Excerpt: “We Are Not At the Eleventh Hour, We Are At *The* Hour”

Storm, by Alexandr, Helsinki, Finland.

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From the chapter entitled “The Journey through the Great Transformation”

One of the most difficult things I face day-to-day, as I talk about in my “Valley of Darkness” essay, is how to live one’s life out in the world of Modern Mind, knowing how enormous the crises of the Great Transformation we’re going through are.

This piece in The Holy Universe, from the section entitled “The Journey Through the Great Transformation,” has autobiographical elements, especially as the Seeker becomes frustrated with the difficulty and confusion he feels as he contemplates some of what the Sage is talking about. It starts on page 167.

•  •  •

.“As I contemplate the death of species,
………as I contemplate the billions
……………..in abject poverty,
………as I contemplate the sad,
……………..empty hearts of the human beings
……………..we insult by reducing them
……………..to mere ‘consumers,’
………I find it necessary to remind myself
……………..that if I want to change things,
………I had best start with changing
……………..my own heart,
………to allow it to break, yes,
……………..but not to break down—
……………..instead to break open.”

……………………………The Seeker said nothing. Tears filled his eyes,
……………………………and he looked away.

.The Sage sat quietly, waiting.

……………………………“I don’t know. I’m . . . I guess I want to feel
……………………………hopeful or upbeat, but . . .” He stopped.

……………………………“You’re going back and forth in a way that’s
……………………………really confusing,” he blurted.

……………………………“In one moment, you’re saying we’re at the
……………………………brink of destruction, and in the next, the fix
……………………………is already in motion. In one sentence, you’re
……………………………talking about millions of years, and in the
……………………………next, that a single generation can either blow
……………………………it all or make it all okay!”

.“Upsetting, yes?”

……………………………Yes, goddammit! Especially when I think of
……………………………the mindlessness and ugliness of it all—and
……………………………how am I supposed to raise a child, when
……………………………she might not even have a planet to live on?
……………………………I feel helpless!”

.“Take some time.
………Feel this upset in your body.”

……………………………The Seeker sat, looking down at the ground.
……………………………He closed his eyes as the tears gathered and
……………………………fell. He put a hand to his face, resting his
……………………………elbow on his knee.

……………………………After a bit, he wiped his face on his sleeve,
……………………………and took a deep breath. He looked at the
……………………………Sage and then stared out at the city.

……………………………“It just gets me right here,” he said, pressing
……………………………a hand just below his sternum. He fell silent
……………………………again, rubbing his gut.

.“It’s a delicate balance,”
………said the Sage, quietly.

.You want to feel the upset,
………but not be swept away by it.
………Collapsing into a depression
……………..won’t serve, and neither will
………numbing yourself nor making yourself
……………..sick with worry.”

……………………………The Seeker dropped his hand into his lap.
……………………………“Sometimes I wish I could numb myself. I
……………………………wish I could just go back to how it all was
……………………………and not think about any of this.” He sighed
……………………………and sank back into his chair.

.“These are enormous times to live in,”
……………..continued the Sage.
………“While it doesn’t serve to latch on
……………..to stories about the future,
…………………….because no one can be certain
…………………….about what’s going to happen,
……………..we certainly can’t ignore
…………………….what science is telling us
……………..and what our hearts are telling us.
………It’s challenging for anyone
……………..who opens his or her heart
………to what is becoming increasingly obvious:
……………..what we do within the next few years—
……………..and we indeed may only have a few years—
…………………….will have a profound
…………………….impact upon our descendants
…………………….for hundreds of generations.
………That’s how enormous the crises
……………..of the Great Transformation are.
…………………….We are not at the eleventh hour,
……………………………we are at the hour.”

……………………………“Hah. No pressure,” said the Seeker.

.The Sage smiled.
………“No, none at all!”

.She took in a deep breath and let it out.
………“Let’s take these one at a time.

.“First: the story of Modern Mind
………cannot continue; we’re going
………to have to change, yes?”

……………………………“One way or another.”

.“Second: catastrophe inspires creativity.
………We’ve seen this
……………..with each Great Extinction.
………Over time, evolution demands
……………..greater and greater complexity,
……………..higher levels of order and cooperation,
……………..and ingenious solutions to problems—
…………………….and has done so
……………..ever since life emerged.

.“You can even see this
……………..with human catastrophes,
………whether it’s people
……………..making their way after
……………..a flood or an earthquake,
………or a person confronting a serious illness.
………There’s no guarantee
……………..that things will work out,
………but such catastrophes can
………bring out the best in people
……………..and serve as wake-up calls, yes?”

……………………………“Yeah, but they can bring out the worst in
……………………………people, too. And a lot of the time people
……………………………don’t wake up until it’s too late.”

.“I won’t argue those points, and I pray
………that the catastrophes we face
………will not have to go far beyond
……………..some critical point of no return
……………..before we do awaken.”

……………………………“If we haven’t already passed the point of no
……………………………return,” said the Seeker.

.“In some ways, we already have.
………We’re faced with
………a planet that is already changing
……………..and will continue to change,
………even if we suddenly reverse our course.
………But, when given a chance,
……………..the Web of Life can rebound
……………..with astonishing quickness.
………There’s a good possibility that
……………..we can help the Web of Life
…………………….heal what it can,
……………..while we flow with the effects
…………………….of these crises.”

……………………………“Well, okay. I think I get that.”

.“Third, and most hopeful:
………remember that we belong here,
……………..we are as much a part
……………..of the Web of Life
……………..as any being in the Universe.
………Yes, we’re no more precious
……………..than any other species,
………and can easily vanish from
……………..the Web of Life,
…………………….as all species eventually must.
………But when we choose the second path,
……………..choose to bring forth Planetary Mind,
………we align ourselves with
……………..a stupendous, deep, and powerful drive
…………………….inherent within the Infinite.
………We align ourselves with
……………..a cosmically ingenious and mysterious drive
…………………….toward complexity, order, and beauty,
…………………….this drive toward life
……………..seething through the Universe
………since the Beginning of All Beginnings.

.“It’s as if we’re attending
………a birth; the baby’s coming,
……………..ready or not.
………It will take work; there will be pain,
……………..even blood,
……………..and no guarantees
……………..that things will work out,
………but deep down, the bodies
……………..of mother and child
……………..know what to do,
………and the Infinite
……………..will not be denied.”

……………………………The Seeker pondered. “I didn’t think of it
……………………………that way.” He picked up a stick from the
……………………………ground and twisted it between his fingers as
……………………………he rolled the thought around in his head.

……………………………“No guarantees, though.” he said.

.The Sage nodded and shrugged.
………“I’ve also heard it argued that
……………..while we are destroying
…………………….the Web of Life’s
……………………………ability to sustain us,
……………..perhaps driving ourselves to extinction,
………we’re not destroying the planet, not entirely.
……………..The Infinite has Its ways;
………perhaps Planetary Mind is a seed that
……………..is ultimately not destined to flower.
……………..Earth will then continue
…………………….on her own creative dance
……………………………through the galaxy
…………………….and discover her destiny
……………………………without us.”

……………………………“That sounds sad,” said the Seeker.

.“It’s sad to me, too.
………But I’ve even heard the idea that
………humanity is supposed
………to cause this extinction,
……………..so that the Web of Life
……………..can regenerate anew,
……………..and Earth can move on
……………..to her next venture.”

……………………………“Do you believe that?”

.The Sage shook her head.
………“Not for a moment,
……………..for there are also no guarantees
……………..that the Web of Life will
……………..be able to regenerate.
………And what if the Universe somehow needs us
……………..to help create a new level of evolution,
……………..to consciously create new levels
……………..of cooperation and complexity?
………In any case, I’ve chosen to not sit idly by
……………..and watch as Modern Mind
……………..tears the Web of Life to pieces,
………to instead work to change
……………..the story of Modern Mind,
…………………….to learn and teach what I can
……………..about how to live in harmony
…………………….with the Web of Life.

.“And even if our civilizations
……………..endure a catastrophic collapse,
………we’re a resilient species;
………perhaps some survivors will continue
……………..humanity’s journey—
………and I certainly believe we can pass along
……………..the story of Planetary Mind
…………………….in some way to them.

.“But that aside, my hunch is that the odds
……………..are in favor of humanity’s evolution.
………I doubt anyone can imagine
……………..what possibilities await us
……………..as Planetary Mind awakens,
………just as the monarch caterpillar,
……………..who thinks the Universe is a single tree,
……………..cannot imagine the vast distances
……………..she will travel when she emerges
……………..from her cocoon.
…………………….That sounds fantastic.

.“To me, the choice is obvious:
………even without guarantees,
……………..even with the possibility
……………..we may already be too late,
.which path calls me to my higher self?
………Which path sounds more fun?”
……………..she asked, smiling.
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