Tag Archive | Consciousness


Halloween is not the only day to celebrate this month! Tuesday, October 24th, is a double-header — Global Oneness Day and United Nations Day. This is a day to nurture and elevate our consciousness of unity and the organizations that can further our living as One.

We celebrate the awesome and indisputable fact of our biological and atomic unity and also celebrate the existence of an institution founded by 51 member states in 1945. Seventy-two years later it contains 193 members (plus two observer states). Despite having quadrupled its original size, it still makes communication possible among its widely disparate members, and it still fosters many services that help the needy throughout the world. So, both in spirit and with leaders of all nations, let us CIRCLE THE WORLD WITH LOVE on October 24th!

To many our unity seems obvious. Yet violence, prejudices, “isms,” phobias, and delusions of independence and superiority persist. Sad!

These days many seek knowledge of their ancestral roots and watch TV shows that explore other peoples’ roots. We usually delight in discovering close or distant relatives, and want to understand our connections. Yet we forget or don’t realize that all life on Earth — and all creation —has been connected from the start. Curt Stager (Your Atomic Self) writes: “To look into the night sky is to survey distant gardens in which the elements of life are ripening, and your body is a composite harvest from these cosmic fields … Earth is indeed a kind of surrogate mother to us in that our bodies are derived from it, but we exist today only because our true star mothers died long ago.”

We also share Earth’s current and potential-future calamities. Mary Southard, CSJ, sees the positive side: “We as a nation and a planet have been hammered by fires, floods, hurricanes, natural disasters of all kinds these past months.  We are living in a moment of unparalleled crisis in Earth’s natural systems, and challenge to our human intelligence to respond in this unprecedented OPPORTUNITY to create the world we all want to live in. . . .  .”

So let us use October 24th as an opportunity to deepen our own awareness of our moment in creation’s spacetime. We know so much more about our interdependence than did past generations, and have vast opportunities to learn more. Let us include learning more about the United Nations and the unique services it offers. (c.f. www.un.org/en/sections/history/history-united-nations/index.html)          

Recently we’ve seen examples of people coming to the aid of others endangered by violence as well as by floods, storms, fires, and other calamities. October 24th would be a perfect day to join those who are awakening to our global responsibilities for one another and all life.

Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton recently coined the phrase “climate swerve” to describe the massive climate awakening that’s finally happening in the US. [Many other countries are way ahead of us!] These kinds of tragedies across the nation and world are creating unprecedented receptivity as people search for solutions. Now is our time to reach more people than ever and actually build the political power to change the current systems.

Many of our problems and systems were created before humans realized their interdependence with one another and all creation. Albert Einstein said that “No problem  can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Oct. 24th is a good day to alter our level of consciousness in order to solve these problems!

Einstein also gives this advice, perfect for contemplation alone or together on Oct. 24th:

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Pope Francis agrees. In Laudato Si’ he writes:

“We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.” (par. 2)

“People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption.” (par. 55)

“It cannot be emphasized enough how everything is interconnected. Time and space are not independent of one another, and not even atoms or subatomic particles can be considered in isolation.” (par. 138)

Jesus prayed that all would be one. Today we need to pray that we accept that reality and act accordingly. May I suggest that we save some time on Oct. 24th to expand our consciousness by rereading parts of Laudato Si’ or by learning more about the United Nations or by pausing in awe to consider how interconnected and interdependent we are — with all creation, from the very beginning!

Do You Know Where You Live?

Inventions like GPS and Google Earth help us to know where we are. Settle for those, however, and you know only a partial answer to the question: Do you know where you live?

But first, a simple quiz.

1. What do you call this?

2. What do you call this?

If your answers were not sunrise or sunset, congratulations! You can probably skip to the end.* For the others:

Unlike those who flatly rejected what scientists Aristarchus of Samos, Nicolaus Copernicus, and Galileo Galilei had discovered, we’d probably all answer this question correctly:       Does the Sun circle the Earth each day?

We KNOW that it does not, but misleading “evidence” still prevents our integrating that knowledge. In spite of knowing better, most people think of themselves on a flat Earth with the Sun doing the traveling. Not too surprising, actually. That’s what it looks like.

Many of us can thank Brian Swimme for an experience that helps us FEEL ourselves part of a huge planet rotating a full rotation each 24 hours while also whirling around the Sun. In Hidden Heart of the Cosmos, pp. 26 – 30, Swimme suggests we try an experience in the evening. Since I can look east to Lake Michigan, it was easier for me to try it in the morning. Here’s what I did:

When the night sky began to lighten, I went to the beach and consciously rooted myself in the sand on which I sat. I gradually expanded that realization to my neighborhood, city, state, country, hemisphere, the entire planet; and inward to Earth’s atmosphere, crust, mantle, and core. How immense! By then it was not too challenging to imagine myself part of the whole.

As Swimme recommends in Hidden Heart, I found Venus which, he explains, is “65 million miles from the Sun, about a third closer than the Earth, which is 93 million miles from the Sun. [All the planets] are moving in a single plane around the Sun.” While numbers aren’t essential, do remember that Venus is one third closer to the Sun.

In addition to the importance of depth perception for this experiment, it is also important to envision how huge the Sun is — its volume is  approximately a million times the size of Earth.

Keeping those relationships in mind, I pictured the gigantic Sun NOT MOVING below the horizon. (It does move slightly, but not around us.) As the first sliver of the Sun appeared and slowly became larger, I FELT that I was tipping toward it. I FELT the urge to grab the ground. This was a very new — and disorienting — experience!

However, that’s not the only way we are moving. Brother Sun is powerfully whirling our Earth and the other planets around it by its gravitational power. If the Sun lost this pull, we would “sail off into deep space.” Wow!

In my experience, once FELT, never forgotten. Life goes on and I no longer lose my balance concentrating on this. But I am always deepening my consciousness of moving east, especially when I look at the lake. I always note where East is when I go someplace new because I need to know which way Earth and I are traveling in the bigger picture.

The Solar System, however, is not the last word about where we are. Our Solar System is a speck within the Milky Way Galaxy, which is but one of billions of galaxies in our universe. I think our consciousnesses need to evolve before we can comprehend the full extent of where we are — and how united we are on our precious planet. We can each contribute to that evolution!

Next time you look out at the stars — which, with a little imagination, we can do during the day — stop for a moment to consider the reality of where you really are! When I do, it challenges me to reject the dated concept of heaven as “above,” and to consider what Jesus meant when he spoke in Aramaic about heaven. According to visioncraft.org/aramaic/intro.htm, “D’bwashmaya conjures the images of light, sound, and vibration spreading out and pervading all. In essence, then, ‘heaven’ is conceived not so much as a place but as a dimension of reality that is present everywhere.” And that challenges me to deepen my conception of the divine – all because I know where I live!

* To date, we do not have universal terms to replace “sunrise” and “sunset” because too few live in the reality of where they are. Please share (in comments) updated language that works for you. Thanks!


Post-Easter Reflection

As the Easter season winds down, I’ve been thinking about the plight of the disciples as they struggled to recognize the risen ChristUnknown during his several appearances to them. I see a parallel with how my concept of Incarnation has changed over the years

Their religious heritage had put a male God in a heaven above, not unlike the way I had thought of “him” in my early years. That heritage had named the Hebrews special above all others, not unlike the way I grew up thinking of Roman Catholics. Their heritage taught them that Revelation was contained in their sacred writings, not unlike the way I had thought Sacred Scripture contained all there was to know about God.

The Pyramid of Creation

The disciples never saw the pyramid I learned in childhood — God on the top (line) the angels (line) humans (line, with unwritten hierarchies within that category: males above females, whites abo ve others, friends above enemies, “us” above “them”) animals (line, with those most resembling humans superior to those less like us) inanimate beings — but their received divisions were just as real.

Jesus had challenged them to transcend dichotomies and hierarchies of Jew and Gentile, male and female, acceptable and unclean, religious authority and common person. Now, in the space of a few days, he asked them to believe that he was present in bread and wine, died, and was alive with them. They had no outside models or authorities to assist them to cope with these mysteries. They had to become authorities!

imagesHow has quantum physics changed your way of thinking?

On the first day of the first quantum physics course I took, the class received topics for our final paper. One read: “How has quantum physics changed your way of thinking?” I noted that the end of the question was missing. Changed my way of thinking about what? “The question is correct as stated,” I was told, and by the end of the course, I began to understand — and my consciousness was, indeed, changed. We might have to deal with things in categories of human making, but the new science shows that edges are “soft”: all being is in communion; everything is interconnected (both in space and time); each has its own uniqueness. (Cf. the Christian Trinity!)

Connection with the Incarnation

I’d long believed that God is everywhere. I’d sought to find God in all things. Now I was called to connect those realities with Incarnation. Within that worldview, I came to see that Creation, Incarnation, Eucharist, and Resurrection were parts of one whole. The Christian Scriptures call us to see God/Jesus in all people. But, since nothing can be isolated from the whole within which it exists, God must be present not just in humans, but also in all creation. The “us” in God-with-us must include every molecule of creation in its interconnected parts.

What does it mean to change your way of thinking?

“Changing my way of thinking” meant losing divisions embedded in my psyche. It meant stretching my conceptions of identity: mine, God’s, others, and how we all interrelate. Jesus retains his humanity/divinity with no diminishment of either. Humans retain their special gifts and responsibilities and “image of God.” But the divine presence is also within all creation’s interconnected, differentiated, precious parts. Each bears, and witnesses to, the divine.

In the beginning was the Word …

With this new consciousness, I re-interpret “In the beginning was the Word. . . and the Word became flesh. . . .” Once I thought it images-2referred to Jesus alone. Now I believe that the Word cannot be separated from the divinity that inhabits and enables creation everywhere at every moment. Nor can Jesus be separated from the forces responsible, with the Spirit, for humanity. Like all human beings, Jesus’ ancestry dates back to stardust. It evolved in ever-ascending complexity through plants, animals, and eventually to conscious beings and homo sapiens. It couldn’t have happened without the life forces (air, water, plants, etc.) that kept creation going.

Este es mi cuerpo …

With this consciousness, I re-interpret “This is my body. . . .” from applying only to Jesus and members of the Mystical Body. For the reasons given above, I believe all Creation can be viewed, mystically, as Christ’s body (panentheism, not pantheism). “By his incarnation [Christ] inserted himself not just into our humanity, but into the universe which supports humanity. The presence of the incarnate word . . . shines at the heart of all things. (Teilhard de Chardin, SJ) Surely it shines in the consecrated host where all creation has been offered and transformed. Here we find the Heart of all reality.

Alleluia to that!

The disciples learned to see Christ in the bread and in the person in the upper room, at Emmaus, and on the beach. I am still learning to see Incarnation not just in Jesus Christ, but in all creation. Theologian Elizabeth Johnson says it this way: “The Creator Spirit dwells at the heart of the natural world, graciously energizing its evolution from within, and drawing the world forward toward an unimaginable future.” Alleluia to that!

Terri MacKenzie, SHCJ