One of the most common and recurring religious themes is that humanity will be saved and brought to its next stage of evolution through the appearance of a yet another great prophet or world teacher. In Christianity, Christ will come again. In Buddhism, the Maitreya Buddha will incarnate. In Judaism, the Messiah. In Islam, the Imam Mahdi. And across the new age movement, there are all kinds of prophesies about new gurus, avatars and interventions.
I am open to all these ideas — I always welcome help! — but to be honest I am also suspicious of them. These prophecies suggest that humanity is dependent on outside intervention and that we cannot make it by ourselves. Maybe so, but I have another experience. I know the world is full of selfishness and suffering, but over and over again I see people growing and transforming. Especially in crises and challenges I see people developing. I therefore have faith in our species to achieve spiritual maturity and fulfilment based in our own efforts.
So I prefer another idea and prophesy, which is that humanity as a whole is the new saviour and that collectively we are the new Messiah. Or to put it in another language, the Christ consciousness, the Buddha consciousness, the Gaia consciousness, will not be manifest through just one single person, but will manifest through many of us. It will be a group event.
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This collective event is sometimes described with words like ‘higher vibrations’ and ‘ascension’. It is also sometimes described as an event that will be restricted to a small elite and that the rest of humanity will perish. I remember once hearing a spiritual teacher suggest, drawing on the symbolism of the New Testament, that we should all welcome a nuclear third world war because it would result in 144,000 special irradiated people who would pioneer a new humanity on a new earth in a new dimension. Scary.
But that is only one example of the many melodramatic prophesies about humanity’s future. As my readers will know, I am happy to contradict any prophesies which suggest some kind of global disaster. I may be wrong, but I am suspicious of any kind of spirituality that is communicated with threats. More than that, the history of religion is very sobering. It shows that decade-by-decade, almost year-by-year, there has always been some group warning that the end of the world is nigh. “The end is nigh! Prepare to meet thy doom!” This has been the source of many wonderful cartoons.
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There is another way of understanding a collective change in humanity, which many other teachers, such as Alice Bailey and the Orbs, describe.
Some of you may be familiar with the classic meditation exercise called the Master in the Heart. In some spiritual schools, this is the very first technique that is taught. In it we slowly and calmly build up a picture and sense of a perfect being. We then place and develop this being in our hearts, allowing it to radiate to influence us and the world around us.
Done every day over a period of time, this is a powerful exercise. Gradually the practitioner absorbs the vibration of the exercise and integrates its influence. It becomes increasingly real. The individual indeed develops an open and radiating heart.
An open and radiating heart! Now that, for me, is a real change in vibration and in consciousness. Watch anyone, including you, opening their heart. The atmosphere immediately becomes more caring and compassionate. Our consciousness expands and there is instinctive generosity.
Opening our hearts is perhaps the single most important thing that any of us can do.
It is not noisy behaviour. It does not glitter and it does not seek attention. The ‘higher’ vibrations of the heart are not, in my opinion, intense or electric. They are softer, deeper, more considerate and caring. And powerful.
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I began this piece by saying that I liked the idea that the Earth births us in the same way that a tree births leaves. To follow this metaphor, when a heart opens it is like a bud opening on a tree. In fact, esoteric anatomy describes the heart chakra as being like a flower with several petals that open and then begin to spin, radiating heart energy. Each petal of the heart chakra represents a different aspect of love: compassion, care, attention to detail, service, self-sacrifice, courage and so on.
When all the petals in our heart chakra are spinning, when our hearts are fully open, then we are not only channels for compassion and love, we ourselves are actually generators of compassion, power stations of goodwill.
This is like a tree blossoming in Spring. One new leaf, one new bud, is a miracle of nature. But it is the destiny, the essential nature of the tree, to be full with blossom, a whole canopy of tiny flowers creating a single image of beauty. Deep roots, a powerful trunk and a celebration of radiance.
This too is surely the destiny for the whole of humanity. Not just the occasional visiting messiah. Not just the occasional emergence of a saviour – but the collective opening of our hearts. Like a tree in full Spring blossom.