It happened during recess, on the playground of Rathpeacon National School sometime in 1953. I was a first grader in a tiny rural academy with a total student population of about 80 boys and girls, among whom was my younger brother, Séamus. He had managed to incur my wrath and I had spoken some not very brotherly words, when all of a sudden, a low, threatening growl began to emanate from the heavens. I looked up, alarmed, in time to see a perfectly straight, thin, white line spreading across the sky. I was watching my first jet plane, except that neither I nor any of the other children on the playground had ever heard of jet planes, let alone seen one. So, I immediately figured out what it was. It was nothing less than a very upset God taking a razor blade and slitting open the blue of the vault. I waited in fear and trembling for the divine digits to grab hold of both sides of this cut and pull the sky apart. I knew that he would then stick his head through and demand of me an accounting of my unchristian behavior towards Séamus. Fortunately, he changed his mind and let me off merely with the realization of what he could really do if I repeated the offence.
And today, I had a similar experience, though without Séamus or the harsh words. I was sitting on the glider on the edge of the cliff outside my home in Healdsburg, looking westwards over Pena Creek. A glorious sunset was leeching red and pink and orange tinges into the turquoise colored sky. And just then a jet plane bisected the heavens. It was far enough to the west that it made an utterly soundless safari and its trail was blood red as it caught the hues of the setting sun.
I immediately understood what God was doing. He was delivering the Earth by caesarian section. His scalpel had slit open the delicate membrane that housed the embryonic Earth and he was about to re-birth it. For the Earth, like its human denizens, needs to be re-birthed many times. Jesus said as much – twice. In John’s gospel while educating the Pharisee truth-seeker, Nicodemus, he said enigmatically, “Unless a man is born again, he will never enter the kingdom of God.” This, of course, has been constantly misunderstood as a non-negotiable decree that baptism is the only path to salvation: confess your faith in the lordship of Jesus and be baptized or perish – eternally. This is a not uncommon, fear-filled response to a mystical proclamation. But the fact is that Christ’s statement has nothing to do with either H2O or a sectarian induction into some Christian denomination, but is rather the truth that entry into the kingdom means a shift into Christ consciousness.Luke’s gospel gives us another angle on the re-birth metaphor. He tells how Jesus enjoins on us the following, “you must be compassionate as your heavenly father is compassionate.” Now, Jesus would have been speaking in Aramaic and the Aramaic word, Abwon, doesn’t just mean “father”, it can mean, “birthing principle of the cosmos” or “that which is the origin of all that is.” Also, the Aramaic word for compassion, rahamim, is the plural of the word for a womb. So here might be a better rendition of his statement, “you must be womblike just as the birthing principle of the universe is a womb.” Thus, entry into the kingdom, is about sequentially birthing greater and greater versions of the self, until penultimately we birth Christ consciousness and then, ultimately, we birth God.
Earth has bent to this task with all due diligence during its 4.6 billion years. Only an impoverished model of evolution would see this trajectory as a sequence of random mutations which somehow manage to throw up increasingly sophisticated species. The journey is not just about increasingly sophisticated physical attributes, but of quantum shifts from denser to more subtle dimensions of reality. The physical rock, the third one from the sun, which Gaia ensouled, was merely first base.
Gaia jumped dimensions, that is it re-birthed itself, with the advent of biological entities – living beings like bacteria and reptiles. The next re-birth saw the emergence of emotional life with the arrival of the mammals and their limbic systems. Then Gaia re-birthed herself via intellectual life, throwing up homo sapiens (thinking man) and homo sapiens sapiens (self-reflective man.) Then, a mere 2,500 years ago, she went into labor again, pushing out the first prototypes of what I would call, homo spiritualis (spirit man.) Gautama Siddharta and Jesus of Nazareth are among the most famous of these. But, having produced the prototypes, Gaia is straining with the contractions of birthing an entire species which will be God-conscious; aware of its own divinity and the divinity of all manifestation.
Some years ago, I had a vision of a lattice of lightworkers surrounding the Earth, one of them at the intersection of each line of latitude and longitude and the two poles; a total of 64,442 of them. They are the midwives assisting at this most important birth, the greatly reinforced Lamed Vavnik of Hebrew mysticism.
While it is true that ontology recapitulates phylogeny, it is not yet understood that phylogeny itself recapitulates cosmology. The development of lifeforms on Gaia follows closely on the dimension-jumping blueprint of the cosmic choreography which is evolutionary panentheism.
We stand today on the playground of a Grade School fearing a razorblade-wielding divinity, when we should, instead, be seated on a glider watching the mystical sunset and the thin blood line of the first cut, the saving surgery that will liberate the planet from the confinement of a womb that served us well but which is now far too small for us.
Can you cry out in celebration of your own re-birth? Are you ready to suck in the first gulp of Spirit? Would you be free?