Here we are in Sedona – one of the famous centres of the New Age culture on the planet. Not 2 weeks ago, at the Institute of Noetic Science (IONS), just north of San Francisco, where Ruhaniat Sufis had our Jamiat Khas I bought a book on Alchemical Divination by Ralph Metzner a Professor Emeritus at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). CIIS is a tertiary institution San Francisco inspired by the work of Sri Aurobindo, one of the 20th century’s more important Indian teachers, along with people like Krishnamurti and Hazrat Inayat Khan.
Being in Sedona has reminded me that there’s something really big going on in this time on planet Earth, that needs to be included in the stories we tell each other about who we are and what it means to be human at this time. Sri Aurobindo inspired the Swiss cultural philosopher and visionary Jean Gebser to develop his theory of Integral Consciousness, which in turn inspired Ken Wilber, whose theory of Integral Consciousness has become much more well known in the USA and the Europe.
At a time of such massive change on the planet, with so much of the energy of the western mass media focusing on Paris, the Middle East and terrorism and the so called Daesh or Islamic State, which is really neither Islamic or a state, I feel much comfort in the thought that here in Sedona, we can witness this shift in consciousness that many visionaries have been waiting for since the 60s. This is the New Age, the revolution in consciousness that we were talking about back then. In Gebser’s vision, this is the shift from the domination of a deficient Mental Consciousness to an efficient Integral Consciousness. Astrologically, this is the Age of Aquarius. In terms of the Mayan Calendar it is the transition from the 4th to the 5th Sun that began in earnest on the 21st December 2012.
I personally celebrated that occasion by attending the Uplift Festival at Byron Bay, where a contemporary visionary, Barbara Marx Hubbard was proposing that we are part of an evolutionary co-creative consciousness that we are all co-creating. At the same conference there were members of the 13 International Indigenous Grandmothers, Bunjalung Elders and dancers, as well as many inspiring visionary speakers and presenters such as Bruce Lipton, Dr Patch Adams, Kirtan singer Deva Premal, and a Palestinian Sufi Sheikh Ihab.
In a couple of weeks the world will once again be focusing on Paris for the Climate Change Conference, which many of us are hoping will shift the planetary consciousness to a more sustainable use of energy that will reduce the chance of the human species totally destroying our chance of future survival from the warming climate created by the industrial revolution of some 200 years ago, which also happened to be the beginning of the Mental Consciousness becoming deficient.
The key point to this blog is that we are all part if that co-creative consciousness, the New Age, the Integral Consciousness, the Post-Post-Modern Age, whatever label we choose. Some people are embracing this vision or dream with much joy and promise as a time of a more peaceful, more sustainable, more just, more equitable, more compassionate and therefore a more spiritually conscious world. But, as in all our dualistic human experiences, there are also those whose vision is a nightmare of terror, of ecological destruction, of violence, of war, of corruption and general decline of civilisation as we know it. The latter negative view is the one dominating the mass media, who are busily reporting the deficiencies of the Mental Consciousness that came into the planet some 500 years ago in the European Renaissance, that led to the scientific and philosophical revolutions of the so-called European Enlightenment. Meanwhile there are visionaries, with whom I identify myself as mentioned in Metzner’s book who are part of ‘all cultures worldwide’ who ‘know methods of divination and tell mythic stories of spirit beings or divinities associated with them’ (2009, p.36).
So that’s where being in Sedona comes into this story of mine. Here the New Age and the Native American or American Indian cultures are being celebrated! This transformative vision was also celebrated recently in our Jamiat Khas at IONS, our Universal Sufi culture that evolved from visionaries like the great Indian Sufi master and musician, Hazrat Inayat Khan or the American Jewish Sufi and Zen Master, Murshid Samuel Lewis. On Sunday, people all over the planet will be marching for a positive outcome of the Climate Conference in Paris. Disciplines like social ecology, through the work of Murray Bookchin, have been supporting the Kurdish resistance movement to Daesh in Northern Iraq and Syria, the most successful resistance to this sad and confused group of people, who are part of the greater resistance worldwide to the integral consciousness. Fundamentalist groups of whatever persuasion, are all stuck in a deficient mental consciousness, that evokes fear and terror in the hearts.
In the 20th century the Nazis were an example of this same deficiency and yet it was their actions that inspired visionaries like Jean Gebser to enquire into the deeper causes of fascism, which itself is a perfect example of this deficient mental consciousness, as are right wing movements in general. Unfortunately, many left wing movements are also stuck in this same form of deficient consciousness, which is why the communist countries suffer from so much ecological and cultural destruction. The Cultural Revolution in China of the 60s is a good example of that, as is the current massive pollution of air and water there through their more recent industrial revolution, making cities like Beijing unliveable.
For me, along with the discipline of social ecology, I consider the following groups of people, in which I’ve been involved to some degree, as examples of Integral Consciousness: people practicing integral yoga and other forms of meditation, the Sufi Ruhaniat International, the Pachamama Alliance, the Citizens Climate Lobby, Dances of Universal Peace, Permaculture, Transition Towns, the Diamond Sangha, the Theosophical Society, the work of Joanna Macy, Thomas Berry, Ervin Laszlo, Rudolf Steiner, William Irwin Thompson, Llewellyn Vaughan Lee, Uncle Max Dulu-mun-mun Harrison and others of similar ilk. And they’re just the ones I’ve come across, who are examples of the ‘cultural creatives’ movement, that Paul Ray and Sherry Anderson write about and part of the ‘Blessed Unrest’, that Paul Hawken writes about in the book of that name, as the biggest movement in Human History!
We are all part of that movement, either in a positive way by supporting it, or in a negative way by resisting it. The choice is always ours moment to moment!