For those of you well versed in my writing, you may notice that I’ve touched upon points 1-5 in other articles. Though there is new information in each section, you may want to go straight to #6. Because that’s the heart of what I am conveying, here. Truths 1-5 are building blocks for this finale.
I’d also like to add that these are my truths, expressed passionately. They may not be yours, or even the truth. For now, they feel true enough in my heart to share with you as we traverse together through these chaotic times.
“We must always be disturbed by the truth.” ~ Dogen
1. Go beyond the literal
Most of what you are witnessing across the world these days is not what it seems. Try not to take things quite so literally.
What you watch on the news is just the very tip of the traumatic iceberg. (More reason to limit your intake of mainstream media.) Watching the news is like seeing and making sense of the world through a sliver of information. You’ll get a glimpse that, if you are not wise, will mislead you towards all sorts of false or deeply limiting assumptions.
Broaden your view beyond the “facts” the eyes and ears take, and news present, as gospel, and you’ll more easily avail yourself to unspoken truths. You’ll feel into the underbelly of a world addicted to the certainties of convenience, and conveniences of certainty.
2. It’s coming up now
The period of time we are in is undoubtedly unprecedented. The well-grooved unconscious games humanity has been inured by are coming to a dramatic and necessary ending. They have run their evolutionary course. Now, at an exponential rate, as our global infrastructure and systems crack and crumble, the unprocessed pain that built, upholds and is/was suppressed by them must surface.
With bringing down, there is rising up.
We cannot continue pretending that lifetimes of profound trauma and repression do not exist in individuals and communities; and that unconscious trauma does not insidiously run the majority of our socio, economic and political systems. Yes, goodness is well-infused in our communities. There are fortunately far more well-intended people than evil doers. But we also cannot deny the amount of blinders that have been lifting for a while now exposing us to painful truths. And this is just the beginning.
We are waking up to rampant levels of geo-political corruption, child-sex trafficking, pedophilia, religious abuse, systemic oppression of POC, animal torture, environmental pollution, etc. Personally, I wonder how much longer the masses will support professional sports when hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money is spent on stadiums, and athletes are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a game. Meanwhile, the suffering, the poverty, the inequity…
Yes, forced upon us now, almost daily, are the stark realities we have been ignoring.
The global upsurges and purges seen on our city streets will continue to reveal inconvenient truths. They will create massive disruptions on the planet, detouring us from the blind, toxic and patriarchal patterns long governing our existence. They will rightfully detour and wake us from the comforts of a greedy, mindless, consumptive, polluting “normal” that so many crave to get back to.
3. Don’t expect things to return to “normal”
It won’t and it can’t.
Don’t expect your children to go back to school to prepare for a highly dysfunctional world increasingly falling apart. We are kidding ourselves if we think we can serve our children by putting them into a crumbling institution designed to feed a toxic and crumbling marketplace. We are kidding ourselves if we think that a standardized approach to education will support a uniquely creative child to thrive in a world increasingly tumbling from its long-held, dysfunctional standards!
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
We must wake up to these uncomfortable truths. The trauma-built world must fall apart. And it is. Not all of it, for there is also so much beauty, creativity, care; so many reasons to wake up each day with a sparkle in our eyes. And, yes, so much engrained and denied pain in our banks, government, schools, churches, sports enterprises, etc, that remains repressed in the name of finances, legislation, public policy, education, spirituality, entertainment, and more. Indeed, much more must and will crumble, more than we’d like to admit. The world we grew up in, the jobs we want for our children, are quickly disappearing.
In our denial and blindness we cling, we hope, we believe otherwise. We imagine all the ways to re-arrange the deck chairs, move the goal posts, so to speak. Government leaders make such promises all the time; and it’s why they fail, again and again. Though they/we try, these patch-up “solutions” have limited effect given the larger, complex agenda at play (which I’ll get to more deeply as you continue to read).
Part of these dying days is accepting what doesn’t work, or hasn’t ever really worked. To feel the grief of this, the sheer heartbreak, and even outrage. How unfulfilling, limiting, segregating and, yes, abusive our systems have been. That they need transformation not reformation. And so it’s going to get messier.
Louder sounding bells will go off that halt, disrupt and dismantle “normal” and “standard” so we continue asking the hard questions and feeling the hard feelings we’ve been avoiding in our ATV riding, public house, emotionally distanced existence; so we can see and feel the painful truths kept under the polished floors.
And so I say, hold onto your kids, everyone. Hold them tight. Stand back and know that “normal” is dying.
4. Learn to embrace the unknown
We are all initiates into unprecedented levels of personal and collective uncertainty. What we once clung to, both inside and out, to make sense of ourselves and life with, is rapidly being stripped away.
Space is being made for something new to be born. Emptiness is the difficult crucible we are being initiated through for this overwhelming transformation before us. For the first time in history, virtually all of humanity is being ushered through this right of passage at once.
“The more uncertain I have felt about myself, the more there has grown up in me a feeling of kinship with all things.” ~ Carl Jung
The beautiful world we long for in our hearts can only come through this overwhelming deep dive into uncertainty. The temptation is to fill / end this dynamic tension by going back to “normal”. “Normal” fills the uncomfortable gap. But we must have the courage to stay in the void long enough without filling it, trusting that the fertile field of uncertainty is the only ground from which the beauty we seek can blossom.
5. Do your inner work
What you see surfacing in the collective is but an extension of you. Though it may seem to be about the police officer or black person, you are not as separate as it seems.
We are inextricably connected to the pain of the world. And when we truly get that we can start to take responsibility. We take responsibility for the viscerally emerging pain and protests out there by tending to the denied turbulence in our interiority. Only then do we realize how much “out there” is intimately woven with “in here”.
You can’t change the world until you see yourself as the world. And then you only change yourself.
We each have a choice, now: Either continue to be passive bystanders in humanity’s collective awakening, hoping the world will “get better” without doing our own part within to heal; continuing on with our routines of watching the news, checking sports scores, gossiping with friends, flicking through social media… waiting, just waiting for “normal” to return; or we can begin the courageous work of becoming intimate with what we’ve long ignored—the untended shame, hatred, fear, grief, anger, rage, trauma—all we project onto others; all we expect others, like our government, to deal with / clean up so we don’t have to face it… within.
We must all now play an active and brave part in this critical unfolding and evolutionary period of consciousness. It is our duty to ourselves, to our descendants, to our ancestors, to Mother Earth, to do so. It is no longer a question of if, but when.
6. It’s death ultimately calling us now
The birthing of something new at the colossal levels required, given the unfathomable extent of world suffering, calls for a large-scale death, one we’ve been waiting centuries for. Death of the outer systems. Death of the traumatic inner systems that built and run them. And yes, death of people.
Hard as it may be to witness, our relationship to death is front and centre these days. That’s what’s being presented to us in ongoing and intensifying ways. And though it may seem otherwise, this is the real agenda at hand.
Because without welcoming death, there can be no birth. And given the old dysfunctional operating system we’ve been run by, what we need is a complete rebirth.
It’s natural to be afraid of death. Why shouldn’t we be? Instincts compel us to survive, often without conscious awareness. We do what it takes to circumvent death, prevent it, to stay alive. And as COVID is helping us recognize, we’ll eschew all possibilities of death even if it costs truly living.
We are preventing family members from visiting their vulnerable elders in senior care facilities during their dying days. Dying lonely and undignified is more valued than living our last minutes, days and weeks with loved ones holding our hands and celebrating our lives.
We consider making young, developing children wear masks for six hours a day at school. Even though reading facial expressions is key in making sure children feel emotionally and physically safe. Masks are a barrier to attunement and attachment for both the child and the mask-wearing teacher. It’s an impediment to co-regulation, the bedrock of education. This, let alone the fact that masks prevent full and clear (non-recycled) inhales vital to wellbeing.
In our attempts to make people safe—safe from sickness and death—we close off from the life-giving necessities of relationship, touch, air and soil. We thwart our core biological need for connection. We suffocate our bodies and souls to prevent the small chance of illness (while maintaining “normal”, ie school), and the even more minuscule chance of death. All this, and so much more, in the name of living.
I recognize that these are not simple or easy challenges to resolve by any means. We are besieged with complex issues affecting huge numbers of people and systems with differing needs and in differing ways. I understand and respect that. More so, as I’ve written about here and here, I firmly believe that quarantine is necessary as part of our waking up process.
Hypocritical as my words may seem, what I’m presenting is that these times are about much more than saving lives. They are about our fierce attachments to safety and certainty due to strong fears of death and the unknown. What I’m elucidating is the need to examine closely how our fear of death influences everything from bubble wrapping children away from fresh air and the bruises and bumps of wild play, to public policy, to resisting needed change.
To be clear, the death I am bringing awareness to is not of the physical body, nor our outer role of educator, lawyer or baker. Rather, it’s the death of who we have always known ourselves to be beyond our outer roles; who we’ve had to be all these years given where we come from; given our epigenetic ancestral inheritance, the conditioning of the collective consciousness, and our childhood adversity; given what’s coded in our DNA from this lifetime, and others, what Kaia Ra in her book The Sophia Code calls “viral programming”.
“The false self is for survival. The true self is for life.” ~ Andrew Feldmar
I’m bringing attention to the fear giving rise to and upholding our adaptive trauma-based survival identity, and how terrifying it is to lose this loyal identity, all we’ve ever known ourselves to be. It’s a death little time is spent thinking about. The implications I’m here to make clear.
Who would we be without the attachments to our old internal survival structures that govern / control us, and others, unconsciously? Who would we be if we stopped our addictive patterns of controlling, pleasing, pushing, analyzing, making right, withdrawing, being strong—protecting, hiding? Who would we be without the “normal” self we’ve become normalized by, inured to, that perceives you as separate from me and from nature, and therefore the self that struggles to take responsibility for the whole? Who would we be without the self that knows survival more than living, the self that knows no other self? The self that grew out of fear / trauma—because it had to?
This is the emptiness, the uncertainty, I am pointing to, and that fear protects and doesn’t want us to go into. Because it’s in that emptiness that we die. The world dies!
“Just one moment of awakening begins the dissolution of one’s false sense of self and, subsequently, the dissolution of one’s whole perception of the world.” ~ Adyashanti
Like Adyashanti, author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle gets to the heart of it: “Fear seems to have many causes. Fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of being hurt, and so on, but ultimately all fear is the ego’s fear of death, of annihilation. To the ego (survival identity), death is always just around the corner. In this mind-identified state, fear of death affects every aspect of your life.” Tolle also notes, “Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to ‘die before you die’ and find that there is no death.”
Loss of self, of the “mind-identified state” the majority operate from most of the time, is the fear beyond all fears. This fear of death is the governing principle that has us cling to the safety raft of “normal”—to all we’ve ever known ourselves to be, and therefore the world to be. “Normal” keeps us from embracing the potency of uncertainty and the richness of the new. “Normal” tries, often in desperation, to keep this familiar self and its manifesting, yet now crumbling world, in tact. (Re-arranging the deck chairs.)
“Every breath is a chance to be reborn spiritually. But to be reborn into a new life, you have to die before dying.” ~ Shams Tabrizi
With quarantine, people are getting an introductory taste of this existential dilemma by having to confront who they are without their job; which, underneath, is a loss of being in control, smart, organized, productive, all things so many identify with in their work. They are feeling the fear and uncertainty beneath this loss of self.
By taking so much away and immersing us in the aforementioned emptiness, COVID is a fierce amplifier of this primal fear so we see it more clearly and feel it more fully. It’s a beacon highlighting how busy and lost we have been in our survival roles and lifestyles. And how dependent we are on certain ways of being to get approval—again, how much we need and identify with our false self. The real self does not require external validation. Only a scared child, now adult, does.
If we pay close attention, COVID will show us how unchecked fear impacts our choices in all walks of life, both now and pre-quarantine. For example, this core fear is what compels parents to keep children away from the unpredictabilities of their unquantifiable wild play, and diligently on the straight, narrow and measured path of “education”. Their fear of uncertainty seeks to maintain a certain path for children, which makes many parents comfortable and many children miserable. Though this decision may seem to be “for” the child, it’s primarily for the parent’s survival identity that learned, likely in childhood, that the straight and narrow would get more approval from mommy, daddy and teacher and, therefore, it helped them feel safer. (For more on this topic, read Your Fears and Beliefs Create the Edges of a Child’s Playground, and Your Own.)
Fear of loss of self is also fundamental to demonizing euthanasia. We project our unprocessed, unconscious fears of death and uncertainty onto the pained dying, thereby prolonging their suffering. Like the parent, the unconscious choice of the demonizer is to preserve the survival identity that cannot face its own fears of loss and uncertainty. It’s about protecting the false self, not caring for the suffering other’s need and right to end their misery.
In the case above, and countless other examples, we think it’s about “values” and “virtues” (often religious-based), when really it’s about awareness—having the courage to feel and perceive beyond our limited, disconnected self that, when unchecked, puts its own safety ahead of other’s freedom (and co-opts “God’s will” as justification).
Continuing on, we can also look to environmentalists who want to “save the world” for further understanding of this fear. I met one of those environmentalists, an internationally celebrated author and activist. She told me how determined and dogmatic she had become in her work, but upon reflection and healing, how she softened enough to see how it was her own stuff being projected outward that fuelled her mission. Though she didn’t use these words exactly, it was her need to protect or “save” her survival self (and avoid feeling the fear underneath) that compelled her to want to “save the world”.
Again, “safety”. Projection 101.
Who or what are we really trying to protect, trying to save? And so now we have COVID to help us with all this, a collective initiation into knowing ourselves and each other truthfully, beyond fear; so we make decisions with greater consciousness instead of projecting our fears onto each other, and the world. Indeed COVID is an opportunity to recognize viscerally how much our need to preserve a sanitized, predictable, antiquated, dysfunctional and “safe” life comes from our fear of releasing outdated survival roles, and how we proclaim this to be all in the name of health and living that is far from healthy and vital living.
That’s COVID’s purpose. It is a strong call to enter the uncertain grounds needed to birth our authentic power, our soul, our truth; to birth a new humanity, a new world, rooted in love, not fear.
“There is no security for those who seek it outside of themselves.” ~ Byron Katie
I’m not saying this level of self-mastery is easy. In truth, the awareness and surrender required to transmute this fear is the hardest of all endeavours. Releasing your grip of that which has served you so well all these years and feeling the fear underneath—the fear that built those survival structures in the first place—, well, there’s nothing harder than that.
The wise and courageous words of the deaf-blind Helen Keller come to mind: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature.”
The Universe doesn’t care about death. Only we do. Humans cling, not the intelligent Cosmos. Not the mercurial wildness of Life that allows 2, 8, 15 year olds to die with regularity. We are the ones attached to “my” life, which isn’t even ours, if we dare look. We are attached because we are so disconnected from the wildness we are, a mysterious wildness far beyond “I”, “Me”, “My”, an ineffable wildness that always wins.
Again, I return to the absolutely necessary inner work which, if you stay long enough on the trail, will reveal this to you, and You to you, and so much more! Healing will melt the fears underlying “I”, “Me”, “My”, relinquishing outdated attachments and protective mechanisms. It will dismantle most, if not all you believe yourself to be, and believe life to be. Open, raw, connected—birthed—you will then be able to join the crusade so many are on and that life is exponentially waking us up to. A crusade so many young ones feel intuitively drawn to. (Often called Indigo, Crystal or Starseed Children, with hearts beating loud, these creative ones will continue to struggle in school because they are here to join the crusade standardized education was not designed to support).
In essence, healing will awaken you to the fact that You are what the world is waiting for! A You concealed and forgotten long ago, but always there in the background, nudging you to remember, whispering to you to come home. A Self most young children feel still in the imaginative wildness they are.
Indeed, the new beautiful world births through each one of us. Through the beauty and light of our awakening soul and its purpose for being here.
It’s no coincidence that the height of round one of COVID was Easter, symbolizing death and rebirth. We must all go through our own version of transfiguration if the new world is to be born.
The choice is yours. Resisting healing, growth and change, the birth of our true, unmitigated Self, will just make what’s already happening that much more difficult. Our unresolved fears will continue to be projected outward causing us to control even more in the name of “health”, “order” and “safety”. We’ll try to control or tame an ancient river that knows its direction—the Tao, the Wild Way of Things, Life’s mercurial, mysterious plan of mass death and rebirth. We’ll continue preserving a traumatized false self and culture built for survival while ignorant of the larger order of things.
“Heal. So we don’t have another generation of trauma passing itself off as culture.” ~ Unknown
And so it is: The birth of a new world ultimately comes from the death of who we are not, but think we are. It comes from the uncertain space created within that our dismantling outer world is helping make room for.
Death of the traumatized inner “normal”, death of the traumatized outer “normal”. Death, so we can finally live.
“The real question is not whether life exists after death. The real question is whether you are alive before death.” ~ Osho
Take these last few paragraphs in for a moment. Really let them sink in. You’ll likely come against resistance, which is the fear I’ve been highlighting. Because when this level of reality hits home at the cellular level, everything changes. There’s no turning back.
Remember, as Nature demonstrates throughout, as the gold encrusted leaf nourishing the soil teaches us, death feeds life. Death is the catalyst to evolution. Not convenience. We must now learn from its ways.
We do so by facing our fears and embracing our wild, numinous nature. We do so by sacrificing ourselves at the alter of death, again and again, so the fragrance of something far more sacred can emerge—the love we are waiting for to finally blossom through the cracks only death can bring.
_____________________ Check out Vince’s book: Wild Empty Spaces ~ Poems for the Opening Heart