In many of the science fiction stories I read as a child, technology accelerated on a linear trajectory, leading to highly advanced societies that colonized other planets and went where ‘no man has gone before’. I wanted to believe this narrative of rationality, progress and better living through technology, but things haven’t really gone that way for most living beings. Modernity, despite its human achievements, has let us down. Greed and ill-being are at the core of its converging crises, and many believe modernity’s collapse is inevitable as a result. Even if we don’t completely buy into “collapse”, we may have a very deep unease, the sense of something terrifying ‘slouching toward Bethlehem.’

And yet, the collapse of modernity is also a partial narrative. Contained in our disease may be a key to its cure.

Something other than ‘collapse’ is also happening. We are experiencing an expansion in our understanding of reality. Technologies ancient and modern enable us to peel back the very layers of matter, space, mind, and time, and touch their primordial depths. We are directly encountering congruences that our ancestors intuited and honored through myth and ceremony.

Consciousness is evolving. Evolution does not mean ‘superior’. The word comes from Latin ēvolūtiō – “unrolling a papyrus scroll, to roll out or away, uncover, unwrap, unfold by using the intellect.” We are unwrapping the reality of our unitive nature – our ability to harmonize with a living Universe.

This unfolding, or expansion of consciousness is inevitable. Many have said so. Joanna Macy argues that ecological and social crises compel us to recognize our interconnectedness and overcome our illusion of separation. Ken Wilber, says that expanding human consciousness requires the integration of various fields of knowledge, including science, spirituality, and art to transcend egocentrism. Collapse and expansion mirrors the natural cycle of our breathing as well as the Big Breath of creation. We see it in the rise and fall of civilizations and in the rise and fall of waves on the sea.

I have just returned from the inauguration of the Thich Nhat Hanh Center for Mindfulness in Public Health a Harvard. During a full day of presentations and practices with scholars and monastics, including Jon Kabat-Zin, Donald Berwick, and Sister Chan Khong, I was stirred many times by a kind of emotional relief. Researchers shared about the inseparability of mind-body, about interbeing, Oneness. This is not the kind of talk normally heard in the academic halls of health science! I experience similar joy when I visit certain communities, meet with deeply engaged young people, or sit with my sangha and Kosmos Circles.

None of this is to minimize the very real, horrifying, unjust and punishing consequences of climate chaos, war, violence, disease and disparity that are a daily reality for billions of people, plants animals and minerals worldwide. All people of conscience are duty-bound to reduce harm, practice generosity, and make effort to dismantle the causes and conditions that feed these realities. Harm reduction, healing and regenerating are the energies most needed right now. At the same time, we can view catastrophe as a ‘finger pointing to the moon.’ Dissolution and endings are painful reminders but should not be mistaken for the ultimate reality. The moon represents its true nature, which can only be directly experienced as the mind of love.

I have compared the mind of love to ‘building the ark of consciousness’. As we think, we go. We have to build the collective thought form that goes beyond “collapse.” Even if we can’t quite imagine the more beautiful world of the future, we need to follow its light. That is the intention behind this new issue and next chapter of Kosmos Journal.

May your days be filled with the wonders of Life.

R. Fabian

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Kosmos Journal Volume 2023 Issue 1