The following is excerpted from Contemporary Spirituality for an Evolving World: A Handbook for Spiritual Evolution, published by Inner Traditions Bear & Company.
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” –Carl Gustav Jung
The 1960s saw an unprecedented reactive kick against the Western establishment. The sixties proved to be a decade steeped in rebellion, revolution, experimentation, reaction, liberation, and reevaluation. Even though the foundation stones of mainstream society and established religion withstood the powerful undercurrents of revolutionary change, substantial cracks appeared marking a moment in human history, which revealed how the manipulation and control of the masses, by the few, had entered the earliest stages of breakdown.
At first, evidence of this was subtle. However, fifty years on, those underground rumblings have resurfaced into a world now ready for a new conscious infrastructure within society, politics, media, religion, and spirituality.
In the late nineteenth century came the timely arrival of Freud’s work, with a message that his twentieth-century protégé, student, and successor Jung evolved and profoundly refined. However, the emerging psychological mind dates back to Plato (ca. 424–348 BCE), Pliny the Elder (23–79 CE), and Paracelsus (1493–1541 CE). Moving forward once again to the twentieth century, further evolutionary contributions to psychological development have hailed from those such as Roberto Assagioli, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and more.
Many years ago, I sat with an accomplished psychotherapist and supervisor who was well versed in the ways of the First Nations Peoples. I always recall him saying to me that “the psychological is the second gateway, the first being the physical.” I have no idea what the other levels of such a model might be composed of as we never discussed it further and yet, this statement really struck a chord within me, ringing true at a more deeply felt level of knowing. What I do know is that psychological exploration is an initiatory gateway to self-actualization. We could say that it stands as a gateway to the Self.
By the mid-1900s Roberto Assagiolo, an Italian psychiatrist, had developed a spiritual psychology known as psychosynthesis, which began to be internationally recognized in the 1950s and ’60s. The focus of this psychotherapy is the means by which the psyche can and does synthesize all parts of the personality to work together to reach the highest human potentials. Assagioli drew upon both Eastern and Western philosophies in developing the core concepts of psychosynthesis, and his work has been continued and further developed by others in the field since his death in 1974.
My own personal introduction to this psychotherapy has had a profound impact upon my life.
When I first encountered the psychological arena, I had been looking to engage in some psychological self-exploration and had been searching for a psychology with a soul. I was seeking a psychology that was not going to label me or put me in a box and was not going to offer me textbook answers to the questions I was asking about myself. I was looking for a psychology that held a “holistic” approach and viewed a human being through the lens of body, feelings, mind, heart, soul, and spirit. I spent several weeks of searching and finally discovered the transpersonal psychotherapy known as psychosynthesis. So, aged twenty-nine, I arranged an appointment with a psychosynthesis psychotherapist and began a revelatory and transformational journey of my Self.
By the end of the first session I was hooked. It was one specific insight that resulted in never viewing life again without using the lens of psychological awareness. I had been asked a question by the therapist, “How do you feel about that?” in relation to something I had shared with her about my earliest experience of trauma. My response was to spiritualize and rationalize, which was something I had done for years about this core trauma. She asked me again, “How do you feel about that?” Confused, I continued to recite my well-rehearsed script, which at the time I believed to be my actual true feelings.
Recognizing how out of touch I was with the authentic-feeling level of my experience of this core trauma and myself, she invited me to close my eyes and imagine myself at the age I was when the trauma occurred. She encouraged me to share with her how the “infant” in me was feeling. This was a light bulb moment! Suddenly and unexpectedly I connected with a level of feeling and realization that I had no idea existed. It was an evolutionary leap in the journey of my Self.
Several months later, experiencing a noticeable personal transformation taking place within me, I signed up for the psychosynthesis psychotherapy training. The first year covered what was termed the Fundamentals of Psychosynthesis. One year later at the end of this process of self-exploration, I found myself wishing that everyone could be given the opportunity to make the one-year journey of the Self. It was truly incredible. The discoveries, the realizations, and the breakdown in order to breakthrough that occurred during this one year alone contained all the possibilities necessary to catalyze a personal shift of consciousness and support peace in the world.
At the close of that year I felt profoundly changed. I was experiencing my life force as being stronger than ever; my skin was warm and full of color, my eyes were shining, and my heart was opening with a sense of wonder because of who I was discovering myself to be. What inspired me even more was the promise of who I could become if I continued on this journey of psychological awakening and healing. I had stumbled upon my Self and there was no turning back.
I embarked upon a further two years of intense training and continued in weekly therapy throughout the three years I was studying psychosynthesis. By year four I decided to leave the psychosynthesis training, having a strong sense that whatever I had needed from it had been completed. However, three intense years of continual training, group work, client work, ongoing supervision, and therapy had set the groundwork for what was to come.
After leaving the training, I still felt there was something core that I had yet to heal and integrate in my psychological healing journey up to that point and so I found myself searching for what I knew I needed in order to become healed and more whole in my Self. My search did not take long, and just weeks after leaving my former training course, I found myself with a leaflet in my hand, intrigued by a title that had really grabbed my attention. The course advertised was titled, The Mustering of the Warrior Angels. This was not a terminology particularly representative of the psychological, yet gnosis told me to follow it through and contact the organizers.
I called the number on the leaflet and a very, very gentle yet strong voice answered. I made inquiries and the woman who answered listened with great patience and sensitivity before responding to my many questions. At the end of the call I had to raise the inevitable subject of the cost of the nine-month course, which I realized I would not be able to afford. This humble woman responded with deep understanding and a willingness to support and enable me to attend the course. I informed her that I would consider it and would get back in touch with her. The course was due to commence within one week.
During that week I battled with myself in terms of my worthiness to merit the kind offer and unconditional support of this woman who was facilitating the course. Her approach was unlike any I had ever encountered in my life. And so, I wrestled with myself, reeling at the new experience of really feeling seen, heard, valued, acknowledged, and validated for the first time. Even though the part of me that represented my then unhealed and unintegrated ego resisted the willingness of this woman to meet my need to attend this course, I was able to find my yes and accept the hand that was reaching out to me. That nine-month course transformed my life.
For the first time I experienced what it felt like to be unconditionally loved and at all times be held in unconditional positive regard, deep love, empathy, understanding, and compassion. For the first time, I experienced the kind of love an integrated, psychologically healthy and spiritually balanced mother would bestow upon her child. For the first time, I experienced what it felt like for someone to continually find ways of saying yes to me, when my experience of cultural conditioning and family history repeatedly said no.
Throughout those nine months, in the presence of this woman, I was exposed to a way of being that prioritized the needs of all concerned. This was done in groundbreaking and unconventional ways that entirely respected the morals, values, and ethics of each individual present.
When I look back over the past fifteen years and contemplate the single most profound and transformational experience I have had the blessing and grace to undergo in this lifetime, my thoughts always turn to that woman and that nine-month course I had the courage to say yes to. I am blessed to say that when the course finished, the ongoing unconditional love and support of the woman who facilitated my deepest healing continued. This was a woman whose humble wisdom ways and truly authentic spiritual example proved to be the most powerful healing force and influence in my own self-actualization process. This was a woman who eventually became my mentor, and ultimately one of my dearest, closest, and most cherished friends. Her name is Wendy Webber.
In essence, conscious evolution represents our capacity to evolve consciously and not merely by chance. Humanity is consciously evolving at an exponential rate and it is doing so through the wide-scale spread of expression, connection, love, compassion, innovation, co-creation, and recognition that has been made possible by advances in technology that have initiated a viral awakening of personal and collective consciousness. It was the great futurist and pioneer of free energy, Nikola Tesla, who first introduced the idea of a global brain when he said, “When wireless is fully applied the Earth will be converted into a huge brain, capable of response in every one of its parts.” It was indeed Tesla who first introduced the concept of what Jose Arguelles later termed the noosphere.
Humanity has evolved a highly sophisticated and vastly upgraded global nervous system and brain known across the world as the Internet. This online phenomenon has given birth to a social media gone viral that has connected people, communities, countries, nations, and the world. Extraordinary advances in technology have enabled the covert and secret governmental agendas regarding interplanetary, off-planet, and extradimensional experiments and research to be made possible. These include the reality of other life-forms within the cosmos, wormholes, time travel, and extraterrestrial contact and communication.
This new global nervous system and brain, also known as the noosphere, has given people choice, a collective voice, and the capacity for empowerment. This is a fact that global agenda authorities have recognized and are now seeking to control, as humanity campaigns for human, animal, and planetary rights, including the replacing of existing power resources, such as oil, electricity, and gas, with free energy. This becomes possible with online “freedom technology.”
The consciousness model of human beings is changing from one of dysfunctional instant gratification to that of a more healthy and functional model of instant manifestation. This proves how we can indeed become manifesters and co-creators. It is new technology that has made this potential a reality. It is critical that we campaign and seek to eliminate the government agendas to control the new global nervous system and brain, and protect the rights of the individual and the collective.
Conscious evolution is an aspect of human evolution that has been slowly but surely emerging in this past decade. Those who run the major self-development training institutions and organizations are now studying conscious evolution in order to introduce it as a new training module into their curriculums, training programs, and educational teaching models.
The woman most renowned as the matriarch of conscious evolution is futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard who, at eighty-two years of age, has dedicated her entire adult life to the conscious evolution of humanity and the world. American systems theorist, architect, engineer, author, designer, inventor, and futurist Buckminster Fuller said of her: “There is no doubt in my mind that Barbara Marx Hubbard—who helped introduce the concept of futurism to society—is the best informed human now alive regarding futurism and the foresights it has produced.” And her good friend and biographer Neale Donald Walsch refers to her as The Mother of Invention.
Barbara Marx Hubbard defines conscious evolution as the following:
Conscious evolution is the evolution of evolution, from unconscious to conscious choice. While consciousness has been evolving for billions of years, conscious evolution is new. It is part of the trajectory of human evolution, the canvas of choice before us now as we recognize that we have come to possess the powers that we used to attribute to the gods.
We are poised in this critical moment, facing decisions that must be made consciously if we are to avoid destroying the world as we know it, if we are instead to co-create a future of immeasurable possibilities. Our conscious evolution is an invitation to ourselves, to open to that positive future, to see ourselves as one planet, and to learn to use our powers wisely and ethically for the enhancement of all life on Earth.
Conscious evolution can also be seen as an awakening of a memory that resides in the synthesis of human knowing, from spiritual to social to scientific. Indeed, all of our efforts to discover the inherent design of life itself can be seen as the process of one intelligence, striving to know itself through our many eyes, and to set the stage for a future of immense co-creativity.
This awakening has gained momentum as three new understandings (the 3 Cs) have arisen:
Cosmogenesis: This is the recent discovery that the universe has been and is now evolving. As Brian Swimme puts it, “time is experienced as an evolutionary sequence of irreversible transformations,” rather than as ever-renewing cycles.
Our New Crises: We are faced with a complex set of crises, most especially environmental. We are participating in a global system that is far from equilibrium, conditions that are known to favor a macroshift. This kind of dramatic repatterning can be a sudden shift toward devolution and chaos, or it can be an evolution toward a higher more complex order. At this moment in evolution the outcome depends on our choices, and time is running out. We must change, or suffer dire consequences. Our crises are acting as evolutionary drivers pressuring us to innovate and transform.
Our New Capacities: The advent of radical evolutionary technologies such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, quantum computing, space exploration, etc., offer us the possibility of profound change in the physical world. At the same time that we are facing the possible destruction of our life support systems, we can also see that the tools are there to transform ourselves, our bodies, and our world. We can and are actually moving beyond the creature human condition toward a new species, a universal humanity, capable of coevolving with nature.*
*Barbara Marx Hubbard’s official website, accessed March 18, 2013, www.barbaramarxhubbard.com/site/node/10.
For millennia humans have been engaged in varying forms of spiritual practice, be they sacrificial or reverential. Many have immersed themselves, for better or worse, in the aspirational or dogmatic interpretations of world religions, spiritual ideals, and philosophies. Throughout history, religion has been grossly distorted beyond all recognition. Humanity has been exposed to a version of worship and religion that has had the pure heart ripped out of it. However, a true religion is seeking to emerge now, a religion in which the heart remains intact.
For many thousands of years, from the worship of Sun Gods, Mystery religions, Paganism, and more (with Hinduism being the oldest of the existing major religions), humans have been guided (controlled) by external moralistic, authoritative, retributive, punishing, distorted, judgmental, accusative, warring, and misrepresentative unearthly “Gods.” Sacred texts have been delivered with misinterpretation and distortion in contradictory sermons paraded as rules and regulations to a vulnerable global congregation.
Mainstream religion and spiritual practice dates back to the Vedas, which predate Hinduism in India. For the Abrahamic religions, Judaism is the mother religion, established around 1500 BCE. Christianity was established in the first century CE and Islam around the eighth century CE. Billions of people have perished throughout human history as a result of ancient “worship,” which caused wars and entailed human sacrifice. Untold millions of men, women, children, and animals have lost their lives in the name of religion in the past four to five thousand years.
The most peaceful spiritual practices in modern history appear to be Buddhism and Hinduism, yet even these have ancient roots in battles and war. However, over time, they do seem to have evolved a more authentic expression of their fundamental spiritual teachings based upon love. It is also interesting to note that both encourage and practice vegetarianism, as regard for all life is a fundamental value and ethic.
As the psychological and conscious evolution of the individual and collective begins to establish a firm foothold as a reality, we find ourselves in the midst of a global evolution. Our relationship with our own spirituality is subject to radical questioning as we sense the rumblings of change beneath the surface of the spiritual and religious ground we have stood upon for thousands of years.
As psychologically and consciously evolving individuals, we are seeking and needing a more authentic expression of spirituality that speaks to who we are now in the twenty-first century. As the many layers that hide the heart of the true Self are peeled away through psychological processing and conscious awakening, so too are we now seeking to align with an authentic spiritual and religious practice for the new consciousness and the new world paradigm that is also emerging.
The time is upon us to strip away the many layers that have hidden the heart of religion—layers that were put in place in order to control and manipulate our ancestors who had not attained the degree of conscious evolution that is possible and can become a reality for the twenty-first-century awakened human being. Twenty-first-century humanity seeks a spiritual path that reflects our present time and one in which the heart of religion is laid bare. Our conscious evolution calls for a new spiritual practice—a contemporary spirituality for an evolving world—a religious practice, an authentic teaching of what has lain at the heart of all religion. Just as all rivers lead to the ocean, what takes us to the heart of all religion is love.
Conscious evolution began with spirituality. Yet, owing to the adoption of the widespread distortion and misrepresentation of original religious and spiritual teachings over millennia, the conscious evolution of the human being became buried, along with the pure, peace loving, and peace seeking heart of true religion and spiritual practice.
Following the explosion onto the human evolutionary scene of the psychological Self, some forty or more years ago, we find we have now arrived at the gateway of individual and collective conscious evolution. As the psychologically integrated self establishes within the personal, cultural, and collective fabric of human reality, so too rises the star of conscious evolution, lighting the way ahead for our ongoing evolutionary development. Psychological evolution is followed by conscious evolution and then spiritual evolution, or more accurately, a spiritual reevolution, which reflects the consciousness of the twenty-first-century human being and a new world paradigm.
Standing upon the bridge of conscious evolution, we remain at the same time connected to both the psychological and spiritual. By simultaneously remaining connected to all three, an unprecedented evolutionary leap becomes possible within the human being. Never before, in the history of humankind, have we stood upon such a threshold that, for the first time, allows us to experience and manifest the greater potential we each hold as consciously evolving human beings. Our full capacity for the expression of this has remained dormant. We use just 8 percent of the human brain. In the words of Roberto Assagioli, just imagine “What we may be.” This is the promise of the times we are living in.
The gateways of psychological, conscious, and spiritual evolution are wide open and invite each and every one of us to align with a consciousness and a new world that reflects a twenty-first-century personal and collective shift from an old to a new paradigm. To do so will initiate and activate the vastly unrealized human template we are each born with and, until this century, have barely touched upon.
These three gateways present us with a new human experience and a world that, until this time, has been just a fantasy or a dream. The glimpse we have seen of a utopian world in which all are equal, all are abundant, all are peaceful, and all are well is now within our grasp. We have only to step through these psychological, conscious, and spiritual gateways to realize and manifest a utopian world as a reality.
The Three Foundational Levels of Human Evolution: Psychological, Conscious, and Spiritual
The time is upon us now to align and harmonize these three foundational levels of our intrinsic evolutionary nature—a process I often refer to as realigning the personality with the Soul, and not the other way around, which is primarily the case in the unintegrated individual.
The most profound and transformational journey any of us will ever experience is the conscious evolutionary journey of the Self. The journey of true awakening is catalyzed when we turn our attention to our psychological level, which enables us to evolve in a more conscious way. This in turn profoundly influences and accelerates our conscious and spiritual evolution.
Self-awareness and self-realization lead to self-actualization. When we embody and live the Truth of who we really are, this enables global evolution and the attainment of the utopian ideal of a world at peace to become a tangible reality.
When enough of us are psychologically, consciously, and spiritually awakened, we can and will coevolve and co-manifest a new golden age and a thousand years of peace. This has been prophesied by ancient indigenous wisdom keepers for millennia, a fact that rare astronomical alignments and momentous Earth changes indicated would unfold post-2012.
The rise of conscious evolution as an intrinsic developmental reality for the twenty-first-century human being marks the arrival of the “new human.” This human being is not randomly shaped by circumstances of chance and current themes within society, but one who is conscious and fully engaged in their own evolutionary process as well as working toward the evolution of humanity.
The individual and collective psyche is now ready for a personal and global progressive evolutionary awakening. The twenty-first-century new human seeks a contemporary spirituality that reflects an evolving world. The psychological aspect of human evolution first entered the public domain in the late nineteenth century with Freud and then exploded onto the scene in the 1970s, at which point we entered into the era of psychological evolution. Now as we move further into the twenty-first century, we find we have arrived at a bridge that invites us into a new era of human evolution—a new epoch of conscious evolution. The twenty-first century will catalyze an exponential shift in this in both the individual and the collective and so materialize an aligned spirituality, a twenty-first-century global-spiritual evolution—a contemporary spirituality for an evolving world.
Teaser image by garysan97, courtesy of Creative Commons license.