Sacred Activism and the Conscious Elder John Robinson www.johnrobinson.org
This is a time of collective initiation. Conscious elders, startled into a shocking new historical era, now face profound and unexpected tasks, gifts and responsibilities. This is not our old familiar world and we cannot go back. But this horizon holds the potential for a psychological and spiritual renewal unprecedented in human history, one that will produce a quantum leap forward if we participate meaningfully. As Howard Thurman advised, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive!” This is a time for discerning what makes us come alive and then doing it!
In depth psychology, the shadow, trickster, or devil archetype often unleashes huge transformational energies. In many respects, Trump represents our collective shadow – all the repressed, censored, dark, eruptive energies we have buried inside. But as Jung told us, the shadow is 90% gold! Jeremy Taylor, a teacher of Jung and dreams, recently wrote, “…the ‘hidden gift’ in the colossal projected shadow of Donald Trump is potentially granting us all ‘permission’ to explore and manifest our deepest creative energies and responses to the world.” Trump may be the unwitting precursor of an enormous change in the collective psyche.
As Philosopher Grant Maxwell observes in his new book, The Dynamics of Transformation, the evolution of genuinely new ideas and forms is typically unpredictable, disruptive, and shocking. He also suggests that some great and as yet unknown archetype may now be constellating in the depths of the human psyche. In other words, this disruption may be opening a new chapter in the history of democracy and civilization, unconsciously inviting us all to participate in a more vital, creative and engaged citizenship. Something deeper is at work here, a new expression of the human enterprise and a new worldview.
If conscious elders are going to light a path through the darkness of this time, we need to understand where we are and how we can respond most maturely. In the psychological dimension, we need to stay together and work through our feelings rather than react blindly, collapse in despair, or drop out. And we need to realize that anything we feel deeply holds the potential for transformation, releasing new energies and creative insights for positive action. Crises bring us back to the liberating reality of the present. I remember an old friend of mine telling me about the day her house burned down. She suddenly found herself feeling incredibly free, free to create a new life, to release the shackles of her old identity and pursue a new adventure.
In the spiritual dimension, we need to ask ourselves bigger questions and about the meaning and purpose of this time. For example, “What are my ultimate spiritual beliefs about why this is happening?” “How would my personal spiritual heroes respond to this situation?” And “Where is God in this upheaval?” And we need to return to our spiritual practices to stay centered and grounded.
Last, but not least, we need to call upon the mystical dimension, spending time in the Presence and letting its nature and consciousness expand our awareness and response capabilities. We are so much more than we think. We need to pray and ask for divine guidance. This awakening to the divine dimension in aging is not about escape from our obligations to the world—but a powerful shift to a new level of engagement. If we wish to transform our current human crisis, we must return to the mystical consciousness of a divine being in a divine world, an experience that becomes increasingly available in sacred aging.
To me, as a mystic, in this moment of awakening, it feels as if I touch the infinite surface of Being, which I envision as the smooth, rubber-like surface tension of a vast black lake. I am convinced that touching this surface sends vibrations throughout the whole cosmos, like pounding a huge drumhead sending oscillating waves across Creation. I can actually feel myself striking this great drum with both hands – boom, boom, boom – and sending powerful undulations of love, meaning and possibility through the immensity of time, reality and consciousness.
Like the surprise experienced by my friend when she lost her house, what is being evoked in us is likely to be something much larger and more creative than we would have imagined. Indeed, it may be the doorway to the next state of human consciousness. This is a time to deepen our awareness of eternal values, recognize the world as Self, join others, and then act from the deep oneness of Being. Everything we’ve ever done in our lives has led us to this moment. And together, we call on everything we are to pound our drums as one great loving force. As the echoes of our drumbeats return, their rhythms overlap with new ones. We are building a new Creation.
Check out John’s new book titled “The Divine Human”.
The Conscious Aging Alliance is a growing network of twelve ( at this time) diverse organizations, each using its own distinctive approaches to support those who are committed to an empowering vision for their later life chapters and are willing to devote themselves to making their potential a reality.
Throughout most of known human history, societies have had an honored role for their older members—a role that was recognized as critical to the wellbeing of the community. This was the role of elder. It was the elders who held the responsibility for mentoring the young; for telling the stories that communicated the history and most deeply held values of the culture; for seeing the bigger picture and from that perspective reminding the community of the importance in decision making of holding the wellbeing of the generations to come as a critical priority. It was the elders who were expected to have grown into a state of personal wholeness so they could serve their community as models for healthy human development.
Read more about Conscious Aging at http://consciousagingalliance.org/more-about-conscious-aging/
Alliance member organizations:
Center for Conscious Eldering
Fierce With Age
Gray Is Green
Institute of Noetic Sciences
Legacy of Wisdom
Life Planning Network
Recognition Rites for a New Vision of Aging
Spirituality & Practice