Pilgrimage is an association of neighbors, a tribe of tribes
Evolution is going to happen with or without us. At this point in human history, evolution is not so much about genes as about memes. The immediate issue we will need to address is the evolution of consciousness.
Our consciousness about material and mechanical things has transformed farther and faster than our consciousness of things cultural and relational. We can send billionaires into space but we can’t feed hungry people and we can’t stop the proliferation of weapons.
Science and Spirituality
This imbalance is the result of a rift between science and religion that started to grow 400 years ago. Even today there is significant antipathy between those whose religion is science and those whose science is scripture. This antagonism contributes to the paralyzing polarizations which stop humans from addressing hunger, disease, the changing climate, and the rise of authoritarianism.
Even among many who acknowledge the existence of these problems there is a conviction that the solutions are beyond their power and thus there is no reason to change their behavior. They believe only grand gestures by powerful actors will heal the social wounds. This is not true. The truth is only the many acting separately but in harmony will heal the world. We will solve these problems by the immediate choices of our lives.
Understanding how small changes make big changes relies on an ability to understand chaos and non-linear systems dynamics. Complexity thinking is necessary for solving wicked problems. For humanity to solve these problems, many more people will have to grow into higher levels of consciousness.
Such development almost never happens in isolation. It is best fostered in the context of communities of people in which there are many who have attained a higher level of maturity and are dedicated to teaching others. Through human history the institutions which took on this task were ones affiliated with religion. For them, the ability to experience the complexity of creation was understood as attaining Buddha mind, or enlightenment, or Christ consciousness. Understanding non-linear systems is like non-dual awareness.
Evolution will continue with or without us. If we do not align ourselves with it, it will simply pass us by as we go the way of the dinosaurs. In order to catch the wave that is evolution, we will have to get into the water and cut loose the anchors that stop us from being raised up. These barriers to our own enlightenment arise in the three primary areas of spiritual life;
- our understanding of ourselves,
- our ability to be present to each other, and
- our capacity to act in accord with others for our mutual wellbeing.
Pilgrimage is a community that celebrates our role in the evolution of the planet but laments the tragic ways that we have distorted our power such that the balance of life is so out of kilter. Nature will respond positively to us if we honor her. If we come to be in harmony with ourselves, with each other, and with the larger human community, we can heal the planet. But we have no time to waste.
As we meet each other on the Pilgrimage that is our human journey, there are three sets of tasks that we must all address.
- Be in harmony with ourselves
- Be present to each other
- Be supportive of and trust the collective wisdom available to us.
This transformation can and must arise from our capacity for self-reflection [shadow work], from our relationships with each other [mutual accountability], and how we structure our communities and how they interact with other communities [dynamic governance].