June 10, 2018
This Is Humanity Speaking
Bill Isaacs: I've been meditating on the theme of wholeness. I recall one of the first conversations I had with the physicist David Bohm in his office at Birkbeck College in London. We were sitting together and as we were talking he looked over at me and said "You know, this is humanity speaking together." His point was that the normal frame human beings have about conversation is that there's me and you—and here we are interacting. In other words, people have no real consciousness of a wider whole that might be speaking through us. This is humanity speaking. You could say it's actually much more than that: This is Being speaking.
We are part of a living operational whole. The implications of this I think have barely dawned on us. We are used to seeing ourselves and everything around us as discrete aspects of our worlds: experiences and people to interact with, circumstances to navigate. And we place various meanings on these experiences. The mission for human beings seems to be to try to figure out what you are supposed to do and how are you supposed to do it, to find a way to pursue happiness perhaps. Various strategies have emerged to navigate in a world where separation is the norm, where fragmentation is the common baseline experience. Yet we are part of a living whole and this reality underlies everything.
The word "part" is interesting. It has a number of meanings. The essence of the word, looking back to its root, is "reciprocity." To be a part is to participate in and partake of the whole. It flows through us. There is a significant paradigm change to occur here to begin to embrace and experience a different understanding. Human consciousness is meant to be a window that allows the larger order to shine through. It clearly has been cluttered with the detritus of mind-made creation: "fake news." Fake news is not a new phenomenon. It has been around as long as human beings have been experiencing separation. We have been hypnotized by fake news, whether it emerges from outside of ourselves or from within. You can understand this by using the metaphor of a projector and screen. Human beings project or look out onto the screen of their worlds and see what they see. But what we really are seeing by and large is a reflection of our own consciousness. Not a window but a mirror.
Looking out into the world is also like looking at the stars, in that when we do so, we are looking at light from the past. The light from the stars is reputedly hundreds of millions of years old. We are looking into the past as we look into the night sky. But that's not only true of the stars, but also of what we see all around us. What we see has already emerged and while it's all present here and now in one sense, in another sense we are looking at something coming out of the past. There is a paradox to embrace here because at the same time it is still true that everything is present here and now. To perceive what is real and what is not fake we must move upstream to the source of our own experience, and to the movement of life as it emerges from within us moment by moment.
Human beings have an identity muscle. We are capable of identifying with the screen, with what is external, and equally are capable of moving upstream and recalling a different experience of Being altogether. There's a passage in the Bible that points to this experience. It describes a particular healing moment. Jesus asks an individual if he's prepared to rise up to experience something new: "Wilt thou be made whole?" (John, 5:6). There are some important implications to the question being put this way. First, it refers to being made whole, implying there are a set of factors working out that are not under one's own control, carrying us to a new place of awareness and understanding, but nevertheless requiring our willingness, our agreement. We are each constantly being asked to allow this to occur in us.
However, it might also be put, "Wilt thou be made the whole?" Will we allow the paradigm change in consciousness to occur where we extend our awareness and become who we Are in experience? There are many implications for this line of thought. One is that what matters most is what is happening immediately here and now within us. While it's tempting to be drawn out to pay attention to external factors apparently happening on the wider screen around us, those are the effects of the action of Being. We can begin to experience this as our attention moves closer in.
It is easy to become distracted. But we need to move beyond that to explore how we master and manage what does arise within us. This is the control point for the wider whole that is within our range of responsibility. What factors are moving? These are, seen properly, as factors present in the whole. They may appear to be simply local and personal to us; but they are also quite particularly non-local—dimensions of the experience in the wider whole flowing through me and you, here and now.
We are made part of the whole again, in experience, so that we can experience what it means to be made "in the image and likeness of God." Every act of ours is potentially a manifestation of that reality in expression, a symbol revealing some aspect of the wider reality of Life.
One of things we've often said is that wholeness has a sound, a "Tone." This is our most immediate access point to wholeness, to the intelligence of the Whole, and to finding our right expression and action within it. The "Tone," as I am speaking of it here, is really the sound behind all sound, a "meta" sound. Listening for this in every moment provides us with the opportunity to drop our conditioned reactions, our own version of fake news, what Uranda, a mentor of many of us, used to describe as the "hypnosis of the unreal." This includes the tendency to be lulled into lethargy, or powerlessness, or the illusion of insignificance.
Wholeness has a sound and a Tone. There was a wonderful philosopher named Howard Thurman who spoke in an inspired way about this. Thurman served as an advisor and mentor to Martin Luther King. So impactful was his influence and thinking that some people felt at the time that he should have led the civil rights movement; but his role was ultimately more to catalyze new awareness and awaken people to the reality of themselves. He gave King solace at various junctures and at one particularly critical moment suggested King go to India. King spent some time at an Ashram there and became exposed to Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence, which he subsequently brought back to the movement. Howard Thurman gave a commencement speech that summarized his insights, one that refers to the sound of wholeness in a particular way:
You are the only you that has ever lived; your idiom is the only idiom of its kind in all of existence and if you cannot hear the sound of the genuine in you, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls...
There is in you something that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself and sometimes there is so much traffic going on in your minds, so many different kinds of signals, so many vast impulses floating through your organism that go back thousands of generations, long before you were even a thought in the mind of creation, and you are buffeted by these, and in the midst of all of this you have got to find out what your name is. Who are you? How does the sound of the genuine come through to you...?
The sound of the genuine is flowing through you. Don't be deceived and thrown off by all the noises that are a part even of your dreams, your ambitions, so that you don't hear the sound of the genuine in you, because that is the only true guide that you will ever have, and if you don't have that you don't have a thing. (Spelman College Commencement, 1980; http://www.dailygood.org/story/1846/the-sound-of-the-genuine-howard-thurman/)
The Tone is the sound of the genuine. Expressing ourselves in alignment with the Tone is how we allow the movement of the whole to be present in the apparently local factors around us. The illusion that they are local, unique to me, "small" and mostly insignificant are aspects of the paradigm that is melting away. It's possible to function in a very different manner and learning to do that is part of what we are each being compelled to allow to happen.
There are several specific levers that we could name to help us land this understanding more fully in ourselves. One has to do with overcoming the tendency in consciousness to resist what is present, to react to it. This comes back to the idea that there is a projected world out there to try and manage. Our emotions have particular significance here. How we feel, what moves in our hearts, has great import, and drives the flow of our experience. I see this as a parent. It is not so much what I say but the content of my heart that is fairly quickly reflected in how the children around me function. They mirror back whatever is within me quite swiftly.
Resistance to what is freezes awareness in the forms that have already emerged. What we resist persists. But what we let be, and don't resist, leaves us space to let something alive penetrate our consciousness. What we accept we release. Then, we can express something of genuine Being that is no longer the download of however many generations of persistent memory and projection. The stickiness of these memory patterns in ourselves, and around us, doesn't really need to be rehearsed. We see a world where people grow up in communities with resentments generated out of memories that have persisted through hundreds of years of patterning. In the end the portal through which these things change lies in how I handle what comes to me. We each have plenty of opportunity in this sense. The whole has provided a remarkable mechanism for the clarification of the subconscious of mankind if it were to be put to use.
To participate as part of an operational whole is also to move with the cycles that are moving. Another tendency in human consciousness is inertia, living with what's comfortable or familiar, even if it's actually quite uncomfortable. We cling to the discomfort we know, as opposed to being open to the potentially greater discomfort we don't yet know. What's fascinating nevertheless is to see the movement of design, the movement of this whole which is characterized by design, through the whole of our lives. We are being moved by a much larger carrier wave than we are aware of. And while we may have been programmed to believe that the only design that will appear is the one we impose, we can hear an alternative. When we listen for the genuine, for the rightness of Tone, we are applying step by step the operational design of the whole.
The interesting and lovely thing is that this is all extremely natural. Indeed, one hallmark that we are in sync with the Whole is our experience of ease. We do not need to contort ourselves into some exotic state. What occurs and what's meant to occur arises very naturally and very easily. There are many people moving increasingly with their highest experience and understanding of what it means to serve or to participate in the larger Whole. While they may translate the qualities of Being in many different ways that energy is evidently present and is increasingly being articulated. We can sometimes be led to think that the opposite is true. But in my experience, I see many creative souls each working in their own unique way to find and express life. It's easy to become hypnotized if one gets caught in the projection of consciousness that is dominated by the experience of separation. The reality remains that we are operationally linked together in the unfolding movement of the Whole.
This is humanity speaking and listening and feeling: one Body, one living Whole, one genuine sound. We know these things as we express them and as we dare to let the paradigm of separation actually dissolve. As we live with the question of what that means and with the willingness to step into the unknown, we participate in a great journey. While in a certain sense we can have complete confidence in the emergence of the Tone moment by moment, from a human standpoint there is also a void to leap into, to dare to enter. It is as we do this that we actually embody what it means to provide leadership and the thrilling experience of living. I'm thankful that we get to meditate on these things and to listen and inquire inside ourselves for the sound of the genuine, to explore the significance of what it really means to be part of living Whole.
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