Spirituality, Sacred Activism and The Conscious Elder
May 7, 2017Embrace Festival Presentation
Spirituality, Sacred Activism, and the Conscious Elder
John C. Robinson, Ph.D., D.Min.
May 4-6, 2017
Good Afternoon and welcome. It's so good to be here! Thank you for joining me. I see my Tribe of Gray Hairs out there. You know who you are (and so does everyone else!). This talk is for you. And it's also for the rest of you who will one day join our Tribe. It's good to be prepared.
I’m here to talk to you as a person who is getting "old" and beginning to experience things I never anticipated. It turns out that aging is an eye-opening spiritual experience at so many levels and here's the key: It's not what you think, it's not who you are, and its different from anything you could have ever imagined! But it's also full of surprises and revelations. So I want to share with you what this new remarkable experience of aging is like and why its spiritual and metaphysical revelations are so important at this time.
My generation of Elders has begun to experience a new developmental stage in the human life cycle. It's extraordinary. And it's a time of profound awakening for elders. In fact, I believe we are now beginning to experience a new kind of aging. It's also clear that this new aging is occurring in an historical time of shocking and escalating social and political disruption. But I also think this combination of events - this New Aging and this large-scale social disruption - is creating radical new possibilities for cultural and metaphysical transformation, what Joanna Macy calls the "Great Turning." Big things are happening! So I want to share with you some rather startling realizations I've had in recent years, ones that will apply to all of us at any age, because our collective consciousness is changing as well! These realizations fall into three categories or themes, and I'll discuss each on in turn. So I want to talk about…
1. The Mystical Nature of the New Aging - I love this topic!
2. How Conscious Elders Are Becoming Spiritual Activists - We're not sitting around in rocking chairs! We are creating sacred communities.
3. The "Great Work" of Creation Now Calling to All of Us - A profound process that will sooner or later inspire everyone.
Then we'll have questions and close with a powerful experiential exercise.
So that's my agenda. You'll see how they all come together at the end. And I have to warn you. Mystics are visionaries. They see through everyday illusions into future realities for their prophecies. This talk is about a new world coming, one that we create together and one that will touch all of us. So buckle your seat belts, it's going to be a wild ride!
First A Little Background
I have been following a singular spiritual and mystical vision for over twenty years. All my work - nine books, numerous articles, book chapters, blogs, interviews, classes, lectures and conference presentations - embody this same timeless and unchanging realization of life as a profoundly sacred experience. Not just metaphorically or poetically, but literally, and one that we can and must begin to experience now. And my last five books have been entirely devoted to exploring how this mystical vision transforms our experience of the New Aging.
So this is where I'm coming from. I've been on a journey into the deep mysticism of aging. I'm going to share with you some pretty amazing ideas about the New Aging. Some of these ideas may be hard to believe at first, but keep your mind open. We are talking about the potential for a new kind of aging, perhaps even a new kind of human. We are talking about the very purpose of aging. This is exciting stuff!
Or, to put it more personally, I have come into a new consciousness in aging…a mystical consciousness. I am living it and it is changing me. I'm not the same person I was even a year ago. I believe this consciousness represents a precursor to a revolution in human consciousness, one that will create a new evolutionary stage for all of us. I want to introduce this new consciousness and new stage to you and invite you to a reconsider everything you know about aging and the world we live in.
So here's the first theme…
1. The Mystical Nature of the New Aging
We elders are living in an extraordinary and unprecedented time. For nearly all of recorded history, only one person in ten could hope to live to the age of sixty-five. When Thomas Jefferson was around, half the population in America was under the age of 16. The average life span in 1900 was 45. With the medical and dietary advances in the last one hundred years, however, nearly 80% of us in developing countries will live to be past 65, and if we get to 65, we have 16 more years for men and 19 for women. What was once reserved for a tiny fraction (no wonder elders were honored!) is increasingly available to all of us. It's sometimes called the “Third Age” it’s absolutely incredible. But what is this revolution in longevity for? Isn't aging just about getting old, falling apart and dying? The answer I've received from hundreds of older people in workshops and conferences is, "No!" This is a time of profound psychological, spiritual and mystical growth! Why is that?
I believe that three powerful psychodynamic or psycho-spiritual forces are driving this New Aging. I call them The Three Secrets of Aging because the media (and most new elders) are completely focused on overcoming aging with anti-creams, exercise, vitamins, hormones, cosmetic surgery, positive attitudes, new jobs, new mates, new cars, etc. but that only works for a while. In the end, aging wins. But that doesn't mean we lose, but rather we have to surrender to a life transforming process. So let's look briefly at each of these secrets and see what we can learn about this new time of life and the possibilities of profound cultural transformation associated with it.
The first Secret of Aging says, Aging is an initiation into a new and extraordinary stage of life. The events and processes of aging – changing bodies, fading identities, and losses of all shapes and sizes – represents an initiation into an entirely new dimension of life, a time of personal and spiritual growth unprecedented in human history. While aging may represent the end of our old life, it is also the beginning of a new one.
And here's what takes place: One day in the aging process something will shock you into realizing that things have changed - that you're not in Kansas anymore - and that the middle years are over. That recognition marks the moment of your initiation. It could be a big event like retirement, illness, or the death of a friend or loved one, or an accumulation of little ones like joint pain, senior discounts, new prescriptions, that push you over a tipping point. Then suddenly you understand that everything has changed and that you have left the old world of middle-aged goals and values for a completely new and unknown land. Huge questions rise up inside: Who am I now? What do I do with myself? What is this time for? How will I face my own future, including my eventual decline and death? But here's the magic: if we can pay attention, we discover that an unexpected adventure in consciousness has already begun.
Now on the other hand, if we don't recognize these changes as initiation – and many don’t, we miss their transformational magic. We end up hanging onto the same old identity and doing the same old imitation of our former self, but it won't bring renewal, happiness of fulfillment. Aging represents the defeat of the Ego and the birth of the Soul. It's not going to be what you want it to be, but it may be something even more amazing. It's that important.
Poem. I have a poem for each secret. I love poems because they speak directly to the heart and soul in creative and powerful ways. This poem is by Juan Ramon Jimenez called Oceans. I can identify with this experience.
I have a feeling that my boat
has struck, down there in the depths,
against a great thing.
- Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?
This kind of realization can take your breath away. You look out at your life and, while it may look the same, it's not! So let's move on…
The second Secret of Aging says, Aging Is a Transformation of Self and Consciousness - it's enlightenment in slow motion. It begins spontaneously, naturally and subtly. As we wake up from the illusions of mind, we transition from personal identity to the consciousness of Divinity, giving birth to the enlightened Elder. So wow. This is huge. Let me try to unpack it a little.
Aging is a transformation of body, self and consciousness. The body part, of course, is obvious. I ask conscious elders if they've seen their latest photos. It's always shocking. But that's just a disguise! Something very different is going on inside. As we age, we surrender our old identity, schedule, roles and purposes, and as a result, our sense of self changes. We no longer have to be what we think. Instead, we start growing again. Growth possibilities abound as the unfinished self blossoms with new interests, goals and inspirations. Individuation continues in aging! In other words, you don't become a fossil, you discover life renews itself with incredible possibilities. My older friends are doing the most surprising things that I never would have expected! They have come alive in new ways!
And the spiritual dimension is even more amazing. With the fading of identity, career, and family responsibilities - structures of mind that have dominated our consciousness for decades - we can (if we try) become conscious of consciousness itself, the consciousness that held all this, which is an amazing reality. Then, if we are perceptive, we discover that consciousness is not just in me, I am in it, and it is divine, a realization the mystics in every religion have described for millennia and one that is central to enlightenment. And, as I can affirm, recognizing and experiencing consciousness as divine consciousness - as God's consciousness! - will progressively change you. This is our opening into Christ Consciousness, Buddha Mind, and the Divine Human. You are not who you think you are - you the awakened consciousness of the divine universe – timeless, ageless, and transformative.
Poem: Here's my poem for Secret II by Chris McCombs.
Allow it to be a mystery.
And its ego
Never become enlightened.
The separate one
Simply gives way
To something else.
Like sugar dissolving in water
The mind and its separateness
Dissolve into the Being
That has always been the backdrop of your life.
If you want to be enlightened
Dissolve into the silence
Of your Being.
Then…no desire for enlightenment.
Just the vast silent fullness
Of the Self.
You have always been this
When the mind's obsessive rumination on the self-idea disappears from consciousness, what's left is God's consciousness. And it's in everyone and everything! And that leads to our third secret…
Jung suggested that aging wouldn't exist if it didn't have an evolutionary purpose, and I believe one of the most important evolutionary purposes of aging is to transform our experience of the world itself. Pierre de Chardin (1881-1955) the French philosopher, Priest and paleontologist, talked about spiritual evolution leading to the divinization of the world. This is really an archetypal idea that you'll find in nearly all religions (I describe it in my book Finding Heaven Here). So this third secret addresses that purpose directly.
The third Secret of Aging says that Aging is a Revelation of Heaven on Earth. And the secret says: As the veil of thought dissolves in conscious aging, Heaven on Earth begins to shine everywhere and the world is sacred once again. We have come home from our long journey through the world of thought and invite others to join us in a new consciousness of Creation.
This, too, is incredible. Who can possibly believe in Heaven on Earth? But let me tell you, our spiritual teachers have been telling us about Heaven on Earth for eons. Here are some examples:
Jesus proclaimed: “The father’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth and people do not see it…What you look for has come, but you do not know it."
Ramana Maharshi, the famous Hindu sage added, "This is the Kingdom of Heaven. The realized being sees this as the Kingdom of Heaven whereas the others see it as 'this world.’”
Thich Nhat Hanh, the beloved Buddhist monk, says, "You don't have to die in order to enter the Kingdom of God. It is better to do it now when you are fully alive…The Kingdom doesn’t have to come and you do not have to go to it. It is already here…There is not one day that I do not walk in the Kingdom of God.”
Joseph Campbell, the renowned scholar of religion and mythology, eloquently summed up, “This is it. This is Eden. When you see the kingdom spread upon the earth, the old way of living in the world is annihilated. That is the end of the world. The end of the world is not an event to come, it is an event of psychological transformation, of visionary transformation. You see not the world of solid things but a world of radiance.”
If Heaven is already here, why don't we see it? For most of our lives, we’re trapped in a mental thought-world. Instead of seeing Heaven on Earth, we see what we think. As human beings developed their amazing capacity for thought, we fell in love with ideas, creating a virtual second world in the mind, and stopped witnessing the divine world right before their eyes. We name, describe and explain everything! Over twenty-five hundred years ago, Buddha observed, “We are what we think. Everything we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.” And that's exactly what the left brain does; the right brain holds our mystical consciousness of Heaven on Earth (as Jill Bolt Taylor found in her left hemisphere Stroke of Insight). But one of the purposes of this new aging is to cleanse the doors of perception (as William Blake put it) to reveal Heaven on Earth to be our real home.
Poem: What do the poets say about finding Heaven here? You probably remember this piece by Elisabeth Barrett Browning. She says,
Earth's crammed with Heaven
And every common bush alive with God
Only he who sees takes off his shoes,
The rest sit around and pluck blackberries.
So that's our first theme: The Mystical nature of the New Aging. It's an Initiation into a New Stage of Life, a Transformation of Self and Consciousness, and a Revelation of a Sacred World right where we are. This new consciousness leads naturally to our second theme…
2. How Conscious Elders are Becoming Spiritual Activists and Creating Sacred Communities
This theme is really an introduction to the Conscious Aging movement. I want you to invite your parents to get involved in it! Riding on the same energies and revelations described in The Three Secrets is a growing movement of older people who now envision aging as a time for personal and spiritual growth, who refuse to "go quietly into the dark night" just waiting to die but instead embrace the challenges and service opportunities of the New Aging. They are transforming into new people. It's amazing what conscious elders are doing and I just want to share it with you.
Conscious Aging conferences and workshops are sprouting up everywhere. I have spoken at events hosted by Sage-ing International, The Conscious Elders Network, The International Conference for Ageing and Spirituality, Creation Spirituality Communities, and The Mankind Project as well as webinars, churches and men's gatherings. And we are creating sacred communities in all these conferences and workshops. It happens as we intentionally create sacred space and spontaneously as we share our aging stories.
And the goal of Conscious Elders is to age courageously, consciously, honestly, and in community and in a way that will transform both our aging and our work in the world. For example, in classes and workshops Conscious Elders embrace growth challenges like:
• Releasing the Identity and Roles of the Middle Years
• Learning to Grieve and Survive
• Life Review, Understanding and Repair
• Growing the Unfinished Self
• Finding Meaningful "Work"
• Clarifying Religious and Spiritual Beliefs
• Preparing for Death
• Opening the Heart
• Staying Involved and Giving Back to the World
Do you see what I mean? This is the new curriculum of aging. And here's the point: You don't get wise just by getting old. You have to do this inner work of aging, but if you do, a whole new life opens up to you.
And that leads me to the Activism of Conscious Elders
Conscious Aging organizations encourage elders to contribute their time, energy, wisdom and experience in "giving back" to the world in countless ways. But this question of how to "give back," however, is a very interesting one and raises issues for all of us independent of age. When I do workshops designed to help elders find their own calling, I routinely ask, "How many of you have ever experienced moments of doubt or burnout in your "giving back" activities, where you lost the fire inside, as evidenced by declining interest, loss of motivation or commitment, or questions about the real effectiveness of what you're doing?" And virtually everyone's hands go up, which led me to examine the role of Discernment. How do we know if we're doing anything worthwhile?
As a psychologist, minister, and mystic, I view discernment from a spiritual and depth-oriented perspective where it implies a prolonged and heart-felt search for one's truest nature, vocation or calling. Who am I? Why am I really here? What did I come here to do? How do you answer these kinds of questions? Here's one answer eloquently expressed by theologian Howard Thurman. He said, "Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive. So the key discernment question is always, "What makes you come alive?" When we answer this question authentically, our work comes not from the Ego - doing things because we should or because we want to be important - but from the Soul, an always-replenishing source of vision, energy, and love.
Now this kind of Discernment leads naturally to the Spiritual Activism - the integration of our spirituality into our "giving back" activities. Why? Because "coming alive" is a spiritual experience. It's who you really are! This can happen in three ways.
1. The first is Sacred Activism, in which the depth of our spirituality moves us to care for the world as spiritual commitment, deepening the personal meaning of our work.
2. The second way we can express our spirituality is through what has been called Subtle Activism, where a gathering of like-minded people creates a subtle force field to bring healing energies to traumatized places or groups in the world. As David Nicol's work demonstrates, when we pray, meditate or perform rituals together with deep intentionality, we generate a coherent energy field that affects the deep ground of being and can be directed anyplace in the world.
3. A third form of spiritual integration arises as we awaken Divine Consciousness within transforming ourselves and our perception of the world. I talk about this in my book, The Divine Human. In this third form, the experience of our own Divine Consciousness and Being leads spontaneously to sacred action. The mystic now becomes the prophet, called by the experience of unity to interfere with injustice and suffering wherever it is encountered. The Divine Human is basically a love activist - transforming everything through the power of love.
Three Paradigms of Aging
By this time, it should be apparent that there are actually Three Paradigms of Aging, so let me describe them.
• The Old Paradigm of Aging. In the old paradigm, you try to keep busy and deny the scary changes reshaping your body and psyche and wait to die.
• The New Paradigm of Aging focuses on psychological and spiritual growth, social and political engagement, and new roles in family and community. This is about coming alive and sharing your gifts with the world.
• Mystical Aging. The third paradigm is Mystical Aging. This is the vanguard of a new kind of life, a new kind of human, and a new stage of our spiritual evolution, which brings me to our third theme: The "Great Work."
3. The "Great Work" of Creation Itself Calling to All of Us
I want to talk now about this idea of the "Great Work" and its relationship to our current social upheaval.
Mathew Fox, who has been one of my teachers (and is speaking next) talks about the Re-Invention of Work. That's what we are doing in this festival! He says, "We are being challenged today - in light of the wounded Earth, the one billion unemployed adults, the billions of despairing young people who see no guarantees of either work or jobs, and the needs of other species - to redefine work."
And then he adds, "To work is to become part of the Great Work. Cosmology teaches us that there is only one work going on in the universe, the 'Great Work' of creation itself - the work of creation unfolding." And it unfolds through us! When we wake up to who and where we really are, and express the resulting aliveness, we join this work and become it. There's enough work for everybody and everybody's gift is needed. Then The Great Work of revealing Heaven on Earth lives through us. Which brings us to the social and political turmoil of our time.
In depth psychology, the unconscious shadow often unleashes huge transformational energies. In many respects, our new president represents our collective shadow - all the repressed, censored, dark, eruptive energies we have buried inside. But as Jung told us, the shadow is 90% gold! Jeremy Taylor, a teacher of Jung and dreams (who I'll be interviewing in a couple weeks for Creation Spiritual Communities) recently wrote, "…the 'hidden gift' in the colossal projected shadow of Donald Trump is
potentially granting us all 'permission' to explore and manifest our deepest creative energies and responses to the world.” President Trump may be the unwitting stimulus for an enormous change in the collective psyche and a new time of Social and Spiritual Activism. So how do we do this?
If we are going to light a path through the darkness of this time, and if we are going to discover Heaven on Earth and join the Great Work of Creation, we need to work in four dimensions: the psychological, spiritual, mystical and the Divine Human.
1. In the psychological dimension, we need to stay together and work through our feelings rather than react blindly, collapse in despair, or drop out. And we need to realize that anything we feel deeply - no matter how painful or scary - holds the potential for transformation, releasing new energies and creative insights for positive action. Crises also bring us back to the liberating reality of the present. I remember an old friend of mine telling me about the day her house burned down. She suddenly found herself feeling incredibly free, free to create a new life, to release the shackles of her old identity and pursue a new adventure. Our collective house is burning down but we are mobilizing for a new adventure in democracy.
2. In the spiritual dimension, we need to ask ourselves bigger questions and about the meaning and purpose of this time. For example, "What are my ultimate spiritual beliefs about why this is happening?" "How would my personal spiritual heroes respond to this situation?" And "Where is God in this upheaval?" Asking these kinds of questions will change you. It's like sending sonar waves down into the depths of your psyche and then listening for the deep intuitions that return. And lso we need to return to our spiritual practices to stay centered and grounded.
3. We also need to awaken the mystical dimension which has to do with the direct and first hand experience of the divine. So we need to spend time in the Presence, letting its nature and consciousness expand our own awareness of the sacred, within and without. We also need to ask for divine guidance. This awakening to the divine dimension is not about escaping from our obligations to the world, it's about a powerful shift to a new level of engagement, an experience of divinity that unleashes vast stores of love, compassion, and sacred energy.
4. In the final dimension, the Divine Human, we transcend duality and increasingly live in the awakened consciousness of the Divine. We become Divine Humans and begin to live our evolutionary future. You don't have to be an elder to be a Divine Human - you just have to wake up and discover that your consciousness is God's consciousness, your being as God's being. When we let go of all those crazy things we think about ourself and dwell in the pure mystical consciousness that precedes thought, everything begins to change. We gradually dissolve into what God is - love, ecstasy, freedom, generosity, compassion, and inclusion. We become the divine in the world and the divine flows through us into the world.
Like the surprise response experienced by my friend when she lost her house, what is being evoked in us now, in this traumatic time, is much larger and more creative than anything we could have imagined. Our ongoing political turmoil represents the doorway to the next stage of human consciousness. If the universe is conscious and aware as the mystics tell us, and if it is an "Original Blessing" as Matt Fox tells us, then all our work - whether big or small - is sacred and infinitely precious. Everything we’ve ever done in our lives has led us to this moment. We are changing human consciousness and revealing a new Creation.
We are rapidly drawing to an end of this talk so let me summarize where we've been, check in on Questions and Comments, and then we'll do a powerful closing exercise. In our time together, we explored…
• The Mystical Nature of Aging
• Conscious Elders as Spiritual Activists
• The "Great Work" of Creation Calling All of Us to Come Alive
It should be apparent by now that these three themes are all part of a single act of awakening operating at all levels. In other words,
• Mystical Aging reveals the sacred nature of self and world.
• The social, political and spiritual activism of Conscious Elders - and all of us - is an expression of the Great Work of Creation pouring through us, generating new stage of human spiritual evolution.
• In sum, we are all part of a huge cultural and metaphysical transformation. We are revelation happening. And that's what this gathering is really all about!
Questions and Comments
Let's take a break for Questions and Comments and then we'll close with an experiential exercise to stimulate your Sacred Activism. So, what is this talk bringing up in you? What questions are you wrestling with?
Experiential Exercise: Bringing Home the Ancestors
I want to close with a rather novel experiential exercise. Are you up for it? It emerged from one of the biggest prophetic dreams I've had in years and it relates to the idea of Finding Heaven Here. I believe this dream asks us to transform our work here on Earth in a rather unexpected and astonishing way.
I had just finished a Webinar on The Three Secrets of Aging for Sage-ing International that went very well. Early the next morning, I had this dream: I'm in our former home in Sacramento. I turn around and there's my dad. As real as you and me are right here. This was a visitation not just a dream. Dressed as he always was - slacks, flannel shirt, sport coat. I am astonished. He starts hugging and kissing me. I hug him back and kiss him and I keep asking, "What are your doing here? Where have you been?" He says he heard about what I had done and, by implication, seems to be saying that he’s here to show me how proud he was and soon he was gone. But that's not the end or the most powerful part of the dream.
I sensed there was more to my father's visit. As a psychologist, I know that you often unpack a dream over time as its images continue to release their meanings. A couple days later, I re-entered the dream through Jungian active imagination skills - skills that allow the dream to continue on. I ask my father why he was so incredibly and effusively happy with me because it seemed like he was happier than my success alone would warrant. He said, "I came to you because I love you so much and because of what you did. The understanding of Heaven on Earth now spreading through the world makes it possible for us to come home. I want to come back to Earth and see all the people and places I love. With that webinar, you said the unsayable. Your understanding of Heaven on Earth thins the veil between our two worlds. Can you see how happy I am? Heaven and Earth will finally be one place." And, he added, "There are so many of us who want to come home and help the world.”
I was stunned. My dad's effusiveness was more than just being proud; it was the joy of homecoming. And then I realized that this dream also has huge implications for Spiritual Activism. All of us want to make our home planet sacred, to dissolve the split between spirit and matter, sacred and profane, God and human. It's already true but we don't see it because the thought world created a false duality. And our ancestors want to help us see! They want to come home...with all their skills, realizations and love. They want to help us initiate the next stage of our common spiritual unfolding of "A New Heaven and New Earth." But why this so remarkable? Indigenous peoples and numerous religions have told us that the ancestors, saints, and other religious figures are always available to help us. I always thought that was just a lovely sentiment. They are ready to come back but I think we have to help make this happen.
Matthew Fox explains, "We humans clearly have the capacity to interact with spirits or angels, beings different from ourselves, and we need to at this critical time in history. Frequently I have asked audiences I speak to to shut their eyes and then raise their hands if they have had encounters with angels or someone they trust has had such encounters. Usually 80% of the audience raises their hands. We need the help of spirits or angels today…because as a species we are doing so badly and it is clear we need all the help we can get…Ours is a time for people who have encountered spirits and angels to come out of the closet. The modern age is over."
So what do we do? We invite the ancestors back! How? We bring them in through an awakened right hemisphere consciousness. In this way, we can ask our ancestors - parents, grandparents, humanity's great teachers, spirit guides, angels and other awakened beings to help us. Would you be willing to begin this process with an exercise?
1. Put down pen and pencil, close your eyes, and just relax.
2. Take a couple deep breaths and settle comfortably into your chair, your body, your being. Take your time. Let this be a peaceful, gentle, and loving experience.
3. Let your thoughts slow down and come to rest. Release the questions, distractions and issues of the day and center your attention deep inside, descending into the rich dark inner space of Self or Spirit.
4. Now picture yourself standing by clear pool of water in a quiet place on a lovely day. You might hear birds chirping or a breeze rustling leaves around you. Just be there now - fully present. Open your consciousness to this image of Heaven on Earth, a Divine World that is everywhere.
5. You have come to this sacred pond in this beautiful meadow to invite the ancestors to come home, to come back to Earth to help heal the world, and to help you find your own best way of "giving back." To do this, I want you to think of any beings from the other side whose support you trust and deeply value. Take your time. Consider departed loved ones, family, friends, spirits, allies, ancestors, wisdom figures, and angels. Now, when you're ready, call out their names aloud and then silently ask them to come home, to help heal our world, and help you find the work of your soul.
6. Picture these loved ones, ancestors and spirits coming forward and standing around the water with us. Feel them joining us, aligning their highest energies with ours. See their faces, how they glow with so much love and gratitude. They are coming to help us all discover Heaven here on Earth. They are pouring into this meadow. They are so happy to be home. All they want to do is help.
7. As this is going on, open your awareness also to the deep energies of the sacred Earth herself, the Great Mother who holds us, to the stars and the cosmos that sense our existence, and to the Divine Being, however you conceive it, and feel its loving Presence fill, surround and embrace us.
8. Now these loved ones, ancestors, spirits and beings also want to help you find your calling in this Great Work of Creation's Unfolding. Imagine the ones you have personally called gently putting their arms around you. Feel their presence, energy and love for you. Let it in. They are filling you with so much spiritual energy, wisdom and inspiration.
9. Now think of one question about your calling that this talk has stirred in you. Let that question become clear. Now, in the silence of this deep inner space, standing beside this pool, supported by wise and loving beings, silently ask that question and look deeply into the water. Be still and patient. Wait until some kind of answer rises - an image, metaphor, feeling, figure, place - whatever. Take your time.
10. When something appears, reflect on what has been revealed. See how it might help you answer your question. Hold it dear. Talk to your loving spirit visitors about it. If nothing has come yet, keep this question in your soul and wait for a revelation that will come when the time is right. Everything happens in its own timing.
11. Now thank the beings that came to help us. Express your love and gratitude for their assistance. Promise you'll ask them for guidance in the times to come, and pay attention to whenever you feel their presence around you. Talk to them. They will teach you. Let them show you what you can do to help the world. Let them help you.
12. Good. Find your way back to this room, this moment, and your normal experience of self and body, and when you're ready, open your eyes and get re-oriented to where we are. And notice how the feeling in this room has changed, and how you have changed.
13. Take a moment to reflect on or write about your revelation.
Conclusions. I want to end this workshop with a poem by Pablo Neruda called Keeping Quiet. It talks about the kind of world we might find if we truly woke up.
Now I will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.
For once on the face of the earth,
let's not speak in any language;
let's stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.
It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.
Fishermen in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.
Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.
What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.
Now I'll count to twelve
And you keep quiet and I will go.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for all you do. May peace rain in your heart and soul.
If you want to learn more about my work in Conscious Aging, I have book flyers here and a handful of books for purchase in the conference store. You are also welcome to email me at www.johnrobinson.org.