David Hawkins is clear that Creation, evolution and the creative process are intertwined. They are, in short, one thing, they define Oneness. “Creation is the very source and essence of evolution. Evolution is the process by which Creation becomes manifest. The physical world is a world of effects and has no power of causality within it [emphasis added]. Evolution occurs as a progression within consciousness through greater adaptability to the environment. This evolution occurs on the plane of consciousness, which includes intelligence and intention as well as aesthetic awareness. Thus, evolution occurs within the invisible domain of infinite potentiality and then becomes manifest as the consequence of creation, which is intrinsic to the essence of the universe itself, and which is continuous and ongoing.”
Hawkins’ paragraph reveals a penetrating insight and is pregnant with implications for humanity. If we fail to both grasp (with the intellect) and implement (with our intuition) what we have just read, we have little hope for creating a sustainable community. Most of us can appreciate the importance of intelligence and intention and the “food for the soul” that aesthetic awareness provides. Beyond all that, however, we must have a plan for evolving and that plan exists within the heart of each person–that plan is the one we call Simple Reality. What we call it, like all labels, is quite irrelevant. As many of us have learned, our penchant for labeling stuff creates problems of its own. So let’s hold our labels lightly and focus on the essence of our connection to the ongoing essence of awareness itself.
As long as we take the world of form rather than Hawkins’ “invisible domain of infinite possibility” as reality then we will remain self-deluded and we won’t be able to create anything that is substantially “real;” we will create only more illusion. As Hawkins says, the physical world is a world of effects. So we must begin where Buddha began when he said the reason he taught meditation was to enable his students to transcend illusion and experience reality.
Therefore, those of us who equate evolution with geological or biological change are taking too narrow a view of the term, not only failing to see the big picture but attributing a reality to the picture itself that isn’t there. The only evolution there is occurs within human consciousness and will have to involve dis-identification with body, mind and emotion which is supported by Vipassana meditation. Secondly, a practice is needed to support a shift in human behavior from self-destructive habits to life-enhancing, compassionate behavior. The Point of Power Practice accomplishes this.
Supporting this divergent definition of evolution is the worldview of Oneness which acknowledges each individual’s infinite power to create as the “agent” for the Implicate Order. At the heart of this new paradigm is perfection itself which recognizes the Universe and hence evolution itself as “friendly.” Fear, in other words is the result of human imagination misunderstanding the nature of evolution, the unfolding of Creation and our identity in Simple Reality.
Cosmologist Kevin Lind had his own insight into the perfection of Creation and at the same time he provided a context for evolution. “If the universe was created in a random event, without purpose, then it is simply a space in which other random things have occurred and continue to occur, with no real relationship among them … If the random evolution of one aspect of life seems implausible, the random evolution of an entire interdependent system appears ludicrous … The development of the universe depends on the finely tuned ratios of the strengths of these interactions [strong nuclear, weak nuclear/electromagnetic and gravitational]. Too much gravity, and the stars burn out too quickly; too little, and they never form … It could only have arisen under precise conditions and is therefore a deliberate part of the design.”
Philosophers like Henri Bergson have focused on the relationship between evolution and the process of creation. “Bergson posited that evolution operates as a pressure that is constantly forcing its way toward higher levels of expression and demonstrates itself through an organism’s power of choice. Evolution reveals itself to be the movement of the self-organizing and self-creating intelligence inherent in all that is alive.”
Science gets the ages of rocks and religion gets the Rock of Ages; science studies how the heavens go, religion how to go to heaven. Stephen Jay Gould
The above tongue-in-cheek example of thought in P-B reveals how easy it is for the intellect to get lost when it takes illusion for reality. For example, the scientific definition of evolution makes sense in the context of P-B. The much more important evolution of human consciousness is an entirely different matter or as Dzigar Kongtrul says: “While we all face the modern distractions of the twenty-first century, as human beings our psychological makeup and obscurations have not changed since the time of the Buddha.”
Now let’s hear from a scientist who “evolved” into a mystic, Peter Russell. “As living systems evolved, they learned to detect changes in their environment. Nervous systems emerged, processing this sensory data and integrating it into a coherent model of the world. The nervous systems of some creatures became so large that they were able to perform the very complex information processing necessary for symbolic language. Such creatures could share their learnings with each other, and think about the world they saw. They began to form concepts, establish general principles, and thus construct a picture of the world in which they found themselves. Nature [the Universe] had begun to know itself.”
What does Ken Wilber think about all of this? He is, as usual, perceptive and optimistic and has no reason not to be. “The hope is that by looking at the formation of structures in the past, using empirical and historical research, we can not only honor and acknowledge the structures that are there, but we can also focus our attention on that leading, frothy, chaotic, creative/destructive edge of evolution and help to move it forward. We have no choice. Evolution is conscious of itself now.”
It is vitally important that we understand the evolution of consciousness because it is a process in which we are all engaged. Jim Marion, mystic and former monk, sees the evolution of consciousness as developmental and from a Christian perspective. He traces the changes in human awareness in the various contexts of history, religion and psychology. How much does his experience resonate with our own in the context of Simple Reality?
Age of Taurus the Bull (4000-2000 BCE)
Magical Consciousness (child ages 2-7)
HISTORY –From an historical perspective Marian sees the Age of Taurus the Bull as “… an age of tribalism, polytheism, and magical consciousness … [corresponding to] the consciousness of a modern child of ages two to seven … people weren’t understood as individuals in our modern sense, but only as members of the tribe. The tribe acted on the individual’s behalf and the sacrifice of the human victim was seen as sufficient to obtain the good of all.”
RELIGION – “Jesus is seen as the one victim appeasing an arbitrary and fearful God on behalf of us all. No responsibility is required of us as individuals for working towards our own salvation. To hold on to this understanding for us so we need do little or nothing is to hold on to the thinking of a child rather than an adult (1 Cor. 13:11).” Jesus, of course, did not live in this historical period, but if he had this is how he would have been seen by people with this level of awareness, the level of magical consciousness.
PSYCHOLOGY – “Yet parts of every adult Christian’s consciousness, the parts of us that were repressed prior to the age of seven, remain stuck at this level. Those parts of ourselves, irresponsible parts when seen from the viewpoint of the adult, prefer the idea that Jesus will do everything for us, serving as an appeasing buffer between us and this arbitrary God (a stand-in, generally for those aspects of our parents that we feared as a small child).”
Age of Aries the Lamb (2000 BCE – 0)
Mythic Consciousness (child ages 7- adolescence)
HISTORY – “… tribes were replaced by empires (amalgamations of tribes), polytheism by monotheism, and magical consciousness by mythic consciousness. Human sacrifice was now abandoned because people began to have some sense of the worth of each person as an individual.”
RELIGION – “The Bible tells of Abraham, who became the unifying Father of many nations or tribes (Gen. 17:4-5), and was a devotee of the one unifying God who replaced the many tribal Gods. This one God was understood primarily as a “Sky God” who lived in the heavens and was separate and apart from humans. Abraham, the Bible says, intended to sacrifice Isaac, his only-begotten son, to appease this one God, but an angel of enlightenment appeared and told Abraham that human sacrifice was no longer necessary. A ram (the symbol of the Arien Age) replaced Isaac as the sacrificial offering, marking the end of human sacrifice as a religious practice (Gen. 22:1-18). Sacrifice continued, using animals, but it was now “symbolic,” a relic of the prior age.”
“The God of the Age of Aries, the God of the Law, was far less arbitrary than the Taurean God. He followed rules; his relationship with humans was seen as a contract or covenant. If you obeyed the rules, God would be pleased; if not, God would be displeased. This God, like all mythic level gods, was a God of law and order, a God of Commandments, a God of external roles, rituals and conventions.”
PSYCHOLOGY – “The sacrificing of animals also represented the sacrificing of the lower animal-like parts of human consciousness [represented by the 3 lower chakras in Hindu cosmology and the pursuit of plenty, pleasure and power in Simple Reality] particularly aggression and sexuality, so that the tribes could live together in a more or less civilized fashion. This also applied to the individual. Psychologically, the rise of the human ego, the mind, understood as male like its outside Sky-God counterpart, meant the subjugation (and often repression) of the body and emotions (the old female gods). At both the individual and societal levels, human self-consciousness (the I) was no longer identified with biology and emotions, but began to transcend these aspects of our natures and began identifying with the mind. This was the primary spiritual task to be accomplished in the Age of Aries.”
“Psychologically the rise of monotheism corresponds to the inner rise of a child’s mind or ego as the one unifying point and lord of the psyche … The individual, now that the inner individual ego has begun to operate, was expected to actually do something himself to secure his own worth in God’s eyes. Today, adult mythic-level Christians, as well as those parts of all of us that are stuck at ages 7-13, still hold on to a mythic understanding of Jesus’ Cross, imagining that Jesus, as a sacrificial lamb, fulfilled the law of justice of his stern legalistic Father by dying for our sins. (Rev. 5:6-14)”
“God is seen as a God of law, rules, conventional roles, and stern commands. Jesus is no longer a stand-in or go-between for us and God, as he was seen with magical consciousness. But Jesus like the parents of pre-adolescent children, still gets to carry the primary load of responsibility for our salvation. All we have to do is to adhere to the law and to traditional roles and conventions. For a Christian today to hold on to this alien thinking is to think like a child instead of a responsible adult (1 Cor. 13-11).”
Age of Pisces the Fish (0-2000 CE)
Adult consciousness-the age of reason
HISTORY – “Mainstream Christianity has by and large adhered to this rational-level theology (including a somewhat rationalized mythology) during its four-hundred-year war against the excesses and limitations of the Age of Reason (e.g., rationalism’s myopic rejection of the spiritual realms). The proponents of reason, on the other hand, have often waged war on the Church, opposing the equally myopic cruelties, stupidities, intolerance, and tyrannies of mythic Christianity.”
RELIGION – “The Piscine Age saw another huge step forward in the understanding of God and our relationship to God. Jesus preached an understanding of God as a Loving, rather than a Judging Father. He said that loving one’s “neighbor,” whom he defined and demonstrated to be not limited to people of the same culture (the good Samaritan), sex (Mary Magdalene), age (the little children), or religion (the Roman centurion) as ourselves, not only fulfilled the law, but transcended it … Jesus … gave his life to bring us the “good news” of our freedom from the law, and our consequent freedom from sin and death. The Piscine understanding of the Cross as the symbol of sacrificial love (and of God as love) was a big step forward for human consciousness … To gain the Kingdom of Heaven also requires one to take on the responsibility, like Jesus on the Cross, of sacrificing oneself in loving service to others.”
PSYCHOLOGY – “… the age of Pisces corresponds to the age of reason—not the concrete mental world of laws, rules, and roles of the prior age, but the full flowering of abstract reasoning that follows adolescence … The self was now squarely identified with the rational-level abstract mind.”
The Age of Aquarius
Beyond time and space in the Now
Transcending history, religion and psychology Simple Reality delivers us to the timeless and formless present moment beyond fear and suffering. Again, Marion understands this “age” in the context of Christianity but transcends conventional religion. “The Age of Aquarius will bring a much fuller understanding of Jesus’ Cross in terms of the inner evolutionary development of human consciousness. Love will be understood not so much in terms of external good works, but rather in terms of what Christian love essentially is: a particular inner level of awareness, a particular level of human psychological development—the Christ Consciousness [or Cosmic Consciousness].” The name we give awakening to the distinction between illusion and reality doesn’t matter as long as our practice reduces our reactions and increases our acts of compassion.
Ken Wilber has his own model of the evolution of consciousness, too lengthy for this article but we can take a taste and a delicious morsel it is. “‘Freud is unmatched in his understanding about the early stages, but he doesn’t come close to some of the insights the Buddha had about the higher states,’ Wilber told me. ‘The Buddha, for all his brilliance, never had any of Freud’s seminal insights about early development and the role of the repressed unconscious.’” Wilber is being interviewed by Tony Schwartz for his book What Really Matters: Searching for Wisdom in America.
“Western culture is what Wilber calls stage five. ‘Society creates a subtle pressure to evolve up to that level. If you don’t, you are regarded as retarded. But society exerts an equally strong pressure not to evolve beyond that level. The magnet at stage five pulls both ways—up for those below it, down for those who move above. To develop the higher stages, you’re on your own. You have to go against society’s norms.’” Those of us engaged in the self-transformation involved in the shift from P-B to P-A are experiencing what Wilber described.
Society’s norms include P-B as a context, the false self as an identity and self-destructive behavior (reactions) as self-expression. Sounds bleak but don’t forget the perfection of Creation and the inevitability of the evolution of consciousness whether as individuals or as a collective. We cannot stop, slow down or turn back the clock of evolution. It is like standing opposed to a “steam roller”—our “body” will be transformed from a 3-dimensional to a 2-dimensional form—it will be flattened. Fundamentalists and reactionaries who resist change cannot stem the tide of unfolding consciousness, they can only choose to delay it by opting to deny Simple Reality. Our history tells us that has been a poor choice.
References and notes are available for this essay.
Find a much more in-depth discussion in the Simple Reality Trilogy
by Roy Charles Henry:
Where Am I? Story – The First Great Question
Who Am I? Identity – The Second Great Question
Why Am I Here? Behavior – The Third Great Question