Editorials of Nancy Roof

The Heart of Awakening

Many of us are confused, angry, fearful, grieving, insecure. We watch in disbelief as our world begins to crumble—torrential rains, tornado winds, mass shootings, threat of nuclear annihilation, breakdown of civil discourse, drug addiction, fake news, economic inequality, paralyzed government, deniers of climate change, a broken justice system and the breakdown of infrastructure that is supposed to take care of all these concerns. We wonder if we are creating a death culture rather than a living one. It seems to be a little of both.

All living systems are born, blossom, die, and rise again reborn in a new form—this is nature’s way of evolving. We recognize these cycles in plants, but applying them to ourselves and to society has been a recent rediscovery to the Western mind. Our civilization has surpassed the limits of healthy growth and is in the process of collapse. At the same time, a dynamic and new future is emerging.

All things must end in order to be born anew. In our personal lives, we may experience a devastating Dark Night of the Soul or a Kali experience that rips away everything we love and believe in that no longer serves Life. On a larger scale, civilizations collapse and transformations disrupt cultures and infrastructures that no longer serve the common good. Nature has her way of making systemic change imperative.

We grieve the suffering and loss. Then, we fearlessly face healing our karma or shadow. In time, we recognize the evolving capacities that are gifts of our relentless efforts. These gifts enhance us individually, socially, culturally, scientifically, and technologically. As we endure the daily media onslaught of clashes and conflicts, we are gifted with the capacity to expand and deepen our wisdom. We realize that human rights, peace, and security that many of us take for granted are not inherently guaranteed. They require us to act, to stand up to power, to become Warriors of the Spirit.

How does evolution unfold in the laboratory of our own consciousness? It is necessary to heal unresolved issues of the past that are blocking fulfillment in the present. Through persistent inner work, and often with the help of others, we begin to heal the paralyzing blocks to which we were initally blinded. This difficult process releases the energy that we need to take the risk of creating new life and fulfilling our purpose as passionate servers to others, to our nations, to the world, and to the Kosmos.

At a time when organized religions are in need of renewal, interspirituality has emerged. It goes beyond unquestioned beliefs to knowing and becoming through lived experience, spiritual practices, and Oneness with the Divine, the essence of all religions and the heart of awakening. This issue of Kosmos focuses on revolutionary developments in religion, consciousness, and the inner life.

As we gradually master our bodily desires, emotions, and mind, we become aware of a higher Self that is naturally wise and loving. We discover different ways of knowing beyond the rational mind—intuitive and bodily knowing and sensing. We discover that, if we are open and listen carefully, we will receive inner guidance and feel the security of knowing that we are not alone. As we practice ‘not knowing’ and empty our mind of assumptions and learned content, we deepen our center of identity from an individualized ego, “I am Joe Smith,” to “I am Soul,” and, ultimately, to “I am That,” a spark of the divine.

Expanding our consciousness may involve reflection on our own life experience, learning from nature, meditation, becoming one with beauty, and practices of nonduality that lead to Oneness or union with the Divine. A path of direct knowing without first living the path of love-wisdom, however, can bring a type of hubris, an ego-misdirected spirituality, which has befallen some gurus and their followers in the West.

We discover new capacities of the will—purpose, dynamic energy—that answer the question we were born to manifest in the world. With these new capacities, our life completely transforms. We do not figure out our life purpose; we discover it by listening intently to inner urges and knowingness. We develop what some call infinite sensitivity while learning to accept “Not my will, but thine be done.”

In an era when truth and trust are under seige, we must learn to rely on the truth of our own inner guidance. We can feel it as a loving, vibrational resonance of belonging and knowing what is right for me, for us, for all of us. We realize that the critical challenges we experience in life, painful as they are, can be drivers of transformation. Overcoming them leads to new responsibilities for humanity, our sacred planet, and all Life. We Act!

When we understand our interdependence with all of life, love-wisdom and global consciousness become natural. We discover that nations have shadows, just as we do; genocide, war, and greed perpetrated by national governments do not disappear with time. They remain in the hearts, minds, and genetics of future generations and require collective healing—meditation and mediation, as William Ury would say. We are becoming aware of new capacities to help heal collective wounds by witnessing and by collective practices that deal directly with past atrocities and help us mediate differences before they multiply.

Science has conditioned us to believe in a worldview of a machine-like universe that is sorely limited by a lack of acknowledging values, subjective reality, living systems, and intuitive ways of knowing. Some trailblazing scientists have begun to conduct research on mind, living systems, fractals and the holographic universe. Science is revealing how the invisible world of the mystics works; how similar patterns cross all scales from living cells to living galaxies; how the interconnection of all existence is held together by love; and how the infinite is contained in the finite.

Together we stand at the crossroads of a dying culture with the emergence of a vital living culture at the margins. Let’s listen deeply to what our broken world is asking of us. Let’s support the disruption with courage and compassion, while living truth, loving goodness, being beauty, and living Oneness at the heart of awakening.