I have been pondering this essay for quite some time, well before the current global crisis began. I have been living in paradise for the past 18 months, and I have witnessed quite an interesting phenomenon during this time. Those who have come to visit our eco resort are filled with a sense of awe; the place is that magnificent. The physical beauty, the energy of the cascading creek, the mountain vistas, and the total tranquility add up to a response that mere words cannot convey. Often, some reference is made to god or heaven, using words like majestic, fantastic, and glorious.
A few have come to visit with the idea that they might live here. One woman in particular came with her dog and stayed for five days. She was sure that this was the perfect paradise for herself and her canine companion. But as I drove her back into Cuenca she remarked that it would be very difficult to live in this paradise with a few other relatively conscious community members. Her reason was that in her opinion she was an “asshole.” Her negativity would be glaringly apparent to everyone and too painful for her to bear.
There is an interesting phrase, “the unbearable lightness of being,” that comes from the novel by Milan Kundera. This phrase speaks to the vast chasm that exists between seeking and finding. I paraphrase a great poem by Indian mystic Rabindranath Tagore: “I have been seeking paradise (god) for thousands of years; sometimes I think a catch a glimpse of this paradise, far away, but as I get closer it turns out to be a mirage in the desert; my seeking went on and on like this forever, until one day I stumble upon a place with the sign reading “this is paradise; please enter.” I became deeply troubled. If I enter this place then all of my journeys, my pilgrimages, my great adventures, my philosophy, my poetry, all of the longing in my heart … all is finished! I turned away from paradise; I know to avoid this place, though I am haunted by the knowledge that it exists.”
Our world is currently experiencing a remarkable transformation. Like any true transformation there is great confusion, fear and chaos. Eckhart Tolle describes that to the caterpillar the butterfly represents the end of the world. A quote from Sam Keen, author of “Fire in the Belly,” “Inevitably, any major transformation of the psyche involves a long process of de-structuring the old self, before there can be any construction of a new one.” In my Conscious Living process, I use the term Conscious Dying to describe the de-structuring of the old self. This is what we see happening on a global scale, even though the old forms do not go down without a fight. It is likely that this collective Conscious Dying process will continue for the next decade or so. In my vision we will begin collectively building our new earth in the year 2032. But the seeds for this new earth have been planted and examples are beginning to grow. My paradise is just one of many such oases around our globe.
It is natural and to be expected to see both an attraction to paradise and also a resistance. The ego and its defensive structures yield a paradox that we can call “seek but do not find.” When someone like my aforementioned visitor rejects the offer of peace and happiness this is simply the ego at work. Another voice for our new earth whom I quote regularly is Eckhart Tolle. From his masterwork, “The Power of Now,” he says: “Dissolution is needed for new growth to happen … . The down cycle is absolutely essential for spiritual realization. You must have failed deeply on some level, or experienced some deep loss, to be drawn to the spiritual dimension.”
We are failing deeply as a species, and we will continue to experience a deep sense of loss for the next decade or so. Luckily this is the exact formula for our success, and our transformation will yield a fully new species. Some call this new species “homo spiritus;” others have named it “homo glimmulus.” Where our former species, “homo sapiens,” has been ruled by the tribal and egoic consciousness, our emerging species is firmly rooted in spiritual principles and practice. This is what I call Conscious Living. Our life and our world will become a true paradise. The self-centered and selfish ego will be overruled by a spiritual awakening, in which our experience of the beauty and abundance of nature yield the principles of simplicity and generosity.
Anyone interested in a glimpse into this paradise, our new earth, are welcomed to come for a visit!