“The feast of Christmas is the celebration of divine light breaking into human consciousness…. The joy of Christmas is the intuition that all limitations to growth into higher states of consciousness have been overcome. The divine light cuts across all darkness, prejudice, preconceived ideas, prepackaged values, false expectations, phoniness and hypocrisy…. The kairos, ‘the appointed time’ is now.… Now is the time to risk further growth. To go on growing is to be at the cutting edge of human evolution.…” Thomas Keating, The Mystery of Christ
This is the calling of every human. To paraphrase the popular wisdom of Richard Bach: Here is a test of whether your consciousness is done evolving: if you’re alive, it isn’t.
The quote above by Thomas Keating was from one of his early books. Late in his life he spoke at a conference as if continuing the thought:
“Jesus goes on to say…, ‘Everybody who’s a human being is a candidate for this and has the resources to do it, if they will take the trouble to learn how to…let God be God in us.’ And so he says, ‘Anyone at all who brings himself or herself to nothing will find out who they are….’ Who are we at the deepest level? Have we a self at all, or are we really the manifestation of the Divine…? So, the plan is to be God in the humblest kinds of ways. That seems to be the program for this life, so why not…put everything into it that you have?” Incarnation Continua, from the 2015 Return to the Heart of Christ Consciousness Conference, Boulder, Colorado
We need to put all we have into the transformation of our consciousness right now. It is a matter of life or death for our nation, our species and all life on earth.
The reason why is that “Transformed people transform people,” as Richard Rohr says. Transforming ourselves is the place to start in our efforts to transform the world.
World transformation is of the utmost urgency. We need human civilization to evolve to fulfill the wisdom of all the spiritual traditions that agree on certain fundamental principles that make life ethical and sustainable like the Golden Rule, love of neighbor and universal compassion.
We need to evolve to a new collective consciousness that sees the oneness of all people, creatures and ecosystems on this planet and that recognizes our need for justice, equity and a sustainable harmony between all people and between humans and the earth, as the Earth Charter describes.
Therefore we need to evolve to that consciousness ourselves as individuals.
The seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany in the Christian calendar are all about that evolution.
The secular celebration each December 31st includes the ritual of making resolutions. The most important resolution we can make right now is to dedicate ourselves to the process of personal and world transformation. In other words:
Resolve to evolve.
The wisest have been calling for this since the days of the Hebrew Prophets, Greek philosophers and spiritual teachers in Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Taoist and Indigenous traditions.
Gus Speth quotes many recent voices including Vaclav Havel, Aldo Leopold, Erich Fromm, Thomas Berry and Mary Evelyn Tucker in his lead essay in the book, The Coming Transformation: Values to Sustain Human and Natural Communities.
Gus says, “What these authors and many others are saying is that today’s challenges require a rapid evolution to a new consciousness. That is a profound conclusion. It suggests that today’s problems cannot be solved with today’s mind.”
So how can we evolve as quickly as we must, both as individuals and as a global culture? Thomas Keating urges us to make it the focus of our lives and dedicate everything we have to it, our time, energy and resources. We cannot hope to attain it without a resolution to devote the needed effort.
Gus Speth concludes his essay with a section entitled “Forces for Change.” In it he explores the six areas that formed the structure for my earlier piece entitled “Our Task.”
You can see there a variety of ways to participate in speeding the needed evolution of consciousness. We can share our awareness of the threat that faces humanity. We can choose wise leaders to follow and help them get elected and fulfill their mandates. We can share a new vision and a new story of our place on earth and in the universe. We can help form a united social justice and environmental movement to carry out actions to accomplish the needed transformations. We can use our creative gifts to help the movement communicate. We can live into the vision and create working models of a new way of being.
The most fundamental thing we each need to do is pursue our inner growth and transformation. Some form of contemplative practice is crucial to this, as is a process of Life Planning that helps us listen to the spirit speaking in our heart’s core, what I call the Golden Room within us, where we find our unique calling and gifts to share, and where we experience the oneness that is the essence of the new level of consciousness humanity needs to evolve.
You can find many short essays about how to pursue the evolution of our consciousness as individuals at https://thegoldenroom.net/category/on-transforming-ourselves/
You can find essays relating to the evolution of our consciousness as a culture at https://thegoldenroom.net/category/on-transforming-the-world/