It is June, 2020 and our world has changed. Even a couple of months ago we could not have imagined the numbers of people dying all over the world, our pain at social isolation and the impact of Covid-19 on the world economy.
Although some did … Bill Gates told the world in 2015 of the need to prepare for a global pandemic. His warnings were not heeded.
The same is true with respect to the global ecological crisis. We need to understand why our governments are not listening and move too slowly. We need to find a direction of travel that will heal our societies and our world.
It seems we are at a tipping point for personal, social and political change. We could move forward towards greater sharing of resources and integration or fall back into fragmentation into small nation states and local self-interest.
Britain breaking away from the European Union is perhaps an example of the latter. Even within the remaining EU states, tensions are evident.
We can feel lost at times in the huge processes going on around us. It can be hard to know how to make sense of it all and how to do things better.
What we each think and feel about these questions is crucial, because collective answers and ultimately political decisions emerge from the bottom up.
That’s why I am excited about New Europeans asking all of us to say how we are responding to seeing our world in crisis, and what we think about the future of society.
This creates a channel for all of us to share our thinking about how we want to live together, what our shared values are, and how we experience and live those in our everyday lives.
Together, we hold the future of humanity, our societies and Europe in our hands.
I don’t understand politics and economics well enough to know why forces seem to be driving us apart, but I want to share with you one way of thinking about the world as a possible context for answering those questions. It also offers a vision for a possible future.
I’m not saying it’s the only, or the right, way of understanding our situation, but I have found it helpful.
A pre-recorded version of a talk I gave recently draws on the thoughts and experiences of Carl Jung, Ervin Laszlo, Stan Grof, Maria Papaspyrou, James Hollis and Christopher Bache.
I hope you will want to give your views on whether what these authors say resonates with your own thoughts and experiences.
The basic message for us to consider is that although we may experience ourselves as individuals, local communities and nation states, we are actually all part of one living, intelligent whole which includes all of nature and the universe.
What we experience as separate parts to existence is not a random collection, but an intelligently evolving system.
This system tends towards greater coherence and complexity, relies more on cooperation than competition, and moves towards increasing awareness of ‘one-ness’, ‘awakening’ and greater freedom of expression.
Stan Grof calls the intrinsic movement of the universe ‘holotropic’, which means 'moving towards wholeness'.
Erwin Laszlo explains in layman's terms what quantum physicists suggest - that there is an intelligent field outside of space-time which informs the universe as we know it.
Despite our experience of ourselves as separate, they say, there is only one mind.
People can have direct experiences that seem to support that view, through entering holotropic, ‘non-ordinary' states of consciousness, such as during dreams, meditation, breathwork and use of psychedelics.
To heal ourselves and humanity, and to find our way through the global crises we face, these authors say, we need to engage with our own inner depth, and beyond that with the depth of the collective unconscious.
We need to connect with the pain, ecstasy and wisdom held there, to recover a sense of inter-connectedness and balance in the way we live.
This involves a revaluing of feminine ways of knowing which, these authors suggest, Western cultures have marginalised and repressed.
It is not easy to go deep. Certain myths, such as that of the Hero’s Journey, and of the World Soul (Anima Mundi) can inspire and hold us through what Jung calls the process of ‘individuation’.
Christopher Bache describes how, during his own inner exploration, he came to a vision of individuals and humanity as a whole going through a period of collective suffering and disintegration, as part of a process of evolution to a more conscious, more integrated way of being.
I hope you will find the presentation interesting and it can contribute to our discussion around the questions posed by New Europeans - How we want to live together, what our shared values are, and how we experience and live those in our everyday lives.
If you would like to use the presentation for discussion with friends or family, or if you want to share it on social media, you are very welcome to do so. At the end of the presentation there is a list of books you may enjoy.