Monday, 12 November 2012

Planetary Initiation

Planetary Initiation
by Daniel Pinchbeck

Two weeks ago I was in New York City, my home, for Hurricane Sandy. At 7 pm that night, I walked to my corner and saw the floodwaters rising toward my block. I hurried home, grabbed a few things, and set out for a friend's house on higher ground. As I was hurrying away, I heard muffled explosions and saw eerie lights in the sky. It was the Con Edison plant blowing up.
Once-in-a-century super-storms and "Frankenstorms" are now annual events, regular occurrences, and quickly growing worse.
Sandy supports what I have been writing and saying for years about this time as one of intense transformation and planetary initiation. I wrote a book and made a film about the Mayan calendar and the year 2012. I believe that we are seeing the fulfillment of prophecy -- based on the precise understanding of cosmic cycles held by the ancient cultures of MesoAmerica -- in the transformation of planetary culture and consciousness. At the end of the process, we will either have transformed as a species and reached a new level of consciousness, or we will be on our way toward extinction. The choice is ours to make.
In tribal cultures, initiation is the necessary ordeal that turns adolescents into adults through accessing extrasensory perception, visionary states, and by transcending or subduing the ego. Through this process, the initiate becomes a full-fledged member of the  tribe and takes responsibility for it.
As we undergo our planetary initiation, we are going to transcend individual ego and local boundaries to identify ourselves with humanity as a whole, becoming one global tribe. We are on the cusp of realizing ourselves as one species organism, in symbiotic relationship with the planetary ecology as a whole. Once we make this leap, we will share resources equitably, adopt cradle to cradle and no waste manufacturing practices, and shift from competition to cooperation as our basic paradigm. We will go from acting like a parasite or a virus on the earth to becoming the earth's immune system.

As Bruce Lipton and Steve Bhaerman write in Spontaneous Evolution, "Science suggests the next step of human evolution will be marked by awareness that are all interdependent cells within the super-organism called humanity."
As an analogy, we can look at the process of the caterpillar becoming a butterfly. In the chrysalis, the caterpillar doesn't just sprout wings. Its entire body melts down into a biotic goop. The code for the transmutation of the organism is held by a handful of "imaginal cells" that start to propagate as the caterpillar dissolves. Although attacked at first by the dying caterpillar's immune system, the imaginal cells install the program that produces the butterfly. Our modern civilization is now in the process of melting down and decomposing, and we have to become the imaginal cells engaged in the process of its transmutation.
Climate change is clearly accelerating, as the vast preponderance of climate scientists warned us it would. Glaciologists found that "roughly half of the entire warming between the ice ages and the postglacial world took place in only a decade," with a temperature increase of 9 degrees during that time. Our continued tinkering runs the risk "of producing a runaway change -- the climatic equivalent of a squawk on a sound system,"  writes Fred Pierce in With Speed and Violence.
In The Revenge of Gaia, James Lovelock predicts "an imminent shift of our climate towards one that could easily be described as Hell: so hot so deadly, that only a handful of the teeming billions now alive will survive." According to Lovelock, a maximum of 150 million people will be left alive at the end of this century.
Is this true? Do we have a say in what happens? Can we cooperate to co-create a rapidly different outcome?
In nature, we see the sudden emergence of radical new forms at higher levels of complexity during junctures of crisis. According to the principle of emergence, at a certain level of complexity, entirely new forms appear that could not be predicted by the nature of their parts. Can the same thing happen to our global civilization as a whole?
Initiation is not just a marker or a rite of passage. It appears to have a biological purpose. It activates the higher function of the prefrontal cortex by forcing a "mutation of awareness" -- a leap of consciousness. The prefrontal cortex is the most recent brain structure, emerging 40,000 years or so ago. It is the structure that allows us to become aware of awareness, to differentiate qualities, and to use symbols.

When the prefrontal cortex is functioning properly, it does other things as well:
    Self-Consciousness (Awareness of Awareness)
    Ethical Judgment
    Capacity to Defer Pleasures and Wants
    Responsibility for the Community
    Transcendence of the Ego (the realization that "The soul is not in the body, but the body is in the soul.")
Western civilization rejected or lost contact with initiatory practices and disciplines some time ago. We thus failed to create a system that induces higher functioning of the prefrontal cortex. What this means in practice is that the mass of people in modern society can't rise above their lower impulses and sexual compulsions, or their greed for material things. In fact, consumer society depends upon keeping people fixated in this state. We have made a world for "kidults," trapped by ego-based desires.
For a human community to endure, initiation is not optional.
The initiation process has a number of stages:
    Separation from the Community
    Undergoing the Ordeal
    Integrating the Vision
    Returning to the Tribe: Celebration and Homecoming
    Sharing the Knowledge
I believe that modern humanity is unconsciously bringing about a self-willed cataclysm to force its own transformation. How else do we explain how it is possible to ignore the overwhelming data on climate change, the risk posed by genetically modified organisms, or the obvious danger of nuclear plants, and so on? As an aside, if the Indian Point nuclear reactor was in the direct path of Hurricane Sandy, I wonder if we would have fared any better than Japan. I kind of doubt it.
If enough of us undergo a conscious process of initiation, our civilization may be spared the worst. When we make this inward mutation, we can then use our intelligence, skills, and resources to awaken the others and redirect society as a whole.
Individually, we can use tools like meditation, yoga, vision quests, ayahuasca shamanism, and so on. But these can quickly become new forms of spiritual materialism. We are being called upon to push beyond our comfort zones by sharing what we learn and by sacrificing our ego-based desires for the sake of the planetary community.
Read the full article here
Source: RealitySandwich