Why are we here?
To become ever more fully our truest, deepest, most authentic self, the unique person we were born to be.
What else could be the answer to this ages-old question? Only when we completely inhabit our real Self will we be able to consistently love, think, feel, create, and co-create with others in satisfying, life-enhancing ways. When we can really sink into who we fundamentally are, as an ongoing way of being, then the rest of our mission in the physical and spiritual worlds, whether grand or humble, can joyously emerge.
The visual image I have is that we need to become “seated” in our true self, like a lid becomes seated in the rings around the top of a jar. When the lid is seated, it can be screwed down and tightened; when it is not, it goes onto the jar crooked. Once it is crooked, the lid can’t be closed completely—it can be straightened only by unscrewing it, properly seating it, and starting again.
Our deepest identification and birthright are to be children and citizens of Gaia, that vast, beautiful, intricate intelligence that contains and gives life to the Earth, to us, and to everything: the plants and animals, the oceans and rivers, the mountains, forests, and valleys, the very air we breathe—as well as the spiritual energies that both reflect and hold all manifestations of the material world. Everything in our own physical and spiritual existence—our entire, integrated human apparatus—is naturally attuned with the rhythms, patterns and laws of Gaia. How could we not be?
And—what is the first thing a child of our presently-dominant culture learns? That humans are separate from and superior to the rest of creation. That the land and its plants and creatures are unimportant except as resources and products to make human lives easier and more comfortable. That we humans are entitled to take all the resources of the Earth for our own benefit, without giving back. And that the ubiquitous degradation and depletion of the planet is merely a normal consequence of our human-centered values and lifestyle—regrettable perhaps, but inevitable. For a natural-born son or daughter of Gaia, this is a pretty serious misaligning of the jar lid!
Most of us humans have suffered traumas in our lives. If we’re fortunate, we can somehow find healing for the wounds inflicted on us by racism and misogyny, war and violence, and all the other forms of human dysfunction and deprivation that play out everywhere on earth. But the fundamental trauma that every modern-day human is heir to is this: Knowing at a deep, probably unconscious level that right now, and right now, and right now again, we need to be different from who we really are. We need to be in a continual state of disowning the truest, realest parts of ourselves. We need to act as if we are not part of Gaia’s web, that we aren’t connected with the air and the waters, the land and the seasons; that we aren’t naturally equipped, emotionally and spiritually, to love the more-than-human world as we love ourselves; that, in fact, nothing in Nature is important except as it benefits us and the human-created world we live in. And, finally, we are supposed to act as if it’s all right that the planet of which we are a part is being pillaged, destroyed and ruined more and more every day.
The real miracle here is that many of us, despite the human-created world’s widespread conditioning, don’t buy into this bleak way of being, thinking and relating. Our true, deep self is present enough to support us, at least to some degree, in feeling and expressing our connections to the natural world, to Gaia. But when looking at the suffering and alienation of humanity as a whole, it’s clear that a critical mass of humans is not seated in Gaia, not seated in who they truly are, and consequently are living tragically disconnected lives, with horrific consequences for themselves, other humans and all other forms of life.
What needs to happen to get humanity seated in Gaia? I hope everyone reading this will ponder this question. And I will too.