According to the Acts of the Apostles, St. Paul spent the last two years of his life under house arrest in Rome. But he continued to preach the Good News and he became, probably, the greatest architect of the Jesus movement. I wonder what kind of a mystical, transformational movement this shelter-in-place, coronavirus-induced house arrest could create in our times? Pachamama seems to be giving Homo Sapiens Sapiens a timeout to reconsider how we have lived as a species, especially in the light of the last three revolutions and their unintended fallout: the scientific revolution (beginning in 1453 with Copernicus, Galileo, Bacon, Descartes and Newton), the industrial revolution (beginning in 1760 with the mass migration from farms to factories), and the information revolution (beginning in 1440 with Gutenberg’s printing press.)
In this essay, I want to examine what the invitation of this timeout might be for the individual. Incarnation is a journey, to prepare for which we need four considerations. Let’s look at them.
A. The purpose of the Journey
Every one of us volunteered to be Here, Now, in order to evolve our souls and to evolve the planet. But it is ‘improv theater’ for which there are two basic rules: first, you have to work with whatever line your fellow actors feed you; and, second, you should feed them lines that make them look good. And if you’re looking for a plot and a script, for this life-journey, there are none! You are creating both script and plot by your responses to the situations which arise from the past thoughts, words and actions – including your own – of all the players involved since the dawn of history.
As a simple way to figure out what your life purpose might be, I suggest the following exercise. Divide your life into seven-year chunks (0-7, 7-14, 14-21…) and for each chunk ask yourself three questions: Who were the important players at each stage? What were the important events at each stage? And what were the important lessons you learned at each stage? The lessons are often only seen in retrospect. You will probably find that while the players and the events may be different for different stages, the core lessons will probably be the same.
B. Your Self-identity on the Journey
My passport says that I am male, stand at 6’1”, weigh 150 pounds and have grey hair and blue eyes. What would happen if I attempted to board a plane with a passport that said I am female, stand at 5’3”, weigh 100 pounds and have red hair and brown eyes? Most of us carry the wrong ID through life. So, Hinduism reminds me that: I have a body but I am not my body; I have emotions but I am not my emotions; and that I have an intellect but I am not my intellect. I would add to that, I have a personality but I am not my personality, since personality is simply the interface between my soul and the environment. So, in different incarnations, my soul will inhabit bodies of different genders, ethnicities, social classes, religious beliefs… and, therefore, manifest different personalities.
Who then am I, if I am not my body, emotions, intellect or personality? I am a spirit in a spacesuit; I am a bite-sized piece of God who volunteered for incarnation. I was never born and can never die, though I will, someday, shuffle off this mortal coil and re-discover my eternal essence. Because life is not what happens between birth and death but, rather, what happens between my emergence from Source, before time existed, and my re-merging with Source when my soul’s evolution is complete.
C. A Road map for life
If I want to drive from Healdsburg, CA to Denver, CO but all I have in my car is a road map of Ireland, I’m probably going to get very lost. Worse yet, if I don’t know where I am and I don’t know where I want to go, I’m probably not currently where I want to be and will probably never get to a place that feels like home.
This is the importance of having a Personal Cosmology. We all actually do have one but it was unconsciously acquired – from parents, school, media, church – and in any situation, it is unconsciously accessed. So, we really don’t know why we’re thinking, saying or doing what we’re thinking saying and doing. It is vitally important to bring this personal cosmology to full consciousness. As Socrates famously said, ‘The unexamined life is not worth living.’
D. Your resources for the journey
In your wallet you probably have some cash and a credit card to finance your trip, but what’s really in your wallet of incarnation? Well, we come in bearing two kind of gifts. Firstly, our talents – to be used for others. We do not own our talents anymore than a mailman owns the letters in his mail bag. But mostly we hog them and try to make a killing from them. Secondly, we come in with a few personal problems in order to make us grow; to make sure we get a chance to stretch, to evolve and to develop. These problems will recur throughout life. If we continue to learn, each time we encounter them, we spiral up into enlightenment; if we do not learn and keep repeating the same kind of dysfunctional behavior, then we simply go around and around in circles, digging ourselves into an ever-deepening rut.
Right now, Gaia is giving us time to examine both. We have an opportunity to decide whether we’re Cell mates locked in by the virus or Soul mates given a Sabbatical by it.
There has never been a significant evolutionary shift that wasn’t caused by a great crisis. If it hadn’t been for a Supernova, billions of years ago, which scattered its elements into the cosmos, there never would have been a planet Earth. And if mitochondria hadn’t developed in response to early cellular life’s initial inability (make that one billion years of trying!) to metabolize oxygen, then there would never have been daffodils or banana slugs, let alone humans.
When this crisis has passed, and it will pass, you want to be able to look back and gratefully say, ‘it was the best thing that ever happened to me!’