1. Is there are a meaningful evolutionary process or is life a journey without a goal?
First of all, I want to thank you for the opportunity to present my work, ideas, and research to the Conscious Club community in Sidney in depth!
The answer to your question is, I suspect, both at the same time. First of all, I think we must realize that the idea of “meaning,” in itself, is just a human idea. We don’t know if, in some absolute sense, meaning exists in the universe. We do know that we need meaning - as well as story and myth - in order to function and be happy in our lives. Myth, story, narrative, and meaning are almost as important to us as food, air, or water. One problem is that people tend to become hypnotized by their stories and myths, and invest them with belief. They then can’t entertain alternative ideas or possibilities. This happens with religious orthodoxies, but also scientific ones.
There is an evolutionary process that has led to the emergence of highly complex life and self-reflective beings such as ourselves, and this process is quite miraculous. Through my explorations of shamanism, I tend to believe there is a free-willing consciousness, omniscient and beyond the constraints of space and time, as Vedanta and other mystical traditions propose. This free-willing consciousness seeks to know itself. It creates the conditions for the development of conscious, intelligent beings who have the opportunity to overcome their sense of separation and intentionally reunite with that source of consciousness, that underlying potentiality that is the foundation of being. So in one sense the goal of the journey is to reunite with the source.
2. What do you believe we are ultimately here on the planet for?
“Ultimately” is a big word. As I noted above, I think we are here to undertake the journey back from individual separation and alienation to union with divinity, Brahma, the Creator, or the source - to realize we are one with the universe, in nonduality. I think there are other processes within that larger process also. For instance, many indigenous traditions as well as modern and ancient mystical traditions talk about different world incarnations or dimensions. The Hopi in Arizona, for example, say we are in transition from the Fourth to the Fifth World. Rudolf Steiner talked about the transition from the current, fourth incarnation of the Earth to a fifth incarnation, where humanity would reach another level of consciousness and gain a new “body” which he called the “spirit self.” We would gain access to higher levels of cognition, which Steiner called imagination, inspiration, and intuition.
In my work, I propose that we are undergoing a rapid evolution or even metamorphosis of global consciousness, in order to reach a new stage of our unfolding as a species. This next stage of conscious evolution would include the establishing of a planetary civilization based on universal compassion, melding the world’s esoteric traditions and recognizing our psychic abilities as legitimate. We would shift from a social paradigm based on war, exploitation of natural resources, and narrow self-interest to one based on empathy, spiritual illumination or enlightenment, and care for nature. I think our purpose in the near term is to contribute to this planetary awakening and transformation of our technical and social infrastructure.
3. What role do you think the individual has to play in the evolutionary process.
As individuals, we now have a wonderful invitation from the cosmos to contribute to the process of conscious evolution I described above. We do this by overcoming limited forms of self-interest, undergoing various levels of initiation, and contributing our gifts to the collective. Christianity kind of missed the point of Christ’s life: Christ didn’t “die for our sins.” He provided an archetypal model - of selfless action for the good of the whole - which we can learn from and follow.
4. What are the 3 great impediments to collective and individual realisation.
Hmm… the “3 great impediments”… I suppose when I look at my personal path the 3 great impediments have been ego, desire, and fear. The ego tends to trap us in mental activity, striving, and craving that is disconnected from our heart’s deeper knowing. Desire creates all sorts of entanglements and confusions - however I think this is part of the path also. I tend to agree with Tantric philosophy; we must seek to master desire rather than thinking we can renounce or escape from it. The mastering of desire can be integrated as part of the spiritual path. The basis of all fear is the fear of death and dissolution. I believe that through initiatory practices, whether through ayahuasca or meditation or other techniques, it is possible to reach a level of realization that liberates you from ordinary suffering and the fear of death. This requires attaining the certainty that you are one with the universe, that you are, ultimately, the free-willing consciousness that has put on a body to enjoy incarnation and discover and explore its infinite creative capacities in this limited form.
5. What are the 3 main teachings you have obtained thru your personal quest for the Great truth.
1. The physical universe is a mirror that reflects and magnifies the individual’s internal state - your level of psychic development or consciousness.
2. God exists - God is everything that exists. God is love and we are love.
3. There are infinite dimensions or levels of psychic reality interacting with our material world.
6. What we can as a modern culture learn from the traditional peoples of the world.
Modern civilization is a recent aberration. For most of the last hundred thousand years, humanity lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers, in balance with the Earth’s ecology. I think we need to understand how traditional people were able to maintain a reciprocal and balanced relationship to the planet’s ecology. I believe we have a lot to learn from their spiritual traditions, particularly shamanism, and their underlying beliefs. Some traditional cultures also possessed incredible knowledge of plants - master plants, healing plants, teaching plants. They also in many cases constructed nonhierarchical social systems where power was shared horizontally, where the chief was a mediator and storyteller but not a warlord. Having visited cultures like Kogi, Aruak, Bwiti, and Hopi, I also think they have a different relationship to time than we do - for the Kogi and Aruak, all time is sacred time - and also knowledge of living peacefully, in community.