Does evolution change consciousness or does consciousness change evolution? Like any spiritual conundrum, the answer to the dilemma is— yes!
Our inner and outer realities mirror each other as part and parcel of one single process. In the midst of the radical transformation that is the present moment, it is fascinating to see the reflection of inner and outer worlds. We have at least two alternatives ways of responding to change. If our inner reality is based on fear, we step back and try to hold fast to the past that, like soft dry sand, is slipping through our fingers. We want to retain the known and familiar. The ‘tea-party’ movement is an excellent example of this phenomenon. If, on the other hand, we are courageous, optimistic and believe in a positive future, we are willing to take a chance and leap into the unknown, with faith that all will be well as a new reality is unfolding.
Life is mysterious and full of surprises. During the height of the apartheid years in South Africa, it was accepted that when the change would come, a bloody revolution was inevitable. A futurist I knew predicted that ‘as went South Africa, so would go the world.’ Miraculously it seems, the change actually came peacefully. Nelson Mandela was the right man for the moment and his efforts were strengthened by the efforts of some 10,000 individuals who helped forge a new culture based on the principles of conflict resolution. Unseen and unknown to most, they worked their magic and the results are incredible. If that futurist was correct, it is auspicious for the world community.
In American public life, transformative change is happening too, despite the apparent polarized divisions. Conflict resolution offers an alternative and new way of finding common ground in areas of dispute. In the personal realm, mediation is becoming a valid alternative to the destructive nature of the power play that is part of divorce. Publicly, the present Obama administration is demonstrating that attempting to reach consensus is a worthy goal, despite some who attempt to thwart the process. New ways of debate and decision reaching are possible. The ongoing specious debate by pro-choice and anti-choice proponents is being reframed. Just as no one is ‘anti-life,’ neither is anyone ‘pro-abortion.’ The issue is about a woman’s right to determine her future and that of her family. A way to bring opposing sides together is to look at what values they share— in this case, neither group wants any unintended pregnancies and so they can come together to focus attention and efforts on pregnancy prevention or adoption advocacy.
Don Beck’s teaching on spiral dynamics is a wonderful basis to start seeing how we function in society. He shows how as individuals and communities we evolve, initially aware only of our basic needs for survival, and then open to the developmental stages of awareness of the magical, followed by an egocentric world view. As we mature we pass from an authoritarian model, to become to community builders, who acknowledge that responsibility is essential to corresponded with rights we claim, and ultimately hope to realize oneness, wholeness and cooperation. We are all at different point on the journey, individually and communally and when hoping to assist others, can respectfully find way to understand what they need in order to find ways to work together to bring about peaceful change.
With a rapidly changing reality influences by climate, technology and access to information, natural evolution offers us the opportunity to awaken to the multilayered nature of reality and in so doing, assist the evolution our own consciousness, finding answers to the perennial questions of the spiritual seeker: who am, why and I here and where am I going?