This morning I remembered an old saying that gives me hope during chaotic times, “Not a thousand armies can oppose an idea whose time has come.”
This saying comes back to me during a period of personal stress and grief. It’s a time of bearing witness to the gathering clouds of chaos, a perfect storm of authoritarianism, pandemics, psychic epidemics, climate change, environmental and economic collapse, all converging at once, now.
Is there such an idea then, whose time has come? If so, what is it? What power does it contain that could possibly make a difference during these times?
There is a scene in the film “Lord of the Rings” where Aragorn stands at the Black Gates with his men, hopelessly surrounded by the overwhelmingly superior forces of Mordor. And he cries out, “Hold the line! Hold the line!” He then rides his horse up and down the line, encouraging his men thus:
“Sons of Gondor! Of Rohan! My brothers.
I see in your eye the same fear that would take the heart of me.
A day may come when the courage of Men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day!
An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the Age of Men comes crashing down, but it is not this day!
This day we fight!
By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West.”
Idea At The Black Gate
Today, 4 generations of our people metaphorically stand with Aragorn at the Black Gates, the cross roads of evolution, the apical meristem of an inconceivably long line of ancestors that extends both backwards into the murky past and forwards into an unknown future. We are confronted by enormous forces of rage, shame, guilt and hatred, “testing,” as Abraham Lincoln once said, “whether our nation or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”
We come armed not with weapons, but with an idea whose time has come. That idea says that love is the Source of everything we hold dear on this good earth. The idea is that God, consciousness, our greater Self and even the glue of the universe is a profoundly infinite love.
I wonder if this moment in time is trying to tell us that we can no more retreat from our nature as love than Jesus could have retreated from the cross he carried? Maybe we’ve come too far. Maybe that is why we stand at the Black Gates anchored in the realty that all life is interconnected, that what we do to the other we do to ourselves, that I am another yourself.
Crisis & Vision
This is a crisis, no doubt, like no other. It is the turning point in our collective illness for better or worse. What we do now, what we imagine now, what we are now, has profound consequences not only for our descendants but for all those ancestors whose sacrifices enabled us to be alive during this time.
It has been said that visionaries emerge during times of great upheaval, during the time of the Changing of the Gods. Nothing I can think of is more visionary than our growing awareness that every bit of this good earth is sacred ground. No tyrant, no matter how ruthless, can make people un-see what they’ve seen with their visionary eye. Neither force nor fear can long prevent the emerging idea that we are not dominant and superior but a custodial species whose destiny path involves regenerating an entirely new world in co-creation with the natural order of things.
Descent Into The Underworld
I wonder if despite appearances, this dark descent into the bowels of our own collective underworld is the road we’ve taken to awaken ourselves. Is it not possible that this is the dream we’ve chosen to heal ourselves from the profound disconnection with Spirit and Self so long endured?
If so, what are the tools we must use to bear this soul-created suffering, loss and grief as we move together through our ordeal? Does it help us to see with visionary eyes, to consider that maybe what is happening to us is not divine abandonment, but divine grace?
In my experience, transformative crisis holds the promise of an emerging great gift. Even so, we are not given to recognize this gift while still engaged in the ordeal. We have to pass through the suffering first, the force of psychic deconstruction essential to uncovering the hidden gift. It is therefore more likely that we will recognize the blessing of our crisis as we collectively surrender to and acknowledge our soul’s trajectory for which we incarnated. That, to me, is the purpose of this crisis, to bring us to our knees, close to the ground, so that we can hear our soul’s calling once again.
The great soul of our species seems to be asking us to rise again into the full face of the sun, its light and our light becoming one, dispelling the long dark night, filling us with courage to acknowledge and defend our sacred home, our purpose for being alive and the long line of those who will follow.