For most of my journey along the spiritual path, there has loomed the threat of a period of darkness and societal collapse coming in the future. My first teacher spoke of it in the early ‘70’s, and every teacher since has foretold its approach. They have spoken of it as a gradual buildup into a crescendo of potentially catastrophic destruction. I think it is obvious that we are caught in an accelerating momentum leading to that climax now.
I believe the point of their foretelling, generally, was to spur us to a greater effort in our own spiritual practices and to have us reach out to others to encourage them to seek spiritual realization as well. They repeatedly told us that if we could increase the presence of harmony and light in human consciousness the pain of the changes would be lessened.
They also wanted us to know that what was coming would be a fundamental transformation of human life and that while the process of the transformation would be seen in the physical world, bringing great upheaval, the greater change would take place in the consciousness of Human Beings. I have always thought of it as a great ‘wringing out’ of consciousness where all that does not belong in consciousness will be expelled, leaving humanity to ground future action, thought, and feeling on a bed of truth and harmony. The point of the difficult transition is that it will usher in a new era of life oriented on that bed of truth.
Because I could not really imagine that adding so much pain to the consciousness of humanity suggested by such a catastrophic collapse would lead to a fundamental healing but would instead lead to a deeper entrenchment of even more fear, much of my work all these years has been dedicated to trying to steer humanity in another direction. While that work has been worthwhile, and helpful at times, I now recognize that my beliefs about this time were a sign of spiritual immaturity rather than deep insight.
I am not saying that I no longer believe in the collapse and eventual transformation of society and culture. We are already in the middle of that movement, though the momentum has yet to build to its eventual crescendo of collapse. No, that is set and has been determined by our continued attachment to the dark within ourselves, and our rejection of that same darkness in others (whether individuals or nations). No matter what we have accomplished, this stain still needs to be eliminated and so the means of that elimination comes closer and closer.
My larger point is that each of us are here, at this time in history, on purpose. We are here to change everything. What does this mean? I think it is clear that we see everything breaking down in society, yet nothing is arising to replace what is being lost. The icons that have sustained humanity in the past are failing to inspire us now, and, in fact, are so weakened that they cannot provide a foundation for future action and growth. Deep feelings that once sustained and inspired purpose in religion, spirituality, social organizations, political systems, even national identity, are being replaced by fanaticism, hatred, fear, and ultimately, violence.
As all of the old pillars of social organization continue to crumble, what else is left but total change? When the old icons, the pillars, are reduced to dust, the past, too becomes useless. The icons were the symbols that continually brought the past into the present, kept the past alive, and gave us a direction to pursue. You could say that we are being forced to live in the Now without the old filters from the past. Experience is raw and is immensely unsettling to many, and the future, unmoored from the past, is uncertain.
What I know, both from the silent depths of my meditation and from my observation of the world, that everything is going to change. It must. What I don’t know is what will rise from the ashes; what will life and society look like after consciousness has been wrung out. It can only be good as a pure consciousness can only produce good fruit.
But I really don’t know what it will look like. I am not a prophet and, in fact, don’t even aspire to be one. I have always sought only to live fully in the eternity of the Now moment, in the Oneness of the Sacred. However, it doesn’t take a prophet to tell that everything is going to change on the way to eventual renewal.
So, perhaps, out of the emptiness that remains after the collapse, something entirely new will arise, a new idea, religion, or person that will ignite the human heart with inspiration and the desire to work beyond its own ego gratification. And that could be the foundation of a new society. And it may happen that way.
But my guess is that it would be more likely that humanity will finally drop their fascination with the shallow and superficial of life and our eyes will finally be opened to see life not as a purely physical expression, but see it as absolutely saturated with the sacred. When vision is superficial, knowledge is superficial; and when vision expands and touches the heart of things, knowledge is of the heart of things as well.
In other words, as consciousness is “wrung out” and the impurities of judgment, assumption, fear, pain, etc., are expelled, the purity that remains must illumine the purity in life. All the filters and lenses of the past will be gone and there will be no limit to our vision. Finally, vision will be pure, and knowledge will be pure; vision will be complete, and knowledge will be complete. Finally, vision will be of the sacred and eternal, and knowledge will be of the sacred and eternal, and life will be forever transformed into a harmony and fullness that it was always meant to be. We will no longer need to live from the “law” of things, but will know, and live from, the “heart” of things.
So our job now is to embrace the “wringing out” that is going on and to do it as gracefully as possible! It is going to happen for everyone anyhow, but those who resist it will experience it as a much more painful experience than it needs to be. We have to let go of the past, and the darkness we see there, and as we do, we will find we have come home to the real life we were born to.
This is our job, this is our task in these times of upheaval. As our consciousness is wrung out, the new foundation based in purity is being laid and it is on this new foundation that something new will be built. What it will look like, I don’t know, but it will be new! We are here to change everything, and that means that we are here to be “wrung out” and then allow the new to flow through the purity that you have become. And as it flows through, we will find new desires igniting our heart and new understandings flooding our mind, and as we act in harmony with the new, the new will be built around us, piece by piece, feeling by feeling, thought by thought.