It is becoming increasingly harder to deny that our species has fallen into a collective psychosis of Titanic proportions. This psychic epidemic that has infected our species so pervasively distorts our capacity to see reality clearly that very few people are even talking about our collective madness; our craziness has literally become normalized to the point that it is hardly even seen. Most of us feel powerless to do anything that would make a difference, looking away and turning a blind eye from the overwhelming madness that we are acting out on the world stage day after day, becoming numb and disassociated from ourselves in the process. Carolyn Baker’s new book Collapsing Consciously: Transformative Truths for Turbulent Times is a breath of sanity in a world gone mad. Her contemplations are like a much needed multi-vitamin for the psyche that the deeper field of consciousness has secreted so as to compensate our madness. The fact that a book like Collapsing Consciously has arrived in our midst at this time of multiple world crises is evidence that our species is beginning to awaken from our self-created nightmare.
Americans have been so effectively dumbed-down by the mainstream media – the propaganda organ of the powers-that-be – that it is as if we are suffering from a cognitive impairment, unable to discern the nature of the predicament we find ourselves in. The more I read Baker’s book, the more I am left with the feeling that here’s someone who has snapped out of the mass hypnosis of the agreed-upon consensus reality – the collective spell – that has been insidiously and surreptitiously woven all around us. Our species has fallen asleep, and in our somnambulistic, zombie-like state we are ever-more-insistently finding new and ingenious ways to destroy ourselves. In a perverse turn of mind, we are suffering from a form of psychic blindness that imagines it is sighted. At the root of our malaise lies a deep-seated denial of our own complicity in the madness and evil that is playing out in our world. We desperately need voices like Baker’s, who having seen through the collective denial, are helping others to awaken.
It is as if our species is enacting a mass-suicide ritual on a global scale, investing our precious resources – the most precious of which is our creative imagination – in destroying the biosphere, the life support system of the planet. We are a species suffering from a collective form of post-traumatic-stress-disorder. Seen as if an individual, our species is suffering a nervous breakdown, as the very structures, systems and institutions that we’ve created to support our way of life are falling apart, melting down and deconstructing. As Baker skillfully and repeatedly points out in her book, this process – the very collapse of industrial civilization – is inevitable; the question is are we going to snap out of our denial and consciously face and responsibly deal with the unraveling of the old paradigm? To quote the great doctor of the soul C. G. Jung, “Anyone who is destined to descend into a deep pit had better set about it with all the necessary precautions rather than risk falling into the hole backwards.” Our attachment to ever-increasing growth and never-ending consumption is unsustainable and has become pathological; we have become fatally addicted to our own avoidance of the insanity of what we are doing to ourselves. I imagine that Jung himself would greatly appreciate Baker’s offering of all the “necessary precautions” – particularly her profound psychological and spiritual insights, which distinguishes this book from the typical survivalist, “Let’s get ready for the coming apocalypse” book.
Opening our eyes and seeing what is actually happening – facing reality – is a fundamental form of activism which will guide, inspire and serve our ways of dealing with our collective “breakdown” so as to alchemically transmute it into “breakthrough.” From the shamanic point of view, in the collapse of our existing world we are not just going through a death experience, but rather, a death/rebirth experience. Something is potentially being born through our ordeal that has a higher-order of coherence and is more in alignment with who we are discovering ourselves to be. As Baker points out, we are all potentially midwives and hospice workers for the global body politic; it is up to us to transform these turbulent times into our own initiation, to consciously participate in our own evolution. Inner realization alone is not sufficient – we are being called to embody and en-act our inner realization through the medium of the outside world, stepping into our roles of what I call “spiritually-informed political activists.” Snapping out of the illusion that we exist separately from each other, we can recognize our interdependence─we literally depend upon each other for our very survival. Realizing our interconnection, we can “conspire to co-inspire” each other to greater heights of mutual lucidity so as to activate our collective genius, literally transforming the world in the process. The only limit to this process is our own lack of imagination.
Baker points out that our civilization can be likened to an abusive family system in which, to the extent we are unconsciously participating and “buying into” it, we are all unwittingly enabling the very in-corporate-d system that is destroying us as we increasingly become co-dependently entangled within it. It takes real courage, and is truly mortifying, to see our own complicity in the evil that the system we are supporting is perpetrating upon the world. It is like we are having a recurring dream – a nightmare – that continues amplifying its message in ever-more horrifying ways, until the dreamer – which is us – receives its message. Collapsing Consciously helps us to find within ourselves the deeper lesson, teaching and message that is potentially being reflected to us; how things turn out depends upon nothing other than our re-cognizing what is being revealed to us.
Instead of blaming others, Baker holds up the mirror for us to reflect upon our own shadow, a process that helps us to connect more deeply with the totality of our being, thus giving us greater conscious access to our soul. We are being asked─make that demanded─to make a descent, a mythic night-sea journey, into the depths of our own darkness, to collapse into the mournful realization of how much we’ve lost in order to reclaim that which cannot be lost, thereby breaking the spell of our amnesia. As Baker reminds us, grieving is a form of activism of, for, and by the soul. As a wounded healer who is continually deepening my own realization of the potential gifts that are encoded within my wounds, I appreciate how, instead of spouting some New-Agey gobbledygook about how we should just think positively and continue doing our positive affirmations, Baker is pointing us in the sobering direction of consciously suffering through our wounds as a way of connecting with our deeper wholeness. As we cultivate the inner strength to hold the tension of the opposites intrinsic to the psyche, something greater than and beyond ourselves, something that we could have not created via our own ego begins to reveal itself through us. In the descent into our own darkness, we are simultaneously “growing ourselves up;” going inward is going upward in consciousness, dimensionally speaking. Coming full circle, Baker reminds us not to forget to connect with – and share with others – our deepest joy, love and gratitude.
Carolyn Baker’s book is a beautiful, heart-felt and brilliant contemplation of the precarious and fragile situation of life on this precious planet in a way that can truly inspire us to connect with our own creative spirit. She should truly be commended for having the courage to not only step out of our collective blindness, but for finding creative and compassionate ways of helping the rest of us to see. It is truly my hope, my heartfelt prayer that Collapsing Consciously attracts the wide readership that it most definitely deserves. We truly ignore Baker’s message at our own peril.
A pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, Paul Levy is a wounded healer in private practice, assisting others who are also awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality. He is the author of Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil (North Atlantic Books, 2013) and The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis. An artist, he is deeply steeped in the work of C. G. Jung, and has been a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner for over thirty years. Please visit Paul’s website www.awakeninthedream.com. You can contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org; he looks forward to your reflections. © Copyright 2013.