What does it take to reach escape velocity? That’s what happens with rockets. Up to a certain point they are earthbound, held within the gravitational field of the Earth. But if they are going on a long journey, at some point they have to reach escape velocity, which is that speed at which they are able to move past the gravitational field of the Earth. That’s true for us. Sometimes it feels like we make some steps forward, we begin to gain some altitude, and drop back to earth. We haven’t quite reached escape velocity. But that is our destiny. I’d like to speak of practices of thought, and then life expression, that free us and help us achieve it.
First of all, consider, what is it that keeps us earthbound? It is a self-referential view of the world, is it not? The human tendency is to see everything that is happening as relating to us. And no doubt it’s wise to keep track of our physical bodies and where we are physically, and what is happening for us as an individual. And yet, what we find is that if that is all that is going on, we are earthbound and there is something that is not happening for us. We are not free.
So how do we implement an approach to life that frees up the self-referential state of consciousness? There are deliberate things to do to transcend that way of thinking about yourself and about your life. All of them take us to a larger state of wholeness. They let us participate not only as an isolated, segregated individual, but with an awareness of the whole in which we live, and of all the dimensions of that whole.
One such attitude is responsibility for the world in which we live. There is so much that happens that is so easy to attribute to the actions of others. There are those seemingly powerful people in government, perhaps in business, or finance. And then in the smaller world in which we live, perhaps there is some kind of organizational or cultural power, or some position of particular authority that another person might have. So it is easy to attribute power to others for those reasons. Even with close relationships of family and with friends, it can seem that our life experience is at the mercy of others.
What is the radical step of taking responsibility that frees us from the experience of living in a world created by others? We may witness someone else doing something that has obvious impact in the world in which we live—in our family, perhaps, in our community, or in the nation. That’s hard to deny. So what sense does it make to say, “I am responsible”? On the surface of things, what sense does it make? From the earthbound point of view, somebody else is responsible, not me. Of course, that attitude leads to powerlessness. At all levels, there are the powerful. And then there are all the petty tyrants of the world.
Here is the radical, freeing attitude to take:
I am responsible anyway. They are in my world. I am responsible for that bad choice they made. I’m responsible for that action that they took. I didn’t originate it. They had a matter of choice, and yet it’s in my world: I’m responsible. I’m responsible for my world. It’s my world, after all.
By the very nature of what it means to have a world, one is responsible, no matter what. No matter what others are doing, it is my world. That attitude takes us to escape velocity, where we are not just looking at the world in terms of how it affects me. We are not looking at it in a powerless way but looking at it with the eyes of a creator. Radical responsibility sets us free.
Reciprocity sets us free. Reciprocity is simply understanding, compassion and care for the experiences of others. Jesus said that if someone asks you to walk a mile with him, walk two. The original source is uncertain, but there is a well-known saying: Never criticize a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins. See the world from someone else’s perspective.
Award-winning film producer, Michael Moore, has just started his own podcast, Rumble. Recently, he was speaking about Iran. Americans tend to villainize Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism. They’re fomenting violence in the Middle East. They are building a bomb! In 1979, 52 Americans were held hostage for over a year. The leader of the Iranian Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, called America The Great Satan, an epithet repeated by Iranian leaders today.
An American who even begins to see the world from an Iranian perspective is likely to be accused of a lack of patriotism. But without that understanding, what possibility is there for peace? Michael Moore was pointing out that the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States orchestrated a coup in 1953 that installed the Shah as a dictator. He tortured his people and trampled human rights. Michael Moore was asking us to see that situation through their eyes. Understand their history. Because truly, until you do that, you’re not really seeing. You’re looking at it from a self-referential point of view, perhaps an American point of view. But you are not really seeing the whole picture. I’m not talking about condoning any of their misdeeds, and I do not condone American misdeeds. I’m talking about seeing with a vision of the whole.
With reciprocity, we’re going over to the other end of the relationship. We’re appreciating what is there in another person’s experience, and we’re finding that, as we do unto others as we would have them do unto us—which is a teaching of reciprocity—we are setting ourselves free. We are liberating ourselves so that the urge to rise up and come to a different place in our lives doesn’t constantly have human inertia exerting a gravitational pull, dragging us back to our old life.
When we follow the Golden Rule, we are not just doing something good and moral. We are doing something radical, and seemingly illogical to the self-referential point of view. And yet our own liberation is contained in our reciprocity. Reciprocity says that we are not holding others back—we are giving them a boost. We are not jealous of their accomplishments; we’re not envious of what they have. We are celebrating their gifts; we’re celebrating their success. Their success is our fulfillment. And then, where did our own earthbound state go? We are liberated in that action.
What I have found is that for someone who has come to understand the principle of reciprocity and mutuality, there is an uncommon love that comes forth from them—an uncommon kindness. It is not something forced, though it is perhaps practiced over time. The attitudes and practices of reciprocity and mutuality liberate us from the self-referential life into the life of creatorship. For any group of people, the same is true. A group of people is liberated into creatorship when it ascends past the earthbound state.
In the earthbound state, responsibility looks like form. We attempt to take responsibility by looking after the form of things, and the form of things does need looking after. But ultimately what we find is that the equation of life never closes as long as we are just chasing after the forms. With an earthbound perspective, we are on a path of burnout, trying to get it all together as an individual or as any group of people, working harder and harder and longer and longer. But the equation never closes as long as all we’re about is chasing after the forms and trying to make them what we think they should be on an earthbound basis, without something more happening.
We have to reach escape velocity to come to the place where we are in our creatorship and we can take true responsibility for the world in which we live as a creator. We have to be in the place where it is natural to see the whole. Practices of reciprocity and mutuality help us go beyond a small, earthbound vision and allow us to ascend to another place of creatorship. What is the first thing that we create as an individual human being? And what is the first thing that we create together, without which all the effort at a human level, at the earthly level, goes ultimately no place?
The Creation story in Genesis talks about human beings being put in a garden “eastward in Eden.” The east is symbolic of the place of the rising sun. It is a place of pre-form. The garden isn’t just a garden of apples and oranges. It’s a garden of crystalline energy. It’s a garden of consciousness. It’s a garden of known reality, out of which form is born. We, as human beings, are meant to be in that garden. That’s what the escape velocity is all about. It’s about being liberated into a place where we can be a creator and we can take responsibility for the garden. The evolving, emerging human reality is born out of the garden.
This requires the generation of the substance of the garden, which is the substance of Love that we share with other people. It is formed by the character of Love. The forms of energy and consciousness we share, which are forms of Love in the garden, are just as real as the apples and oranges in an orchard. We are created to live in that garden and to create with each other the forms that are natural to the garden. They are forms of reality before they take physical form.
Think of a family. A family has a reality that is far more than the physical reality of the family members. The love of a family is the core of what that family is. We could call the vibrational forms of that love pneumaplasm; we could call it auric substance. Whatever we call it, when we live in the garden, that substance is even more real than the physical substance of the life that we are living.
The forms in the garden are created out of the dignity of a human life. They are created out of the respect that we have for other creators who are in the garden with us. They are created out of the communion that we know together in the garden, with the energies of Creation that are flowing through us, as an individual and flowing through others. We have the remarkable opportunity to experience communion as we create in that garden. The patterns of communion are patterns of love, not only love for the personality or the earthly dimensions of another person but love for the creative powers that are flowing through them. This garden is abuzz with the interplay of Creation.
Part of the work of reaching escape velocity is to move beyond the earthbound life, where we have tended to live, and into this garden. It is moving past all the reactive feelings that come up around other people. It is the ongoing diligence in the practice of noting what comes up in one’s own heart and mind. It’s walking past all those things and deliberately leaving them behind.
Magic Eye produces whole books of optical illusions that look like bubbles or scribblings on a page when you first look at them. And then, if you focus your eyes in a certain way, you see another 3-D picture that emerges out of all those bubbles and scribblings.
Life is like that. You walk around in the world in which you live and see all the personality elements, and feel all the feelings around the personality elements, whatever they are—jealousy and envy, resentment, fear, etc. And then…if you will allow your vision to change ever so slightly, you see not only the separate individual. You see them as part of a beautiful whole.
Ultimately that whole is humankind and the cosmos. But the whole body of humankind replicates itself through every group of people, all the way down to the individual—or at least it tries to. And then we see that the person isn’t just some isolated human personality. They are a treasured member of the whole, even if they don’t know it themselves. Our act of reciprocity and mutuality is to see them with those eyes.
When we do that, we are liberating not only them. We are liberating ourselves. That self-referential personality that we’d known ourselves to be simply disappears, and something else emerges, which is who we are as a member of a whole. That whole has an earthly dimension, just as the body of humankind has an earthly dimension. Currently, there are 7 billion human bodies walking around on the surface of the planet. But there is another dimension to humankind that is ever so real. And there is another dimension to each of us.
Jesus was speaking of exactly this when he said that we should not lay up for ourselves treasures in the earth, where moth and rust corrupt and thieves can come in and steal, but that we should lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Treasure the garden. Value the energy field and the field of consciousness that we share together. And we don’t just share it as a preexisting thing. We create it and we build it together. Just as surely as when we build a building, we build this field of consciousness and energy brick by brick, just as surely as one might create something physical. We are either adding bricks or we are taking them away.
Does it ever go through your mind, related to the field that you share with others: Just how full of love could this field be? In the usual human state of awareness, we simply encounter the atmosphere of a group and say, Oh, it’s this way—okay. We either put up with it or wander off to someplace else. It’s a rare person who gets really conscious about these things and asks themselves the question, What could this field be? It is not a foregone conclusion, whatever that field is. Whether it is a family, a community, or a nation, it doesn’t just happen. It is either built by default, by people who experience themselves as victims and are unconsciously tearing at what ought to be the garden, or it is a field where the people are very consciously building the patterns of energy. The more those vibrational forms are built, the more there are pathways for what has real value.
Creation in the human experience is not a foregone conclusion. It’s a conscious act, built through creative communion with others. It is built through that kind of synergy. We are liberated into that field of synergy and co-creation through reciprocity, mutuality, and a radical acceptance of responsibility for the world in which we live. That is reaching escape velocity.
Every human interchange is an opportunity to juice the field—to energize the field. And then to be the field, to be a living embodiment of the fertility of the field—the openness, the receptiveness, embracing new possibility, new creative essence—so that the seeds that are sown have a chance to grow. Even before they take form in the world, they are growing in the garden. The seeds of what is to be in form are in the east, in the garden, planted in the garden before they are planted in the earth, growing there as possibilities that are becoming more and more real in our mind’s eye and our hearts, until they are finally given birth into the world. The things of the garden begin to become real for us as we are no longer distracted by our own earthbound tendencies, but liberated to truly be creators together.