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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Doing your personal work:

Developing Consciousness

The future of civilization depends upon the freedom of the individual to develop his personal consciousness: to find and to fulfill that essential self, which is unique to each of us. It can be done by gradually stripping away the impurities, the false ideas and conceptions we have of ourselves. These are a kind of dirt on the inner glass of our outlook.”
Cecil Collins (A Vision of the Fool and Other Writings, p. 55)

There is a wonderful article written by Barbara Sargent of the Kalliopeia Foundation, on the Working With Oneness website. It is the transcript of a speech she gave to the Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders in Geneva, Switzerland in 2002. The title of the article is “The Role of Spirituality in the Healing of the World Community.” In it she writes that finding the essential self of which Cecil Collins spoke is done by developing a true spiritual discipline. It could be meditation, contemplation, prayer, nature, yoga, or simply spending regular time in solitude. Sargent recommends recording one's dreams over time, and following the thread of their leading. Whatever discipline comes most naturally to us, and provides an atmosphere free of fear, is most important.

The reason this kind of consciousness is important right now is because we are witnessing the rise of authoritarianism such as we have not seen since the last world war. It seems to be a movement that is manifesting all across the planet at the same time, and is the dark side of the patriarchy. I want to say here that I believe the masculine principle is both good and necessary. It has led us to breakthroughs in science and medicine, in space exploration and understanding of our own planet that would not have happened otherwise. But there is a dark side to it, a shadow, as there is to every principle, and that is authoritarianism, dictatorship, fascism, and autocratic demagoguery. We have seen it before, and we are seeing it now.

The feminine principle is the antidote. It is relational, communal, connected and nurturing. It is caring for the whole and all of the parts equally. Developing the consciousness that we are one people, that we each have responsibility for ourselves and for the role we play in the world is critical to countering this rising authoritarianism. That requires us to do our personal work, which Cecil Collins refers to as “stripping away the impurities.” I don't mean this in a punitive religious context—repent and heap ashes of guilt and despair on your head—but in a heart context. We take a clear look at all that we are—our gifts, our strengths, as well as our weaknesses and faults, and determine how we might be of service in healing the world community. This is not an either/or world; it is a both/and one—both masculine and feminine principles are needed. We must each do our part in raising consciousness. Having a spiritual discipline that requires us to listen rather than opine is the path.

                                                     In the Spirit,


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