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By Graeme Jones

Copyright 2010

The final Mayan small cycle prior to the close of their great cycle, and its corresponding world change in 2012, is due to run for two years from September 23, 2010 until it finally closes at the winter solstice on Dec 21st 2012.  Carlos Barrios, a Mayan elder and priest, identifies this final two years as a Cycle of Definition.  In his The Book of Destiny Barrios identifies it as  “a time of cleansing, when all of the garbage in our minds, all of our consumerism will be cleared away, and replaced with a resurgence of true spirituality and a renewed respect for ourselves and everyone else on this planet.” The function of this cycle of definition is to clarify distinctions between truth and illusion. This is needed to prepare the mass mind to open and receive the first rays of dawn of the great new Mayan Fifth Sun.

Mayan cosmologists use the concept of a Sun to characterize a 5,200 yearlong cosmic cycle in planetary evolution.  Their “suns” describe the central cosmic agenda which is unfolding within humanity during that particular cycle.

We shall see that when it comes to the new Mayan Fifth Sun, which dawns in 2012, the nomenclature “Sun” enjoys a qualitatively deeper meaning.   For in an as yet unknown and very unfamiliar way the Mayan Fifth Sun promises to be what is known as a “spiritual sun.” As such it is will come to be felt to be even closer to us than the physical sun.  Just as our physical sun has a solar wind, a spiritual sun has a divine wind.  Perhaps the most noteworthy quality of a spiritual sun is what we can call its esoteric self-awareness.  Its self-knowing subjectivity lends both vivacity and authority to the wind that blows inside our spirits. As it births itself inside us it seduces us into harmony with itself. This sun is expected to form the internal organizing principle of a major new cosmic cycle in human culture.  In so doing it will manifest its own spiritual cosmology and become the fountainhead of all living poetry and culture.

The sun is so majestic it pushes its own bow wave towards us.  In the hour or so before dawn the eastern sky steadily grows lighter.  The tone and feel of the new day can be detected in the quality of solar energy that lights up the sky even before the sun can be seen.  Above us the solar wind is pushing into our atmosphere a wide spectrum of subtle energies. The sky above awakens us and tells us of what is to come.   We call it dawn.

So too with the Fifth Sun.   Its pre-dawn bow wave sweeps through the sky above our heads, while the majority of us still lie in darkness, sleeping.  The solar wind that washes all around us from the Mayan Fifth Sun is a divine wind.  And it has a striking feature. Because it is a new spiritual sun, its particular radiance is as yet beyond our experience.  It cannot be adequately anticipated.  The cosmic wind from the new Mayan Sun strikes our mental habits obliquely.  Coming from a place that is new and different, it can only be culturally insurgent.  It is the essence of revolution.

So, what do the Mayan Elders tell us about this new Fifth Sun?

Barrios again. The previous four worlds (suns) have each been dominated by a single, specific element: Air Fire, Water or Earth.   The fifth Sun will be governed not by an element but by ether.   Ether is a rarified property thought to fill the upper reaches of space, beyond the earth.  Ethereal is “of the heavens.”   In this telling, ether being celestial lacks material substance.  Yet it is no less real than any of the four elements.  It radiates wide frequency energy waves that penetrate throughout the third dimension.

Ether will govern by combining with the other four elements on a higher level.  Fire, Earth, Air and Water will act together in a subtle manifestation, activating full consciousness in Mother Earth and humanity.  This is an uplifted anabolic fusion of polarities.   For joining and fusion are priority values in the morning of the Fifth Sun.   Metaphorically, Ether permeates all finite separations and erotically vibrates them into a new unity: that unity being stabilized by heaven.  It is to be a time of supreme spiritual balance. This includes the revolutionary experience of fully developed male and female, both standing in conscious balance together.  Barrios emphasizes “that neither the feminine nor the masculine will be supreme, but that the two energies will be equally balanced.  The two will support one another, and the qualities in one will elevate the qualities in the other.”

Mayan elders note with understanding that their own cosmological interpretations regarding humanity’s immediate future are frequently identifiable in other wisdom traditions.  They see other cultures are saying something very comparable.

Most interestingly, we can now see that the Mayan worldview intersects very creatively with a particular European wisdom tradition. Jungian transpersonal psychology has now accumulated two generations of practical field experience.  It stands out as a dynamic contemporary wisdom tradition. These two traditions illuminate each other.  Metaphorical descriptions of the Fifth Sun given to us by the Mayan elders are readily recognizable images of what Jungian psychologists call the Inner Self. Here is the ancient Greek Anthropos, the cosmic prototype world man/woman; the divine Adam. It is the World-Self. It embodies wholeness, balance and universality, spiritually stabilized. Jungians call this the emergence of the Inner Self from its banishment within the underworld of the unconscious.  Of primary relevance here is the meta-theme in Mayan cosmology.  All of their great calendric cycles of worlds are sequenced preparations for a new “sun” of evolutionary consummation.  Here is the therapeutic restoration, the long sought alchemy for which all civilizations have striven throughout history.  And that restoration has been so well mapped by transpersonal psychology’s mining of our myths and legends.

The Fifth Sun radiates its own cosmology: Wholeness, Universality and Liberation.   The short two-year cycle of definition that precedes it has the purpose of preparing the mass mind for this new and unfamiliar radiance. It does this by bringing experiences that clarify contradictions and distinctions.   It is essentially a clearing operation.  It obliges us to face questions regarding long established conditions in our current human world. What relationship does a particular thing have with the dawning Fifth Sun?   What fits in and what doesn’t?   What has to change, or to go?    Again the Maya are specific.

Because the Fifth Sun entails a collective transcendence of the limiting perspective of the human ego, the Mayan elders teach us that the world’s dominant culture must change dramatically.   This is because it is currently controlled by a cosmology of egoism. That is the maintenance of oppressive negative polarization.  The Mayans also recognize that the capitalist economic system is an integral organizing component of that negatively polarized mass egoism.   Hence it cannot survive the dawn of the Fifth Sun.

Assuming the Mayans are right, and their track record is excellent, we can expect Capitalism to be in a process of terminal breakdown during this closing Cycle of Definition. The predators on Wall St. know that their game is up, and that the only place from which they can now steal money is sovereign governments.   “Definition” is found as we watch the power pyramid of finance capital slowly but steadily implode, from the top down.

If a thing as world encompassing as “Capitalism” is to go, then it throws us into a necessary spiritual exercise.   If Capitalism is to die, then clearly it is necessary that we release all attachment to it.  But the extent to which America identifies itself as Capitalist measures the danger to which the nation may succumb.  For if the American people are determined to retain their attachment to a form which must die, then the American nation is in danger of dying along with it.  But America itself is a process of cosmic creation. So the question that confronts us is this.  How can America thrive while Capitalism is dying?   It can only do this by decoupling itself from the ideology of Capitalism and embracing a revolutionary new self-understanding.  The starting point must be; “capitalism is un-American.”   But the ego driven propaganda is so thick here that the phrase CAPITALISM IS UN-AMERICAN strikes the mind with the jarring dissonance of cognitive absurdity.   For two hundred years Wall St Financiers, aided by their many money-worshipping cronies, have drummed into the heads of Americans the ideological mantra that Capitalism is of the essence of America.

It is for the purpose of clarifying this all-important question that the Mayan Cycle of Definition comes to our aid.   America is really all about Free Enterprise.   Free Enterprise is authentic American spirituality.   The spirit of Free Enterprise exists to enrich the human’s relationship with his or her creator. This was at the heart of the first revolution.  To use contemporary language: Free Enterprise is a necessary component of spiritual self-actualization.  Here is the real spiritual strength of America.   But it is a condition of the culture of freedom that each individual chooses their own level at which they interpret their personal “Free Enterprise.”   This is where the turn to error and the dark side can be seen.   The American ego has incessantly striven to define Free Enterprise in terms of its own self-limiting nature.  This clues us into the fact that there is more than one way to define it.  When the western male ego controls the definition of Free Enterprise, it calls it Capitalism.   Then in its fear and mania for control, the ego demands that all Americans interpret Free Enterprise in exclusively egoic terms.  This is Wall Street’s predatory Capitalism.   It is this turn to a spirit denying egoism that is un-American.  Capitalism is an oppressive ideological distortion that the ego places upon real, living, Free Enterprise.  It sucks the living spirit out of America, and replaces it with a cold-hearted machine of hierarchical domination.  Monsieur Capital has given us the madness of empire, and in his final incarnation he becomes a totalitarian class dictator that sees the American people themselves as his enemy.    In its deepest relation, Capitalism is the weapon with which the hyper-individualized bourgeois ego wars against spirit.  It has become the Death Star.

Here is the point of spiritual self-clarification offered by the Mayan Cycle of Definition.  The true spirit of American Free Enterprise is not Capitalist, in the egoic sense. Free Enterprise works best, that is at its most American, when it is a manifestation of spirit rather than ego.   Create what your soul loves and the money will tend to follow naturally.  The challenge is to stay with the creativity of the soul, and reject the ego’s worship of money power.  So American Freedom is always testing people: how do you define your own Enterprise, from ego or from spirit?   The clarification offered by the Mayan Cycle of Definition is that totalitarian structures that support egoic domination can be seen to fall away.  But spirit based Free Enterprise will thrive in the light of the Mayan Fifth Sun.

This means, for the American nation to awaken into the light of the Fifth Sun it must transform and renew itself.   But what could be more American?   The Fifth Sun carries within it the potential for a great expansion within the American spirit.  But authentic wholeness demands that the social organization of Free Enterprise must embrace a jettisoning of structures that serve the domination of ego, in favor of Enterprise that enables the birth of spirit-centered community.  In the new Sun, the fully-grown woman stands freely beside the man.

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From the Magazine    “WHAT IS ENLIGHTENMENT”

January – March  2007

Special Issue  –  The Mystery of Evolution – A spiritual and scientific exploration of where we came from and where we’re headed

FEATURE ARTICLE

A BRIEF HISTORY OF

EVOLUTIONARY SPIRITUALITY

Three centuries of progressive thinkers reveal that evolution

Has always been a fundamentally spiritual concept

By Tom Huston, copyright 2007

“Has creation a final goal?   And if so, why was it not reached at once?  Why was the consummation not realized from the beginning?  To these questions there is but one answer:  Because God is Life, and not merely Being.”

F. W. J.  Schelling, 1809

CHARLES DARWIN DID NOT INVENT the concept of evolution. In fact, he himself acknowledged that the idea, however loosely defined, had a history dating back to Aristotle. And despite the gen­eral impression offered by most scientists today, it wasn’t always a materialistic notion either. In its modern incarnation, the concept of evolution can be traced directly to Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who viewed the evolutionary pro­cess as an act of God.

A renowned German philosopher, scientist, lawyer, linguist, mathematician, and inventor of both calculus (independent of Newton) and the binary system (the basis of computer technology), Leibniz was a man ahead of his time. Writing on “The Ultimate Origin of Things” in the year 1697—six years after speculating in his Protogaea that over the vast course of the earth’s history “even the species of animals have many times been transformed”—he stated that “a cumulative increase of the beauty and universal perfection of the works of God, a perpetual and unrestricted progress of the universe as a whole must be recognized, such that it advances to a higher state of development.” Although the idea that God’s creation was evolving in a ceaseless ascent toward perfection had already been profoundly intuited over seventy years earlier by the German mystic Jakob Böhme, it was Leibniz who first placed it in a scientific context. And to him, clearly, it was still a novel concept. “I flatter myself that I have some ideas of these truths,” he wrote to a friend in 1707, “but this age is not prepared to receive them.”

Over the next few decades, an increasing number of Europe’s brightest minds began to finally catch Leibniz’s evolutionary drift. Among those illumined ranks were names such as Diderot, Maupertuis, Buffon, and Voltaire, who all wrote about the topic of evolution but, like any self-respecting champions of the Age of Enlightenment, rarely felt compelled to inject divinity into their more scientific speculations. Indeed, by upholding the liberating power of rationality to subvert the ancient myths and dogma of the Church, many of them actively sought to draw a firm line between science and spirituality, reason and religion, bringing to sharper contrast the divide that began with Galileo’s confrontation with the religious authorities two centuries earlier. In this context, through much of the eighteenth century, the many musings about the idea of evolution frequently took on a strictly naturalistic or materialistic tone.

It was only around 1799, ten years after the storming of the Bastille, which ignited the French Revolution and cemented the success of the rational Enlightenment in the chronicles of the Western mind, that these varied intimations of evolution finally congealed into a cohesive new model of reality. Arising, once again, from the fertile depths of the German zeitgeist, it was a cosmological and metaphysical paradigm that seamlessly united science and spirituality—an evolutionary vision that stretched from the simplest atoms of the distant past to a sacred future in which human society would perfectly reflect the transcendent unity of the Divine.

OF ROMANTICS AND IDEALISTS

On any given evening during the fall and winter of 1799, in the pastoral college town of Jena, Germany, at least one candlelit home could likely be found abuzz with the excited voices of some remarkable men and women. Meeting over fine food and wine in the home of local literary critic Wilhelm Schlegel and his brilliant wife, Caroline, an eclectic band of young art­ists, intellectuals, and self-styled scientists would “symphi­losophize” and “sympoetize” late into the night, absorbed in a seemingly endless swirl of radically unconventional ideas. They called themselves “Romantics”: revolutionaries of the human spirit determined to infuse the Enlightenment’s increasing trend toward dry materialism with some much-needed passion and poetry. Troubled by the rational mind’s tendency to brusquely reduce the full grandeur and beauty of life to stale scientific abstraction—dissecting nature “atom­istically like a dead corpse,” in the words of one of their early proponents—they strove to steer Western society in a more holistic, spiritual direction. And perhaps no individual bet­ter fulfilled that dream than the youngest member of Jena’s Romantic inner circle—the charming twenty-four-year-old wunderkind and idealist philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling.

“He has invited me to an exchange of correspondence,” wrote the poet Novalis to a fellow Romantic upon meeting Schelling. “Before the day is out I will write him. I like him a lot—a real universal tendency in him—true radiant force— from one point to infinity.” Similar praise could be heard from nearly all who met the philosophical prodigy, including the famed poet and scientist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. First encountering Schelling in 1798, he was immediately impressed and soon took the young man under his influential wing. For in the unique space of Schelling’s Romantic but thoroughly rational mind—molded as it was by the works of both Böhme and Leibniz—a striking reunification between science and spirit was beginning to take shape.

Expanding on a century’s worth of evolutionary thinking and the idealist philosophy of J.G. Fichte (who’d been a student of Immanuel Kant), Schelling proposed an alternative to the encroaching materialism so dreaded by his Romantic friends: an evolutionary idealism. As the opposite of materialism, the philosophy of idealism held that consciousness, not matter, was the ultimate basis of reality. And once combined with a scientific understanding of evolution, Schelling realized, idealism would represent a force with which all serious thinkers of the Enlightenment would have to contend

Envisioning an epic process of cosmic evolution in which an unmanifest realm of pure consciousness, or absolute spirit, is actively manifesting itself as the world of time and space through a series of increasingly complex and conscious forms—from matter to life to mind and beyond—Schelling wrote:

It is the universal spirit of nature that gradually structures raw matter. From bits of moss, in which hardly any trace of organization is visible, to the most noble form, which seems to have broken the chains of matter, one and the same drive governs. This drive operates according to one and the same ideal of purposiveness and presses forward into infinity to express one and the same archetype, namely, the pure form of our consciousness.

Thus, more than sixty years before Darwin brought the scientific world to its knees with his theory of biological evolution by means of natural selection and “random variation,” Friedrich Schelling and some of his closest friends (including his newfound mentor Goethe and his former schoolmate, philosopher Georg Hegel) were already claiming that reality as a whole was going somewhere. Nature—and humanity—had a purpose and direction, aligned with a purely spiritual drive, and the striking implications of this idea for humanity’s most basic conceptions of life and God did not pass these men by. In the spring of 1800, perhaps after a typical night of creative discussion among the members of the Romantic circle, Schelling pulled out his latest manuscript-in-progress, System of Transcendental Idealism, and inscribed a simple summation of his budding evolutionary thesis: “History as a whole,” he concluded, “is a progressive, gradually self.disclosing revelation of the Absolute.” It was the clearest formulation yet of a vision—an evolutionary spirituality—that would rock the foundations of philosophy and mysticism for centuries to come.

FROM EAST TO WEST TO OMEGA

With the groundbreaking synthesis of the German idealists Schelling and Hegel, no longer did humanity need to be seen as being adrift in a state of sin and suffering, as the Church claimed, having “fallen” away from the presence of God in the primordial past. Nor did God have to remain merely a mythic remnant of a more ignorant age, as many scientists continued to insist. Instead, the reality of the Divine could now be understood to reside most fully in our collective future—to be revealed in the world, with increasing depth and clarity, as history marched forward and consciousness evolved. “God does not remain petrified and dead,” said Hegel. “The very stones cry out and raise themselves to Spirit.”

Echoing that sentiment almost two centuries later, the American integral philosopher Ken Wilber wrote, “Both humans and rocks are equally Spirit, but only humans can consciously realize that fact, and between the rock and the human lies evolution.” And in the span between Hegel and Wilber reigned numerous proponents of evolutionary spirituality in both the East and the West. From the American essayist and lecturer Ralph Waldo Emerson to the Indian scholar and statesman Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, from the Austrian anthroposophical visionary Rudolph Steiner to the English philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, the growing number of spiritual evolutionists spanned a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, but the developmental vision that compelled them was essentially one and the same.

And perhaps no thinkers of the twentieth century took this dawning teleological perspective further and deeper than the Indian philosopher-sage Sri Aurobindo, the French philosopher and author Henri Bergson, and the French paleontologist and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

Writing in the early 1900’s Sri Aurobindo introduced a novel dimension to the field, namely, combining the modern understanding of evolution with the traditional revelation of mystical enlightenment. After completing his studies at Cambridge in 1892, where he immersed himself in the works of the German idealists, he became a leading figure in the Indian independence movement, at one point being declared “the most dangerous man alive” by the British Empire. But he eventually left the freedom fight to devote his life to exploring liberation of an altogether different kind. After he experienced a profound spiritual awakening through the aid of an Indian yogi, Aurobindo’s consciousness opened onto a vision of human possibilities that saw the attainment of nirvana— typically held to be the goal of all spiritual pursuits—as merely the foundation for a conscious engagement with the evolutionary impulse. Leading his spiritual community in the practice of “integral yoga,” Aurobindo brought evolutionary spirituality out of the realm of abstract theory and transformed it into a practical methodology for aligning one’s life with the direction and purpose of the universe as a whole.

Around the same time that Aurobindo, in the East, was setting young Indian souls on fire with the promise of leading lives of evolutionary significance, Bergson and Teilhard, in the West, were busy attempting to salvage the basic concept of evolution from the still-growing dominion of Darwinian materialism. By explicitly interpreting the growing scientific evidence for biological evolution in a context of cosmic spirituality, they bravely attempted—much like the idealists of a century earlier—to creatively merge two increasingly distinct (and even alienated) domains.

Published in 1907, Bergson’s Creative Evolution, for instance, was widely denounced by philosophical realists such as Bertrand Russell for blurring the lines between physics and metaphysics and thereby leading to alleged scientific errors. But it nevertheless became a popular bestseller among the public at large for its compelling consideration of the “motive principle” behind evolution, which Bergson identified as consciousness itself. And although his writings had relatively limited influence on the mainstream intelligentsia at the time of their publication—only receiving a full appreciation in later years, including the award of a Nobel Prize—they arrived at a critical moment to help bring coherence to the confusing array of evolutionary ideas that were presently consuming another French thinker, the young priest called Father Teilhard de Chardin.

Like Creative Evolution before it, Teilhard’s masterwork, The Human Phenomenon, based its evolutionary speculations on widely accepted scientific knowledge, but it took an unusual turn by remaining strictly rooted in the theological wisdom afforded him by his deep Christian faith. Although his theories regarding the future cosmic evolution of consciousness didn’t win him many converts in the Catholic Church (which officially condemned his writings and prohibited him from publishing anything while alive), he has left a lasting impression on the hearts and minds of numerous evolutionary thinkers who have followed in his wake. In particular, many theorists have found immense value in Teilhard’s focus on the back-and-forth interplay of individuality and collectivity over the course of cosmic history. Teilhard envisioned the possibility that human beings, like molecules and bacteria before them, may one day come together in a higher integration, or “mega-synthesis,” of spiritual unification and collective consciousness— uniting in a kind of “thinking envelope” surrounding the earth. He dubbed this the “noosphere,” a psychic field of shared intelligence that was already beginning to slowly encompass the planet, transcending and including the geosphere (of insentient matter) and the biosphere (of life). And Teilhard foresaw the fulfillment of all evolution, both cosmic and human, in an ultimate convergence of matter and consciousness that he called the “Omega Point”—a concept that has also inspired many futurists and science fiction writers over the last fifty years.

Shortly before his death in 1955, Teilhard made the following reflection on his life and work, proving that despite the intense ideological adversity he encountered, his faith in the ever-ascending evolutionary power of divinity remained unshaken to the end:

When all is said and done, I can see this: I managed to climb to the point where the Universe became appar­ent to me as a great rising surge, in which all the work that goes into serious inquiry, all the will to create, all the acceptance of suffering, converge ahead into a single dazzling spearhead—now, at the end of my life, I can stand on the peak I have scaled and continue to look ever more closely into the future, and there, with ever more assurance, see the ascent of God.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the notion that the evolutionary process is ultimately driven by a spiritual impulse is continuing to gain traction, with a growing number of progressive philosophers, scientists, and mystics exploring its implications. To many, it is simply a compelling philosophy, uniting the revelations of science and spirituality in a way that no other theory can. But others, like Aurobindo before them, are beginning to reach beyond a theoretical discussion to wonder: What might human life and culture look like if we fully took to heart the reality of this view? Freed from the mythic dogmatisms of premodern religion, transcending the materialistic biases of modern scientific thought, and liberated from the narcissistic self-­absorptions of postmodernity, what kind of new world could human beings aligned with the trajectory of a spiritually evolving cosmos actually create?

The future, as always, remains unknown. But as Hegel assured us so long ago: “We could, indeed, embrace the whole in the single principle of development; if this were clear, all else would result and follow of its own accord.”