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The Absolute Technology of Emergence


    Bill Isaacs:  Human beings have the amazing privilege of living in the luminous presence of the real world. Yet it is very easy to see that there is considerable confusion and skepticism about what this could possibly mean. People wrestle with the question, "what is real?" It remains the case that anyone anywhere who is willing may discover the magnificent reality of Life present in the exact circumstances before them, in this eternal moment.

    Despite such potential, one of the hallmarks of human experience is that most people do not particularly choose to live in the present moment. An implication of this is that we often do not recognize or appreciate the ramifications of our actions until long afterwards. The current issue of the New York Times Magazine contains a single long article entitled "Losing Earth." It chronicles the scientific inquiry over the last 30 or 40 years into the causes of the changing climate on earth. It points out that thirty years ago we knew enough about the science to have interrupted the trajectory of escalating greenhouse gas emissions, and thus could have changed the pattern of planetary warming. It also indicates that the decade long window when we could have acted has now closed, and that doing anything serious to avert long-term and quite possibly short-term disaster is all but impossible. Thirty or forty years later, human beings can look back and say, "if only." Of course, many today still remain in doubt about whether global warming is in fact a problem, but that is another matter.

    The point is that we seem to perceive more accurately when we look back than when we look now. We have the saying that "hindsight is 20/20." I doubt that is actually the case, but it is true that we tend to see things somewhat more clearly long after they initially occur. But by then it's typically too late to do anything about it. Another example can be found in the struggle to keep pace with the technological transformations now underway, which seem to leave most people breathless. It's very difficult to comprehend the significance of the changes that are transpiring and the implications of the choices now being made. Perhaps in some decades we will look back and say "oh, that was what was happening then."

    Some years ago, I read an essay by the psychologist Carl Jung that really made an impression on me. It was entitled "The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man." Jung said this: "he alone is modern who is fully conscious of the present." Jung's point was based on his view that human beings were enmeshed and submerged in a common unconscious "which claims the bulk of mankind almost entirely." He said the truly modern person has become "unhistorical in the deepest sense and has estranged himself from the mass of men who live entirely within the bounds of tradition... he has come to the very edge of the world, leaving behind him all that has been discarded and outgrown, acknowledging that he stands before a void out of which all things may grow." The freedom implicit in such an achievement, of emerging out of a frozen, unconscious state, was something that Jung felt was quite unusual; it took an "intensive and extensive consciousness" and "a minimum of unconsciousness." This is a threshold any of us could explore: what does it take and what would it mean to operate in a conscious way?

    Every moment is a moment of birth, of the continuous emergence of Life into form. Yet human consciousness consists mostly of a state of friction, where the mind is continuously seeking to assess, evaluate or judge what is present. We therefore mostly miss what is happening. If we give our mind the opportunity, it will have a point of view about the not so perfect state of our affairs. It is more than happy to engage in this opinion forming activity—about oneself, about others and about the world. And we have chosen to invest in training to support the mind's ability to perform this task. The better one is at this, the more effective supposedly one is.

    However, our minds are really meant to allow a flow to move through them. A part of the challenge of becoming modern, as Jung put it, is discovering this reality for ourselves. The unfoldment of life is happening regardless of this mental churn, which simply adds distortion and difficulty. There are many people, perhaps us included, who have endeavored to free ourselves from this embedded state and to operate in a fundamentally different way.

    One of the things that comes clear as one emerges into the present is that there are no inconsequential acts. There are no inconsequential moments. Everything counts. Because there has been very little sense that there is a real world, the supposition has been we can do whatever we want and defer the consequences of our actions, whatever they may be, to some future moment. We've been oblivious to the fact that there are no actions without consequences, often extending out far beyond us. We've been spared seeing the full implications of our attitudes and our actions. It would have been no doubt far too much to take to actually see this clearly.

    Yet if there is to be some sort of shift somewhere, some human beings need to become trustworthy in operating in a consistently reliable and frictionless way. We do not expect nature to have an off day, to have an off-tone moment. While there are distorted patterns emerging in nature that are the result of human self-centered activity, the natural world has a pervasive order to it. However diminished things have become from what might be the case if human beings were fully and accurately playing their part, nature reveals the magnificence of life. Yet when it comes to human function it appears to be optional to do the right thing, to live in an on-tone manner. This is perhaps at best something to strive for, but not to necessarily get right all the time.

    I'm not suggesting it is necessary to judge one's own function. However, it is vital to realize that the Tone of Life is exact. While there are many possible essences one could express in any moment, there remains a precise and fitting tone to sound. There is one thing that fits, and much else that does not. The standard in other words is absolute. I think there has been a pattern in people who have been spiritually inclined to frame their quest to find a new experience of life as something they pursue along with all the other things they do. Such activities are a kind of palliative for an otherwise stressed-out experience. There is great interest these days in many forms of self-improvement and spiritual awareness. Podcasts on any and all such subjects are enormously popular at the moment. All of this represents people seeking to move in the direction of the present moment. While many may find these explorations quite valuable, the awareness they generate is actually very preliminary relative to what is necessary for the human state to actually change.

    What would it take to bring about a change in the underlying condition of human consciousness? One thing needful is to recognize that the difference between "close to right" and "right" is immense. There must be some who operate in an accurate and conscious way for significant transformation to actually happen. Fortunately, we are all hardwired to allow this to be the case. This is not a great stretch. All that is needed is a willing heart and a willingness to continue to move through one's own thresholds of growth.

    There have been many people interested and endeavoring to live according to their highest vision. The requirement is the same for everyone: emergence into the present, out of the embedded state and into the absoluteness of the present moment. It takes some humility to acknowledge the degree to which one has actually done this for oneself. There is no need to make claims one way or the other because it is all a function of how one lives anyway, and no one knows the fact of this except for oneself.

    There is in other words a distinct creative process waiting to unfold in human experience, a distinct technology of emergence. At its center is radiation, light. The light that is present at many ranges throughout the cosmos forms Reality. Some physicists have pointed out that physical matter is a kind of "frozen light." Radiation is the ground of our experience. Consciousness is a container for the radiation of light. This radiant technology that would allow a change in the human condition is operative and available to be expressed in the immediacy of one's emotional and mental and physical circumstances. The essences and factors we experience in microcosm, that is, close to home, while often quite intense, provide the material we may use to allow something new to emerge.

    The movement of consciousness begins for everyone with a dawning awareness of the light. This sometimes is initially understood as the notion that something more is possible for human beings, a glimmer of awareness that there is something quite new to see. There seem to be increasing numbers of people for whom this experience is now occurring. People make many different interpretations of what this new experience might be and might mean. Sometimes what people see initially can be quite disturbing. The light is coming on, and it becomes increasingly obvious that humanity is not really on the same page; that politically, emotionally, economically there are extensive divides and considerable fragmentation. And the feeling arises that somehow this can't be right.

    As one continues to move, there can then be the odd experience of living in two worlds; a world of clarity which one touches through experiences of mindful meditation or quietness, and the rest of one's experience which seems full of challenge and noise. And then gradually that experience can evolve further, to the point where it becomes possible to let something of more steady experience of centeredness and Life be felt, so that one has more of a stable experience that is not so subject to the ups and downs of external events. All of this naturally leads to an expanded experience of confidence.

    People sometimes seek to bolster their sense of security and confidence through external means. There are quite a few tech billionaires, not to mention a lot of others, who are endeavoring to build "lifeboats." They are trying to figure out what to do when things fall apart. They have an awareness that while overheated digital capitalism has seemingly produced a lot of progress and wealth, things may not be headed for a harmonious climax. They are building underground bunkers and buying large patches of land in remote locations or on islands – sometimes taking advantage of places that have been in difficulty. Puerto Rico is one such example, where there are people undertaking to buy up and restore the island's infrastructure after devastating hurricanes in recent years, with the idea that they will then have a protected enclave. "If I have a lifeboat," goes the thinking, "I'll be safe." I don't think so. Safety and confidence come through one means only—through the experience of the emergence of the reality of Life. It has become almost trite to acknowledge that happiness is not a function of external wealth or external success. Happiness, and confidence, arise from an internal source.

    Finally, we emerge into the understanding that the way we function has an immense impact, to the extent that we express accurately the Tone of Life. As we do so, we have enormous responsibility, and impact, something that goes far beyond the palliative seeking stage of awakening. We discover that how we function counts. We have an amazing opportunity to offer a pattern of leadership and awareness if we will accept it.

    One of the things that always impressed me with people who carried true authority was that they didn't pull any punches. There is no point. All of our actions have consequences whether we are aware of them or not. For instance, the world is waking up to the reality, albeit extremely reluctantly, that by emitting more greenhouse gases over the last 30 years than in the entire history of civilization we are likely to have already insured that there will be a devastating impact on the planet. And while one can continue to debate the science and ruminate on possible scenarios all this becomes quite evidently beside the point. These larger unfolding factors and realities are sufficiently traumatic to contemplate that the effort to rationalize them away quickly comes online. That is all understandable. It's even forgivable.

    It is worth contemplating the question, "what really is our historic role on this planet?" That could sound like a quite arrogant question, yet it actually is a responsibility available to anyone. Do we dare take on that challenge? This implies living now in the microcosm of this moment with the awareness that the Tone I express matters. This is not about some fame seeking chest beating state, but it is serious. Serious and light.

    "Losing earth?" The message to human consciousness is you never had it. It was never yours to lose. The arrogance that assumed the actions had no consequences eventually gets cleared up. We are in the rather remarkable protracted moment of beginning to be aware of the fact that the core orientation by which human beings have lived has caused profound trouble. There's enough ability to reflect now that we may see these things and understand the disturbance and wreckage this has caused. Such awareness may build pressure for movement toward the light. That is the ultimate value of such awareness. Not to inspire people to run around and try to mitigate the negative consequences of unconscious action, but to wake up to what it means to actually function in reality.

    There is a level of magic available to human consciousness as we live in line with the forces and the focus for this world. We live in the house of a King. Reality is not a random assemblage of molecules, but a Kingdom, and a magnificent one at that. That reality is not a fantasy story but a fact. We've each been given remarkable support, some of it in the form of great discomfort, to come to accept the absolute responsibility of being present and freed from the conditioned state that human beings have been in for a long time. I'm very grateful to be part of a company of friends, known and unknown, whose mission is to let true magic be present again, and to refine my ability to let each moment be one where the Tone I sound is precise. That is the true technology of the day.

August 5, 2018


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