A New Vision of Reality...
A human being is part of the whole called
by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself,
his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind
of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of
prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection
for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves
from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all
living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Albert
The great events of world history are, at bottom,
profoundly unimportant. In the last analysis the essential thing is
the life of the individual. This alone makes history, here alone do
the great transformations take place. And the whole future, the whole
history of the world, ultimately springs as a gigantic summation from
these hidden sources. In our most private and most subjective lives,
we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, and its sufferers,
but also its makers. We make our own epoch. Carl
Visionaries of a new holistic and ecological paradigm
are themselves deemed to be neurotic. They have moved out of the society
that would have protected them, and into the dark forest, into the world
of fire, of original experience. Original experience has not been interpreted
for you, and so you have got to work out your life for yourself. Either
you can take it or you can’t. You don’t have to go far off
the interpreted path to find yourself in very difficult situations.
The courage to face the trials and to bring a whole new body of possibilities
into the field of interpreted experience for other people to experience
- that is the hero’s deed."
Campbell, The Power of Myth
To attain peace among the nations in any dynamic or
enduring form requires not simply political negotiation but a new mode
of consciousness. The magnitude of this change is in the order of religious
conversion or of spiritual rebirth...A change is needed in every phase
of human life.
Thomas Berry, Evening Thoughts
Inspiration is not garnered from litanies of what
is flawed; it resides in humanity's willingness to restore, redress,
reform, recover, reimagine, and reconsider. Healing the wounds of the
Earth and its people does not require saintliness or a political party.
It is not a liberal or conservative activity. It is a sacred act. Paul
Hawken, Blessed Unrest
Without a global revolution in the sphere of human
consciousness, nothing will change for the better in the sphere of our
being as humans, and the catastrophe toward which this world is headed
- be it ecological, social, demographic, or a general breakdown of civilization
- will be unavoidable.
Václav Havel, address to US Congress
You have been telling the people that this is the
eleventh hour. Now you must go back and tell them this is
the hour. Hopi Elders
This website is devoted
to the affirmation of a new vision of reality that might be able to
unite a distressed and fragmented humanity in a shared approach to the
deeper issues facing us at this crucial time of choice. I would like
it to be a place that reflects the emerging values that express our
responsibility towards life, each other and the planet as a whole. Thomas
Berry, in his book, The Dream of the Earth, writes that this
supremely important time is asking us for "possibly the most complete
reversal of values that has taken place since the Neolithic period."
We cannot afford to let this moment of choice slip by and fail to respond
to the urgency of this time. Acting together under the inspiration of
a new vision, we may - through the transformation of our own understanding
- be able to influence the way the world is governed and to replace
the deficient values that now control it with new values. This, as Berry
rightly says, is the alchemical Great Work that is now in process as
more and more people awaken and respond to these new values.
(see lecture 13)
I would also like this website to be a sanctuary for the heart, a place
of reconciliation and healing between mind, body and soul.
I would like to share the understanding gathered from my life quest
with those who might be interested. I believe the soul is a matrix of
unimaginable extent and complexity connecting an unrecognised dimension
of reality with our world, connecting each one of us at the deepest
level to all others and to the greater life of the cosmos. Above
all else, my work is devoted to the recognition that we live in an ensouled
world, to the recovery of our connection to the cosmos and to the restoration
of the lost sense of communion between us and the "body" of
the Earth, and between us and an invisible dimension of the universe
that is the source or ground of both. I would like to create a channel
for "the voice of the secret whole that sings above history." (William
Anderson, The Face of Glory)
My own understanding has been immeasurably deepened by
the work and insight of close friends and fellow authors. To them and
to all visionaries, past and present, I would like to express my gratitude
and homage. The friends and mentors who have helped me to articulate
this vision are as precious to me as Dante's fedeli d'amore -
those companions who instinctively recognise and serve the divinity
I feel we are living now in a mythic time of choice -
a time of stupendous scientific discoveries which are enlarging our
vision of the universe, shattering the vessel of our old concepts about
the nature of reality. Yet the delicate organism of life on our planet
and the survival of our species are threatened as never before by an
ethos that seeks dominance and control of nature. This ethos reflects
a brutal desire to conquer and master nature for our own purposes, shows
no respect for the Earth and disregards the perils of our present interference
with the intricate web of relationships upon which life on this planet
depends. We are an integral part of this great web of life, and cannot
survive without respecting all aspects of it.
I believe that the new epoch we are now entering will
see the creation of a new paradigm and with it:
|------------ | a new
understanding of God or Spirit
|------------ |a new understanding
|------------ |a new understanding
This new understanding may help to modify the deeply entrenched
belief that spirit and nature are separate and distinct and may eventually
restore to us our lost sense of relationship with a sacred Earth and
a conscious Universe.
For the many millions of people whose lives were sacrificed
to the fanaticism of totalitarian ideologies, the twentieth century
was a dark night of the soul. From another perspective, however, it
began to open a door through which we could enter into a new understanding
of life. Perhaps for the first time we will soon be able to view the
whole panorama of the evolution of consciousness, to gain insight into
the reasons for our suffering, our presence on this planet and our (still
unrecognised) connection to the cosmos. In his visionary book, Dark
Night, Early Dawn, Christopher Bache gives us this description of
an experience that may be waiting just beyond the threshold of our present
understanding of life:
"I saw humanity climbing out of a valley and just ahead,
on the other side of the mountain peak and beyond our present sight,
was a brilliant, sun-drenched world that was about to break over us.
The time frame was enormous. After millions of years of struggle and
ascent, we were poised on the brink of a sunrise that would forever
change the conditions of life on this planet. All current structures
would quickly become irrelevant…Truly a new epoch was dawning."
Bache, Dark Night, Early Dawn, p. 220
(see New Vision 11 for more excerpts and booklist
We are living now at the end of a great trajectory - perhaps 5 million
years or more - which has brought about the gradual separation or differentiation
of our human species from nature and the development of a sense of self
or individuality as well as a highly developed intellect - everything
that we now call human consciousness. But in the process we have lost
the ancient sense of participation in a sacred cosmos. This story can
be described, in Richard Tarnas's words, as a heroic ascent to autonomy
but, at the same time, a tragic fall from unity. Yet now, as Tarnas
suggests at the end of his book, The Passion of the Western Mind,
we are in the midst of a great awakening of the soul, one that could
see the "marriage" of the masculine and feminine principles: -----
"The driving impulse of the West's masculine consciousness
has been its quest not only to realise itself, to forge its own autonomy,
but also, finally, to recover its connection with the whole, to come
to terms with the great feminine principle in life, to differentiate
from but then to rediscover and reunite with the feminine, with the
mystery of life, of nature, of soul."
over the last two millennia, it is apparent that, during this time,
conventional religious teaching did not preserve the ancient insight
that nature and instinct are an expression of spirit: in splitting nature
from spirit, emptying matter of soul, and contaminating the instincts
with guilt and fear, an essential part of our wholeness has been lost.
It is, as the Swiss psychiatrist C.G. Jung pointed out in his many books,
crucially important now for us to balance the masculine ethos of our
culture with its emphasis on power, control and conquest by integrating
the less valued aspects of the feminine archetype: nature and matter,
soul and body, feeling and instinct - that is - to create
a conscious, healing and redemptive relationship with these neglected
aspects of spirit, within ourselves and within the culture. What he
offered was not a new belief system but a spirituality grounded in self-knowledge
- in particular, awareness of the power drive of the "shadow"
aspect of our nature - leading to ethical responsibility towards life
in all its aspects, seen and unseen. He knew that we did not have much
time in which to accomplish this momentous task. In The Undiscovered
Self, he wrote:
"A mood of world destruction and world renewal has
set its mark on our age. This mood makes itself felt everywhere, politically,
socially and philosophically. Coming generations will have to take account
of this momentous transformation if humanity is not to destroy itself
through the might of its own technology and science. As at the beginning
of the Christian Era, so again today we are faced with the problem of
the moral backwardness of our species which has failed to keep pace
with our scientific, technical and social developments. So much is at
stake and so much depends on the psychological constitution of modern
man. Is he capable of resisting the temptation to use his power for
the purpose of staging a world conflagration? Is he conscious of the
path he is treading and what the conclusions are that must be drawn
from the present world situation and his own psychic situation?… does
the individual know that he [or she] is the make-weight that tips the
scales?" (brackets mine)
Our present problems have to a large extent arisen not
only from the split between spirit and nature but from the secular belief
system resulting from it which has increasingly come to dominate western
culture since the seventeenth century and has increasingly separated
us from nature and from soul. This belief system, usually presented
today by its protagonists as incontrovertible truth, might be summarised
||> Matter is primary
and gives rise to mind as a secondary phenomenon. Consciousness
is therefore a by-product of the brain.
||> There is no survival
of consciousness after death. The death of the brain is the death
of the individual.
||> The idea that there
is an independently existing soul or spirit is an erroneous fiction.
is an unnecessary hypothesis and the concept of soul an irrelevance.
We can impose our will on nature to serve our needs.
||> There is no transcendent
purpose or meaning to our lives.
This is what I would describe as a "flat earth" hypothesis
and I often use the hedge of thorns in the story of the Sleeping Beauty
to illustrate what a barrier it presents to reaching a different understanding
of life. It offers no vertical or depth dimension to human existence,
no awareness of any dimension of reality beyond that of the conscious,
rational mind. But there is an alternative hypothesis to consider -
one that could open a way through the hedge of thorns and reconnect
us with nature and with soul, so restoring our fragmented being to wholeness:
||Consciousness is primary and matter secondary. That
is to say, the phenomenal world arises or manifests out of an invisible
or transcendent dimension of reality.
||The universe is conscious and there are many dimensions
or levels to this consciousness.
||Our human consciousness is integral to that greater
consciousness, even though it is still partially developed or immature.
||Consciousness in some form survives the death of the
||What we have called "God" or Spirit is the
divine ground as well as the process of life in the universe,
our planet and ourselves. There is nothing outside or beyond "God".
All is one life, one energy. In other words, we participate in the
life of "God" which is the life of the Planet and the life
of the Cosmos. (see "A New Image of God" under The Dream of the Cosmos, chapter 17)
||Cosmic soul can be imagined as a vast matrix, field
or web of relationships connecting finer vibrational fields with the
denser field of physical reality. Our body/mind organism is intimately
connected to these finer fields which together constitute the web
||The purpose of our lives on this planet is to be reunited
with the source and ground of our being and to live our lives in growing
awareness of that connection.
To clarify the above further, here are these thoughtful words from an
address read at the funeral of the distinguished physicist, the late
David Bohm - words that he himself had written for the memorial service
of Malcolm Sagenkahn, one of his classmates at university.
"In considering the relationship between the finite
and the infinite, we are led to observe that the whole field of the
finite is inherently limited, in that it has no independent existence.
It has the appearance of independent existence, but that appearance
is merely the result of an abstraction of our thought. We can see this
dependent nature of the finite from the fact that every finite thing
Our ordinary view holds that the field of the finite is
all that there is. But if the finite has no true independent existence,
it cannot be all that is. We are in this way led to propose that the
true ground of all being is the infinite, the unlimited; and that the
infinite includes and contains the finite. In this view, the finite,
in its transient nature, can only be understood as held suspended, as
it were, beyond time and space, within the infinite.
The field of the finite is all that we can see, hear,
touch, remember, and describe. This field is basically that which is
manifest, or tangible. The essential quality of the infinite, by contrast,
is its subtlety, its intangibility. This quality is conveyed in the
word spirit, whose root meaning is "wind, or breath."
This suggests an invisible but pervasive energy, to which the manifest
world of the finite responds. This energy, or spirit, infuses all living
beings, and without it any organism must fall apart into its constituent
elements. That which is truly alive in the living being is this energy
of spirit, and this is never born and never dies." (from the last
page of Infinite Potential: The Life and Times of David Bohm,
by F. David Peat 1997)
There are certain questions that people have always asked
and ask ever more urgently today: "What is the deeper purpose of my
life on this planet? Does God exist? Why does He seem indifferent to
human suffering? What is the source of evil? Will I survive death and
see my loved ones again? How can I discover my true path in life? Why
is the human species seemingly addicted to destroying itself?
Aspects of the books I have written address these questions but there
are talks and seminars given over recent years as well as articles by
other people and extracts from books and book reviews that I have also
put on this website for those who are interested. In everything I have
written I have wanted to give expression in this dimension of reality
to what I hold to be eternal, indivisible and holy as well as to my
passionate love of life and my devotion to this planet and all the forms
of life it sustains.
The Real Challenge of Our Times:
The Need for a New Worldview
Neither do men put new wine into old bottles; else
the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish:
but they put new wine into new bottles and both are preserved.
To reclaim the sacred nature of the cosmos –
and of planet Earth in particular – is one of the outstanding
spiritual challenges of our time. Diarmuid O’Murchu, Quantum
On page 86 of the Pope's Encyclical (May 2015), there is this quotation from a book by Romano Guardini – The End of the Modern World, p. 55: "The technological mind sees nature as an insensate order, as a cold body of facts, as mere 'given', as an object of utility, as raw material to be hammered into useful shape; it views the cosmos similarly as a mere 'space' into which objects can be thrown with complete indifference."
Elsewhere in his Encyclical Pope Francis writes:"The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet's capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world... An awareness of the gravity of today's cultural and ecological crisis must be translated into new habits."
I quote these passages here because they are absolutely relevant to the rest of my article on the urgent need for a new worldview. The Encyclical brilliantly summarises what needs to be done if we are to change this situation and rescue ourselves and the planet from our abyssmal ignorance of what we have brought into being.
The threat of climate change, the urgent need to free
ourselves from dependency on oil and the ongoing financial crisis could
be the triple catalyst that offers us the opportunity of bringing about
a profound shift in our values, relinquishing an old story and defining
a new one. Our lives and well-being depend upon the fertility and resources
of the Earth, yet in relation to the Earth, it would seem that we have
been autistic for centuries. Now, instead of treating our planetary
home as the endless supplier of all our needs, without consideration
for its needs, we could rethink beliefs and attitudes which
have influenced our behaviour for millennia.
of those beliefs we have come to look upon nature as something separate
from ourselves, something we could master, control and manipulate to
obtain specific benefits for our species alone because ours, we were
taught, has been given dominion over all others and over the Earth itself.
It has come as a bit of a shock to realise that our lives are intimately
bound up with the fragile organism of planetary life and the inter-dependence
of all species. If we destroy our habitat, whether inadvertently or
deliberately by continuing on our present path, we may risk destroying
ourselves. We have developed a formidable intellect, a formidable science,
a formidable technology but all rest on the premise of our alienation
from and mastery of nature, where nature was treated as object with
ourselves as controlling subject.
the foundation that seemed so secure is disintegrating: old structures
and beliefs are breaking down. It is as if mortal danger is forcing
us to take a great leap in our evolution that we might never have made
were we not driven to it by the extremity of circumstance. Many people, including Pope Francis,
are defining a new kind of relationship with the planet, based not on
dominance but on respect, responsibility and conscious service. Because
our capacity for destruction, both military and ecological, is so much
greater today than it was even fifty years ago, and will be still greater
tomorrow, we have only decades in which to change our thinking and respond
to the challenge of this evolutionary leap.
a second problematic legacy from the past: the image of God shared by
the three Abrahamic religions. This has presented God as a transcendent
creator, separate and distinct from the created order and from ourselves.
Western civilisation, despite its phenomenal achievements, developed
on the foundation of this fundamental split between spirit and nature—between
creator and creation. Only now are we brought face to face with the
disastrous effects of this split.
as in the early centuries of the Christian era, it seems as if new bottles
are needed to hold the wine of a new revelation, a new understanding
of reality which could heal this split. But how do we create the vessel
which can assimilate the wine of a new vision of reality and a different
image of God or Spirit? How do we relinquish the dogmatic beliefs and
certainties which have, over the millennia of the patriarchal era, caused
indescribable and quite unnecessary suffering and the sacrifice of so
many millions of lives?
answer these questions. But I do know that as the new understanding,
the new wine comes into being, we have to hold the balance and the tension
between the old and the new without destroying the old or rejecting
the new. It must have been like this two thousand years ago when the
disciples of Jesus tried to assimilate what he was telling them, something
so utterly different from the belief-system and the brutal values which
governed the world of their time. Even today, the revolutionary teachings
and the different values he taught have barely touched the consciousness
that governs the world of our time, however much political and religious
leaders proclaim allegiance to them.
What would Jesus have thought of
WMD, depleted uranium and cluster bombs, and the massacre of helpless
civilians in war, let alone the destruction of vast swathes of the Earth’s
forests to supply crops for biofuels? What would he have thought of
the fact that colossal sums of money are spent on the military when
conflicts have created 60 million desperate refugees who have lost their homes, their livelihoods and any hope of a viable future?
for a more conscious relationship with both nature and spirit, bringing
them closer together, is intrinsic to the creativity of the life-impulse
itself—urging us to go beyond the boundaries of the known, to
break through the concepts and beliefs, whether religious, scientific
or political, which currently govern world culture and constrict the expansion
of our understanding and our compassion.
the emerging vision of our time which could offer a template for a new
civilization? I believe it is a vision which takes us beyond an outdated
paradigm or worldview where we are held in bondage to beliefs and habits
specific to race, nation, religion or gender, which have led us to exclude
and devalue those who are different from ourselves and neglect our relationship
with the Earth, our planetary home. It is a vision which offers us a
totally new concept of spirit as an energy field — a limitless
sea of being — as well as the creative consciousness or organising
intelligence active within that sea or field, and a totally
new concept of ourselves as belonging to and participating in that incandescent
ground or sea of consciousness.
It is a
vision which recognises the sacredness and indissoluble unity of the
great cosmic web of life and imposes on us the responsibility of becoming
far more sensitive to the effects of our decisions and our actions.
It invites our recognition of the needs of the planet and the life it
sustains as primary, with ourselves as the humble servants of those
needs. It invites us, as Einstein asked us, to widen our circle
of compassion, to look upon every child as our child, every woman as
our daughter, our sister or our mother, every man as our father, our
brother or our son, to see the well being of every creature as our responsibility.
Above all, it is a vision which asks that we relinquish our addiction
to weapons and war and the pursuit of power; that we become more aware
of the dark shadow cast by this addiction which threatens us with ever
more barbarism, bloodshed and suffering—ultimately with the possible
extinction of our species.
perspective, the crisis of our times is not only an ecological and political
crisis but a spiritual one. The answers we seek cannot come from the
limited consciousness which now rules the world but could grow from
a deeper understanding born of the union of heart and head, helping
us to see that all life is one, that each one of us participates in
the life of a cosmic entity of immeasurable dimensions. The urgent need
for this psychic balance, this deeper intelligence and wisdom, this
wholeness, could help us to recover a perspective on life that has been
increasingly lost until we have come to live without it — and
without even noticing it has gone — recognising the existence
of nothing beyond the parameters of the human mind. It is a dangerous
time because it involves transforming entrenched belief systems and
archaic survival habits of behaviour that are rooted in fear, as well
as the greed and desire for power that are born of fear. But it is also
an immense opportunity for evolutionary advance, if only we can understand
what is happening and why.
For a rapidly
increasing number of us, there is the possibility of choosing whether
to follow in the tracks of the past, continuing to live our lives in
servitude to the power principle and the institutions which embody it,
however subtly expressed. Or to live and act from a different relationship
with life and commit ourselves to the immense effort of consciousness
we need to make to understand and serve its mystery.
after so many billion years of cosmic evolution, it is simply unacceptable
that the beauty and marvel of this planet should be ravaged by us through
the destructive power of our weapons, our insatiable greed and the misapplication
of our science and technology. It is inconceivable that our extraordinary
species, which has taken so many million years to evolve, should destroy
itself and lay waste to the Earth through ignorance of the divinity
in which we dwell and which dwells in us.
extract from The Rise of the Gothic
by William Anderson
The source of every great civilization that has enriched
the course of history is in the spirit of Man. The means by which each
civilization has flourished and left its mark have depended on certain
men and women turning in their need to the springs of consciousness
and creation which they share at the deepest levels with all humanity.
They are the interpreters of the dreams of their fellow men, the clear-sighted
namers of the ruling symbols, the archetypes of power, whose raw energies
must be purified and directed by the prayers and contemplations of the
saint, by the courage and expressive capacities of the poet and the
artist, and the rationality and speculative genius of the philosopher
and the scientist.
The purpose of civilization is to conquer barbarism, which is the condition
of living in a state of fear. A great civilization provides, on the
scale of nations, the expressions of love, a basis of security, the
sharing of experience, and hope for this life and the next. It allows
the development of talents that would languish in small enclosed societies
preoccupied solely with self-preservation. Cicero’s name for the
higher pursuits of civilization was humanitas, a term that
was familiar to the scholars of the Middle Ages and one that centres
all studies and skills on the fully developed nature of man.
Civilization may be seen as the application of conscious will to the
amorphous energies of the human psyche, diverting those energies away
from their dissipation in fear and war into peaceful and fruitful ends.
The technology of a civilization has always been employed to develop
methods of attack and defence for the preservation of society, in other
words to provide security from physical fear, but true civilization
deals with fear at the deeper levels of the mind. Technology, seen in
this way, is, in the first place, a matter of the spirit. Behind the
social, political, and economic forces that dictate the life of humankind
are the infinitely more powerful archetypal powers of the psyche, and
it is by drawing these powers into the light of consciousness and giving
them direction that the artists, the thinker, and the man of religion,
free us from the superstition, the fear, and the prejudices by which
our lives are otherwise ruled.
The Gothic era was the effect of men working together in a common spirit
in which their religion, their art, their philosophy, and their science
and technology were in harmony. For the opposite effect in the present
century, one can point to the achievements of the international body
of physicists, who, freed from an outworn religion, careless of art,
taking from philosophy its intellectual and logical rigour but not its
speculative and moral purpose, made of their science and its applications
so powerful a weapon for investigating and changing the natural world
that their knowledge became desirable to governments and administrators.
Lacking the support of all the other higher forms of knowledge and of
inspiration which they had rejected as superstitious or irrelevant,
knowing no moral imperative except the furtherance of their science,
they sold themselves in exchange for government support to the forces
The great art of the Gothic masters lives under the same
shadow as modern man: the threat of destruction so complete that, should
any of them survive as ruins as beautiful and haunting as those of Rievaulx
and St-Jean des Vignes at Soissons, the men and women who also survive
will be sunk into a barbarism so absolute that in their struggle to
live there will be no learning to preserve their history, no time to
contemplate the message of their remaining fragments. Yet to help in
the avoidance of such disaster, these great buildings, the greatest
works of art achieved by our western civilization, can still challenge
us with the transformation of hatred and barbarism into love and civilization
brought about by our ancestors, saying to us, 'We were made the images
of man for our time in his wholeness, in his beauty, in the identity
of his true self with his creator. What image of man will you construct
that will be the vocation of a new civilization, bringing harmony to
the dualism of materialism and the needs of the soul, transforming fear
and hatred into love, and returning the spontaneity of joy to art?'
Myth of the Goddess
The Mystic Vision |
The One Work
The Divine Feminine
Birds Who Flew.... |