In the previous episode in this series, I suggested a way of looking at the current state of the world – as experienced by many of us – that may help to explain the powerlessness we often feel when we watch the news or read the newspaper. And I promised I would share what I believe to be the way out of that feeling of powerless and talk about how that might play out.
So today I’d like to tell you a story.
You may ask, why a story? I think we learn best from stories. Personally, I’ve noticed that telling stories, and listening to them, often help me understand things, and the story I have for you today is one of those. It’s not meant to be literal Truth; it’s just a metaphor.
As background for this story, we’re told another story… that about 66 million years ago, a large asteroid struck the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. It created an enormous crater, called the Chicxulub Crater, which is now buried underneath about a kilometer of sediment.
Let’s travel back in time to that catastrophic impact. Imagine yourself, walking the Earth as the biggest, baddest carnivore ever. You are the alpha predator, and everybody else is deathly afraid of you. You have no challengers, and you have no fear.
Now one day nothing can threaten you, but the next day you’re doomed!
There are, of course, conflicting accounts these days about how that happened, how long it took, and so on. Maybe the asteroid triggered volcanic eruptions that filled the atmosphere with enough debris to block out the sun. Maybe the plants that then supported the food chain couldn’t survive. Or maybe you just couldn’t regulate your body temperature. After all, you are too big to burrow into the ground, as some small mammals can do.
In any case, for you, it’s only a matter of time. But eventually, those small mammals will be able to emerge, and in time they …we… will become the dominant branch of the animal kingdom.
So I’ve often wondered about that story:
Was that whole thing a cosmic accident, or was there some purpose being fulfilled back then?
I studied physics in a university setting long enough to know that scientists view the physical universe as a system, a machine that unfolds according to rules and laws, some of which we’ve been able to quantify and explain. The idea that purpose or intention enters into a description of the universe makes physicists very uncomfortable.
Regardless, here’s the first piece of my story: “Once upon a time, Earth used an asteroid to rid herself of a dead-end class of creatures”. See, these gigantic creatures were stomping around, having taken dinosaur, “terrible lizard”, about as far as they could. It was a dead-end line of evolution, and to expand the possibilities of life on Earth any further, something rather more adaptable and capable of living in harmony with Earth was required.
So… maybe the purpose of that asteroid was to bring about a massive discontinuity in the evolution of life on the planet.
Now remember… I’m only telling you a story.
In retrospect, we can see that what was required to move beyond the age of the dinosaurs was to find a way that evolution could proceed. Again, maybe in a practical sense, what was needed were species that were capable of managing body temperature, seeking shelter underground, participating in a better balance of all creatures, and so on.
But those dinosaurs weren’t capable of evolving like that, and so they perished.
Well, what about us humans? In our current evolutionary stage as Homo sapiens, we seem to be engaged in taking the idea of individual freedom to its logical and ultimately self-destructive conclusion. In the opinion of many we are fouling our nest beyond repair. Can we evolve into a species better adapted to living in harmony with Earth and the rest of her creatures? And furthermore, will that evolution require a catastrophe in which we all ultimately perish so that some other species can come forth… over millions of years?
Here’s another way to look at this question. Many scientists chart the progress of evolution from where we came from, say Australopithecus, to where we are now, Homo sapiens, in terms of the size of our brains. We have obviously made great progress as a species. But is that progress a function simply of brain size? If so, that next stage of evolution is obviously going to take quite a while. But what if what we really need is not bigger brains, or different bodies, at all?
It may be that our planet does intend the evolution of a species that is more suitable for living in harmony with our world.
But we don’t have millions of years to do that, because from the Ego’s perspective at least, things seem to be getting worse rather quickly. And mostly, we tend to feel powerless in the face of all that seems to be wrong with us, all that seems to be wrong with the world.
All that seems to be wrong, and our feeling of powerlessness in the face of it. I’ll bet almost all of us feel that, and we either wear it on our sleeves, as it were, or we bury it because its recognition is too much to bear. Our feelings of powerlessness seem quite legitimate. There’s so much that feels out of our control. And if you believe the scientists, things can get much worse than they already are.
So I ask you: is it really true that there’s so much that is out of our control? Well, yes, if you consider the world to be an “is”. What do I mean by that? I have suggested in earlier episodes that our ground of being in the world is that the world is the ultimate reality. It is that the world is a real physical system that would be much the same as we perceive it… even if all of us who are capable of perceiving it were to disappear. That’s what I call an “is”.
However, I think one can see that if you take to heart the lessons of quantum physics, it cannot be that way. The world cannot be an “is” if, as in the quantum description, the world has no independent reality apart from its observation. In other words, the scientists don’t just tell us that things can get much worse. They also tell us those “things” are somehow a function of observation by us!
I think the lesson here is that we feel powerless because there is a physical world out there that’s independent of our observation of it, and that’s just not true.
In believing in that independent reality we are essentially denying our true nature. I believe we can awaken to our true nature, and I will be among the first to acknowledge that that is a difficult thing to do.
I suggest that the difficulty in awakening to our true nature lies in a sort of collective befuddlement. As I sketched out last time, we live immersed in what I call the Egoic field. That field is much like the water a fish swims in. The fish doesn’t see the water per se, but rather looks at everything through it. And the things it looks at appear distorted to whatever degree the water is cloudy or colored or just refracts the light that passes through it.
The Egoic field is the water through which we look at everything we perceive.
It consists of a view of life that was adopted by each of us in order to cope with childhood feelings of powerlessness. So it is riddled with false narratives, self-limiting beliefs, and all the reasons why we are not able to live fulfilling lives in harmony with all of our fellow humans.
But it has one additional characteristic that makes it truly insidious. It has been programmed to insure its own survival, and it does that by pretending to be individualized as our personal egos, a character defect within each of us. This is the Ego on a global scale, and if we’re honest, I believe we can see it everywhere we look. That means that each of us stomps around on the planet as mostly ego while pretending to be who we really are.
I believe that our pretending to be the Ego, and all the chaos we’re creating in the world as a result, is the asteroid of our time.
But the Ego is not real!
It’s an invention, an outgrowth of our strategies for coping with the powerlessness of childhood. You and I, on the other hand, are real!!
So what are we to do? Can we reform the Ego, or re-train it, or heal it? I think that reforming and retraining and healing are appropriate for something that’s real. But the Ego isn’t real.
See, I believe that in the face of the asteroid of our times, we are being given no choice but to evolve. But what does that look like? And how do we do that? And do we have time?
Well, here the news is promising. We can each evolve into the next stage of human being, what has sometimes been called Homo Spiritus. It only takes an instant! How can that be? It only takes an instant because that’s who we already are! We are not trapped in bodies with brains that aren’t up to the task. We’re not trapped in a world where there’s not enough to go around, where we have to compete with each other for resources or friends or lovers or status or anything else. We’re not trapped in dysfunctional political and economic systems that abuse us. All that is the province of the Ego, of the collective story we tell ourselves! We’re living in a nightmare. You can’t fix the nightmare. You just have to awaken from it!
And because we are living this nightmare, this illusion of being separate, competitive beings, all we need to do is begin to view dispassionately the Egoic field as it jabbers endlessly about what we need to do and who we need to be. Or, if you prefer, rip off the virtual reality goggles you’ve been wearing all your life and return to reality!
So here’s my story.
The Earth, our mother, has determined that the time has come for human beings to evolve to the next level. Homo sapiens has become a dead-end species, unable to alter its relationship to the earth and to all the rest of Her species. We are stomping around, having taken our powers of reason and rationality and problem solving as far as we can within mass consciousness, the current paradigm.
So Earth is ridding herself of that troublesome species, not en masse with some cosmic cataclysm, but individually with a broad array of physical and psychological pressures which together have the effect of giving each of us a choice. We can fight one another to be right about our opinions and beliefs as our planet floods and burns. Or, we can awaken from the illusion that we are powerless.
It seems to me that in the face of those physical and psychological pressures, we each have a choice. We can leave the planet and start over, or we can stay and release the Ego. Releasing the Ego does not mean releasing our power or our choices. It just means to release our attachment to how those choices will show up, how they will manifest in our experience.
We can learn to tell a story that awakens us to our true power, the power to express ourselves authentically, a story of eternal returning and expanding that disempowers the Egoic field and renders it essentially irrelevant. And if we do that, Spirit, the Source of all, will arrange things so that we will flourish and build vital and healthy communities. And we will honor all those who perish, knowing that they will return to participate in the transformation of our world.
That’s my story, and I’m.stickin’ to it!