As modern beings, we are born into our own times and are bound by the necessities of our time, just as our ancestors were. We are born into a time when an acute selfconsciousness coupled with a world bereft of spirit is the evolutionary necessity.
I am quite aware that there are remarkable people who are born into our times with clairvoyance, a given ability to perceive spiritual reality appearing through the senses, “out there” in the world. These people often become spiritual leaders, reminding us of the spiritual reality from which we have been so ineluctably separated. They try to teach us how to return to this reality using methodologies that were developed in the past, often remote past. They successfully awake a longing in us for that spiritual reality that is indeed our origin (though not according to our current cosmology which is based on a purely materialistic evolutionary theory—from dead matter to life etc.)
Sadly, poignantly perhaps, what was given to us freely in the past (clear spiritual perception) has been withdrawn and there is no return for the modern mind. At best the modern mind can “play act” clairvoyance, or imagine as if certain spiritual realities were seen outside as the world. Even when an authentic spiritual vision is granted to the nonclairvoyant, it fades and the individual is left once again feeling separate from just about everything, including that wonderful vision that seemed for a while to change everything.
To proceed towards the unknown future, we moderns must answer a couple of culturally significant questions. We are told by our dominant theory of origins (see Preface) that the world we are born into, and look out upon, is the same world that existed for all time—a collection of material, discrete objects that are separated in an empty space and we are part of that collection. This dominant theory has worked its way into our language and culture so deeply now that it has become an inveterate habit in our daily conduct. We daily act as though it were true, with no other possibility considered.
We can each easily accept the now part of the theory on the basis of immediate experience. The real world does indeed appear before our senses as a collection of sharply defined discrete objects in otherwise empty space. This is coupled with the equally verifiable fact (verified on the basis of immediate experience) that we each are individual consciousnesses, separated from that world and one another through space, like any other material object.
So the first question we can ask concerns the then part of the theory. Were we and the world in this separated condition for all time in the past? There is a great and urgent cultural debate offering on this question. I won’t enter it here but instead I will press on to my own answer.
No, it wasn’t!
During the course of this book, I hope you will find out how I came to this deeply felt and verifiable conclusion. For now, let us press on to the next question: if the world and human consciousness were in a different relationship in the past (as I now assert without proving), one that present day clairvoyants are pointing us to, then what is the “evolutionary task” associated with our times, having arrived at a condition of maximum separation, looking out on a world of surfaces bereft of spirit?
My own answer is one that drives my work in the world today Our modern “evolutionary task” is two-fold: We must first awaken completely to the existential fact
of our separation from the world, which fact brings with it several gifts: feelings of enormous anxiety, inexplicable guilt, a deep pervasive grief and a clear knowledge of a newly won freedom to choose. All these gifts come together in one package! From this stark fact we can work towards the exercise of free choice through an act of will to participate in the creation of a culture that reflects a transformed version of the world we were freely given in previous times i.e. a world infused with spiritual reality. The clairvoyant experiences a world whose dominant creative power is love. This reality is given to the clairvoyant. The modern individual must re-create it, but not in an atavistic sense. We must create it out of our state of alienation from spiritual reality through a voluntary act of free will.
What would such a task look like when taken on by modern individuals? What would a world transparent to spiritual reality look like today? And what kind of individual would be formed in so experiencing the world this way?
My book is a series of essays that describe how one modern individual takes on this modern task. I face the fact of being a modern ego looking out on a world bereft of spiritual reality. I reject the dominant idea that this condition has been so for all time. I participate in the “evolutionary task” of forming a world that is material and spiritual, available to our transformed senses, in immediate experience.
These essays are descriptions of actual experiences I had while engaging in my task. They show how the world begins to transform as the senses themselves transform. They show glimpses of a new world that begins to show her face to us as we undergo the necessary alchemy to perceive her, once created anew. This new world is formed as governed by the dominant principle of interpenetration in contrast to our current world governed by its dominant reality principle of disjunction.
To give a taste of what is to come I will now relate one small incident that occurred in my life as I entered my “evolutionary task” (taken from my essay, Year of the Peacock).
I had been fired only that afternoon. An administrator from the head office called me on the phone and told me to come to headquarters where he would give me my severance pay and my marching orders. I was not to return. I asked if I could go to my office to collect all my belongings including an extensive sand tray collection of miniatures. I was a therapist working with abused children. He agreed to that request and an hour or so later I turned up at his door. He led me to me to a large empty conference room where he sat at the head of a long table and I sat somewhere towards the middle. Without any explanation he shoved an envelope stuffed with dollars and got ready to get up. I was filled with anxiety as I did not have a clue why I had been fired. My mind was racing as I tried to find a reason myself and I felt aggressive towards his alpha-male approach to my difficulty. I asked him why and true to form he gave me administrative babble: “Oh we are just doing a reshuffle of staff at the office …” etc. His lying cover-up was transparent to me and I became quite angry inside.
Right at that moment, I glanced out the door. You see, there was a door open to a rather lush English garden. Just as I was about to launch an attack, a most beautiful peacock strolled past the door. A moment had arrived! Something unusual happened. Something intruded in on the familiar scene of my being rejected, having the truth withheld etc. I now had a choice as a free individual. And I felt the freedom in that moment. I could have easily ignored, dismissed, or erased the presence of that peacock
and return to the familiar world of separation (e.g. me and the administrator) or I could step into my task of participation with a new world, with all the consequences that follow …
I turned to my adversary and said, “A beautiful peacock, do you have many here?” He laughed and said, “Yes, when they call out like that we think it is children screaming.”
And so the moment passed. I simply picked up my severance pay and said goodbye. I felt quite calm and in a strange way reconciled with the decision to fire me. A strange and unfamiliar meaning had intruded at just the moment I was going to let fly with my anger but instead focussed my attention on the unusual event of the appearance of the peacock. I listened and so did the administrator. What we each heard taught me that we belonged in different worlds. I had no part to play in his and he knew nothing about mine. The peacock with its strange uncanny, piercing voice was quickly assimilated by the administrator to his familiar world: a world in which the children are screaming.
He of course heads an agency that intends to do something about that screaming, not noticing that he becomes blind to anything else the children may be doing, such as getting better. In this way so many institutional structures perpetuate themselves at the expense of the very individuals they intend to serve. On the other hand I heard a call. I did not know the meaning of the call but I knew it to be one. I felt pulled by that call and my familiar world of feeling victimized and aggressively defensive dropped away. Most importantly, I acted on the basis of that call. I shook the administrator’s hand and walked into the unknown future. I knew where I did not belong and I stepped into uncertainty. On the basis of immediate experience, I felt the spiritual reality that infused the moment with the peacock and I answered the call. I had a moment of great uncertainty and I lived a moment with spirit.