What Is Going On?
There has been a great deal of change over the course of my lifetime, on many levels, and this is showing no signs of abating. All one has to do is compare the toys and capabilities we have now compared to just 40 years ago. In that time, roughly since the mid to late 60’s, we have seen the gradual development of a new view of reality and the birth of new possibilities. It is no accident that, along with this, there has been a tremendous shift in technology that has expanded our capabilities at an accelerated rate. In the essay “Our Modern Times” (1), I wrote about the massive changes that have occurred over just the last century and that these changes have not only significantly affected our collective consciousness, they have added new stresses.
Certainly, this ‘new age’ is one of almost limitless possibilities, especially when compared to a century ago. It is one that has been fueled by the new found freedom to imagine and manifest. What has fed the flames is not the technology we have invented; that is a by-product of our conscious evolution. They have been fed by new thought forms: new concepts of reality and the subsequent shifts in beliefs. Yet despite all the possibilities and the expansion of what one could call ‘new age awareness’, we still have not seen a major shift in the overall awareness of humankind, in part because we are looking in the wrong place for it.
In that period, there has been a growing sense that somehow we will see the light and enter a new age of enlightenment. I have had many conversations with people who believe that humankind is on the brink of a major shift in evolution, that it will be triggered by some event such as the alignment of various celestial bodies or based on our interpretation of ancient wisdom, such as the Mayan calendar and predictions for 2012.
The expected and predicted massive shifts did not take place, or so it appears, though we shall have to wait until 2013 to discuss the validity of predictions for this year. People still hope for a new age of promise and peace, but it remains elusive. That said, I am not writing about the accuracy of such predictions, nor suggesting that we are not evolving at an accelerated rate, my focus is on our own evolution, the effect such predictions about the future have on us and what we can do about it.
To those that are wishful of such transitions or who are disappointed by the apparent lack of ii I say, it is there, though you may be looking in the wrong place for it. The words “the effect such predictions about that future have on us” were chosen carefully. The thoughts we have individually and collectively help to shape our world and us; hence, our thoughts about them are also an influence. To do this, we will consider this as well as some the recent changes we have undergone, what it means for us now and how our thoughts about it shape our lives and the world around us.
If we believe, as many do, that our progress should have elevated of our species to a higher level of awareness by now, one where we tackle problems as a whole and work together to bring prosperity for all, why has it not? To begin with, despite the accelerated rate of change, evolution remains a gradual process for there is a great deal to learn. Yes, we have so many more possibilities now, and yes, the minds capabilities having expanded, yet that also means that the number of lessons has expanded.
To examine this we need to think about what progress means. As an analogy, let us say that every ‘piece of individual knowledge’ can lead to two other pieces of knowledge and that I have two pieces. Also, the period it takes for each piece to lead to two more is uniform. Now, if I start with two, after one period, I will have four pieces and after two periods I will have eight, after three sixteen and so on. So at each stage we have twice as many pieces to integrate, which means we have many more possibilities to learn about as well. The increase in capabilities comes with a comparable increment in the lessons we have to learn.
In reality, if we look at the collective awareness of humankind, we progressed slowly for a very long time, relatively speaking. Over the last few centuries this rate has gradually accelerated, many times more today than even 50 years ago. Having been born in the mid 50’s, I have, like many, been a first-hand observer of the rapid changes that have transpired. Though as I mentioned, the more we know, the more we have to learn, therefore the progress of humankind as a group is accelerating at a lower rate than our capabilities appear to be. You can see this in the fact that billions are still stuck with little, and struggle day-to-day, countries are not acting with enlightened self-interest and we still have unrest and turmoil of various kinds all across the globe.
That said, we have enough knowledge and capabilities to wipe out hunger and give everyone a good quality of life yet we have not done so. Instead, corporations and countries are in control, the rich get richer and people all over are left to deal with economic fallout. Despite hopeful signs such as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the promise seen in “the Arab Spring” and even the 99% protests over disparities in income, we still see great discord around the world. People long for a world that is different and it is hard to not become a little disillusioned that this is not changing or is not changing fast enough.
My exploration of awareness and consciousness began fairly early. It was, in part, sparked by the juxtaposition of events such as the assassination of Martin Luther King with the unbelievable feat of our having put a man on the moon and the advances of science and knowledge. It was a time when I began to have an awareness of the greater world beyond my physical experiences. It seemed incredible that with so much promise and opportunity that such a thing as race could still cause great angst in so many.
My interests in the metaphysical and in exploring of my consciousness began in the early 70’s and came out of a sense of discontent. Starting at age 13, I went along with my brother and attended my first protest and that led to a whole new set of thoughts and ideas. Around that same time, I began to explore my awareness through meditation, reading and studying the idea that there was more to us than biology. Though back then, it was neigh impossible to find books about meditation, awareness, and consciousness and so on. There were no stores that sold them, and we did not have the internet. You could find the occasional book in a library, but it was far more you could meet someone who had such books.
Few contemplated consciousness; the majority accepted the common view of reality so few delved into it. The books were not common enough and many were buried out of sight and rarely spoken of. After all, we were still burning witches only a few hundred years ago, as a result, the knowledge was circulating on the fringes. The Rosicrucian’s and Freemason’s began around that time and over the next couple of centuries various other pockets of spiritual seekers began to form. While the knowledge was passed down, those who had the deeper teachings tended to guard them jealously, this started to change in the mid to late 1800’s.
The formation of the Theosophical Society, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and other groups marked a significant shift that began moving spiritual ideas out of the darker corners. Religion was not the only source of such knowledge and because of the exposure of new ideas it began to be accessible to a broader audience. To be fair, even before this time, one who sought could always find it, but it was not part of the masses group think. Both of the groups I mentioned splintered over the next few decades, but the knowledge was now available in books that could be bought or shared. Yet, it remained on the fringes, for the average person wasn’t aware of them. Still, the cat was part way out of the bag.
The first half of the century was marred by two massive world wars and the Great Depression. People had little time for frivolities, so few were exploring the more esoteric side of life. The end of World War II changed that though its seeds had been sown decades earlier. The obvious change was that the assembly lines we had built to produce the tools of war were now able to mass produce manufacturing on a massive scale. Prosperity came in the post war years, despite the Cold War and for the first time in our history, the majority of people (certainly in the developed world) were not focused on survival as their primary task in life.
What was changing rapidly was not that we have more advanced technology; it was that more people were freed from the bonds of survival, which allowed us to use our minds more freely. It is not that we were incapable of doing so before, life just got in the way. However, schooling and the availability of books brought an ever expanding group of people knowledge beyond the mundane kind that was needed to survive. It has been the rise of our collective intellect that has been the transforming factor.
Thus freed, we have been able to explore ideas and we this marked the beginnings of the technological age. You can debate when this occurred, but it’s really a moot point. After WW II, people had a new found freedom the likes of which we never had before. People began to ponder the meaning of life, and transportation and communications technologies brought the far away near. I see the hippy movement as having played a very important role, one that accelerated when the Beatles started to explore eastern mysticism and exposed an entire generation to eastern philosophies and beliefs.
The ideas were rudimentary, often vaguely communicated, and the details sketchy, but the ideas began to enter our collective consciousness. I remember those times well, especially the change in the science curriculum, which saw concepts such as wave theory and particle theories were being taught in physics at the high school level. Before then, people saw a world made of ‘things’, and when you broke things down to their smallest bit, you would find a piece of matter, something ‘solid’.
Quantum physics changed all of that, and in the years since the world has gradually lost its rigidity. People are beginning to cease seeing everything as “solid things”; they are beginning to realize it is made up of energy, nothing more and nothing less. This has led to an incredible shift in the thinking of humankind and in many ways has enabled the explosion of ideas of a spiritual rather than religious nature: the dawn of a 'new age' of spirituality.
We had the movies 2001 A Space Odyssey and then Star Wars and eventually The Matrix. Each of these had a profound effect on how people saw themselves and reality, at the conceptual level at least. Up until then, when it came to ones perception of reality, you either followed a religious perspective or you saw science as supreme. They were separate perspectives and seemed to share little in common. These movies and others, helped to change that. As I mentioned, reality is losing its rigidity, notably with the introduction of the concept of “the force” from Star Wars and that reality may be an illusion as typified by one line of dialogue from the Matrix: “there is no spoon”.
People began to consider that what if it was true, that in reality, there is no spoon? Quantum physics tells us that there are no such things as ‘particles’ and that everything is energy in relationships. This has led many to marry religion and science in their spiritual views of reality and consciousness. Religious ideas are being viewed under a different light now, and even science cannot deny the possibility of consciousness separate from chemistry, and that everything may be connected in ways never imagined before. I have watched what has unfolded during my lifetime, and one of the most significant changes has been the higher level thought forms that have started to develop. Every year more books, tapes and videos were available; books on a variety of spiritual concepts and beliefs. They shared ideas that step beyond the dogma of religions and the walls around science. This is a good thing and a necessary step.
With this view, there is the belief that we can use our spirit, or our consciousness, to affect change in the real world. Science has validated that observing phenomenon affects what is observed. This leads people to expand their view of reality, though it takes time for such concepts to reach the masses. In addition, concepts such as the Law of Attraction have become more prominent and as has the belief that if we can attract what we want in life. Yet for all our willing, we still chug along. We do this because we have so much to learn, and it is not just new ideas that we need to learn.
For thousands of years the majority of people were guided by their reactive thoughts and the subsequent emotional responses. We struggled with these lower emotions for a very long time and most of us are nowhere near mastering them today. When you consider that collectively we lack emotional and spiritual maturity, and add in the new capabilities our intellect has enabled, you can understand the growth curve we face. This is why we run into difficulty when trying to manifest change; our emotions get in the way. We still have too many lower level thought forms and subsequent emotional reactions to manifest what we think.
What is going on right now is we are at that point in our evolution where we are learning to use our intellect, though not yet to the point where people realize the connection between it and our emotions and the outcomes in our lives. Yes, some do, but the majority of people do not. What can happen when we focus on future events is we end up looking for others to change, for signs of impending change and we imagine a future free of the troubles we see in it. Part of how we react to the present, often to what ‘we do not like in the world’, is to want for something better, though it is a wanting based on need, on the lower intellect. There are a great many who want the world to change to reflect their yearnings for peace and harmony in the world. However, we cannot change the world, we can only change ourselves. Imagining a better future is not a bad thing, though it does not help us when the imagining is rooted in the lower intellect. From there, it manifests disharmony and imbalance. To develope our higher intellect we must elevate ourselves, and so our thoughts are in greater balance naturally.
When we assume that billions are about to change due to some cosmic event or massive shift in awareness, we fall into the trap of both wanting and waiting for it to happen. As I mentioned, we are not evolving as fast as many think. Consider the standard bell curve in the Figure 1 below and you will see a plot of the level of awareness of people and the number of people at that level. I believe in reincarnation and that at any point in time there are a few new souls coming in and a few souls who are ready for the next phase of evolution and the most people are in the big bulge in the middle.
This curve does not change much over time, though it shifts to the right along with the progression of time. The curve would have been roughly the same shape ten years ago or ten thousand years ago. What this means is that there has always been and still are many who are around the medium level of awareness rather than everyone becoming bunched closer to the right hand side. Over time, this curve shifts to the right, but the majority of people remain in and around the middle level of awareness relative to humankind as a whole.
However, it seems that many see it differently or imagine it differently. They see mankind’s progress as moving more and more people to the right so that there are more and more people getting closer to enlightenment. But this assumes that those who are at the higher end of the curve now stay there. As wonderful a thought as this may be, it has not been born out, and I do not believe it will. Evolution is a slow and steady process, and while I believe the pace is increasing, I do not believe that suddenly billions of people will ‘wake up from the illusion’. This is not a pessimistic view, it is a realistic one. There is much to learn, far more than many believe.
This view is illustrated in Figure 3, where the blue line indicates the view that many seem to hold. In this curve the bulk of people are much closer to the right hand side which represents, figuratively, people who are near enlightenment.
This view does not help us, in no small part due to the reasons I mentioned above, it actually hinders us. We take our eye off the ball, which is to work through the thought forms that keep us in our lower intellect in order to allow our higher intellect to begin unfolding. The challenge is that we get distracted. We have been looking for the shift in the wrong place. This is the key to our current age, the shift is not necessarily visible in the world around us, and the shift must be within each of us. If it is your path to pursue such things and you have examined and contemplated your thoughts and emotions about it in meditation and it is not based on need then by all means carry on. There is a litmus test for this (from Awareness Series Part 3: Energy Awareness and the Path (2)).
“The next stage is that of the Initiate. It is during this stage the we begin to free our Inner Child, the innocence, that being the love, trust and spiritual light that resides within each and every individual. This is the stage where we start to move beyond books and outside actions. We must actively work on our issues that keep our Inner Child locked up behind the blocks and filters that we have built up. This is mandatory; we must begin to reconnect with our true self, with our innocence, love and trust.”
The route back to that Inner Child is developing in a spiritual sense. To do so we need to clear the blocks and filters so as to allow the inner light to shine forth unencumbered. It is something we can do when we have the intellect to direct the activity since the power to do so is inherent within us. Understanding the interplay of thoughts and emotion is what gives us the power to direct our activities in ways that will remove barriers. This is a common theme in any life path that seeks growth, more balance, more presence in the now or more connectivity to the world around us. I spoke to this in the essay “Listening to Our Lives” (3).
“Our way past the illusion starts here. We need both honesty and responsibility for without them we have little hope of removing the shroud, for it was built from the lack of both of these. Just as one might leave a trail of crumbs in the forest to find their way home, we use the trail of emotional crumbs we have left behind to find our way back to ourselves. No matter how deep or dark that forest is, these crumbs remain. The forest we found ourselves in is the illusion we have created, and the crumbs we leave behind are our lower emotions.”
This is a time of transition, many a wise person has stated this, but the transition is within each of us as we learn to shift our thoughts from the lower to higher intellect. This is the path of our evolution. Yes, we can raise the vibrancy rate of the earth by imagining a world in balance, but it is limited by our rational mind. Our vague notions can manifest little, and if even a part of us needs change to happen in the world, or feels guilty about what is going on or establishes blame for disharmony it will work against our imagined world. This is the litmus test I referred to above. Only when we are making ourselves more balanced, will be able to externalize en masse. Besides, who decides what future we should manifest if we could?
You will find that everyone’s thoughts about what it should be like to be different; however, our inner self knows, hence, if we can get past our thinking mind then we can connect through our shared collective consciousness and would know. To do this we must work on shifting ourselves towards being more present in the now. We cannot really connect and synergize with others if we remain separate from ourselves. In a way this means coming to terms with the responsibility of our intellect and capabilities.
In my readings there are many different schools of esoteric traditions, some use the term root races and the idea that there are seven, of which we are the fifth. According to these same schools, we are roughly halfway through this cycle, and then there are those who are working on the next cycle and some from the previous one. If you consider that the period of each measure in many tens of thousands of years then we have a long way to go. There is no need to pine for the future; it will take care of itself if we take care of our present.
The future comes from the now, it is how events unfold. There is plenty enough to do right now, and it differs for everyone. It matters not what you do, what matters is why and how you go about doing it. Are you doing what you need to be doing? Are you vested in doing it as much as you can? If you are doing this in any significant amount then you know that what might happen in the future is not so relevant. One of the best paths any could choose is one where you simply pay attention and listen to your life as it is right now. It is not easy, but if it were there were be no need or point in going through the many lifetimes of experiences that we have? And yes, we can be a little lazy at times, but persistence over the long term is what counts and will be of enormous benefit. We all struggle with different aspects of living; there is no shame in this. All you need do is ask yourself, “What am I prepared to do about it today?”
© 2012 Allan Beveridge
Last updated May 8, 2020