Recently I have been on hyper alert following the progress of the catastrophic fires in New South Wales, Australia. My daughter and her husband are directly in the path of a 26,000 acre fire that is relentlessly moving towards their farm. If it gets to them, they may lose house, orchard, crops, trees, bees, chickens, cattle, packing shed, and solar and farm equipment. In short, they, like so many other Australians, may lose everything. And the fire season has just begun. Climate change has announced itself with fire.
These fires are like nothing anyone has ever seen before. The prolonged drought and heat have created extraordinary dry conditions and along with ferocious winds have already burned more than two and a half million acres. These are firestorms, spewing embers like missiles, miles in advance of their fronts. They create their own atmosphere, clouds, and lightning. There is not just one fire but 80 or more along the eastern seaboard and inland, many out of control. Many fires may burn for months, stretching resources to the breaking point, unless there is rain. None is forecast until late January. At this moment the Bundjalung aboriginalpeople of Northern NSW are doing rain dances, actively invoking consiousness to co-create rain in cooperation with nature.
The government there, like here in the US, forbids civil servants from even mentioning climate change in connection with the catastrophic bush fires that have literally set on fire the entire east coast of Australia. We know why. They don’t want any bad press for their exclusive support of oil, gas, coal, and uranium extraction. But people there are getting angry; they can see the elephant in the room that is climate change.
This has caused me to wonder, what is at the root of our collective insistence that we have to destroy the very planet we depend upon in order to live abundantly?
Duane Elgin, futurist, author and lecturer, says, “The most urgent challenge facing humanity is not climate change, or species extinction, or unsustainable population growth; rather, it is how we understand the Universe and our intimate relationship within it. Our deepest choices for the future emerge from this core understanding.”
I believe what is happening here in the US (and globally) is not just a crisis of democracy, which historically has existed primarily for white males in this country. The great divide in the United States is also not just between Democrats and Republicans. To see it that way is to severely limit the profound magnitude of the paradigm shift that is happening in the consciousness of Americans and global citizens alike. The great divide is a clash of world views: one whose essential drive is towards unity and the other whose essential drive is towards separation.
Liminality: The Threshold Between Old And New
We have collectively arrived at a state of liminality, that is, on the threshold of an enormous transition, where the old Great Stories that informed us of who we are, why we are here, and what is our relationship to the universe no longer serve us. And like a tsunami, these old images are being swept away.
Still, the old images familiar as they are, continue to be relentlessly promoted. They have their origins in a Judeo-Christian mindset of a raging jealous, angry God who demands absolute obedience to tribal creeds and a rigid belief that a few preselected elect will be “saved” from hell fire. That belief is personalized in Donald Trump who is the perfect image of the mad and vengeful God of the Old Testament.
Upon these old images we have grafted four hundred years of Cartesian science that insists humans are cosmic accidents, that knowledge is purely objective, that all of us are without purpose except as we individually ascribe such purpose to ourselves, that everything is material, that sentience is exclusively the product of random chemicals, that nature is essentially dead and therefore ripe for exploitation. All together, this has produced a deadly materialism, divorcing us from nature and creating a culture of perpetual conflict with the earth and ourselves.
We have been told that competition and survival of the fittest is the dynamic behind creation, that we are separate from nature, that there are winners and losers, that might is right, that male dominance is Godlike, and that feeling, emotion and the feminine are utterly subordinate to the will of the heroic male.
These beliefs are shared by Democrats and Republicans alike and are mostly unconscious. As Charles Eisenstein says, “What we observe to be happening in the world says as much about ourselves as it does about the world. It reveals what we think is important, significant, valuable, and sacred, and what is irrelevant or useless too. Put another way, what we see reveals how we see.”
Collective Belief System
Our collective belief system, our paradigm, has brought us the inescapable problems of climate change, endless war, violence against women, children and the “other,” pollution, the rise of fundamentalism, tribalism and an economic matrix that seeks to exploit for profit life itself. These are symptoms of a collapsing great story, a guiding myth, that occurs during times of a changing of the Gods, that extraordinary moment in the evolution of man when one paradigm, one collective belief system is dying and a new one is emerging.
The old material mindset no longer works. The mechanical mind of exploitation and domination is dying and evolving into the emergent mind, where all of life is holy and man’s purpose is seen as a co-creator with nature which is suffused with intelligence. What is seeking to be born is a radically new consciousness that so longer subscribes to creeds managed by priests, experts and strongmen outside oneself but an inner knowing that we are charged with a sacred destiny to restore the earth, to honor Gaia as alive, to see the connectedness of all things, to cooperate for the benefit of all, to grant to the other what we grant to ourselves such as sovereignty and respect, and to no longer support those institutions who seek domination and power over.
The new consciousness on earth is rising out of the ashes of the old in support of the fundamental notion that the driving force of the universe is love and that we are an essential part of that love. God, Divine Intelligence, The Source of Everything, whatever we want to call it, is awakening to Itself in human form. It says, “I am another yourself. Embodied, I am divine.”
This is beyond radical. It is a collective transformation and enlightenment. It has never happened in the history of mankind. We are in the midst of a collective awakening so vast and pervasive that we can never return to the conviction of separation, which is what the forces of fear, fascism and fanaticism are desperately trying to do.
I leave you with this:
“I share the belief of many of my contemporaries that the spiritual crisis pervading all spheres of Western industrial society can be remedied only by a change in our world view. We shall have to shift from the materialistic, dualistic belief that people and their environment are separate, toward a new consciousness of an all-encompassing reality, which embraces the experiencing ego, a reality in which people feel their oneness with animate nature and all of creation.” -Albert Hofmann, discoverer of LSD