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A Crucial Time of Choice


What is the message of the pandemic that is affecting people in nearly every country on the planet? It has brought a strange silence to the whole world and has allowed us to pause in our busy lives, giving us time for reflection. What if this pandemic is a clarion call to embrace this moment as an incredible opportunity for change — change that is a deliberate choice on our part — moving from our current way of living to a new way of living that is in harmony with the life of the planet? There has never been a time like this in the history of our species — a crucial time when we have the power to choose between survival and extinction.

Sir David Attenborough, perhaps the foremost authority on the state of the planet, has recently warned us that we are facing the last chance to change our behaviour before the effects of Climate Change become irreversible. He says that these effects will be so cataclysmic that we, as a species, may not survive them. At the age of ninety-four, he is making a final film in which this warning will be delivered, showing the irreparable harm our species has inflicted and is inflicting on life of the planet

Two thousand years ago, this dark prophecy was recorded in an Essene community in Palestine:

“But there will come a day when the Son of Man will turn his face from his Earthly Mother and betray her, even denying his Mother and his birth right. Then shall he sell her into slavery, and her flesh shall be ravaged, her blood polluted, and her breath smothered; he will bring the fire of death into all the parts of her kingdom, and his hunger will devour all her gifts and leave in their place only a desert.All these things he will do out of ignorance of the Law, and as a man dying slowly cannot smell his own stench, so will the Son of Man be blind to the truth: that as he plunders and ravages and destroys his Earthly Mother, so does he plunder and ravage and destroy himself. For he was born of his Earthly Mother, and he is one with her, and all that he does to his Mother even so does he do to himself.”

The pandemic gives us the opportunity to change course before it’s too late. We are on the knife edge between two different kinds of existence: one that unthinkingly continues with ‘business as usual’ and the other where we respond to the looming ecological challenge set by Climate Change. This means radical change in every sphere of life: change in politics, economics, business practices and consumerism; change above all in our attitude to and relationship with this precious planet. For too long, we have treated it as our servant, even our slave, using its resources for the benefit of our species alone.

We can see already see change happening before our eyes. The devastating impact of the pandemic has brought communities and nations together. It has opened our collective heart in an unprecedented way. It has demonstrated our shared humanity: how any one of us, whatever the colour of our skin, however rich or poor, may succumb to this virus. It has also illustrated the huge reserves of courage and love we carry, reflected in the devoted care that doctors, nurses and care workers have shown — at the risk of their own lives — to those afflicted by this virus. 

Something unprecedented and deeply moving is happening. People’s hearts are opening as they watch elderly parents and grandparents dying in their thousands in care homes, and doctors and nurses struggling to save lives in hospitals where the dying cannot say goodbye to their loved ones.

People everywhere feel compassion for this suffering. They want to help, they want to save lives, they want to be of use. Scientists across the globe are collaborating with each other to understand the complex nature of the virus and devise a vaccination for it. Governments are having to demonstrate their competence, or the lack of it, in their response to the needs of the people they serve. 

We face a stark choice between continuing on the path we are on or beginning to live and act from a radically different understanding of life. The immensity of the task facing us is daunting. Yet the indomitable courage and creativity of our species can rise to it, challenging the drive for power and dominance that has characterized our history over the last four millennia. Since, at the quantum level, we are all connected, when thousands of us begin to change our consciousness, millions are affected. Believing that we are separate from nature, we have lost touch with the life of the earth and with the evolutionary intention of the cosmos for this planet. We still have no idea why we are here or what our true role is. Only the Indigenous Peoples on different continents have retained these ancient connections and insights intact. For decades they have been warning us of the danger of the path we are treading, utterly unaware, as we are, of the deeper dimensions of reality they have never lost touch with. 

The virus is both a warning to us and a symptom of distress from the organism of the planet itself whose life is threatened by our ever-increasing numbers and unsustainable pressure on its resources — above all, by our gross and ignorant interference with its life processes. It is calling us to a collective shamanic descent into the underworld of loss, grief, depression and death, prior to an ascent as an awakened humanity that understands that its life and wellbeing are inseparable from the life and wellbeing of the planet. 

 

The whole Universe is a Unified Field

The New Story emerging in quantum physics is that the whole universe is a unified field. We live within a cosmic web of life which underlies and connects all life forms in the universe and on our planet. Every atom of life interacts with every other atom, no matter how distant. We are not only connected through the Internet but through the infinitesimal particles of sub-atomic matter. We are part of an immense Field of Consciousness which sustains not only our world, but the entire universe. A new cosmology is struggling to be born; a new vision of our profound relationship with an intelligent, living and interconnected universe. The realization is dawning that we are participants in a Cosmic Consciousness or Intelligence which is present in every particle of our being and every particle of matter. We are, each one of us, an expression of a single Cosmic Organism. Contrary to what we have been taught for over two thousand years, Spirit or God is not something distant from us, transcendent to us. We are part of it, at the very heart of it, co-creators with it. 

There are great dangers in this time of change. The major social one is our ever-increasing numbers. Another is the increasing control that governments will try to exert over the nations they govern. The virus crisis has facilitated the mass application of AI technologies and the minute surveillance of entire populations. In the name of national security, it is easy for the state to use fear and uncertainty to promote and implement initiatives that would normally be challenged and rejected by democracies. These new technological changes should be recognized as a temporary expedient, acceptable and valuable during this crisis but they should not be allowed to continue when it has passed. Otherwise, the world they will end up creating will be an authoritarian technocracy — an outcome that must, at all costs, be prevented.

We could have a science and technology that works withnature, humbly respecting its harmonious order. Believing ourselves to be separate from nature and above nature, we have grossly interfered with that harmony and are bringing disease and extinction upon ourselves. As a species, we have become hugely arrogant and inflated — what the Greeks called hubris.

What the impending ecological crisis forces us to confront is that we have sacrificed meaning, morality, and almost all higher values for the ‘sordid boon’ of material wealth and wordly power. To keep drinking from this poisoned chalice will bring only sickness and death.

– William Ophuls, American philosopher

We are all called to a profound process of transformation that is manifesting as a new planetary consciousness, a consciousness which recognizes that we are part of a Sacred Web of Life. Once, long ago, the world was experienced as alive with spirit. Nature was part of a sacred cosmic whole. It was the eradication of spirit from the natural world that ultimately removed from the people living through the millennia of the Patriarchal religions their age-old sense of participation in a Sacred Order. The message of the greatest spiritual teachers about the sanctity of life has been consistently ignored, not least in the continued creation of demonic weapons of destruction, whose very existence pollutes the earth. Religions have separated nature from spirit; materialist science has done away with spirit altogether. We need urgently to recover the forgotten vision of the sacredness of life if we are to respond to the challenge of this crucial time of choice and heal our neglected soul, our culture and our raped and vandalized planet