The Age of Global Awakening
Birthing the Future Human
“Without a vision of where nature is taking us, without understanding the higher good that our collective suffering is bringing forward in history, we might drown in the sorrow that lies ahead. And we must not drown.”
— Christopher Bache
I’ve just spent a week in bed with COVID, reading and sleeping and being generally wiped out. But in a way, it’s been a blessing — it’s given me time and space to digest perhaps one of the most profound and important narratives I’ve ever come across, which I’m going to unpack in this article. It’s an unfolding tale of the awakening of the entire human species across many lifetimes — a tale which contextualises the ongoing destruction and suffering of climate, ecological and societal breakdown as a meaningful and necessary step in that awakening.
I’ve been reading LSD and the Mind of the Universe by Professor Christopher Bache, in which he chronicles his epic twenty-year journey through no less than 73 high-dose LSD sessions. Throughout these sessions Bache followed Stanislav Grof’s systematised regimen for LSD psychotherapy (lying down, blindfold, sitter, integration process, etc.).
It’s truly one of the most amazing books I have ever read. Bache systematically records and recounts every session and, most profoundly, explores the philosophical, metaphysical, spiritual and cosmological implications of his experiences — which are very deep and very radical indeed. In fact it seems that he basically goes as deep as it is possible to go into the mystery of life and consciousness. And then some. If you’re after a good adventure story, look no further.
Part of what Bache brings back from these experiences is a narrative of deep and astounding implications for making sense and meaning out of our current historical epoch; an age of turmoil, upheaval and accelerating changes which are incredibly difficult to keep track of — let alone cohere into a meaningful story that is unfolding, ultimately, towards a better future and a better humanity.
We are in a very unique place. A turning point in history. A newly globalised species undergoing rapid technological evolution, coupled with a self-destructive stupor that is quickly destroying our life support (eco-)systems. So the turning point is also a breaking point. A crisis. An emergency. And it is happening very, very fast. At this rate our civilisation is simply not going to make it to 2050.
The COVID-19 pandemic is perhaps the first phenomenon we’ve experienced that has made us acutely, painfully aware of our global interdependence. As crises and catastrophes become deeper and more widespread, this awareness (of global interdependence) will only grow. It is going to be agonising, excruciating, but it is going to catalyse a fundamental shift in our awareness of who and what we are. For many of us, it already has.
In order to survive the coming crises we are going to be forced to release our conceptions of ourselves as isolated and separate individuals and let go into new roles as cells in a planetary organism (the global human species) which possesses its own intelligence, imagination — and consciousness. This organism is very much alive already, and has been for millennia — the change now taking place is that it is becoming self-aware.
In other words: we, in the biggest sense of ourselves a global species, are becoming self-aware.
By attuning our awareness to our shared life as one species, and one planet, each one of us is participating in the slow but steady emergence of a fully conscious global group-mind that embraces and encompasses all humanity.
This “Global We” is now entering the field of consciousness after millennia in the psychic darkness of the collective unconscious. But there is a long, long way to go before this consciousness is operational within each and every human being.
Now, from the perspective I just laid out, all this suffering actually playing an evolutionary role: it’s waking us up. As individuals, yes, but more significantly as a global and transpersonal species-consciousness.
“Humanity’s transformation will come about through terrible suffering.
This suffering will be driven by a global systems crisis triggered by a global ecological crisis. Our species will change when our collective pain simply becomes unbearable any longer.
My sessions showed me that humanity will come through this crisis, not intact but changed for the better. We are giving birth to a new form of human being.” — Chris Bache
This collective self-awakening is clearly being prompted by the existentially threatening stimulus of ecological collapse (and other destructive factors): it is as if, in order to adapt, survive and flourish, we now need to become self-aware at the species level. This process is already underway in small pockets of the global community. The next step is to scale those pockets up, to help these “local fields” of collective consciousness to become global; to spread them to include the whole living (eco-)system of humanity.
It is as if we are growing a global mycelium of self-aware group consciousnesses, waiting for the day when these underground networks burst forth into the light of day, release their spores, and spread across the planet…
“The unified field of humanity is moving decisively and precipitously to become more aware of itself” — Chris Bache
As a result of this, I have become increasingly interested in individuals, groups and communities who are intentionally nourishing and bringing life to the group mind / collective consciousness of humanity. We are each able to do that, any time that we consciously turn our attention (our awareness, our love, our care) towards a “We” instead of an “I”. Practices like Bohmian dialogues, collective presencing, and circling are all examples of processes that have been developed to deepen the collective self-awareness of human groups.
(I’ve also been making a personal inquiry into how lovingkindness meditation can be directed towards the “we”, thereby providing us with a simple but powerful practice to strengthen and nourish a sense of us-ness. You can listen to a 20-minute guided meditation here on Soundcloud.)
Through groups around the world (i.e. us!), the species consciousness is making movements to become aware of itself. It’s as if the intention to open to collective consciousness doesn’t come solely from individuals turning towards that “we”, but from the shared intentionality of the collective itself, acting through the individual to bring itself into self-awareness. When we sense this phenomenon happening through us, we may then feel that we “individual people” are cells in a larger organism, each serving and actually embodying the holistic flourishing of the living being that is our entire species. Once we clock that this is happening we can yield to the process, and begin to understand its mechanisms. Doing so appears to be an essential part of what it means to live for the good of humanity — because when you open to the dimension of yourself that lives, breathes and moves as all humanity, all humanity benefits!
So: what might happen if large numbers of people begin to intentionally cultivate deep and sensitive receptivity to the intelligence and creativity of our species’ group consciousness?
To the intelligence and creativity of the entire planet? The cosmos itself? We are only just beginning to find out. Just as we have traversed the globe and made our first courageous footsteps into outer space, the frontier of the future is the infinite ocean of consciousness. Yuval Noah Hariri had a good chapter about this in Homo Deus.
Our next phase of exploration (or evolutionary development), namely the awakening of our entire species into a higher order of consciousness, has been in gestation for hundreds of thousands of years, and today we stand at the precipice of a breakthrough.
We are witnessing the beginning of an unimaginable (r)evolution in the nature of humanity that will overhaul every aspect of our lives, from our society, politics, and economy to our ecology, spirituality and creativity. Our actions and decisions, today and tomorrow, are the seeds of this revolution. Some of these seeds are already germinating and showing their first tender buds, while others lie buried deep in the collective unconscious. We can scarcely conceive of what is coming. It is going to take everything we have to do this. It’s going to demand so much that it’s going to kill us — and bring us back, utterly transformed.
Let us lift our eyes to the infinite horizon, and from there to dream of what is possible for our global family within this vast imaginal realm, this divine mandala of love, this infinite field of possibility…
To the finite, personal ego — to anyone who has real awareness of the bleak and rampant suffering inherent in modern life — this awakening-through-suffering narrative is pretty repulsive and easy to reject. It is very hard for us to see that all this suffering is learning, especially when we are deep in it.
A global collapse feels like unjust and torturous suffering because we are being completely torn away from all the preferences and delusions of our ego-centric minds and forced to confront ever-deeper dimensions of ourselves. This necessarily involves bringing into awareness the underlying (or is it overarching?) levels of group-consciousness, species-consciousness, earth-consciousness, cosmic-consciousness (from which our individual, personal consciousnesses emerge) — and beyond.
(I like to picture these levels as little soap bubbles popping inside bigger bubbles. Our small selves die and disappear — and find that all the material, energy and spirit that was bound up in that previous bubble is actually held within a far larger bubble — a far larger self. This process continues ad infinitum; before long we realise that we are infinite, boundless, and that all limits can and will give way to ever-greater expanses of love, consciousness. Infinite horizons. Infinite possibilities. Infinite freedom. Oweee!)
Sustained conscious relation to suffering culminates in a mini ego-death: an expansion of consciousness to a higher, less ego-centric level, in which that suffering is then perceived to be not a negative phenomenon but an expression of divine love and creativity. Ultimately, what suffering seems to do is open us, free us, and evolve us.
We are slowly recognising that all trauma is ultimately going to be integrated by ongoing generations of ever-wiser and more loving humans — or rather, by the increasingly self-aware species consciousness. All struggle and suffering is held in love, is itself the expression of love — is living evidence of divine grace, guiding us on to ever-more astounding revelations of beauty, in and through the miracle of embodied consciousness.
The Divine Creative Intelligence, living through us and as us, appears to be seeking the realisation of an earthly paradise, a sublime visionary realm of the Future Human. The cosmic awakening of the entire species. All matter infused with spirit, all spirit integrated into material form. Human bodies transparent to the Diamond Luminosity. Countless Buddhas creating, dancing, singing, praying, and launching out from earth to explore the cosmos, spreading organic life and self-aware consciousness far and wide…
I have been finding that narratives of such incredible scale and vision have the power to soothe the ego’s worries by re-contextualising them within something huge, something beautiful. Something worth living — and dying — for.
All our endeavours, struggles, journeys, dreams and projects can now be framed in the context of humanity’s collective transformation and awakening.
Each and every one us is an active creative participant in this transformation — essential key players in engineering and crafting human evolution towards something unutterably magnificent. The more intentionally and consciously we engage in this project, by committing ourselves to the collective good and letting go of all the ego-centric ways of being that hold us back from our astounding — and uncharted — collective potential, the more deeply we contribute to this great evolutionary breakthrough.
It’s nothing less than a global transition from ego-centric to eco-centric consciousness. As is all too obvious, we have a lot of work to do.
Thankfully, our travails in the apparently separate fields of individual-personal consciousness are all totally necessary for the building and birthing of a group consciousness of unprecedented scale, depth, richness, and complexity — not to mention beauty. No effort is wasted! No cry isn’t heard by the ever-present unified field of collective consciousness. “No man is an island”, as the saying goes. Our folk wisdom hasn’t yet developed to include a positive complement to this saying, something like “we are all droplets in an infinite and seamlessly connected ocean of consciousness.”.
There is another important piece here which makes the Global Awakening narrative worth entertaining, and which has massive implications for our lives in general, and that is the arrival of convincing scientific evidence for human reincarnation.
Stay with me! I’m a trained skeptic myself, having studied Physics and Astronomy to Master’s level (find some writing from those days here). And I used to find the very notion of reincarnation pretty repulsive — nothing better than an old superstition. Then, after getting into Buddhism, I softened a little and considered it more of a “nice idea” — but nothing I could ever actually believe in. Why? Well, because as I learned at university:
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
Human reincarnation is an extraordinary claim indeed — or at least, it seems that way to we who were raised within the narrow, cult-like confines of the Western materialist worldview. To many cultures it is an accepted and unquestioned fact of life.
Once digested, the multi-incarnational worldview can move us from total scarcity to total abundance. It delivers us from the “prison of the one-timer’s worldview” into an “unlimited amount of time… an open-ended number of incarnations”, as Bache describes it. It’s the difference between “this is my one and only life” and “this is just one of my innumerable lives”.
Something else I gained from studying physics was the ability to accept the implications of counter-intuitive evidence: to trust scientific findings even when they challenge what I currently believe (or want to believe). Stevenson’s work on reincarnation is a good example: something I am intellectually resistant to, but nonetheless is strongly indicated by the research.
Astoundingly, it looks like the “extraordinary evidence” for human reincarnation is now here. The challenge now is to digest its implications, allow it to shift our understanding of ourselves and the world, and to change how we live accordingly.
This evidence demands nothing less than the death of our materialist worldview.
Probably it is going to take a very long time for our culture to absorb as reincarnation a natural fact of life — and just like any revolution of ideas, the early adherents of these findings are going to be met with staunch and stubborn opposition. I’m proud to be one of them!
Allow me to recount Professor Bache’s words in full:
Hell, you can even start doing past life therapy and see what turns up (or see where you end up under high doses of psychedelic medicines). You can even do it at home on Youtube (I recommend reading the comments). More on Stevenson’s research here.
By no means do we understand the mechanism(s) of the reincarnation process, but the evidence strongly suggests that this is what is happening:
Each of us have lived hundreds, if not thousands of lives on Earth. Our lives today are the product of all the experiences, learnings, traumas, intentions, aspirations, and blessings of those former lives.
And here’s the game-changing insight: we will live for thousands more. We will keep learning, will keep coming back until we have created what our souls are longing for: the creation of Heaven on Earth.
You and I — as these specific bodies, minds and identities — will not live to see this vision realised. This century, most of us will die — perhaps sooner than we expected or hoped. And perhaps those lives will be far more difficult and full of suffering than we hoped, too. But our deaths are not the end of us in the bigger sense. Our souls simply return into new bodies, as they have done so for aeons.
In the face of a global catastrophe, reincarnation gives us a deep hope.
“In order to solve this crisis, we need to adopt the long-term perspective that is natural to the Soul. The Soul knows that its relationship with this planet extends beyond the limits of its present life. It knows that the Earth we leave behind is the Earth we will inherit in our next incarnation. It knows this and acts accordingly.”
By this view, even the end of the world isn’t the end of the world.
What’s more, ongoing reincarnation of the individual soul leads us to the concept of reincarnation at the species level.
If the human species can become collectively self-aware, then in a sense it is being “born” in a new incarnation. It will then live, learn, suffer and die — and reincarnate.
This gives us a new way to frame our current global crisis:
The whole human species is undergoing a collective death-rebirth process.
We will return to walk again on the Earth. But the world will be very, very different— not least because humans will be very, very different. We are going to learn a hell of a lot from the pain we are currently inflicting on ourselves. In some ways, we already have.
Just like someone who has returned from a near-death experience, through the experience of global suffering and mass extinction, our entire species is in the process of being transformed — and reborn anew. This could take a very long time, and will no doubt be very, very painful. It could all go wrong in a total extinction event — sure, but there’s something to this collective momentum towards awakening and the unstoppability provided by ongoing reincarnation that leads me to feel that indeed, we are going to figure this out.
It’s a question of when, not if.
Great Death, Great Rebirth
“Our planet is going into labour and will soon give us no choice but to deliver our deeper self into history. The pain of this labour should not be feared but used creatively. We are building a new world for our grandchildren, indeed a new species.” — Chris Bache
Looking out (or is it in?) at a planet in slow-motion collapse, we might sense our narrative changing. No longer “this cannot happen — the suffering is too great”, but rather “this has to happen — this is how we confront our collective shadow, shed the limitations of the past, transform into a globalised consciousness”.
Increasingly I feel called to submit and surrender to this Great Death. I am doing all I can to mitigate the harm, yes — but it is also clear that a global explosion of suffering is, by now, inevitable. And just maybe, I am opening to the possibility that all this suffering is actually refining and purifying us. From this view it is all gain, and it is all a gift.
But, back in the here and now: this is a global apocalypse, nothing less.
As I have alluded to in “Through the Apocalypse, Into the Light”, an apocalypse is a revelation: literally, a “lifting of the veil”. We are undergoing a collective initiation into higher and deeper orders of reality, in and through confrontation with the shadow psyche. It’s going to shatter us, totally and completely. And it’s in the enormous pressure of that chaos and suffering that our diamond souls are being forged…
Instead of resisting it, we must allow the suffering of the world to break us. To utterly unravel our egos and open our hearts to embrace the whole world. That embrace is a return to our deeper nature as a global, even universal consciousness — a return to the infinitely open and creative primordial buddha-mind, the divine creative intelligence, the diamond luminosity…
Thus, the Great Death is not an ending. It is an evolutionary phase. It is a great unravelling and revelation of all the collective trauma fields of our horror-strewn past — and yet, so too, a collective integration of all that trauma, ushering an unprecedented wave of collective wisdom. It is this wisdom that will allow us to live harmoniously on, with, and as the Earth itself, as an integrated, self-aware, globalised species-mind (fully preserving and supportive of each personal mind, or individuality, and all our achievements and discoveries up until this point).
It is becoming clear that we need to integrate the collective unconscious of all humanity throughout history, if we are going to realise our full potential for collective consciousness. And global collapse is a primary mechanism for this processing and integration of the collective shadow psyche.
The reason that this is so hard to accept is that the suffering that must be endured for this global death-rebirth process is, to our current selves, utterly unthinkable, ungraspable, unspeakable. Countless people, animal and plants have already been annihilated: assimilated into the globalising mind-matrix, the hunger of the species-mind to know itself. We and the people we love may well be next.
However: the birth of this global species mind clearly needs to proceed through various stages of apparent dysfunctionality (which may well involve outright violence, inequality and oppression) in order to learn.
Seeing these stages as learning stages in pursuit of something truly great and beautiful, we might grok that, although painful, they are all necessary steps in our collective learning project of how to live and thrive as a globally integrated creative consciousness. The horror and suffering we are seeing on the world stage is like the birthing pains of a new global organism; nothing less than a new human species. The Future Human… Homo Luminus.
It is as if the species-mind is at the embryonic stage and is currently operating as a ravenous infant, parasitic to it’s mother-organism (earth’s ecosystems). And as we evolve, grow, and increase in intelligence over multiple generations, we are gaining the wisdom of how to live functionally and harmoniously with ourselves and with(in) our living breathing mother.
Ugly as it sounds: perhaps it is only through such an explosion of human suffering, a long and drawn-out self-inflicted torture, close to the point of suicide, that we will arrive at a collective realisation of our total interdependence / togetherness / non-separation.
However it comes about, that realisation is the evolutionary turning point we are tending towards: the death of our isolated, separative, atomistic individual consciousnesses and the birth of a hyperconnected, fully integrated, hypercreative species-mind. A collective consciousness which fully preserves and enriches our personal embodied consciousness, simultaneously expanding and opening it to the full experience of the human species.
We clearly need a very powerful trigger to catalyse this realisation, and to prompt a bubbling up from the collective unconscious of our latent potential for collective flourishing. Our hearts are opening, our minds expanding, our capacities for selfless, creative, compassionate, world-building regenerative action are being unlocked and unleashed in countless novel ways…
A Dark Age
But — again — the price we are paying for this New Eden, for the birth of Homo Luminus, is unspeakable suffering. A collective dark night of the soul lasting tens if not hundreds of years. Billions will die. Millions already have. Violence, war, rape, depravity, desperation and hopelessness. In other words: full revelation of our collective unconscious, our shadow psyche, through its actual embodied playing out in our actions and behaviours. This process has been in motion for thousands of years and now it is coming to a crescendo. Our collective pain is reaching fever pitch.
The global consciousness movement is surely and steadily dredging up evil from its roots in the depths of the transpersonal psyche, in order that its mechanisms be exposed and understood, its fuel supplies (ignorance, greed, hatred) disconnected), and its sphere of action minimised.
The explosion of evil that marks this modern epoch may actually be acting as an evolutionary mechanism that is bringing us into full awareness of our creative power. In order that we use that power for good, we must first feel the full effects of using it for bad, such that we learn how to consciously and intentionally wield the myriad tools and technologies that we have developed (through our embodied and now highly-networked social intelligence).
To do this, we must feel the full pain of human evil and to each take full responsibility for our participation and complicity in it. We must each feel, viscerally, the suffering of the earth, the torture and murder of countless animals, the oppression of our brothers and sisters everywhere, if we are to successfully open our hearts to this suffering and thereby open to our fundamental connection to all of these beings — to fuse our individuality with these other individualities in a vast psychic integration process that culminates in the birthing of a self-aware global consciousness. That is precisely the death-rebirth process we are now being ushered into.
Now it is perhaps worth saying that our collective consciousness is already alive, intelligent and functioning — yet appears to be seeking greater and richer self-awareness through embodied revelation within each and every individual human body/heart/mind/soul.
We are experimenting our way, life by life, moment by moment, towards an unprecedented global awakening: every human attuned to the divine light, the divine love and creativity that shines through — and as — everything in existence, including us embodied humans. The love that is actively guiding us through this apocalypse — and out the other side. To peace.
We might indeed take solace from the notion that “the integration of the shadow is an act of love”.
The higher wisdom of the species-mind, itself a subset of the creative intelligence of the living cosmos, apparently loves us so dearly that it simply isn’t going to let us fester in these little prisons of ego-consciousness. No, no, no. These bodies, minds and persons we currently inhabit are but transitionary phases in an incredibly epic evolutionary journey, driven ever-onwards by the passionate love of the Divine Creative Imagination. And our impermanence doesn’t make us worthless — quite the opposite. It’s what makes life possible. It’s what allows the symphony to continue. It’s what makes everything, every moment, every part of ourselves infinitely unique and infinitely precious. In other words: sacred, divine, and perfect. We are loved as such, even in our deepest suffering. May we feel it in every fibre of our being!
We have been summoned here by love. Created by love. Forged for countless aeons in the passionate depths of the Divine Creative Imagination. And every death we face is but a purification, a refinement, a release into even-greater love. We are as travellers, flying through the sky of the boundless mind. Magicians in the art of perception, learning to wield the brushes of body, speech, emotion, movement, colour, dream and song...
Ecstatically, blissfully awakened, we shall inherit the Earth once again, this time with full collective consciousness, full gratitude for the gift of life received, and an incredible joyous enthusiasm for our apparently unlimited creative abilities. In other words, our freedom. Totally attuned to the Universal Divine Creative Intelligence, totally aligned with and expressive of the loving intentionality of that Intelligence, knowing that it seeks only to serve and guide us, and that all suffering is integral and essential to the learning-birthing process.
“As Earth struggles to become one planet, we are struggling to become one soul.” — Chris Bache
The collective karma of our history is being cleansed,— burned away in the fires of death. And from that fire will rise the Phoenix of the New Dawn, the Awakened Future Human standing tall, singing and dancing, creating as never before.
A New Earth…
Can you picture it?
I will be doing all I can keep this this vision close to my heart as the global crisis unfolds. I hope that it brings you hope in these dark times, and that together we can continue the sacred imaginal play/work/evolutionary challenge of realising embodied diamond consciousness as a planetary species. Onwards!
This is it, friends.
Death is a portal.