What if the psychologist Carl Jung was right – that our reality is ultimately one of living symbols telling us a story, one about ourselves and our relationship with all life? In other words, both individually and collectively do we create our reality, including the weather?
Finally we’re waking up to the relationships between our actions and their effects, at the surface level at least. Science can show us that. The job of symbols, however, is to tell the deeper, more powerful story that we don’t yet see – the battle raging inside of us that makes it so difficult to change our destructive ways despite our best intentions.
Before reading Carl Jung, the same idea had paid me a visit while writing a fantasy novel, The House of Tusk – that Earth is the laboratory of the cosmos where consciousness is explored, where great events deep within our shared psyche shape the world around us. From this perspective, tsunamis, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, rising sea levels, crumbling ecosystems in a mechanised world in which so much is automatic, everything takes on a deeper meaning as repressed feelings strain to be seen and heard. Through the same lens, our combined emotional numbness creates what can feel like a force that some call evil. And yet, if just one person passes through their fears and becomes whole again, exchanging fear for a sense of wonder, the cohesive impact on the cosmos is vast, defying maths and linear logic, piquing the interest of any powers watching on. That was the general idea.
Any creative person who has persevered with a project will have experienced something highly mysterious – a visit from the Muses. Immense ideas beyond our frame of conscious experience move through us and ring resoundingly true. They’re reaffirmed by other writers and artists exploring the same ideas. It’s awe-inspiring, humbling and hugely empowering – an awakening to the notion that reality is far greater than we realised and is yearning for us to remember who it is we really are, to reunite, helping where it can. Imagination is suddenly real again.
A tribe of wisdom keepers in Colombia known as the Kogi, refer to this invisible world of the psyche as the real world – causal reality. This view has been echoed by every wise person throughout time. Only now is mainstream thinking opening to the idea that traditional societies the world over understood reality in a far more sophisticated way than most people do today. It is clear to see in the timeless themes of the old stories they paid homage to – stories still courted by gifted storytellers such as Dr. Martin Shaw.
This perspective is hugely heartening at this critical moment. We now know what we must do in our daily lives in order to restore balance. At last we’re talking about mass rewilding with special attention to restoring soils, along with a deeper look at our economic system and the values behind it. (Less spoken about is the bigger lever of population and the pressing need for smaller family sizes – see The Forbidden Word in Climate Change Discussions and the Key to a Bright Future). In fact, over the past year the deluge of information on environmental damage, often framed fearfully, has become overwhelming for many, especially for the young. Yet nothing we do will be enough unless we see through the drama to the deeper layers.
Could it be that we’re being offered an invite, the greatest we could possibly wish for? An invite to a Golden Age, what traditional Hindus, who view time in ever-evolving cycles, call a satya yuga, an Age of Truth. Said another way, are we being invited to step forth from an experiment in what it feels like to be separate, one that has spanned up to ten thousand years, and pass into a time of glorious remembrance and all the miracles that come with it? Miracles we can still see today when tribes such as the Hopi unite as one heart, dance for the rain and the rain answers.
If so, to respond to this invite we must journey into the mysterious forest inside ourselves and get to know all the characters that hold us back. Then realise our fears don’t belong to us. They’re simply part of an experiment, the challenge being to pass through them and rediscover the parts of ourselves that we lost along the way, because we were too young to understand the fears of the people around us. Having done so, our collective dream becomes a conscious one, a thing of beauty. As we become whole and blossom, so too does nature.
The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2021–2030 as the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Our current challenges feel like a perfect storm whose primary intention is to bring us back together, both with ourselves and all species and once again become caretakers of this magnificent planet. There is much to do in a short space of time and 2020 feels pivotal, but if we accept the invite then, perhaps with a bump or two along the way, this time will pass well. I feel it in my bones.
Wishing you a 2020 full of courage, togetherness and a great sense of adventure.
Recommended Reading / Viewing:
No Planet B, Mike Berners-Lee
Wilding, Isabella Tree
From What Is to What If, Rob Hopkins
A Branch from the Lightning Tree, Dr. Martin Shaw
Unlocking Nature’s Secrets: The Serengeti Rules – BBC i-player
United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
Rewilding Europe – A Call to Action for Rewilding Europe
Future Stewards (in partnership with Leader’s Quest, and Global Optimism).