberation. We endeavored to narrate this story in The Five Selves. Humanity is now entering a time when as homo sapiens we are awakened to our universal nature, which is multifaceted rather than singular. The universal human is giving rise to many voices, and a large vista of attributes and functions, capable of responding anew to an emerging epoch that brings new and unknown configurations, opportunities, and needs.

One of the important transitions from a planetary Sapiens human to a universal human is changing our relationship with power, with each other, with life itself. We are becoming co-creators, co-shapers, co-facilitators in the broadest possible sense as life emerges through us. We can now evolve from the guru-student relationship of the past, to one where we each take full responsibility for our three lives.

In the old epoch, in most circumstances when a person wanted to access the third life, the life of purpose and spiritual significance, they needed to find a teacher and surrender in some way to them. The teacher would carry them along the discovery path to the promised land. The post-guru quest is to become fully responsible for ourselves, even as we learn from and with wise teachers. The universal human is a summoning to self-authorship.

Aviv and David explored further these pathways in Current Openings #13 – How Can We Help the Future? and in the following dialogue Current Openings #14 – What Does It Mean to Develop?

Universalis Project b
universalis project c


From Me to We & The Post-Guru Quest

We are not suggesting the world doesn’t need teachers. In fact, we now need more facilitators, mediators, and midwives of profound revelatory teaching, truth, healing, wisdom, and beauty. In many situations, they now manifest in the gatherings of people, where a mutuality of purpose facilitates healing, development, and evolution; where we liberate each other to our higher capacities.

Increasingly, we are recognizing that we are journeying to answer the significance of the three octaves of our lives, taking full responsibility to self-regulate, self-guide, self-align — all as we come together to encourage these developments in each other.

As we discover our own agentic arising, this self-authoring and self-regulating freedom and responsibility enables us to find mutuality with others who are self-electing to this form of self-leadership.

One of the thrilling joys in the growing mutuality of agentic self-authoring individuals is the discovery of a WE that enables a larger ME, as we each find a greater configuration of possibilities. Leadership becomes increasingly more distributed, as different people bring to the table unique capacities and distinctive experience and knowhow, where no one person is genuflecting and surrendering their own agentic sovereignty.

Imagine communities, neighborhoods, and organizations as gatherings of agentic individuals, working on solving wicked problems, and liberating the surplus of a generative collaboration and purposeful co-creation. This is the post-guru quest.

New kinds of teachers, facilitators, healers, and leaders are emerging as transformation midwives and journey sherpas to enable this universal evolution as it gets potentized in the transition struggle from an old epoch that is dying to a new epoch arising.

This evolution is co-rising with many. No one person needs to ever again abdicate their agentic power. We are each unique and utterly significant. At the first level of our physical form, we each have a unique fingerprint, and a unique patterning in our eyes, that nobody can emulate. We are here to make our own discoveries and connections, rather than be subject to a conformity that curtails freedom and nullifies our evolutionary possibility.

We are each an agent of universal life, endowed with sovereignty and responsibility to direct our focus, beliefs, and the values we express and act on. This is the connective-creative tension: be able and ready to receive insight and counsel; be present inside, to do the self-authoring evaluation and decision-making for ourselves.

In our Portals Current Openings event, we also explored the Three Octaves of Life by inquiring: What knowledge do we seek in each life? What energizes us in each life? What virtues and capacities naturally arise in each? We suggest each of the Three Octaves will have seven levels, so they describe three multidimensional lives.


3 lives 6


The Three Lives

Here is how we framed these three internal octaves. Life One keeps us going. It makes sure we stay alive and meet basic needs.  It is energized by the need for safety. It asks, “Will I have enough food, shelter, and all that I need to feel safe tomorrow"?

The word describing the energy equation of Life One is “consume” because this is where we use up energy, both in the robotic and automatic functions of our system, and in our efforts to survive and thrive.

The virtues associated with this life are continuity, endurance, and overcoming; this life always looks to be able to go on. There is strength and survivability here, and a protectiveness of what is vitally needed to enable us to meet life’s requirements robustly. Life Two is the life in us that promotes learning, improvement, and growth. It forever seeks to optimize opportunities and facilitate our wellbeing.

This life has an entrepreneurial tone. It loves to replenish energy. It is the intention and initiative in the executive functions of a life; for example, the capacity to become focused and targeted on what you’re trying to achieve in any aspect or domain of life.

When you have an opportunity to exercise these capacities, it becomes energizing. A virtue active in this life is curiosity. It wonders “How does this work?”. Life Two gives rise to the capacities of maintaining, reciprocating, and collaborating. Other virtues highlighted here are resourcefulness, determination, and adaptability in whatever situation we may find ourselves in.

Life Two wonders: “How can I translate new situations into opportunities for myself and for those around me? How can I generate new options?” Life Three is the life that forever reminds us to serve our higher purpose. It’s where we hear that nudge “What is the highest calling I can serve?”; the intuition to liberate our higher possibility.

For some it may express itself as a sense of meaning or beauty. This life has the capacity to generate energy almost out of nowhere and to transmit, to radiate, to become the life force that emanates through us.

A virtue that resides in this life is connection, enabling the person to connect with and integrate many different levels, sources, and dimensions. Life Three facilitates a surrender to something greater than self; to source and receive intuition and knowing. It brings the capacities of giving and serving, and virtues such as wisdom, compassion, and kindness.



Flying Upside-down – the Spirit View and Economics

Out of Life One emerges Life Two, and out of Life Two comes Life Three, although in a flying upside-down view, we may appreciate a reversed flow, where the ground through which life emerges is Life Three.

Imagine we all come from Life Three into Two and One, as a universal spirit form enters a purposeful planetary journey. So, we arrive as a spiritual being, and during the nine months in the womb we get slowed down to become fused into a carnal form. And then we appear, in Life One.

If all was well, we would still hold our connection to Life Three, and we’d be well set and ready to liberate Life Two. This is where our modern world gets complicated because economics are governing Life One and to an extent Life Two.

Economics are tied to our survival needs. In the case of a native tribe at a different time and civilization, we’d be looking at the need to be able to gather food to survive.

Life One is tied with Life Two, thus, in the tribal example, the young child would be shown where particular foods grow, how to find them, and how to track and hunt certain animals as a necessary learning of the local environment. In our times, Life Two takes the form of a schooling education, where we put children of the same age behind desks and immobilize them.

This is quite a recent development in view of our long human story. With the economics prevailing in our culture, Life Two, which is wired to optimize our opportunities for both Life Three and Life One, is now captured in improving the living situation in Life One by getting a better house, a better car. We get an education to be able to get a better job to increase our earning power.

In the ancient and Medieval world, Life Three was the province of the guru, which was the local priest. Only he could read the Bible and interpret it. Also, in our tribal example, it was the Shaman who had the spiritual connections into dreams and visions of what a person or the tribe needed to do next.

The tribe would surrender their Life Three to the Medicine Man or Woman. In our times, Life Three is captured by Life Two. Universities are no longer about finding the truth of the Universe or true knowledge, but more about giving us a degree that will optimize employment opportunities and earn more money. The epoch that permitted this arrangement, where the three octaves of life were captured by an economic paradigm, is now dying and giving way to a new epoch.

The transition is not pretty and not easy, it gives rise to titanic struggles everywhere. Imagine that these are some of the birth pangs accompanying the midwifing of Homo Universalis, the Universal Human

Guru 7


Birthing Our Universal Nature – The Three Octaves Practice

How do we ease and facilitate the birthing of the Universal Human? This is what the development project of the 20th and now the 21st century has been leading us to. It is what has been anticipated in a variety of ways in all the world’s traditions. The development path is often seen as an ascending journey.

The evolution of the Universal Human involves and integrates the ascending with the descending and transcending Three Ensoulment Journeys. In the context of awakening to the three octaves, it is an invitation to not treat yourself as one thing, but as three lives at the very minimal; giving yourself permission to attend to the natural development and growth of these three dimensions by listening to their nudges and intuitions and by attending to their potential liberation.

Here is a starter practice we explored in the Current Openings event. You endeavor to find your own inner calibration, evaluating and attuning to the energetic properties in the three octaves, so as to become self-diagnostic as to which needs your attention and how you need to re-architect your time/energy distribution. Begin by considering the insight that when your center of gravity is in Life Three and is well supported by Life One and Life Two, you are living on purpose, feeling connected to your higher possibilities, and are expressing your essence nature and potential.

As you do, you naturally become a transmitter of possibilities for others. Now this may sound idealistic, but it is simply an observation of a growing actuality. Looking at the global situation today, humanity needs many transmitters and catalyzers of possibility to help us all unlock the emancipatory nature of the three octaves. Development and evolution are not about bypassing human experience and not about bypassing pain and grief. A central element of the universalis human is experiencing life fully in all its dimensions. Here is how we led into the self-calibration practice.

To assess and evaluate how you are doing in your three lives, follow these steps at your own pace and time with neutrality, non-bias, and self-honesty. Perhaps apply this as part of your end-of-the-year and new year ritual. It starts by making the following self-inquiries:

In my Life One: How secure and safe do I feel? We need to feel secure to fully activate Lives Two and Three.

In my Life Two: How energized do I feel? The fuel of this life is our vitality, energy, and passion.

In my Life Three: How awake and intentional am I? Life Three unlocks nonlocal space and energy.


Whatever your answers may be, and they may be different each day, each week, each year, you can then proceed by noting your responses to the following questions, whilst reflecting on the recent week of your life and comparing it to a week in the previous two months:

- How much time and energy did I spend in each of the three lives?

- Is this the way I would want it to be?

- Do I intend to re-architect my energy/time distribution?

- How would I approach this update?  


If we had 100 units of time—energy—attention, how would you distribute those amongst your three lives?

To become a little more professional about your personal life, what are some ways for you to imbue a sense of purpose into whatever you generate and pursue?

We hope you may find this contemplative practice useful and self-revealing.

As the new year arrives, we invite you to embrace the thought of also welcoming a new post-guru era, one where we each can co-create a more beautiful and kinder world.

Imagine a world where we get to discover and liberate our higher nature; where we are each a student and teacher, discovering the self-authoring Universal human we are becoming.

Imagine the turmoil and tribulations we have experienced and are about to experience as birth pangs of a new Epoch arising, where the emerging connection and flow of life itself increasingly is our guiding principle.


Kyriaki Nikandrou

Kyriaki Nikandrou

When I was a child, staring at the starry night skies, I was filled with awe and wonder, about the mysteries of the Universe, Life, Time, the Human and its place in the Cosmos, trying to connect the dots that link everything with everything… Some years down the line, I still do. I am seeking to be in conversation with others in search for keys, for tools of understanding and application and for the real questions, the ones that become portals to contemplative journeys, leading to uncharted territories that feel like home. I believe we are on a trajectory of multiple and unpredictable changes; it is up to each one of us to rise to the challenge of our times. Now, more than ever before, is the time to be true to ourselves and fulfill our potential.
Aviv Shahar

Aviv Shahar

Aviv serves as the Portals' sherpa. He curates transformational journeys and is a storyteller of the epochal evolution culminating at this time.

Aviv is the Founder of Aviv Consulting, helping leaders unleash strategic innovation, and is the author of Create New Futures: How Leaders Produce Breakthroughs and Transform the World Through Conversation.

Visit: Aviv Consulting