Reposted from Awaken In The Dream
As a writer, I’ve noticed something very interesting in the coronavirus outbreak regarding people’s reactions to my articles. Since the virus has taken hold of our consciousness (as we focus our attention on it), I’ve been pointing out that the global pandemic—and our unconscious reactions to it—can be seen to be a revelation of something deep within our unconscious that it greatly behooves us to know. People’s reactions to what I’m writing about have become as interesting to me as the revelation encoded within the pandemic (see here and here), as if people’s reactions to what I’m shining light on are themselves part of the revelation at which I’m pointing.
Though a suffering-filled nightmare on one level, I have been pointing out that the coronavirus pandemic also has many gifts encoded within it—for example, helping people more deeply realize our interdependence (our literal “oneness”), a realization which generates compassion, as well as helping us to realize the dreamlike nature of our universe (helping us become lucid in this shared waking dream). This realization also helps us to step out of fear and unlock our intrinsic power, agency and creativity—all of which are in the service of potentially awakening the human species from our collective slumber. And yet, when I send out these articles, in addition to the responses from people who really appreciate and draw inspiration from what I’m saying, the responses from people who take issue with what I’m pointing at have really gotten my attention.
The people who disagree with what I’m saying point out, in essence, the undeniable insidious power grab that is taking place behind the scenes while we are distracted by the pandemic—the sinister restructuring of the economy and of the government, the centralization of power and control, the militarization of our society, the transfer of wealth and power, the implementation of a totalitarian agenda—all designed to strengthen the grip of the corrupt corporate-banking oligarchy that has us increasingly under its thumb. This has been called “disaster capitalism” – in times of catastrophes, while most everyone is distracted by the crisis, certain people or institutions seize an opportunity to profit at the expense of everyone else’s suffering. Call it what you will, this is a very real phenomenon that is definitely taking place under our masked noses. It doesn’t serve us to turn a blind eye to this malevolent darkness that is increasingly becoming visible in our world.
It has been reflected back to me that, with a roof over my head and food in my belly, it is easy for me to write about the many gifts hidden within the virus, as I am in a privileged position – a perspective with which I don’t disagree. To quote one of my readers (who happens to be a very accomplished spiritual teacher), “For those who have lost their jobs and are struggling to get by from one day to the next; for the low-income workers who have to work, putting themselves and their families at risk; for the doctors and nurses without sufficient protective gear fighting on behalf of an overload of patients; for those in Italy and Iran and Spain and still other countries where the virus hangs like a dark terror over their heads; for people in Spain, whose aged parents are being taken off respirators that can then be used for younger patients–for all these it would take a tremendous swivel at the seat of consciousness to see the virus as a bearer of gifts.”
I can’t disagree at all with this reader’s point. For people who are losing their source of income and/or their own health or the very lives of their loved ones, to hear someone proclaiming the many gifts that the pandemic bears can sound like so much new-age, feel-good, magical thinking nonsense. And yet, their reaction, though justified and steeped in truth, is revealing something about how to navigate the nature of the conversation into which we have all gotten drafted.
Their reaction begs the question – should I not be pointing out the very real potential gifts that are encoded within the pandemic? Is it unfeeling and insensitive of me to do so? And yet, just like my reader’s point of view, the perspective that the coronavirus carries a revelation within it also has a truth to it that is undeniable. Shedding light on this paradoxical dilemma can become a key that unlocks an important insight within our minds.
The fact that an event causes mass suffering doesn’t preclude that it can also contain within it a transformative gift – oftentimes events like these are the necessary catalyst to transform both individuals and our species as a whole. Isn’t this the deeper meaning of the Christian myth – that we can’t have the resurrection without the crucifixion? Isn’t this the meaning of “The Four Noble Truths” of Buddhism? The idea is that our world is pervaded by suffering, but that encoded within the suffering is the possibility of discovering its root cause so as to alleviate it; the greater the suffering, the greater the incentive to uncover its source. The fact that there is a possible revelation hidden within our suffering—which reveals to us how to end our suffering—is the basis of the whole Buddhist path.
Our narratives—the stories we tell ourselves about what is happening in our world—are the interpretive frameworks through which we make sense of our world. Internally consistent and self-reinforcing from within their own viewpoint, these narratives have a spell-binding effect upon our minds which makes it hard to take in evidence that is contrary to their viewpoint. Each of us has a particular narrative that we invest in as being objectively, unimpeachably true, what can be called our “narrative bias.”
Some of us, understandably so, feel despair and pessimism because of the dark agenda that is undeniably being implemented not just behind the scenes, but on the main stage of the world theater for all who have eyes to see. There is very convincing real-world evidence to justify the pessimistic point of view of their narrative bias. Others of us can hold out the possibility that a deeper good (for example, the pandemic will awaken us to our essential unity and usher in a new society founded on the principles of equality and compassion) might be emerging out of the collective nightmare that we are living through, which is a viewpoint that seems naïve and ridiculous from the perspective of the people whose narrative bias is pessimistic.
And yet, if someone has fallen prey to pessimism, thinking that they are helpless to change the trajectory of our species’ suicidal behavior, they will see the world through a lens which draws evidence to confirm their pessimistic viewpoint, resulting in them being even more convinced of the rightness of their viewpoint and the objective nature of what they are seeing in an infinitely regressing, self-generating feedback loop that is of the nature of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The question naturally arises: in their pessimistic viewpoint, are they just being sober-minded “realists,” having a justified response to the reality of our situation, or have they become entranced by the creative genius of their own mind to call forth reality in an image confirming their pessimistic viewpoint? It should get our attention that there is something flawed in our logic if the accomplishment from winning a debate about the truth of our pessimism is that we are screwed. It is noteworthy that if someone becomes entrenched in their pessimistic point of view, they have become unwittingly complicit in creating their own worst nightmare.
On the other hand, I’ve noticed that when I point out the darker agenda to people who are identified with an overly one-sided, spiritual and optimistic point of view, they get upset, not wanting to put their attention on the shadowy goings on in our world (be it for fear of thinking they’d be feeding the darkness by focusing their attention on it, or just sensing that they’d get overly stressed out, anxious and depressed if they took in the darkness, in which case they couldn’t be of help to anyone). By holding onto an overly optimistic, light-filled viewpoint, however, while marginalizing the darker, more frightening point of view, they are avoiding relationship with their own inner darkness, thereby unwittingly making it more probable that the very darker reality that they are denying will actually manifest.
And yet, these two polar opposite points of view—the pessimistic viewpoint which sees us creating hell on earth and the optimistic point of view which imagines that the pandemic will bring in a new, more grace-filled world—though seemingly contradictory and mutually exclusive, can both be seen to be potentially valid depending on the reference point through which they are viewed. It is as if our very situation is deeply “quantum” in nature, in that all possibilities exist in a state of quantum superposition, like multiple transparencies overlaid on each other, and which potential reality actually manifests depends upon how we relate to and make meaning out of what is being revealed to us.
Interestingly, quantum physics has revealed the dreamlike nature of our universe. Our night dreams (just like our waking dream) are multi-dimensional, having various levels of meaning embedded within the fabric of the dream, all of which have value. These multiple levels of meaning can actually complement and illumine each other, helping to unlock the gifts encoded within the dream. It’s not a question of which level of meaning is true, they all can be true simultaneously. When these different levels of meaning are seen together as interrelated aspects of a greater whole, a deeper picture—the full meaning of the dream—can begin to emerge.
There is a psychological phenomenon that happens when we see an aspect of the truth, which is that oftentimes we fall prey to imagine that what we are seeing is the whole truth, instead of realizing that we are only seeing one of its many multi-textured facets. Seeing a partial truth, but being certain that we are in possession of the whole truth can actually serve to obscure us from seeing a more comprehensive truth, as we ourselves unknowingly become our own agents of obfuscation.
Many people, based on their narrative bias, are identified with one point of view as not just being true, but is conflated with “THE TRUTH” itself, to the exclusion of the contrary viewpoint, which is not only deemed as false, but oftentimes seen as something dangerous. One of the results of this is to divide and separate us among ourselves based on whichever particular reality tunnel (to use author Robert Anton Wilson’s phrase) that we inhabit in the moment. People who are interpreting the world the way we see it validate the rightness of our point of view and are seen as allies. People who view things differently than us are typically seen as “others,” seen as having a deluded perspective and are deemed a threat to our version of reality, which creates a sense of judgement and separation from those who hold a different viewpoint.
It is highly significant that seeing people as separate breeds fear, which is nutrient-dense food for the virus. The coronavirus has two vectors of transmission – one within our physical bodies, another within our minds. Becoming divided among ourselves is part of the psychological effect of the virus that we are unwittingly colluding with through our fixed views. When we become divided and polarized, we are easier to be manipulated and controlled by outside forces. If we become stuck in our viewpoint we are actually enabling the virus to propagate itself at our expense, which is to say that the psychological aspect of the virus depends on our cognitive prejudices to keep itself in business, so to speak.
Just like a dream compensates a one-sidedness in the dreamer, oftentimes the counter-narrative to our own may contain some facet of truth, some important piece of the bigger picture, which, if recognized, can enhance and flesh out our perspective. The exception, of course, is when someone’s narrative is simply deluded, out of touch with reality, a result of the pervasive brain-washing propaganda that seems to be everywhere in our world today. If we are able to find even the smallest grain of truth in the opposing viewpoint, however, it can help us to dispel our sense of separation from the other person who seems to be holding a contrary perspective to our own, which increases our compassion.
What I notice in myself is an ever-growing capacity to simultaneously hold a meta-perspective from which both seemingly opposing points of view are seen as potentially true. This is to say I am not turning a blind eye or marginalizing either of the two extremes, nor identifying with one at the expense of the other. This is to step out of the limited two-valued, binary logic—which sees things as either true or false—into the more expanded four-valued quantum dream logic, which is able to see things as both true and false at the same time. I see both the potential nightmare as well as the potential lucid dream, so to speak, and, though it can be painful to hold the tension of these opposites, I continually cultivate the ability—like going to the gym to build up my psycho-spiritual muscles—to hold both possibilities in my mind’s eye and see what spontaneously emerges out of the creative tension this elicits in my psyche.
Consciously holding the tension of the opposites within our own awareness without splitting off and identifying with either of the opposites (either optimistic or pessimistic) is an intrinsic super-hero power that we all possess, knowingly or unknowingly. Interestingly, holding the tension of the opposites is experienced as—and symbolized by—a veritable crucifixion of our limited egoic identity. Is this to be genuinely imitating Christ and, as he counseled his followers to do, to be carrying our own cross?
Humanity has been hobbled by our narrative biases. Instead of locking down on one narrative, the ability to have a comprehensive, omni-perspectival view of the world—where instead of seeing only a partial view of what might be happening, we are more able to see the “big picture”—is a critically important evolutionary capacity that we are each being called to develop.
If, due to our narrative bias, we identify with one of the opposites as being true and the other as being false, however, we dissociate within ourselves, which disconnects us from our wholeness and forecloses on our ability to access genuine compassion. Abnegating our ability to be of benefit to a world so greatly in need of our help, we then become unwittingly complicit in participating in the unfolding world catastrophe, which would be truly tragic. In conclusion: We can be of maximum benefit for both ourselves and the world at large when we are intimately connected with our intrinsic wholeness, whose natural perspective is not fixed in any particular dogmatic viewpoint or fixed narrative but sees things from as many points of view as we are able to imagine.