The Arrow of Evolution
The grand procession of human evolution has delivered us to a pivotal moment—a crisis that contains both creative and destructive potential. In fact, you can’t have one without the other. At the height of any evolutionary crisis, the two pathways appear side by side and illustrate the contrast between traditional traits that no longer work and new ways of being that can carry the species forward.
For years now we have become increasingly aware of what doesn’t work. A consensus has formed, at least among those committed to honest appraisal, that “we can’t go on like this much longer.” The consequences of a million misguided choices have converged in our time to make that abundantly—and depressingly—clear.
It has been much harder to look past the frightening scenarios of impending collapse and see what we stand to gain on the other side. If we know what traits can’t cross over this evolutionary boundary—a domineering and rapacious relationship with the earth, for instance—then what will replace them? What does a more evolved human look like?
We sense that the answer doesn’t lie in more or “better” technology, or any “upgrade” to the existing machinery of western civilization. The rational mind may not want to accept this, but in our deeper selves, we know: What comes next must be radically new. It must not simply ensure our basic survival, but also deliver what we have longed for and sought after through all the millennia of our history: Freedom. Belonging. The peace that comes from knowing who we are—and living in harmony with our true nature.
We know there is far more to being human than we’ve ever allowed ourselves to be. We feel in our bones that our present devotion to the pursuit of profit, property, power and privilege is an absurdity, that we are meant for and capable of so much more. So much more.
The poet Rumi put it like this:
You sit here for days saying
This is strange business.
You’re the strange business.
You have the energy of the sun in you,
but you keep knotting it up
at the base of your spine.
You’re some weird kind of gold
that wants to stay melted in the furnace,
so you won’t have to become coins.
Say ONE in your lonesome house.
Loving all the rest is hiding
inside a lie.
Here’s the point: This truly “weird” way of living—hiding inside the lie that we are small and helpless victims in an indifferent world—is already headed for the evolutionary scrap heap. This is the trait—this alienation from our authentic identity and sacred source—that cannot enter the future we have collectively created. We will either grow into our true potential this time, or we will perish.
As Rumi suggests, what has held us back until now is not fate, or the whims of capricious gods, or any backroom cabal of conspirators. The guard towers of this prison are manned by nothing other than our own thoughts and beliefs. Your thoughts and beliefs. Day in and day out they reinforce your decision to “stay melted in the furnace,” rather than take responsibility for the truth: There is no world but the one you make.
If this sounds vaguely familiar to you, it’s because wise men and women from every mystical tradition throughout time have been saying the same thing. Yes, these ideas inevitably lead us back to the realm of spirit, and to the thousand marvelous names we have for Mystery. It's a dimension we've tried to ignore in modern times, a fact which has only served to deepen our confusion. Happily, that wisdom is as available and inviting as ever.
Lately, however, the conversation has been joined by a new chorus of voices: scientists at the leading edge of exploration into the fundamental nature of reality. Turns out there is no “stuff” in our stuff, no tangible BBs at the bottom of the pyramid of existence. Our universe is a unitary field of intelligent and infinitely creative potential surging with energy. We participate in turning possibility into particular reality all the time—through the content and quality of our thoughts and beliefs in each present moment.
This marvelous capacity for aligning with universal wisdom in consciously choosing what we think and believe—as a means of reshaping ourselves and the world for a radically different future—is where the arrow of human evolution presently points. It is the essential characteristic of the new humanity currently emerging. It isn’t a short or an easy road, but it is the one we are destined to walk.
Next week I will discuss why harnessing the power of your thoughts has nothing at all to do with dreaming up a new Mercedes in the driveway—and why the evolution of conscious creative awareness is also a genuine revolution in the making.
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