Anyone who is singing a true song today is singing in the dark. We are singing in the dark in the sense that what is prevailing in the culture of the world in which we live isn’t all that it should be, all that it could be, or all that we desire and hope for. In that sense we live in a dark world, unless you’re willing to believe that the powers that be represent you accurately and clearly, and are creating the world that you want to create. If you’re willing to think that the U.S. Congress, the United Nations, Wall Street and all the vested interests of the world, and the mass media are creating a thriving world, you are welcome to embrace that view. I don’t.
We are here to live a culture into being that is not the prevailing culture of the day. It means that we have to be conscious enough to be able to say, Yes, I understand that this is very popular; I understand that somebody just won some kind of award for that; I understand that somebody just got voted into office; I understand that this law just got passed. But that’s not who I am and that’s not what I’m backing in my life. I’m singing a new song in my life. I’m singing in the dark.
I grew up as part of the counterculture of this country in the 1960s. We saw that the culture at large wasn’t what we wanted it to be. And so we were doing something counter to that culture. It is so easy to see what one is doing as something that is counter to the prevailing culture or the prevailing opinion or the prevailing power. But in truth, what carries weight for me and for you is not a counterculture. It is not something that’s counter to what’s happening. It’s the real thing, lived by us, that tends to be seen as counter to the currently prevailing culture, but it is actually the real, true human culture.
That was the biggest change in my life. I stopped defining myself according to what I was against and began to live a life born out of the reality that was present in the depth of my own soul.
If we were living on a desert island someplace or in some remote part of the world as one of the primal peoples of the world, and living the life that we were meant to live, we wouldn’t think of ourselves as living the counterculture. We would just be living the culture. Change of scene: here we are in the middle of the world as it is. To live the culture that is natural for us to live, I do believe we have to be conscious of creating a true culture that’s born out of the reality that’s within us.
What has gone wrong in world culture? There is a bond in all of Creation that holds it together. You can look at every level of Creation, from the atom to the star to the galaxy and everywhere in between. At every level, there is a primal bond that holds all Creation together and binds all of Creation with the power and energy within it. That’s what’s happening for the atom and that’s what is happening for the sun. It is what’s happening for the galaxy and it is happening in our own physical bodies. There is a primal bond that is holding us together.
For that bond to work as it is designed to work for us as human beings, it has to move through consciousness. When we are talking about consciousness, we are talking about how we think and how we feel. When our thinking and feeling violate the primal bond that’s operating all throughout Creation and which is meant to be operating in our own human experience, we destroy ourselves and all that is around us.
We have the ability, through what we think and what we feel, to violate the primal bond and to create a culture of separation in which we are cut off from the Earth Mother, and we are cut off from the very source of power and life within us. Limited thinking and feeling can disconnect us from the very reality of the sacred that gives us being and gives us hope. So there are mechanisms of consciousness that we need to reactivate, forging the primal bond so that it is present not only at the level of the atom and level of the stars but in our lives. That has to happen so we come back to sanity as a race.
That’s why we need songs in the night. We need songs that say, Yes, I know how the world is. I know what’s popular; I know how technology is being used; I know what’s being promoted in the media. I’m singing a new song. I’m singing a song of reality. I’m singing a song that gives expression to the deepest and most profound feelings of my own heart, to the deepest and most profound desires of a human being. I’m singing those songs. I’m saying the words that carry that message to my friends and my neighbors, to people far and near. I’m singing with them.
We had an Elders Panel yesterday at the Arise Festival, here at Sunrise Ranch. A First Nation’s activist on the panel said that we have to give up two hopes: first, the hope that God will save us from all our insanity as human beings. The other hope that we have to give up is that technology will save us. We have to give up on these hopes to come to the profound realization that the only thing that can save us is a great change in consciousness. The only thing that can save us is a conscious reforming of the primal bond.
If we are willing to take the steps that restore the primal bond with all Creation and with the Creator, then the Creator can come to our aid and support. All the technology that we create will be at our hand to help us. But I don’t want more and better technology in the hands of a race of people that has lost its connection with the Creation and with the Creator. I don’t want atomic power, or any other modern technology, in the hands of a human being whose heart and mind has forgotten the primal bond.
All of what is possible for us as human beings is waiting on something. And it’s not God, coming down out of the sky or any other way. It’s not technology. And it’s not money.
Somebody on our panel yesterday asked, What would we do if Donald Trump came here today and gave us a billion dollars? What would you do if Donald Trump came up to you and said, “You have a billion dollars to use for some good purpose.” Interesting question! My first response was, money can’t buy what we need. There is a right use for money, but money can’t save us. Money can do some good in the hands of somebody for whom the primal bond is real. I could do some things with some money at Sunrise Ranch and in other places. But it would only do good if the primal bond is in place for me and for the other people spending the money.
Money doesn’t give us meaning and it doesn’t give us power. Of course, we as humanity seem to have forgotten that. We think money does give us power. No, we give power to money. It’s been long enough ago that this truth has been forgotten. The almighty dollar isn’t giving us meaning and power. We give it meaning and power. There are people who would like us to forget that fact and, for the most part, humanity has gone along with this piece of financial magic. The truth is that we empowered money as a medium of exchange. It doesn’t give us power—it doesn’t give us anything, really, except a means to express the primal bond that is within us and allow what could flow as a medium of exchange among us as human beings to flow. But if we’re not meaningful, the money isn’t meaningful. That is the basis of inflation.
What is the ultimate current of exchange between us as human beings? It is the power of the primal bond—Universal Love. It’s what’s keeping the atom together and it’s what’s keeping the planets moving around the sun. Universal Love is the power of the primal bond. It’s the power in your cells and it’s the power in the sun. And it’s the power that ought to be moving through our consciousness as human beings. Money could be an instrument for the conveyance of the power. But it usually isn’t.
The atom probably doesn’t have to think about whether it will opt in to the primal bond. But we do. It’s called freedom of choice. It’s why we have the option to screw things up really nicely. The atom doesn’t have a yes or no point; it’s just being an atom. The animals that walk through Sunrise Ranch, where I live, don’t have a choice when it comes to the primal bond. At no point do they say, “No, I’m not up for Universal Love.” There are mountain lions that walk through these hills; there are herds of elk, hundreds of them that come through. They have an innate, unbreakable bond with the power of Love that’s within them. No ability to say no or yes—they’re just with it, they’re in it. The same with the grass.
We as human beings have the gift of consciousness. We could wonder why, but we have it. We have consciousness, and the power of Love is meant to function through us consciously—through thought and feeling. That means that we can make the choice to commit ourselves to live for something that’s larger than ourselves.
On yesterday’s panel we were asked, If you were to give people something to live for, something to live a hopeful life for, what would you say to them? What would you give them as a starting point? Here is something that anyone on the planet could do: Live for something bigger than yourself.
Sound simple? Find something that’s bigger than you are, so that you can forget all your self-concern, all the worry about yourself, all the worry about me and mine that has infected our brains and infected our culture. Leave behind all the preoccupation with How am I doing? Commit yourself to live for something bigger than yourself. Live for another person, live for a community of people, live for a family, live for a nation, live for a world. Live for God. Live a life that’s committed to this planet. That’s worth living for. Give yourself to the future generations of this planet. Give yourself to the young people of this planet. Set yourself free.
When I was a desperate and angry young man protesting the Vietnam War, I was agonizing over the culture of my country. What was worse was that I came to realize that the lack of honoring of the reality of Being in all things had infected my own soul. In the middle of that experience, I received a mailing from Sunrise Ranch that pointed me in the direction of sanity, in the direction of knowing the primal bond for myself. It contained an essay, “Thoughts in the Night.” I believe we all need some inspiring thoughts in the night so that we can move through the night, shining our light and seeing the light of others, so that we can be a torch in the night. And we can see by the light of that torch, our own light and the light of others. Personally, inspiring thoughts in the night are still coming to me.
On May 19th, Dr. Michael Beckwith made this declaration in the Dome at Sunrise Ranch: “Not all thoughts are created equal.” There are enlightened thoughts in the night, and they make a difference. They resound through the darkness, they reshape the world. They uplift, they shine a light, they inspire. They change consciousness. They have reach. A small-minded thought full of self-concern just goes kerplunk. Little criticisms, little thoughts about other people, self-promoting and self-seeking thoughts carry little real strength.
Not all thoughts are created equal, not all feelings are created equal, and not all expressions of the human spirit are created equal. The spirit of Universal Love, when it comes through a person in its fullness because that person has committed themselves to something bigger than they are, is a huge and generous spirit. It has no end. There is always more of it. Human bodies grow old and tired, but the best of the human spirit, the power of the Universal Love that’s within us, carries on.
When a caterpillar is turning into a butterfly, there are—in the middle of the mush of that caterpillar in the process of transformation—imaginal cells that are the beginning of all the parts of the butterfly it is becoming. We are those imaginal cells in the body of humanity when we have committed ourselves to something bigger than we are.
When we have allowed the primal bond to come into place for ourselves, when we know our bond with Planet Earth, with all of Creation, and most of all with the reality of Being that’s within us—the reality of God by whatever name—then we know the reality of the bond that we have with all people, regardless of race, color, religion or background, or even state of consciousness.
You may be unconscious of the bond you have with me, but I am conscious of the bond I have with you. And if we’re both conscious together, we get to celebrate how we’re all held together in this universal pattern within which the whole universe is held. We don’t have to try to make it so. We just have to know that it is so and act with that knowing. Then we are not trying to make something real that isn’t real. We are knowing and manifesting what is already real.
Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s true. This is a simple statement, but without this understanding there is no wisdom. Just because something is popular in human culture doesn’t make it true or right or sane, or even real.
In the middle of darkness of the culture at large, let us sing songs in the darkness. Let us be a pool of peace. Let us restore the primal bond within ourselves and with each other around the world.