We might envision a time of paradise long ago—the Garden of Eden, the land of Mu or Atlantis, where all was well and prosperous. It is clear that the age in which we live is not that age.
We might imagine that the kingdom of heaven will land on earth one day, perhaps after an apocalypse. And yet, the manifest kingdom of heaven is not the age in which we are living. This age is more like the apocalypse that comes before it. Apocalypse simply means revelation, and this is an age of revelation in all kinds of ways. We are part of this body of humanity that is having an experience on its journey. We are participating in the conscious evolution of humankind, traveling through the wilderness of the current human experience.
It is apparently our destiny to go through all kinds of experiences in this era. How do I know? It’s what is happening. There is so much in world culture that has passed its sell-by date and is in the process of moving into the past. New cultural forms are being born to become part of what is emerging.
We are called to be pathfinders in this wilderness. So much of the physical wilderness on Planet Earth has been conquered or tamed in some way. The external landscape has been explored. And yet, there is an internal landscape that is a wilderness for humankind.
The institutions of the world have tried to create order and make sense of the interior landscape. Religious institutions often attempt to define the interior landscape in simplistic ways and then ask us to live according to belief and unthinking ritual. And in so many ways, those beliefs and the dogma around them are failing us in this day. They aren’t helping us through the wilderness. And without an ability to traverse the inner landscape of the human soul and discover a vital relationship with the source of wisdom and love inside us, we’re lost.
And so, we are called to be pathfinders for the conscious evolution of humankind. And if we are pathfinders, we become trailblazers and way-showers, exploring the reality of our souls, the reality of the world in which we live, and our relationship with the source of life within us.
In 1983, Harvard professor of psychology, Howard Gardner, advanced a theory of multiple intelligences. In July 2020, he wrote a follow-up article entitled “A Resurgence of Interest in Existential Intelligence: Why Now?” He says this:
Recently, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon: an uptick in the number of inquiries I receive about “existential intelligence” (which I’ve abbreviated as Ex I). I have become intrigued by the reason for this phenomenon and how to respond to it….
A dozen years after I introduced the theory of multiple intelligences (1983), I speculated about the possibility of a 9th or “existential intelligence.” As I described it at the time, “existential intelligence” is the cognitive capacity to raise and ponder “big questions”—queries about love, about evil, about life and death—indeed, about the nature and quality of existence….
I insisted that existential intelligence was not in and of itself a religious or spiritual or sacred capacity; as I quipped, “If I announced a spiritual intelligence, it might please some of my friends, but it would also delight my enemies.”
We can understand how a Harvard professor dealing with academia would be hesitant about speaking of spiritual things. He flirts with the word existential but is suspicious about acknowledging Ex I. Whatever we call it, is there not a great need today for existential intelligence—or, by another name, spiritual intelligence? Without it, how do we find our way through the interior wilderness?
We are on a path of enlightenment as a species. It is a journey leading to a full awareness of who we are and why we are here. That process is not all rainbows and unicorns. It is an apocalyptic journey.
Along the way, there are times of harvest. For the garden where I live at Sunrise Ranch, it is such a time. We have a bumper crop of tomatoes, melons, and raspberries. And now we have had our first frost. The farmers are growing tired with all their good labor.
But times of harvest are also times of composting. Stalks, roots, and leaves go onto the compost heap to eventually return to the ground. And so it is on our path of evolution as humankind. There is so much that contributes to the process and then goes into the compost heap of human culture—that contributes to the overall movement but won’t be there for the ultimate enlightenment of the human race.
What are we to think about all that? We have a memory of generations that have slipped into the past. In the libraries of the world, we have knowledge from out of the past, some of it created by religious institutions. And yet none of that is sufficient for today, is it? People from long ago are not here to face the challenges of the era. And while the world literature may be helpful, perhaps inspiring—and we can use all the help and inspiration we can get, wherever it comes from—it doesn’t take away the need for us to be the pathfinders of today. There is an urgent call for people who will quickly gain new levels of spiritual intelligence and find the way forward.
If we are a pathfinder, we become a way-shower for others. But whether or not they see the path we have found is their business. The only path over which we have total sovereignty is our own.
It is good to have friends on the path, even though our friends cannot take away the need for our own pathfinding. And would we have it any other way? I think of a flock of geese flying in a V. Yes, at any one point, there is a lead goose at the apex of the V. But none of the other geese are trailing directly behind that lead goose. They are off to the side. They have their own air to traverse. And that is how it is for us.
If we were playing follow the leader, we would be like a pack of sled dogs. Only the lead dog has a clear view of what is ahead. All the other dogs just see the tail of the dog in front of them. That’s different from a flock of geese. Every goose in the V sees the clear panorama of what is before them. And so it is for us on our path. We each have fresh wind in our faces.
Sometimes on the journey, there is grief about the past—about what has to go onto the compost heap. Some things are in the category of what we think could have been, or should have been—all the could-a, should-a’s. And some of them seem so real.
Why didn’t they do it? They could have, they should have.
Or maybe we even think that about ourselves:
Why didn’t I do it? I could have, I should have.
Or we wonder why a given circumstance turned out the way it did?
It could have; it should have been different.
And so, there can be a sense of grief about the past and a sense of unresolve. And it is understandable that it might be so.
And still, we are here to bring gratitude for all that has been and all that has contributed in whatever way to the evolution of consciousness. Thank God for the people who wholeheartedly committed all their lives to it and for the people who gave even one iota of anything. And whatever could not be part of what moved forward, and falls away as compost, thank God for that too. Let it break down, recycle, and come back around to be part of the ongoing movement in which we are participating.
Have you ever considered that grief might be an ungiven love? That the depth of grief that a person feels might be unresolve about a love that they had not fully received and then given into their world? And if a person fully receives that love and then shares it, where did the grief go? The unresolve that ends up feeling like grief can disappear, along with all the would-a, could-a, should-a’s in the light of that given love.
We might not realize that we have more love to give—that sitting within our heart and within the potentiality of who we are as a human being is an ungiven love. After all, we have given so much, perhaps been so dedicated, so loyal, and so committed. And yet, perhaps there is an ungiven love that ends up feeling like unresolve and grief.
May we each fully receive the highest love. Not just the love we have already received, but also the love that is waiting for us. And then, let us not only give the love that we have given but also the love that we did not even know was there, the love that we have not yet given. How many of the issues we face as humanity have at their root an ungiven love?
This is part of the spiritual intelligence needed for the pathfinder. It is part of bringing the perfect and the beautiful into the unresolve of the world in which we live during these apocalyptic times.
We are here to bring the portable paradise into the wilderness and the seeds of love into the compost of world culture.