Bringing Soul Awareness to the Coming Changes

These are notes from a work in progress on the deeper meaning of the climate emergency and the ongoing destruction of the natural world.  

22nd August 2019

A new and testing journey for humanity begins...

As it grasps the enormity of the climate emergency, and the scale of our species' damaging impact upon Earth's life-support system, humanity stands on the verge of almost unimaginable changes - huge earth changes which may threaten its very survival. Will we rise to the immense challenges that are now facing us? To prevent runaway global heating, we will need to dismantle an entire global economy premised on growth that has reached the limits of our planet's finite resources. We will need to set aside the assumptions, values, narratives and technologies associated with that way of life.  We need to take the opportunity offered by the impending climate and ecological crisis to free ourselves from the old behaviours that caused it.

The time for us to act decisively is now, for the sand is running perilously low in the hour glass that represents our very brief window for effective action. But whatever we do - or fail to do - at this critical time, there is no doubt that our species is soon to set out on a new journey of discovery. As the structures of our global society start to weaken, as its edifices begin to erode, and we grasp the sad fact that humanity has bequeathed a toxic legacy to our beautiful planetary home, the fear and grief we experience can also provide the cathartic stimulus to liberate ourselves from our old way of being, to enter the soul-consciousness that lies within us, and start to find a new way of living, of being in the world. 

In recent centuries, humanity has made the fatal error of over-identifying with the body and the ephemeral ego or outer personality. By subordinating our true self to the physical being, we came to see mind and consciousness as confined and created by the physical body and brain.  Yet as souls, drawing on remarkable qualities of love, wisdom and compassion, humanity can find the strength to end its damaging attachment to the old materialistic industrial paradigm and extend its identification of the self beyond the body - not out of duty or morality but out of generosity and joyfulness - and so rediscover, not just its deeper spiritual identity, but also its connection with all life.

The work of soul-recovery can heal us from the imbalances that have led to this crisis. To understand and flow with the planetary changes that are now unfolding, we will need true spiritual guidance. Even with environmental collapse and its grim consequences looming over us, and despite our obstinate resistance to new knowledge and change, something extraordinary happens when the heart opens to soul wisdom. With a restored soul-awareness, we remember to reverence Nature or Divine Mother once again as the blessed sustaining ground of our being, and we will remember too that the Divine, or Great Spirit, is the supreme source of all love and delight.  Joy-filled relationships will flourish when a natural environment is restored, when animals are safe once again in the wild, and when life, plants, animals and humans are set free from the machinery of global exploitation.

May humanity now move through system collapse towards a new paradigm of sustainability. May it embrace a new world view and new ways of both seeing and being, guided by each self's remembrance that it is intimately connected with both Nature and Spirit.  May the ego be set aside and the soul nature awakened, so humanity is able to negotiate its way through the coming changes.

 

9 October 2019

The Leopard & its Spots

Asking humanity to change its instinctive survival behaviour, think ecologically and end its destruction of its host, is like asking the leopard to change its spots.  As homo faber, ‘man the maker’, the doer, the shaper of matter, humanity genetically and socially evolved to deploy whatever technology it could to advance itself, to satisfy its desires, to grow its economy, to open up new resources to increase environmental carrying capacity, even or especially at the expense of other humans and other species.  Stone tools gave it the edge over animals, plants and other hominins.  Urban settlement gave it the capacity to develop culturally, but outside of and at the expense of Nature, the forests, and the leopards.  The horse and new weaponry enabled it to sweep across Central Asia and Europe, replacing whole populations.  The locomotive enabled it to open up North America, killing native peoples and the bison they depended on, and exploiting vast but rapidly utilised resources.  Ocean-going ships, tarmac roads and capitalist economics allowed ruthless colonisation and appropriation of every part of the planet.  Hydrocarbon and nuclear fuels generated incredible wealth and toxins at the expense of future generations and the biosphere.  Today, electronic technology is servicing a financial elite and colonising the human mind and even the body.  All in service of what we are programmed by evolution to believe we must have to survive: security, economic growth, profit, prestige, sex, entertainment and power.

In essence, individualistic, desire-driven, genetically and socially innate human behaviour – including its antagonistic, low-level, binary, language-based mentality, developed over hundreds of thousands of years – enabled by its technology, is entirely at odds with the behaviour necessary to avoid climate change induced catastrophe on a finite Earth.  Even if the warnings given by world wars and by science were heeded, there is insufficient time for humanity to change its deeply-held self-narrative in order to develop a new set of behaviours that will enable it to address the challenges posed by the climate and environmental crisis.

Like all plants and animals, humans seek energy with the least effort – it is not viable to spend more energy than the result obtains.  Surplus energy once survival needs are met equals growth, negative energy over survival needs equals decline and eventually death.  Historically, hydrocarbon fossil fuels presented humanity with the most energy gained for the least effort expended.  Extracting coal, gas and oil conformed entirely with its instinctive survival behaviour, allowing humans to eagerly pursue their reproductive desires and expansionist goals in the creation of an industrialised  global civilisation.  Asking them to reduce energy use, that is, eat lower on the food chain, travel less, stop flying, turn down the thermostat, consume less, down-size, end economic growth, promote equality, lower their reproductive rate and so on, will be difficult as it goes against their instinctive survival behaviour on every level – behaviour that is absolutely central to their self-defining narrative and naturalised in the operation of their economic systems since the first tool use began.

Now, precisely because of its technological extraction of mineral resources, its overpopulation and consumption, humanity has come up against the action taken by Nature to eradicate it.  Wild Nature is removing what humanity in its current form needs to exist.  In the same way as the trees of a forest produce toxins when attacked by a parasite such as a caterpillar, and signal to each other to do so, so Nature is producing toxins to remove the human parasite.  Because of human exploitation of the cheap energy source provided by hydrocarbon fuels, Nature is flooding the atmosphere with water vapour and lethal greenhouse gases that will increase global temperatures, melt the polar ice, raise sea levels, acidify oceans, increase humidity and flooding in some areas and create desertification in others, removing the environment that humanity needs to exist.  Nature is also producing pathogens to which humanity has little resistance.  These events are happening too quickly for humanity to produce an adequate behavioural response, whether economic, social, political or technological, and especially not genetic.  Like the toxin-poisoned caterpillar, humanity cannot change its self-destructive behaviour in time to respond to the measures taken by Nature to remove it as these behaviours and narratives are too deeply ingrained, instinctive and perceived as fundamental to its existence.

If it is to emerge on the other side of the imminent and unpredictable pattern of multiple catastrophes, humanity has to change itself completely and extremely quickly.  If humanity fails to flag up the emergency and remains mired in old evolutionary, social, political and technological behaviours then its civilisation will fall; it may even be driven to extinction by natural forces entirely uninterested in its survival as a species. Only the end of identification with the body and an awakening to soul will create the profound transformation necessary to enable its old behaviours to be set aside and for it to find its way through the changes.

 

Basic Meditation Practice

Sakshi, the Witnessing-Self is the real observer; it is always the observer, and, being self-luminous, can never be the object of observation.

Dṛg-Dṛsyha-Viveka, Vedanta text attributed to Bharati Tirtha (c. 1350 CE)

After sitting quietly and comfortably, most basic meditation practices ask the practitioner to focus attention on the breath moving in and out of the nostrils, lifting and lowering the lungs.  They say that while one may become aware of sounds, the heartbeat, thoughts, feelings and so on, one notes that these rise and fall, come and go, like the breath.  As thoughts or feelings arise, the practitioner observes them and brings attention back to the point of focus.

They suggest that if attention follows a train of thought, then by steadily bringing attention back to the observing awareness, the practitioner can see it rise, at what point it gives attention to it, at what point it withdraws attention from it, and so on.

If the practitioner finds themselves making a commentary or critique of how well or poorly they are meditating, then this too is something to observe and allow to pass.  Eventually the meditator understands, studies or observes with interest the train of passing thoughts but is detached from it.

Once regular meditation practice is established, identification with the play of passing thoughts entirely ceases and the calm, primary state of witness consciousness can be renewed by returning to the breath as the point of focus.

I am not the thoughts, nor the thinker - the play of the Divine Mother.

I am the stillness, the silence - the presence of the Divine.