The liminal space between worlds….

As I mentioned in the first post on this new blog, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the world is in metacrisis. It is no longer one major system in collapse, but many; an ecological crisis, a geological crisis, a meaning-making crisis, a capability and intelligibility crisis and world wide political crises, you name it, it’s already happening.

You could say that right now is a liminal space, a Kairos moment, a period of Grace, if you like, in between worlds. It is by no means certain that a transformation to a new, more coherent and resilient world is inevitable. There are no quick fix easy answers. We live in a complex world and having a grasp of complex systems thinking seems now a prerequisite for anyone living in it if we’re all to survive, make sense and even thrive in it. That’s not an easy ask for most people, but we can either accept all that’s coming like lambs to the slaughter, or we can choose to play a part in bringing it about.

So how do we make sense of what’s happening and how do we relate to it? The pandemic isn’t over and may not be anytime soon. How do we stay with the crisis we’re in and yet keep faith in a vision for a new world? In a metacrisis we cannot be expected to understand what’s happening with clarity. We are clearly in the middle of something huge as a species right now, and there are dimensions of it that are clearly both unknown and unknowable. The current pandemic, the protests, the world wide political crises, are all part of a larger process that’s emerging. We need to try to make sense of it, yes, but as history shows, when transitioning through periods of deep change, the patterns that are unfolding cant be seen clearly by the people living through them. We need to be able to rest in little bit of unknowing. and inhabit the liminal space.

We hate uncertainty because it makes us feel impotent, but it’s where were at and there’s great wisdom in resting there. We just don’t know what’s going on and how we’ll negotiate it. The problem is not about a lack of information or we’d already be behaving in ways that benefit all of us. Our post -modern world feels closer to chaos. And let’s face it we’ve been drowning in ‘information’ of one kind or another for decades and in the process, we’ve lost all connection to our own inner wisdom.

Now is the time to inhabit our inner wisdom, to get in touch with God within us, however you choose to name that. You might have noticed this still, small voice within that requires you to be very quiet before you can hear it. It’s usually gentle and truthful. Spirit, Allah, Om, Buddha nature, however you choose to describe it, some call it deep intuition, it requires discipline and discernment. You have to get used to listening to it closely. It won’t run on the energy of fear or criticism or cruelty or avarice, but it will nourish and support your deepest needs.

I feel fortunate to have a contemplative practice at this time of uncertainty. It plugs me into a greater meaning making paradigm than the secular world has to offer. My contemplative world view invites me to consider how we can move from order, through disorder, to a new order. The universal reality of the Christian worldview is life, death and resurrection, but other religions and systems have various other ways of describing that from enlightenment, nirvana, salvation and so on. In that sense, the world religions hold perennial wisdom. Spirit exists and exists within. Heaven is not a remote location but a state of consciousness. I have come to see all religions as a map, which followed to the highest intent lead us back to the source, or unity consciousness.

In the west our own tradition is Christianity. In Episode 3 of his excellent meaning making series, cognitive scientist John Verveake does a great job of describing how problematic it is that people is the West are losing touch with the biblical tradition, because the degree to which you don’t have a grasp of the bible is the degree to which you don’t have a grasp of your own cognition. Whether you are atheist or not, he notes, is irrelevant. We are, in the west, still filled with the God-grammar of the bible.

We can deeply understand the concept of resurrection and it serves to shape our worldview. And it’s an open world view. The story telling of the bible, as exemplified in the great biblical themes such as the story of Exodus, doesn’t lock us into an endless cycle of birth and rebirth but offers us a way out of the endless suffering. As John emphasises, the repetition of those cycles are horrible and something we want to avoid at all costs. If you find out how to participate in the story with God, your actions can contribute to the ongoing creation of the future. This what makes the God of ancient Israel a different God to any which went before. Here the Israelites are imprisoned in their illusionary world and God comes and liberates them and sets them on a journey towards a future that is promised. The God of the old testament is not bound by time and space but a God of the open future –moving through time and space becomes a God of progress. This affords us great hope that a new world is at least possible if we are willing to co-create it.

As we know from the Christian myths, the only way out is through and we have to stay with the disorder before we can reach the resurrection of the new order. And by the way, a myth is not some made up story, but a deeply archetypal pattern of behaviour that is happening all the time. The story of the Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt is a great example of one such mythWe certainly can’t reorder a new world using the same broken tools that created it. if we do, were on the wrong course. We can’t do it through war or money or any number of already broken systems. This can be a difficult dying process but in order for a seed to grow it first has to fall to the ground. it might be that the worst is yet to come and it will be painful

In the meantime, as we face our unknowns, our choices then become how to make sense of our immediate world. How do we interface with the world in ways that are helpful right now? How do we connect in a more human way with those around us? Who or what do we trust? What do we need to know to live and survive? How do we treat people with integrity and decency? How do we spend more quality time with the people we love? How do we make sure we’re plugged into something greater than the mighty ego? How do we cultivate the wisdom we need to transform ourselves out of the world of illusion into the real world? Given the increase in mental health globally, how to we create meaning in this increasingly deconstructed and nihilistic world? These are questions that are surely pertinent to most of us and the extent to which we can answer them with some clarity is an indicator of how resilient we’ll be in facing whatever is to come.

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