Awakening to the New Story: the Great Challenge of Our Time
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.
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 birthright.
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.”Book Four of The Essene Gospel of Peace
The Dream of the Earth
In 1988 the Catholic theologian Thomas Berry published his wonderful book The Dream of the Earth. In Chapter 10 he said that we were between stories. The old story of how the world came into being and our place in it is no longer effective yet we do not have a New Story, a story that will heal, guide and inspire us. “Because we are moving into a new mythic age, it is little wonder that a kind of mutation is taking place in the entire earth-human order. A new paradigm of what it is to be human is emerging.
One aspect of this change involves the shift in earth-human relations, for we now in large measure determine the earth process that once determined us. (p. 133) … It is of the utmost importance that succeeding generations become aware of the numinous sacred values that have been present in an expanding sequence over the entire time of the world’s existence… There is no way of guiding the course of human affairs through the perilous course of the future except by discovering our role in this larger evolutionary process.” (pp. 136-7)
An Alchemical Transformation of our Consciousness
Thirty years after these words were written, women and men all over the planet are awakening to a New Story: a Story that is different from those we have been told in the past by either science or religion; an ancient and ever-living Story that restores our lost relationship with nature and spirit and offers a foundation for regarding the whole cosmos and our planet as a sacred entity; a Story that assists an alchemical transformation of our consciousness from base metal into gold, inspires hope and new possibilities for outgrowing the destructive patterns of the past.
Yet the delicate organism of life on our planet and the survival of our species are threatened as never before by an ethos that seeks dominance and control of nature. This ethos reflects a brutal desire to conquer and master nature for our own purposes, shows no respect for the Earth and disregards the perils of our present interference with the intricate web of relationships upon which life on this planet depends. We are an integral part of this great web of life, and cannot survive without respecting all aspects of it.
This is perhaps the most crucial time in our history: a time of the utmost depravity, greed and barbarism but also a time of tremendous opportunity to discover a New Story. It is a time when the old social patterns, old beliefs, old institutions, are breaking down; a time of potential breakthrough to a higher level of consciousness, recognizing that we are inseparably connected to the world around us and the wider universe and that we have a vital role to play in harmonising our culture with the evolutionary intention of the Cosmos. It is a time when we can release ourselves from the dominance of left-hemispheric, linear thinking and embrace the more inclusive, holistic position of the right-hemispheric brain. (see Iain McGilchrist: The Master and His Emissary for a wonderful insight into the difference between these two ways of relating to the world or listen to his many YouTube videos).
Relationship, Love, Service
Millions of people across the planet are engaged in helping others, or engaging in courses to elevate and transmute their level of consciousness, responding to the longing to create a different kind of civilization: one based on relationship, love and service rather than the pursuit of power and the deeply imprinted pattern of national rivalry, weapons and war.
Restoring the Balance between Masculine and Feminine
This New Story invites a totally different understanding of Life, bringing with it more mature values which profoundly respect all forms of planetary and cosmic life and a new unified worldview. In many talks, seminars and articles, this website explores different aspects of this Awakening:
- The first and most important is to heal the deep split between spirit and matter or spirit and nature which is so deeply embedded in the three patriarchal religions and the creed of scientific reductionism (materialism) and which is reflected in the materialist character of our secular culture. Our current worldview, whether in the East or the West, rests on the premise of our separation from and mastery of nature, where the resources of the planet are unthinkingly plundered to serve the ever-growing numbers and needs of our species.
- The second is to recover and redeem the Feminine Principle, understanding why it has been rejected and why its recovery is essential to balance the present masculine ethos of our culture. The freeing of women from their long oppression and marginalization is an intrinsic part of this effort. Only when nature, matter, soul and body – the four aspects of the Feminine – are recognized as a manifestation of spirit will we be able to heal our dangerously unbalanced and unconscious culture. If we can accomplish this enormous task, we will enter a new era.
- The third is to define a new image of God or Spirit, taking us beyond the image we have inherited of a transcendent male Creator who is separate from creation.
- The fourth is to define and expand the New Story and the role of the individual in integrating its meaning in his or her life.
Moving Beyond the Ideology of Dominance and Control
The shadow aspect of our digitally enhanced but still unconscious age is barbarism, an unrecognized predatory aspect of our own nature that can take us over when we abandon the ethical values which respect and serve life. Its sole attribute is the will to power: the drive for dominance and control.
There is an abysmal ignorance that we are all connected, that all life is One and that we cannot go on behaving towards others as predators, treating them as our prey.
We see the will to power manifesting in the horrific cruelties of the Islamic State, in the destruction of the ancient city of Aleppo, in the bombing of helpless civilians, in the abuse of children and the trafficking of desperate refugees from war and tyranny, in the general breakdown of civilization and in the deficient values that influence and direct world culture.
More recently (December 2017) we can see it it the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people of North-Western Burma (Myanmar). Denial of this fact by the Burmese government is flatly contradicted by the recent report (15/12/17) issued by Médecins Sans Frontières, the remarkable organization that is closely involved in helping these desperate refugees to survive in Bangladesh. Whereas the Burmese Goverment says that only 400 people have been killed, the MSF Report says that over 6,000 have been murdered and raped and over 650,000 have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh. How is it possible for these men to descend into the depths of depravity, particularly in view of the fact that they are Buddhists and the principle teaching of Buddhism is the cultivation of compassion?
We can see it in the demonic weapons accumulated by the nine nuclear powers of the world and their refusal to get rid of them.
See https://youtu.be/TOsuJuHUgv4 and http://www.annebaring.com/anbar45_weapons
We can see it in the current unconscious leaders of nations who do not serve their people or the planet but their own power-driven agendas, and in the general linear thrust of our materialist culture towards more and more growth, more and more consumption and therefore, more destruction of the planet.
Relinquishing the Old Stories
As the New Story comes into being, there are two old stories that can be relinquished as a new understanding comes into being:
1. The first story is the Myth of the Fall of Man recounted in the Book of Genesis which gives us a very negative view of our presence on this planet. It tells us that we were expelled from the Garden of Eden because our primordial ancestors disobeyed God and ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. It does not give us an image of our innate divinity and our inseparable relationship with the Divine Ground; rather that we have been exiled from it.
For too many centuries, we have been imprinted with the idea that we are fallen, sinful creatures, condemned to a life of toil and hardship on this planet.
This has left us with a legacy of guilt, fear and a sense of sinfulness and unworthiness as well as helplessness. The Christian myth tells us that we have been redeemed from this fallen state by the sacrificial death of the Son of God. But this only applies to Christians and also removes from us the responsibility of releasing ourselves, not so much from a state of sin as from a state of ignorance and discovering how to reconnect our consciousness with the eternally present Divine Ground within us and around us while living in this dimension of reality.
2. The second story is the current scientific worldview that material reality is the only reality and that consciousness begins and ends with the physical brain. Science gives us a story about our relationship with the universe that is as negative and depressing as the first story, telling us that we are alone in a randomly created, uncaring universe that is without life, meaning or purpose. When we die, that is the end of us because it clings to the idea that the physical brain is the origin of consciousness and the death of the one must therefore mean the end of the other. Science with its recent discoveries is giving us a breath-taking revelation of the hundred billion galaxies that is an essential part of the New Story but its limited view of the nature and origin of consciousness blocks our access to a deeper meaning to our lives and, above all, to a profound sense of relationship with the universe and opening our consciousness to the existence of its invisible dimensions.
These two stories can be associated with the alchemical image of the “Old King” whose control of human consciousness has to be relinquished or discarded before the values of a new consciousness held in the image of the “Young King” can emerge. These new values derive from the recognition that we belong to a living universe that embraces countless unseen dimensions and levels of being.
If we hold a view of our potential and destiny that is limited to a material universe and our present state of consciousness, we are living in a virtual prison. However, the discoveries of Quantum Science as described below are taking us beyond this view.
The New Story
The New Story coming into being is that the whole universe is a unified field. The world we experience is like a minute excitation on the surface of an infinite cosmic sea which sustains not only our world, but the entire Cosmos.
Through a vast network of electro-magnetic fields we are connected to the earth, the sun and the hundred billion galaxies. So we are not separate from any aspect of planetary or cosmic life. This is illustrated in the Hindu tradition by the beautiful image of the Net of Indra. It can be imagined as a shining golden Net surrounding our planet and connecting all forms of life on it. But it also embraces not only planetary life but all galactic life in the Cosmos. Through this shimmering Web of Light, all existence, whether seen or unseen, is an indissoluble unity. We are not only in this incandescent Web of Light, we are part of it.
The astounding discoveries of quantum physics tell us that we are literally bathed in a sea of light, invisible to us yet permeating every cell of our being.
In our essence, we are beings of light, cosmic beings. As long ago as the 6th century BC the Greek philosopher Parmenides said: We are divine beings having a human experience. it is an utter tragedy that people have no awareness of their innate divinity.
At the quantum level all apparently separate aspects of life are connected in one invisible and indivisible whole. So we, as observers, are not separate from what we are observing. All life at the deepest level is essentially One.
The New Connected Cosmic Consciousness
Through the emerging science of Unified Physics a new cosmology is being born: a new vision of our profound relationship with an intelligent, living and interconnected universe. This New Story tells us that matter cannot be separated from spirit. Not only that but at every level of existence – from the microscopic to the super galactic – the same geometric principles bring all things into manifestation.
Increasing numbers of us are awakening to what, following Thomas Berry, I have called the Dream of the Cosmos — the Dream of humanity engaging in a new role on this planet: a role that is once again in harmony with the evolutionary intention of the Cosmos.
As we begin to comprehend this New Story, the realization is dawning that we are participating in a Cosmic Consciousness or Intelligence which is present in every one of the 100 million atoms of our being and every particle of matter.
God or Spirit or Divine Mind is not something transcendent to us, separate from us. We are within it, co-existing with it, and it is within us. We are both the Source and the seeker, even though our consciousness is still limited or incomplete, unaware that we carry divinity within us, that we are part of the Source from which all life has emerged. This, I believe, is one of the great revelations of our time.
In support of this view I have given a talk (2015) on Unified Physics at Schumacher College. This talk can be heard on YouTube:https://youtu.be/UQf2iPbCq8U
The New (and Old) Love Story
At the heart of the Cosmos is a love of unimaginable dimensions, a love that sustains the entire universe and is the origin of our own capacity to love, to cherish, to protect, as well as to create through all the different gifts we carry within our nature.
If God or Spirit is the intelligence and energy of the life process itself, then how we treat planetary life and each other becomes a matter of how we are treating God.
The arrogant celebration of “man’s conquest of nature” can be replaced by the realization that we need to respect, safeguard and cherish each other as well as the planetary life of which we are a part.
Death as a New Birth
The New Story invites a different understanding of death. Nothing is more important for our balance, well being and trust in life than to know that when we die we move into another reality that is as real and vitally alive as this one.
We need to know that we are immortal beings. Consciousness does not die with the death of the physical body: consciousness is eternal. We are re-united with those we love.
Recognizing the Sacredness of All Life
This new era invites the marriage of our rational mind with our long-neglected soul and the birth of the ‘child’ of a new, awakened consciousness that would be the fruit of this union and the true saviour of our species. As the light of this new consciousness begins to shine in the darkness of our time, we could heal both our divided psyche and our raped and vandalized planet. It is a tremendously challenging and creative time to be alive.
The new understanding of our connection with all aspects of life could have a huge impact on how we live our lives, how we educate our children, how we relate to the planet and how we interact with each other, recognizing that every act, even every thought, has an effect on the whole. All the old patterns of rivalry, struggles for power and dominance fall away once we begin to understand the depth of our connection with each other and all aspects of life.
Moving to this new level of understanding will be difficult but not impossible as more and more people get the message that this is an evolutionary imperative and that our survival as a species depends on it. Rather than attacking the old, we could focus on assisting and facilitating the emergence of the new.
These timeless words from the Fourth Book of the Essene Gospel of Peace wonderfully reflect this new and very ancient understanding:
I tell you truly,
your body was made not only to breathe, to eat, to think,
but it was also made to enter the Holy Stream of Life.
And your ears were made not only to hear the words of men,
the song of birds, and the music of the falling rain,
but they were also made to hear the Holy Stream of Sound.
And your eyes were made not only to see the rising and setting sun,
the ripple of sheaves of grain, and the words of the Holy Scrolls,
but they were also made to see the Holy Stream of Light.
One day your body will return to the Earthly Mother;
even also your ears and your eyes.
But the Holy Stream of Life, the Holy Stream of Sound,
and the Holy Stream of Light,
these were never born, and can never die.
Enter the Holy Streams,
even that Life, that Sound, and that Light which gave you birth.