Facing Our Collective Demons
You must look upon your illusions and not keep them hidden… for beneath them, and concealed as long as they are hidden, is the loving mind that thought it made them in anger. A Course in Miracles
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
As I look back on this year, I find myself pondering the ideologies substanding the events that have impacted our society. My conclusion is that we haven’t yet fully harvested the spiritual gifts awaiting us, but I’m hopeful that we eventually will. All of these events—the pandemic, the election, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the wildfires and other effects of our neglectful stewardship of the planet—are reflecting back to us the escalating impact our wrong-minded notions of who we are and our purpose in the Creation. Yet, latent within them lies the potential for a revolutionary collective healing of our human consciousness that will ultimately enable us to manifest a better world.
The good news is many people are already actively involved in a spiritual healing process, and it’s making a difference in their lives and in the lives of the people around them. At the same time, the time has come for us to think beyond our own problems. While it’s true we must first clean up our own sandbox in order to be useful in this larger healing process, we must also start to expand our thinking to include healing our society as whole.
When people realize that the consequences of the events of this year are the product of our collective fear and misperceptions, they’ll hopefully also recognize how important it is for them to heal their own wrong-mindedness. A great number of people, then, will need to realize that their “private little moments” of fear, hate, greed, jealousy, prejudice, and condemnation do in fact grow those same evils in the collective.
This may seem like a long way off, but even a small number of people can create a large impact when calling in the light of higher consciousness, because that light stimulates the higher consciousness in everyone it touches. This process of connecting and stimulating gains momentum as the numbers swell in the collective consciousness until it finally becomes the path of least resistance and manifests. History has proven this phenomenon time again; the abolitionist, women’s suffrage, and civil rights movements are a few well known examples. Gay and transgender rights are examples of a newer shift in consciousness that is still working its way into the collective.
Imagine the change we could usher in if we became willing to accept that our basic assumptions about life have been wrong.
A Course in Miracles teaches that the fundamental error in our minds is the belief in separation from God and all the effects that have erupted from this idea—pain, fear, suffering, illness, judgment, and death. All that is wrong in the world can be traced back to this core illusory belief. Thus, it is this belief that must ultimately be confronted with open eyes and an open mind. We have within us a higher level of conscious awareness (called the Holy Spirit by many and higher power or higher self by many others) that restores our mind to sanity when called upon. The illuminating light of the higher-reasoning mind remains unclouded by our illusions and automatically heals the mind when we will it.
So, what type of healing process might eventually produce a positive shift in our collective consciousness?
[Please note that the 7 steps I outline below were inspired by the teachings of A Course in Miracles and the 12-step healing program but do not represent that program.]
1. Admit that what we’re currently doing isn’t working.
It’s not just, unifying, loving, healing, inclusive, or ultimately founded in truth.
2. Realize that a better way exists, and commit to the soul-searching work of discovering it.
This awareness struck home for me during an exceedingly difficult time in my life; I realized that everyone behaves insanely, and it’s important to stop blaming others for our craziness and do something about it.
3. Become willing to seek out guidance from a higher state of consciousness, knowing full well this process will require us to question deeply held beliefs.
I already see individuals and groups of individuals seeking to discover a better way of living and working together, and this will lead to progress. At the same time, the bigger shift I’m envisioning will happen when large numbers of people and the groups to which they belong are willing to reconsider the validity of our most fundamental belief: the belief in separation from one another and from our Source.
In the meantime, I believe the way we can contribute to this shift now is to talk about the need for this examination. So, let’s take a closer look at this belief.
We believe that:
The body is the start and end point of life.
We all have our own separate lives, with separate minds, separate wants, and separate needs.
All these separate lives are in competition for love, worth, safety, and a limited supply of resources.
Death is real. Enemies are real. Attack and defense are justified and necessary—kill or be killed.
There is no enfolding, whole, abundant life that is in perpetual communion with all that is within it.
It’s important to realize that this belief in separateness is what produces the death effect in the mind. Introducing the idea that a form could exist separately from the Source of all life and consciousness in a place where God is absent produces an altered state of mind in which this belief can be acted out. It cannot, however, make it real. How arrogant of the ego (an illusory self-concept) to think it could arbitrarily place a limit on the omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience of God.
Next, let’s consider the psychological, emotional, and physical impact of this belief.
Chronically fearful, anxious, guilt-ridden, depressed, narcissistic, misperceiving, judging, blaming, and competitive.
Warlike, selfish, suspicious, clannish, insensitive, exclusive, dismissive, callous, ignorant, unkind, cruel, vicious, self-protective, violent, greedy, unfair, hypocritical, denying, vain, insecure … It goes on and on.
Perceiving rather than knowing. We can only experience what we believe and can no longer remember the truth because our beliefs repel it from our awareness.
4. Embrace a new, integrative, unifying and healing way of thinking.
A Course in Miracles calls this concept atonement. The Holy Spirit (a higher level of consciousness that exists equally in all beings) gently corrects our thinking and returns us to sanity and love.
"One thing is sure; God, Who created neither sin (separation) nor death, wills not that you be bound by them. He knows of neither sin nor its results."
Numerous paths can lead us to a spiritual awakening, and the details of each path may be quite different along the way. But only truth is true, and only truth is real.
"The truth is true. Nothing else matters, nothing else is real, and everything beside it is not there."
“Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.” ACIM
No matter what path we take to lead us to truth, the underlying message will be the same.
There is only the one life, love, and mind of God. Nothing else exists.
We are all eternally spiritual beings connected to one another through the life of God Who flows through everything that exists.
We are currently having a temporary physical experience that reflects the state of our thinking, but, that thinking cannot make the untrue true or the unreal real.
The perception of an external world is dependent upon a level of mind that projects outward its inward state.
Forms reflect the quality of that state of mind—they reflect what we tell them to reflect. They are not the cause of anything, they are the effect of what is projected onto the matter used to manufacture them.
Imagine the impact this realization would produce in the world!
5. Become fully cognizant of all the people and groups of people we have harmed and become willing to make amends. This includes the harm we’ve done to ourselves.
The Black Lives Matter movement has served as a powerful catalyst for all of us to boldly look at systemic racism in the country. Because this issue is so complex, it quickly leads us to consideration of all the contributing systemic inequalities we have supported in this country.
The wildfires opened my eyes to the harm we’ve caused our Earth and the dereliction of our duty to serve as faithful stewards of it. This has led to an examination of the corrosive economic model we hold so sacrosanct.
The pandemic has shown me just how insidious is the fear of death and how this fear lowers our intelligence as it catalyzes our fight/flight animal instinct. We have witnessed deep polarization in our society and displays of irrational behavior on all sides and, sadly, a persistent refusal to consider the validity of an evolving medical model that sees disease from a totally different perspective—one that sees the human body from a state of wellness with an innate capacity to heal.
These are just a few examples of how an honest evaluation of one factor quickly reveals the interconnectivity of our lives, our misbeliefs, and our resulting actions and readily proves that we are not separate in any way. What one person does, one group does, one corporation does, one nation does impacts the whole, because we are one humanity sharing one world.
6. Make amends for our wrong-doing.
Now, I realize that humanity as a whole is nowhere near ready to confront the illusion of separation and death head-on. Consequently, like all evolutionary impulses, our healing will unfold in a gradual, step-by-step process. As our inability to solve our problems reaches a point of crisis from which we can longer turn away, we’ll realize we have no choice but to look for new answers. This will create the motivation for change. The minute we turn to our higher mind for help, Spirit will lay a breadcrumb trail for those who are willing follow.
I believe the challenge before us involves committing to making amends for our wrong-doing, personally and collectively. Our social institutions, our government, our policies and laws will not change on their own, because they are the product of our beliefs and our inattention.
7. Continue to seek out higher guidance, and when we’re wrong, promptly admit it and make amends.
As I said, the evolution of our consciousness and the social changes it will manifest will happen over time. It will require an ongoing effort.
Most of this year, I’ve emphasized the good I’ve seen as a result of the challenges we’ve been dealing with—for instance, people having an opportunity to rest, to take some time out and be with their families; people opening up to new ways of working and connecting; corporations placing a value on human life over the dollar (at least when they, too, felt personally threatened); people starting to look at longstanding systemic issues, such as racism and healthcare inequality. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m deeply appreciative of all the good that has emerged, and I’m encouraged by it!
At the same time, I know that any successful recovery process requires a willingness to conduct a fearless and honest moral inventory of our behavior and our beliefs. I know from direct experience that we must be willing to look directly at our own wrong-mindedness rather than project it on to others, and we must become actively willing to think and behave differently.
We’ve built this crazy world together, and we must work together to heal it. We must speak truthfully about our problems as a society, open our minds to new ways of understanding one another, and with forgiveness and compassion, seek a more inclusive, peaceful, equitable vision of how we can work together to build a better world.
I'd love to hear back from you. Please leave a comment below and let me know what's on your mind.
To Help Get You Started Today:
What societal issues am I most interested in?
What have I done to better educate myself on this issue? And, have I looked for input from a variety of viewpoints?
How have my thoughts and my values contributed to this problem?
Have I sought out inspiration on this issue through meditation, quiet reflection, and/or participation in groups working to improve this situation?
What can I do to contribute to a positive change?
The links below will direct you to additional resources to help you get started today.
Holistic Medical Model