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Your Soulful Path
January 2000

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Carol's Current Column

by Carol Adrienne, Ph.D.

Carol Adrienne's work and teachings have been a great inspiration to me!  In August of 1998, about four months after my father passed away, I read about one of Carol's workshops in a Learning Annex catalog and synchronistically found her book on a bookshelf at the bookstore.  The themes of her teachings were familiar and comforting, as they confirmed the thoughts and ideas my father had shared with me shortly before his passing.  Her books and workshops ignited my spiritual curiosity, setting me on my soulful life path, which led to the very creation of SoulfulLiving.com!  Carol's participation has been an integral part of SoulfulLiving.com, at its soul level!  Thank you, Carol, with all my heart!
~Valerie, Founder and Soul, SoulfulLiving.com

"Taking Stock"

By the time you read these words, we’ll be in the New Millennium! Technically, we know it starts next year, but do we care? The popular thought is Change is here.

May I ask what this time brings up in your mind? What Big Question would you most like to have answered? If a journalist asked for your opinion of what trends are going to grow or take us to a certain kind of life in the future (20, 50, 100, 1,000 years hence) what intuitive feelings arise for you about areas such as family structure, work categories, governing models, educational systems, important spiritual philosophies? Do you have a sense that your own field of endeavor is changing or has changed significantly in the last decade? Besides your daily routine and responsibilities, are there areas of inquiry that fascinate you? If so, have you wondered why? Do you think it just your own personal interest, or could it be a collective question or movement working through you?

For me, this period of time raises more questions about "life" than usual, both universally and personally. For example, thinking personally I wonder why I chose to be born so that I would be in mid-career mode at this big shift in the calendar cycle. What tiny part do I play in the inexorable evolution of human consciousness? What tiny influence might I make to contribute to a positive outcome for the future?

The Power of an Idea and Personal Action

Thinking universally, I wonder what will turn out to be the important ideas and trends of this period in one thousand years? I’m currently reading a book called Paul: The Mind of the Apostle by A.N. Wilson. It was Paul, years after the crucifixion of Jesus, who began to win converts to a new way of thinking amidst a panoply of religious and secular philosophies. One has to marvel at how one person can initiate a flow of energy in a certain direction, an energy which will have such a prolonged effect and unforeseen ramifications. How were these ideas transmitted throughout the then-known civilized world? Without any media support. Obviously, the tremendous psychological and emotional energy needed to birth a concept as large as a new world religion must originate from a higher, deeper source than the psyche of one individual. Psychoanalyst Carl Jung theorized such a force as the collective unconscious. And yet one wonders how the seed of Jesus’ simple teachings and miracles survived within the husk of the outer shell of a religion that, once codified, contributed such a heavy burden of controversy, mayhem, and conflict —something it seems Jesus, nor even Paul, was not aiming to create. I wonder what was the fertile field within individuals at that time (i.e., what personal needs existed strongly enough) that the seed concepts of a spiritual story could take root and live for at least two thousand years? And what now? Is this moment truly a crossroads for the human race? Certainly it is ecologically. And spiritually? Are not the life of the planet and the life of spirit not ineluctably intertwined? What is it that humans are striving for at this stage of our evolution, now that we’ve been dancing to the tune of science and technology so predominately in the last few hundred years?

Ancient Values and New Life

Last month my friend Thom Hartmann came for a visit to the Bay Area. Thom is best known for his work on attention-deficit disorder (ADD) and has seven books to his credit on that subject. Thom has just published a new book with Harmony House, (a division of Random House) entitled The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: Waking up to Personal and Global Transformation. In one of our conversations I asked Thom to comment on some of the concepts from his book:

"There’s a lot of talk now about the evolution of humans and consciousness and moving to something new and unique in the history of humanity. No doubt with the presence of modern technology and the number of people alive on the earth, whatever happens will be new and unique. (Although some people like Edgar Cayce would say that there have been large populations and sophisticated technologies in the distant past.)," he added.

"It’s common to view the millennium as a point along the line of history. In fact it’s a place on a circle. Everything in life and nature goes in cycles--from the death and birth of stars, to the changing seasons, to the phases of the moon, to the cycles within our body and our personal history. As we look back into past cycles—and this may require us going back behind the veil of what Daniel Quinn (author of Ishmael) calls the Great Forgetting, which is when the Romans and then the Catholic Church killed off and stamped out the wisdom of the European tribal people and moved them into city states—we may gain insights and recover human values and strengths that will allow us to create new and viable opportunities for a quality human existence for this next millennium.

"Humans have, in the past, figured out ways to live together in peace. Were this not the case we would not be alive today. We can see this in many extant tribal people today, who are living the way our ancestors lived thousands of years ago.

"The key for the next millennium is not going to be in trying to recover the life style or techniques or technologies of these older cultures, but in finding their values and applying those to our modern day world. For example, the notion that when people do things "wrong" they are sinful, criminal, or bad is part of our culture. We don’t find this kind of thinking in older tribal cultures. They didn’t have police and prisons. Instead, they had the idea of balance and imbalance. For example, they valued living in harmony and balancing disharmony. I once experienced this when I made a social blunder in a group of Native American men. Instead of chastising me or criticizing me or punishing me, there was a momentary pause. Then one by one they began to tell stories from their lives of times when they had created disharmony by a similar social blunder and how they had restored that harmony and balance to both the group, the individual, and their lives. Instead of punishing me, they were teaching me.

Dysfunctional Ideas and Values

"We find in our younger technological culture many values that are dysfunctional. For example, some of the concepts that would be considered bizarre by members of older cultures are the ideas of Original Sin, or that God is angry with us, or that all the world’s problems are caused by a woman making a mistake (Eve), or the idea that we can only be helped by someone or something outside of ourselves. They would find it bizarre that the purpose of a culture would be to support and insulate the rich—all of these would not be considered useful to a harmonious life."

How could we begin to recover the meritorious parts of our history that allowed us to live together and thrive together?

Three-Part Process

"I see this as a three-step process, which is why I wrote Last Hours in three parts." Thom explained. "The first part is to recognize that our culture in many ways does not work. Our modern culture is an aberration in the context of 200,000 years of human history, an aberration that has the potential now to destroy the planet. We must wake up to the reality of the problems we face. We can’t treat a disease without first diagnosing it.

"The second part is to understand the nature of the sick and dysfunctional stories and values which have so twisted our culture that we would allow and perpetrate such aberrations as destroying the resources that allow us to live on the planet. In this part we find the dysfunctional stories serve only one purpose. That purpose is to create a society and culture in which there are kings and serfs, slaveholders and slaves, or what we would today call the wealthy and the poor.

"The third part is to find ways to apply to our world the ancient values which have sustained the human race for 200,000 years. In finding new ways to incorporate the values and stories of the older cultures into our contemporary world, we find the opportunity and hope to create a bright, resonant, warm, and functional world for our children and our children’s children."

Synchronistically, as I finished this article, I was talking about these ideas to my friend, Elizabeth Jenkins (author of Initiation: A Woman's Spiritual Journey to the Heart of the Andes). She had just finished reading Martin Prechtel's book, Long Life, Honey in the Heart. She gave me this quote which seems to fit perfectly with the theme of valuing tribal practices. How could we reshape this idea to fit our own culture? Here's the quote: "Every woman who was lactating wanted to bless the new mother, my wife, and came to let the newborn suckle so he would never feel like a stranger in any compound of the village. In the mind of the Tzutujil having suckled from the breast of every woman through every clan in the village my son would now be related to the whole village in the deepest possible way.... Adults sometimes had to stop quarrels among their peers by reminding them how they had suckled from the others' mother or grandmother. This milk-giving was a peace making thing."

If this sort of conversation intrigues you, I suggest you get a copy of Thom Hartmann’s book, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, or visit his website, www.thomhartman.com.

.Happy New Year!


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