So far in this series on the Family of Creation, we've covered some ideas that can help us establish the unity we need in the 21st century, to overcome polarization between Progressives and Conservatives and save our world:
So, more specifically, how does this work apply to Conservatives, Progressives, and all of us? How can this understanding of ego, Soul, and the Circle, Cross and Cycle alleviate our polarization? What can we do to weave a healthier Knot, to mature as a Family of Creation?
FOR MORE CONSERVATIVE FOLKS: MORE REVOLUTION
We must remember the Cycle of Christ requires purgation and death, and that the “end” goal is union and then a whole new birth and Cycle. The goal is not simply life, per se – that's only the first of the seven steps of growth toward God. When we try to keep things in the life stage indefinitely just as they are, it’s a sign that the ego is trying to commandeer the process for its own self-preservation, resisting the suffering of letting go and resisting necessary evolution. God needs us to evolve. As Jesus exemplified and taught, God is anything but static; to live in His image means to share in His characteristic dynamism.
If we try to remain static and don’t go willingly into purgation and death, God always forces us into them. Thus the longer we pretend we can stagnate in life, the more and faster it decays into “life.” It’s like plastic surgery addiction: the ego spends ever-more time and effort scrambling and fighting to prop itself up, with diminishing returns and a guarantee that the edifice’s inevitable collapse will be ever-more painful. All the while, a fuller Soul expression is stifled, making us feel like God is ever-farther away, leaving the ego to despair and reinforce this vicious cycle.
We can loosen the ego’s grip, by remembering that Jesus wasn’t simply performing illumination and resurrection for us as one-time events, but inviting us into them as continuous processes. So we needn't be afraid of the preceding purgation and death – we have already been promised illumination and resurrection on the other side. In this, we may in fact find gratitude for the revolution Progressives have to offer: it's an invitation to generative purgation, death, and evolution. Further, relinquishing our fear can help us truly enjoy life as we're meant to and as Jesus called us to countless times. As we face this century's daunting challenges, it's hard to imagine joy – let alone peace – will be accessible any other way.
FOR MORE PROGRESSIVE FOLKS: MORE REVELATION
We must remember that in the purgation and death processes we're pushing for, the ego can only be gradually shed and transformed, not somehow suddenly obliterated. Attempts to do this always backfire, whether right away or belatedly. This is because a scorched-earth approach threatens to burn the Soul too, which, though eternal, is also vulnerable. To protect itself, simply hides from attack in another ego. The new ego is always even more grasping, protective, and resistant than the last one, keeping our revolutions stuck on a hamster wheel rather than allowing them to drive society forward. Therefore, we must approach the shedding process as delicate, requiring our hospitable, accommodating, curious, merciful love.
Everything that has been Created – which is every thing, every one – has an eternal Soul. If we imagine creatively enough, or if we help something shed enough of its ego, we can see the inherent, original, unalterable goodness beneath all the scar tissue. In many cases, especially with empire, we need to invite a lot of shedding. But in this process we must be ready to encounter a Soul’s hidden spiritual purpose. In this, we may in fact find gratitude for the revelation Conservatives have to offer: it's an invitation to see the Divine design and vision in everything that already exists, not just our ideals for something new and better. A Soul's purpose cannot be destroyed, or even shed, and we must listen to what every Soul has to say rather than imposing onto it what we want it to say, which again causes it to hide elsewhere.
We need to invite the immutably good Soul into fuller expression in a mature ego, while re- and up-cycling the material of the old ego as part of purgation and death. This is part of what Jesus meant in inviting us to sell our possessions, receive new life, and follow him. And the only way we’ll know what a mature ego looks like is if we develop and model our own versions of it. This means doing our own work of ego diminution and Soul embodiment, not just demanding others do these things. Yes, such restraint means we will have to take on more suffering. But a mature ego and full Soul, in community with others', can endure just about anything, and can also open more readily to joy in the process. As we face this century's daunting challenges, it's hard to imagine joy – let alone peace – will be accessible any other way.
FOR ALL OF US...
We are meant to help carry each other’s Crosses, which are all ultimately slivers of the one Great Cross of Suffering. And we cannot let anxiety about our particular sliver make us ignorant of the single, grand struggle uniting all Creation – the struggle with entropy. Further, there is only one, indivisible Circle of Life, Love, and Incarnation – not halves – and we are all always inside it. And we must all move through the whole Cycle of Spiritual Evolution, individually and collectively. If we can remember all this, we can internalize a deeper understanding of the word revolution. And humanity and all life on Earth will need a revolution – a unified one – to survive and thrive in this century.
In this revolution, we will all face death, in many different forms. Death is never what we fear it will be. While the immature ego is preoccupied with and unable to see beyond its hypothetical “end,” the Soul recognizes that in the Cycle of Evolution, everything born, since it has an eternal Soul, can never really “end” in the sense of destruction or ceasing to exist. But everyone will have to undergo a disarming and dismantling of the ego – which can seem an even scarier "end" – in order to move toward our greatest creative potential. This death is a threshold we as individuals and a species must cross to gain what's calling to us: illumination, a Sacred vision for the future of Creation. If we can remember all this, we can internalize a deeper understanding of the word revelation. And humanity and all life on Earth will need a revelation – a unified one – to survive and thrive in this century.
Amidst all the trials and threats in our politics, technology, and ecology, it seems humanity and all life on Earth are in the throes of a Great Purgation, at the threshold of a momentous Great Death. This does not mean we face certain and final extinction, though it does mean the sober contemplation of that possibility, and the necessary shedding of obsolete ego-ways. It does mean that if we can embrace everything before us – Circle, Cross, and Cycle, egos, empires, entropy, Souls, Community, and Energy – a Great Illumination, Resurrection, Union, and New Birth await. I believe we can do this embracing, so I believe our current Purgation and Death herald not "the end," but a reckoning, reconciliation, and new beginning for our Family of Creation.
For some speculation on what all this revolution, revelation, and everything else might look like in the coming years and decades, stay tuned for future blog series!
In the meantime, stay tuned for exciting upcoming announcements from InVocation Spiritual Guidance!
For now, this concludes the series on Christian Spirituality and my Articles of Faith – thank you so much for reading, sharing, and subscribing!
As always, I leave you with some reflection questions:
How have you been embracing purgation and death as ongoing processes?
How have you been embracing illumination and resurrection as ongoing processes?
How have you been experiencing the delicate ego-shedding process?
How have you been embracing hidden spiritual purpose, and inherent, original goodness beneath all the scar tissue?
How have you been developing your own mature ego and doing your own work of ego diminution and Soul embodiment?
How have you been seeing revolution and revelation emerging?
With any of these – how would you like to?