This exploration is a fuzzy one. It is disjointed, lurching from one thought to the next. As I begin, I have no idea where it will end. I only know that now that is not the time to distrust a process of Life that has been there for me for the last 40 years. As I begin, I know it will take me where I need to go.
For many, many years, I have focused my attention not only on the dots of life but – more importantly – on how those dots interconnect. Beyond the content of any given moment, the emerging patterns those dots revealed always told a deeper and more far-reaching story not only of what had been but also, of what might come.
Dots are like breathing: it’s not any particular breath that matters – it’s that there will always have been one before and a next one that follows. The next one cannot present until I let go of the breath I’m in.
In this now-close-to-70-year journey of my life, I have come to accept certain things about my existence:
* It is all genius! No matter how bizarre it might seem in the moment – from my tiny and limited perspective – genius underpins it all. The question then becomes: am I both willing and able to trust that it’s there, to go in search of it and to be willing to find it?
* Every moment that captures my attention offers intelligence for me to consider. If I allow that intelligence to penetrate my certainties, I expand and enter into a greater expression of my own ‘becoming’.
* Intelligence will do what it takes to get my attention… even if the ultimate outcome is my own destruction of body or mind. Intelligence will not be denied the delivery of its genius.
I struggle to put words to what I intuitively know.
In the face of undeniable evidence to the contrary, we revert to speculation on what we might do to stop or reverse the accelerating and intensifying process of climate change. That’s like watching my house burning to the ground as I scramble frantically to find ways to stop what’s happening. Too late – it’s gone. The question becomes: now, where do I focus my attention? Lamenting the incinerated house will not keep me dry when the rains come.
Although death is the ultimate destination for all living things, rather than explore what death might be/could be, we scrub the word from our vocabulary and close our eyes to the natural trajectory that we are all on. Could it be that within the exploration lives our (ultimate) salvation? Perhaps, were we to start there and work back, we might actually discover something meaningful about ourselves and, in some way as yet unrevealed, make a significant difference. It would seem we have forgotten that death is a natural part of living.
Consider for a moment that we, as a species, have a collective knowing that death – which we have been taught to fear and dread and avoid at all costs; to hold as the ending of all meaning; and that all meaning is sourced from what we call ‘life’ – is actually a gateway to a more evolved layer of our existence/expression. That the Great Trickery of ensuring our fear of death serves only to short-circuit our ability to follow the intuitive/instinctive path to a more expansive experience of ‘being’, ensuring that we are never able to shape our own existence but remain conditioned to stay caught in the loop of fearing our ‘demise’. As long as we hold such deep and resounding fear of death, can we ever really value life?
What happens to our own potential if we replace the word ‘death’ (and all its attending beliefs, values, attitudes, expectations, judgements, denials, fears, etc) with the simplicity of X. What happens if we consider that X is inevitable; that it is a gateway to another dimension of expression; that it can come easily and selectively, or with great trauma and angst. Would mindfully, consciously considering X as a potential rather than an end to all potential make a difference in our lives? To be sure, all evidence would suggest that the Egyptians (or at least, some significant segment of their population) believed it to be so.
What if we are at a time in our collective history/reality when we – as a species – are unconsciously seeking to bring an end to our being a blight on the Living Planet; that we ignore/deny the markers along the way because (for a range of reasons) we know it’s time for us to go. What if we were to bring the intentional-yet-unclaimed ‘death’ conversation into our discussions around climate change, that we might face into THAT first and perhaps… just maybe… face into what we are doing, differently.
I’m not sure these are the right words. I know that I am getting closer to being able to describe what I intuitively know is my own inner truth; and I also know that it is a higher-order exploration of death that takes us beyond the entropy of the physical body/device. It is an exploration of climate change that includes the possibility that the point is not climate change – the point is that we – on a massive scale – are being directed to death as a gateway to something else.
I learned long ago that what presents – no matter how strange, unwanted, offensive, challenging, etc – carries intelligence. When I am willing to seek out that intelligence, I evolve… and my world/reality expands. In order to find that intelligence, I must be willing to ask myself questions that are large enough to draw in and contain the ‘challenge’, with enough room left over to make movement and expansion a possibility, within that enquiry.
Often times, the very thing we seek can be found within an exploration of the thing we fear the most. Rather than press it away and choose to turn away from it, the line of enquiry we enter not only makes way for but encourages a direct line of sight with that thing… and a clear path to enter into its core.
In the world of climate change, we are facing annihilation of the very thing that we have called essential to our existence; the thing that we have been taught to cherish more than all else: Life.
Perhaps – given the scale, the intensity and the sheer rigour of it – climate change is a call to us to re-evaluate the degree to which we place such value on life and repel the notions of death. Perhaps the invitation is for us to shift our focus to the concept of death (like we have a concept of life) and explore how we hold death; how we fear death; and how we do things of all kinds to avoid death, in the face of knowing its inevitability. In truth, it is not death that we fear but the possibility of terror and pain that precedes it. Potentially, the truth of it is that death brings freedom from one layer of expression and opens the gateway to another.
Were we to broaden the sphere of our consideration – of our fears, our concerns, our resistance, etc – and make room for a mindful, conscious exploration of death on a scale that we struggle to comprehend, perhaps we would be broken open to a more expansive perception about our current ‘plight’… and its possible consequences. Interestingly, one of the things that Bernie Siegel (oncologist) discovered is that for many who relaxed into their diagnosis of terminal cancer, the internal shift redirected their external reality into extended life. Such is the magic of the inner to redesign the outer.
Can we continue to speak to climate change without also speaking directly to our perspective on death? Can it be that Gaia is pressing us to consider something about ourselves that we have, for too long, ignored? I believe that there is great intelligence in all that we experience… including the devastation of our planet. In truth, the planet will continue to be just fine. We are not really destroying the planet… we are destroying our ability to continue to live on this planet and taking so many other living beings down with us. Although I may not be able to put words to it, I know there is great genius in what appears to be this madness. The trick is to find it.
* I think under the circumstances the first question I have to ask myself is : how do I want to die? Who do I want to have become at the time of my departure? What are the parameters for me in my release? And then once I know how I want to die, I can have a clearer path to figuring out how I want to live.
* In the face of what’s occurring, the most important thing is to stay resourceful. The only way to do that is to stay connected to yourSelf. Fear disconnects you from yourself. Fear of death produces paralysis in our ability to choose intelligently. So ultimately we need to face what we hold as death.
* Two final thoughts: fear of death keeps us doing what is expedient for us to stay alive rather than doing what we know is the right thing. The challenge is that climate is a reflection of a collective consciousness, asleep. Potentially, there is hope in an awakened collective consciousness. But that’s the challenge, isn’t it. It’s not enough for me to wake up or for you to wake up – we have to all wake up.
We always need a higher order line of enquiry to pull us beyond where we are and into our evolution. What is that higher order line of enquiry that will allow us to move beyond the inventory of climate change into our shared evolution that climate change provokes?