Saturday, February 26, 2011

When Waves Collide

What we're witnessing now is no less than an energetic collision of two major waves of human evolution, one receding and one just now arising. I exhort us all to rejoice in this, because although it means we're presently caught in a swirl of chaos and conflict, the opportunity is arising for us to catch the new wave and begin to ride the leading edge of a massive change in the way we "do" human society.

The outgoing wave is represented by the power/dominator culture that has controlled human behavior for many thousands of years. The disintegration of this wave, which began over a century ago when angry citizens began to overthrow their oppressive monarchies, continues unabated. We've recently witnessed its expansion throughout the Middle East as dictator after dictator falls to the public outcry against tyranny. Because in the early part of this global revolution people didn't know how to create a non-dominator culture, the first rebels who overthrew their oppressors eventually repeated the mistakes made by their predecessors. The new governments that arose purported to be populist systems, but eventually they all fell back into old, unconscious patterns of dominating and controlling the many for the benefit of the powerful few. I include the United States in that assessment, because while our Founding Fathers had the foresight to envision and design a populist system, our government long ago ceased acting as a true democracy and has instead become a corporatocracy. The national agenda is now being controlled by the wealthy elite, who use manufactured lack and campaigns of fear to cow the suffering masses into submission. The recent Supreme Court decision that allowed businesses to fund political campaigns simply codified the silent overthrow of democracy that has been occurring beneath the surface for many years. Business interests now dictate to politicians what they wish to see occur. Our current crop of political puppets - particularly those who rose to power post the Citizens United decision - are allowing their strings to be pulled by these hidden overseers in exchange for status and privilege as members of the "ruling" class.

We see evidence of the old power/dominator wave wherever we notice energetic attempts to control the many (and the much) by an elite and powerful few, and wherever we spot high concentrations of global resources and monetary power creating suffering among the many have-nots. The last gasps of this wave are visible all over America today. They include recent attempts by the corporate controlled media to de-fund NPR and PBS so that in the future all conventionally conveyed information will be screened by the business community before it reaches the public. It includes the removal of longstanding safety nets from beneath the working poor, along with across-the-board reductions in government services, to cow people into working harder for ever less money and fewer benefits. We find it in the recent mortgage scandal and banking collapse, which was followed by a taxpayer-funded refueling of the very financial institutions responsible for the illegal activities that destroyed the wealth of a shrinking middle class. We see it in the recent foreclosure debacle (accompanied by illegal efforts to introduce forged documentation to accelerate the foreclosure process) which has laid the entire burden for this scandal on the backs of laborers and the poor. We see it in cynical attempts to sell the de-funding of Planned Parenthood to the masses based on the religious right's pro-life doctrine, so as to make abortions inaccessible and to deny birth control to the poor, which will ensure that the next generation of working stiffs will be born. We see it in attempts to "dumb down" education so that children are not taught HOW to think, but are instead force-fed WHAT to think and then required to submissively regurgitate that information without error in order to be considered "successfully" educated. We see it in the de-funding of college tuition for students, such that education is out of reach for most or else requires young people to shoulder huge debts that will enslave them to corporate America even before they've fully matured. We see it in the raping and polluting of our environment, the excessive consumption of nonrenewable resources, the careless extinction of other species, and in the production of cheap goods and services marketed constantly through a barrage of advertising and designed to part the masses with their hard-earned cash. We see it in the selling of so-called "services" like mortgage lending, utilities and credit card borrowing, which use ongoing debt to bind workers to corporate America, where they struggle to earn a paycheck to meet those endless obligations. We see it in our current medical system, which limits care to those who can afford it, promotes symptoms abatement instead of genuine cures, and supports the marketing of old age as a disease that must be overcome at any cost. We even see it in our religions, which train people not to question authority and teach us from an early age that we're broken, unworthy and must spend our current lives atoning for the sins of our forefathers if we hope to experience a happy "afterlife."

While looking at this outgoing wave isn't pleasant, we can't turn away from it and pretend it doesn't exist. It's very real, and the energy it is still producing is causing real human and planetary suffering. Certain factions within New Age and spiritual circles have taken the position that we should only look to the "light" and pay attention to the good things that are happening. But to ignore the shadow side of human behavior is to run the risk that this energy continues to collect in the depths of the shadow, where it might regroup (as it has in the past) to rise again.

Looking at the shadow side of the power/dominator wave - contrary to popular fears - doesn't strengthen it. It merely shines a light on it, bringing it to public attention where we have the power to consciously CHOOSE whether we wish to feed this energy or starve it. Meanwhile, the new wave of energy that's arising in human society is gathering momentum and developing global coherence, and it now seems strong enough and bright enough to overcome the heavy, depressing energy of the old wave.

The energy of the new wave can be identified by its grounding in a joyous and overwhelming love for life. It carries within it a reverence for this planet, for other creatures, for nature, for the interconnectedness of all beings and for the evolutionary thrust of consciousness. It values the environment and supports concepts like sustainability, renewable energy and regenerative living. It proposes we make less but make it better, consume less but consume it more wisely, work less but work smarter and with the intention of advancing humanity and stewarding our future. It values wisdom above information, realization above dogmas and spirituality above religious training. It approaches reality from a whole-systems viewpoint instead of objectifying and valuing separation, and knows everything to be alive, sentient and evolving. It defines success not through possessions or monetary wealth, but through the metrics of human happiness, planetary health, the well-being of other species and the ability of society to empower ALL individuals to self-actualize. It promotes self-governance, self-discipline and self-awareness as the cure for external domination. It views work not as jobs for pay, but as the necessary labor of humanity to advance the survivability of our species. It values play and social engagement as much as work, and honors the arts as creative expressions of human consciousness. It recognizes that the true resources of humanity reside not in how much sweat we produce in a day, but in our ingenuity, our creativity, our imaginative capacities, our passions, our talents and our skills. It values cooperation above competition and realizes that humanity advances through freely sharing our wisdom so we can build on what we've learned, not through the bottling of knowledge and selling what we know to the highest bidder. It recognizes that all the money ever created cannot possibly match those resources, and that trying to measure the worth of unique human beings through comparing them to each other is a hopeless enterprise. It learns from the past but does not cling to it; it leans into the future but does not fear it. In short, it is a wave marked by human maturation, where all the fears, insecurities, aggression, isolation, sexual obsessions, cliquishness, short-sightedness, rebelliousness and arrogance of youth are being replaced by a quietly growing desire to live and work in peaceful communion with one another - and with nature - for the benefit of future generations.

So again I say, let's rejoice as we midwife what's arising, and let's not shy away from consciously hospicing the old out of existence. The past served us once, and it serves us still by teaching us how not to be tomorrow. While at times it may appear that the old will never die and the new is too diffuse to overcome the density of the power/dominator structure, it is in that very diffuseness that the new is finding its footing and its power. One or two loud voices in the wilderness can be effectively stilled, but the voices of the many, joined together, will not be silenced. No messiah is necessary to lead this rising wave of human advancement. What will lead this wave instead will be a thousand, million points of living light. So I invite each of you to tune in, turn on and begin to shine your light right NOW...the world is waiting!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Ego and Labeling

Lately I've been noticing the amount of labeling we're doing as a species. When we label another person as "this" or "that" (or even as "not this" or "not that")we are reducing what is essentially the irreducible aliveness of an ever-changing being to a limited mental projection we have created in our own minds. We then give ourselves permission to treat that person as if they are the label we've assigned to them, rather than as what they truly are. By doing so we unconsciously allow our ego to circumvent the energy of Spirit, which knows all beings are a loving emanation from the One infinite/eternal field of life, temporarily existing as differentiated forms.

The human ego loves its mental labels! Once we've attached a mental label to something, the ego then feels free to judge it as good or evil, right or wrong, the same as "me" or different from "me," because discerning these patterns is the primary function of ego. Discerning patterns allows us, as human beings, to position ourselves in space-time and to form patterns of understanding about the world by which we can successfully navigate our sensory reality. As soon as a label has been attached to something, it becomes "objectified." The ego then grants itself permission to behave toward that object the way it believes best for itself based upon what that label tells us about the object, without any further concern for the life force moving within the object that the ego has judged. The ego then, is never in full relationship with the energetic field of life, because it concerns itself mainly with static objects and forms relationships with the world on that limited level. The ego's relationships consist of surface labels and judgments, learned patterns and conditioned, mainly unconscious responses to the various objects it imagines it encounters.

On a certain level of behavior the labeling function performed by the ego can be very helpful to us. If I notice a "rock" I become instantly aware I cannot pass through it and must instead go around it. I don't need to stop and contemplate the rock (or the tree, or the river) to know how to be in relationship with it for my own physical safety. This allows me to move through the world of form easily and quickly, so I can accomplish much more than if I were required to treat each object I encountered as if it were a brand new experience and as if I had no understanding of my surroundings or how best to relate to them.

On another level though, this process of labeling and reducing can be very harmful to us, as well as to those we encounter. When I meet another human being, perhaps in a restaurant, and label him as "waiter," I then give myself permission to behave toward him as if his sole purpose in life is to take my order, serve me my food and clear away my dirty dishes without disturbing my meal in any way. Unless a deeper awareness rises below and behind the surface level of egoic conditioned labeling, I will therefore miss the opportunity to interact with that being who is doing the serving on a soul level, where I can honor the depth and beauty of his aliveness and invite him to honor mine.

For a very long time - probably since the evolution of human language - humanity has learned to move through the world using labels and forming conditioned mental patterns with respect to objects. This behavior has allowed us to evolve rapidly, to create new technologies and to advance our capacities and objective understanding of the world. And yet...because we have become so attached to our labels and comfortable with our judgments, the technologies we've created and the ways we're interacting with our living planet and with each other often fail to root deeply enough to form loving, lasting relationships on the level of life itself. This explains why we can pollute a river without relating to it as something more than a "convenient place to dump waste," and why we can bomb a city and not relate to its suffering occupants as anything more than "enemies." Most of the suffering we observe in our world - and most of the damage we've done to our living planet - can be traced directly to our habit of objectifying and reducing life to mere mental concepts, and then relating to it in a limited way as if the concept we've formed is the whole truth of what we're experiencing.

I believe the evolutionary shift that is occurring right here and now in human consciousness is an internal thrust toward greater awareness of the limitations of assigning labels, as well as an awakening to the deep and energetic interconnectedness of all things. The realization that we can't neatly reduce the energetic field of life - in any form - to a static label and relate to it only in that limited way is a change that enables us to shift our present social systems (which are failing) toward new, deeper and more meaningful ways of being in relationship with one another and with the living world that contains and supports us all. That internal movement is urging our long-subdued spirits to awaken. An awakened spirit recognizes and honors the limited but crucial role being played by ego in keeping the body safe, even as Spirit steps forward and claims its rightful place as "captain of the ship." We're not here to eliminate our egos or blame and curse them for performing their given functions, but to direct them where they belong, in service to Spirit. That new contextualization allows Spirit to engage more fully and richly with itself in the field of life - as it meets and honors its infinite/eternal self in the form of all other beings with whom we share this living world.