Humanity’s Second Spiritual Age

Posted: 06/ 5/11 10:51 AM ET

In this new post, Duane Elgin speaks eloquently and forcefully for the ideals of the living universe.  For those who wish to read further, they might find his 2009 book, “The Living Universe” helpful. 

Although I am aware and appreciate the high ideals and emphasis on love of neighbour within the major religions, I can’t ignore that the two largest major religions have manifested almost continuous warfare and contention.  In a little over 300 years after the death of the Christ, King Constantine made the Christian God a God of war; even placing the sign of the cross on his war banners.

Only 10 years after the founding of Islam and the Hijera in 622, Muhammad’s successors began their campaign against neighbouring empires.  By 732, they had threatened Europe as far north as Poitiers and were stopped by Charles Martel just south of Tours, France.  Islam’s last thrust into Europe occurred at the second Siege of Vienna in 1683 which lasted over two months.

Love of others has always been and still is trumped by politics and economics.  There are even state churches like the Anglican church and the church of Sweden.  One of the goals of the English settlements in the New World was the separation of church and state and resulting religious freedom.

Although I honour the effort of all major religions, what I am saying is that the “the need to put compassion at the forefront” as Duane has stated has not brought peace on Earth.

Will knowledge that we are not separate from the living universe be enough to bring us to peaceful intents and the end of our raging ecocide?  Will this knowledge really bring us to “communion with the living universe,” and an “experience of unity and intimacy within the universe”? 

I find Duane’s writing inspiring, especially the paragraph quoted below and find myself wanting desperately to believe that it can happen, but I have grave and serious doubts.  “When our aliveness consciously connects with the aliveness of the universe, a current of aliveness flows through us. At that moment — when life meets life — a direct connection between the living universe and ourselves is realized and we have an awakening experience. We no longer see ourselves in the universe, we experience that we are the universe.” 

Our aliveness is and has always been connected and has always flowed through us.  A current of aliveness is and always has flowed through us.  My question is: Will just reading about this or being told this “cause” an awakening experience?  Perhaps the trouble with me is that when I look out onto the Milky Way or think about star systems and galaxies, I don’t receive a “direct experience” of the aliveness of that part of me. I cannot develop a closeness with a group of stars or even Rigel, the brightest star in the constellation Orion and the sixth brightest star in the sky. It is too big, too distant, too remote for me to form a loving relationship with.

What I can and do feel and enjoy is that part of me that is the Earth, Gaia.  So, for me, the love of the Earth is the direct experience that has been the awakening experience of my life.