By Gill Edwards
Re-printed from permission by the author.
Last night, I dreamt that I was a deer—roaming free through the forest, leaping over bracken and streams, pausing to graze in a woodland clearing, my ears twitching and alert, my eyes and nose alive to everything around me. I awoke from my dream, rose from my bed, and opened the shutters. Morning light poured into the room, and I gazed into the garden. A few paces away, beneath an oak tree, a deer looked up and glanced toward me. For a split moment, I felt my ears twitch and did not know whether I was deer or human.
In the Native American tradition, the deer is a symbol of gentleness and unconditional love. It reminds us that love is the great healer, which overcomes the illusion of separation. When love is present, there is no fear. When there is no fear, everything is welcomed into your heart—and you relax deeply. Love reassures us that all is well. It sets us free. Love unites and connects, whereas fear disconnects. Darkness is merely the absence of light—and, like the morning light, love pours in unless we are shutting it out.
A NEW COSMOLOGY
For me, this time of great awakening (that is, the decades leading up to and beyond 2012) is all about love. It is about expanding our consciousness beyond the old creation myths and realizing that the cosmos is based upon unconditional love, from which we are inseparable. Love is what we are. What is more, we are not victims of fate or chance or karma, but divine cocreators of everything (without exception) that happens to us. We are creative fragments or sparks of Source/God/Love. This loving universe is primed to help us make our dreams come true, and we are apprentice gods and goddesses, who can allow our dreams in or not.
At the moment, many of us are straddling two different worlds: the commonsense world of fear, struggle, blame, and victimhood that is mirrored by the news media, and the emerging world of love, joy, healing, and spiritual awareness that is bubbling up behind the scenes, within the ever-expanding group of “cultural creatives” who are holding a new consciousness.1 Once we step fully into this new reality, everyday life takes on a numinous quality, and we feel more and more alive. We realize that the outer world is a mirror of the inner world. There is no real separation between inner and outer—just as the deer in my dream then appeared in my real-life garden. As more and more cultural creatives live from this expanded perspective and join together in creative and innovative projects, the world will be transformed.
For the past few millennia, humanity has been tamed with fear and Judgment. Religion has been used as an agent of social control and conformity. Strange and downright crazy beliefs about a wrathful judgmental God have been ingrained into. the human psyche and have convinced us that being spiritual, or worthy of Love, means being good. That is, doing what others want us to do. Conforming to external rules and social expectations. Putting others’ needs before our own. Sacrificing ourselves. Denying ourselves. Trying to prove ourselves worthy or special.
Most of us have internalized a cold, critical, repressive inner voice—the judgmental god within—which tells us how to behave, constantly criticizes us, keeps our noses to the grindstone, and squashes or denies our true feelings. Since emotions and desires are the language of the soul, this is tantamount to soul murder. To the extent that we give our power to this inner judge, we are tamed and locked away. We feel trapped and disempowered. The shutters of our windows are closed. The inevitable result is anxiety, depression, physical illness dysfunctional relationships or a pervasive joylessness that we cannot explain.
The great awakening is about shifting into a mature cosmology in which we are not miserable earthworms in search of redemption, nor have we been cruelly abandoned by a distant (or absent) God. Instead, we are divine and creative beings in human form. We are sparks of God in conscious evolution. Paradoxically, this grownup concept of God and the cosmos has been emerging from the very realm that once rejected God as unnecessary and irrelevant: the world of science. At the cutting edge of physics and biology, a psychoenergetic vision of reality is turning our “common sense” on its head. Within this new cosmology, the universe is an interconnected web of energy-consciousness. It is consciousness that determines the collapse of quantum wave functions, which essentially means that it is our minds that control what happens in our lives, not a judgmental God. No commandments from the sky. No victims of chance, or fate, or karma, or genetic inheritance. Instead, we discover a universe in which love is so unconditional that it says “Yes!” to any desire we have. No questions asked. No need to earn or deserve it. No doubt about whether we are “allowed” to have that desire. The universe has infinite resources, and it can coordinate the higher needs of everyone involved. Ask and it is given. It is as simple as that.
Well, no, it isn’t quite as simple as that. As the new science shows, energy follows thought. We get what we focus on. Focus on problems, and they get worse. Focus on your fears, and they will eventually manifest. Focus on what you desire, and you pull it toward you. Focus on your limitations, and you cannot move beyond them. What you expect, you get. You prove yourself right, over and over again. You can have whatever you want, but you need to send out consistent signals. Your beliefs, desires, and expectations need to be coherent.
What splits our energy, producing incoherent or contradictory signals? Fear and judgment — not feeling good enough. Feeling undeserving or unworthy. Feeling guilty about our desires. Fearing that if we have what we want, we are depriving others of what they want. Telling ourselves we should be good and dutiful, or should put others first, or should make the best of what we have. Believing that dreams cannot come true or that we will get our rewards later if we suffer and sacrifice ourselves now. Feeling anxious about making a change. Fearing that life is going to fall apart. A whole host of other negative thoughts stem from the old cosmologies—from the finger-wagging God in the sky; or a belief that the world is a solid and limited place over which we have little control.
Abraham suggested that the basis of life is freedom, the purpose of life is joy, and the result of life is growth.For me, this triad of freedom, joy, and growth is the cornerstone of a grown-up spirituality based upon the new paradigm—a spirituality of unconditional love, in which each of us is a creative spark of an infinite and omnipresent Source of energy-consciousness. Freedom, joy, and growth are the new holy trinity. We are cocreators with the Source energy, which means that we are constantly giving birth to new dreams and desires that we are learning how to manifest in physical reality. We chose to be here in order to have a delicious, glorious, and wonderful time!
The purpose of life is joy. In the New Age movement, it is common to see the purpose of life as spiritual growth, but this readily feeds into the fall/redemption belief that there is something wrong with us that needs fixing. Nor are we here to serve the world. That belief likewise comes from the tame, driven part of us that feels unworthy and wants to justify our existence (or from a part that feels superior). Instead, our purpose is to experience joy. What a relief? Because the basis of life is freedom, how we choose to find joy is entirely up to us. This is a planet of free will. There is no judgment about the choices that we make, now or in the hereafter. Because the universe is aligned with love, joy and freedom, life tends to go more smoothly and easily if we choose to be happy, rather than trying to be “good” in others’ eyes.
This is why I urge people to choose to be happy instead of trying to be good 3 or as Joseph Campbell put it, “Follow your bliss.” If you believe that being spiritual (or loving) means being good, you’re in big trouble. After all, you have identified spirituality with the world of the ego—the world of judgment—and will tie yourself in neurotic knots. Trying to be good and virtuous leaves us feeling lonely and disempowered. Whenever we try to be good, we allow ourselves to be controlled by other people, religious rules, duty, obligation, or pressures to conform. We squash or deny any feelings or desires that seem unacceptable to others, and twist ourselves into pretzels trying to gain approval or admiration. We cut ourselves off from our emotional/intuitive guidance—the God within us—which is constantly guiding us toward the fulfillment of our desires. Life becomes a joyless treadmill. Whenever we dance to someone else’s tune, we begin to lose ourselves and crush our unique potential. As in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, the Delphic oracle urged, “To thine own self be true.” If we remain true to ourselves, honoring our own feelings and desires, we begin to live a life that truly belongs to us, one that becomes more and more joyful, loving, authentic, rich, creative, and meaningful.
Following our bliss honors the divine feminine. As we honor our sensuality, our sexuality, our creativity, our desires, and do whatever makes our hearts sing and our toes curl with delight, we embody our soul. We step into the emergent holistic cosmology, which sees everything as divine and sacred. We melt the boundaries between heaven and Earth. Bliss makes our energy coherent, which, in turn, attracts further joy, and miracles, and synchronicities.
Whenever we flit the, world into good and bad conflict and neurosis are inevitable. Our energy becomes split or divided. Whenever we pride ourselves on saying “no” to a cream cake, working through our lunch break, or pleasing our partner at the expense of our own feelings, we are bowing to the old cosmology. Trying to be good stems from a dualistic way of thinking.. It is based upon judgment, or conditional. love. It fuels self-righteousness, which means someone is “in the right” and someone else is “in the wrong”—some part of self is right (the judge within), and another part is bad and wrong (our feelings, thoughts, or desires). This inner conflict will be mirrored in conflict with others. Splitting ourselves internally leads to projecting our shadow onto others. This is at the root of wars, terrorism, genocide, racism, sexism, family feuds, religious factions, scapegoating, and most relationship difficulties. As Dr. Carl Jung said, “The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside fate. That is to say, when the individual divided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves.” 4 This dynamic creates a huge proportion of the misery in the world and blocks our natural ability to love with an open heart and to speak honestly without blame or defensiveness.
Gandhi said we need to be the change we want to see in the world. Because all energy is interconnected, we are all one at an energy level. What we are has far more impact than what we say or do. If we are loving toward ourselves, and at peace with ourselves, that helps to spread love and peace in the world. Our energy radiates far beyond our personal lives, like ripples spreading across a great lake. When we are negative or critical, even in the privacy of our own minds, that energy affects the world. When we are loving, joyful, peaceful, creative, and visionary, that, too, affects the world around us.
However, this isn’t an excuse to beat ourselves up whenever we are having a bad time, feeling negative, angry, despairing, or fearful. If we react in this way, we slip back into the old cosmology. A crucial part of selflove is accepting whoever we are, wrapping our arms around ourselves, and saying “yes” to whatever is. The paradox is that we cannot change while we are pushing against whatever is. When we push, we are in resistance, which blocks the flow of energy. We have to accept what is in front of us in order to open the door to change, whether it is a negative emotion, a situation we find difficult or painful, other people’s behavior, or what is happening in the world. To say “yes” to it, we have to soften our resistance. Our love needs to be unconditional: Tolerance is not love. Approval is not love. Dependency is not love. Love heals and transforms everything, but it has to be wild, or it is not love.
We can truly love only when we know we are good and aim to be happy. We cannot love while we are trying to be good. The world of judgment traps us in ego—we can only tame others or allow ourselves to be tamed.
When we try to please others from a sense of unworthiness, we are trying to “earn” love by sacrificing our true selves; if we emit shame and insecurity, our relationships will reflect that back to us. If we try to be good by identifying with the judgmental god within, we become critical and controlling of others, holding them responsible for our feelings and wanting them to live up to our model of who they should be. Either way, love and intimacy are nowhere to be found.
When we aim to be happy, by contrast, we give off vibrations of self-love, self-worth, and appreciation, and our relationships mirror this by becoming deeper, happier, and more authentic. In other words, much of what we have been taught about “what love means”—self-sacrifice, putting others first, being loyal to others at the expense of our own feelings or authenticity, or feeling entitled to have others behave as we wish them to—actually leads us away from loving relationships and into the twilight prison of codependency. It leads us toward tame love, which constantly slips into toxic cycles of control and sacrifice, blame and guilt. Tame love splinters our awareness and strangles our potential. It holds us hostage to the old cosmology.
As part of the great awakening, I believe we are in cultural transition from tame love to wild love, from the limited psychology of the ego to the multidimensional awareness of the Self. As a result, personal relationships are currently in chaos. As I see it, the current pattern of marital breakdown and blended families is not necessarily a bad thing. As family therapy reveals, dysfunctional family patterns tend to be unconsciously passed down through the generations. Children grow into adults who mistake for love whatever they received in childhood, since it feels familiar. They then feel “bound by loyalty” to similarly dysfunctional relationships in adulthood—and the chain of pain is passed on. Perhaps the ability to let go of limiting relationships is essential in dissolving our old riverbeds of relating and giving the next generation fresh options and greater freedom. Perhaps it is a crucial part of our spiritual awakening to release our old security blankets to build healthier patterns of relating. If so, we need to stop judging a marriage as a failure if it ends in divorce. After all, some of the least successful relationships that I know of have lasted for
Marianne Williamson suggests that marriage often becomes “a prison based on guilt and ownership” a chilling description of tame love. Tame love traps us in fear, guilt, control, and conformity, making us far smaller than we really are. But we are now outgrowing that old model of love and commitment, with its demands, possessiveness, and feelings of “entitlement,” and forging new riverbeds of wild love. We are reaching for a greater love, which allows us to expand our consciousness and express our creative and loving potential—Love that sets us free to be who we truly are.
During the past few years, my own journey has unexpectedly taken me out of a marriage, which—though friendly and companionable—was limiting and two dimensional. It had rocked me to sleep, without my even noticing. Through an experience of wild love, I reawakened my passion, sensuality, and embodiment and reconnected with my emotions. I reclaimed my lost dreams and desires. My journey was immensely tough and painful, yet it released much that for years I had kept under wraps. It smashed through my old defenses. I felt raw, exposed, and vulnerable, as if an old suit of armor had been ripped off, leaving my flesh tender and pink. It changed me profoundly, in ways that I could never have imagined. It helped me to understand how we control and limit ourselves. And it taught me what love, for self, others, and the world, really means.
Behind the scenes, hundreds of thousands of people are shifting in their ways of seeing life and relating to each other. These “quiet shifts” are working their way through all of our social systems and building toward a gentle revolution that will transform everything from health care to education.
It is all too easy to see the problems in the world. However, shifting into the new cosmology requires us to focus on our desires, our visions, our hopes for the future, as opposed to criticizing, analyzing, and explaining what is wrong, or blaming those who are “behaving badly.” Energy follows thought. We are dreaming this new world into being, and therefore we need to have peaceful, loving, and visionary dreams.
While we are straddling the old and new paradigms, it is tempting to use the judgmental approach of the old worldview to criticize the current systems. I know—I’ve been there! I spent 25 years criticizing allopathic medicine and promoting alternative approaches to health care. I criticized patriarchal religion, mainstream education, and other social systems. I learned, however, that, we get what we focus on. When we judge systems, people, or ourselves as bad or wrong, we participate in the old world of duality. From that place of self-righteousness, we cannot become an effective agent for social change, Only wild love can set us free.
Eventually, I realized I was focusing on what I saw as “bad and wrong” and perpetuating the split between “us and them.” I began to see the others—the doctors, priests, teachers, politicians, lawyers—as good, loving, and well-intentioned. Perhaps some had different priorities than mine or saw the world in a different way, but now I wanted to understand them. I wanted to reach out and connect with them. I began to make peace with the disowned parts of myself, which they mirrored. There is a time when we do need to separate from old systems, when we need to say “no” and walk away. There is a time for establishing clear boundaries, finding our own way, asserting our identity, and clarifying our vision. Then comes the time for peacemaking, reconciliation, and integration.
Some believe that our old social systems are becoming so dysfunctional that they will simply collapse, that we are heading toward chaos and disintegration as we approach 2012—then a whole flock of phoenixes will rise from their ashes. My own vision is for a peaceful and gentle revolution. I believe that we can integrate new perspectives into the old structures, thus bringing a loving integration to all our warring selves and initiating change from within.
For example, I recently cofounded a project to bring broader spirituality and deeper ecumenism into my local church. We offer additional meetings and services that are creation-centered, joyful, and celebratory, while the traditional Sunday morning services continue to meet the needs of those who are comfortable and familiar with the old fall/redemption theology. Our aim is to be integrative and to honor the needs of everyone involved.
The new project offers a positive way forward for a small church, which, amid widespread spiritual hunger, was failing to attract more than a handful of people for its congregation. Instead of labeling the old approach as bad or wrong, we recognized that it was meeting some people’s needs and had its own strengths, and introducing complementary services helped to embrace a clear vision for a bright new future.
Loving acceptance is a key part of this new approach. Parents do not punish a toddler for being unable to run and climb, or shame the toddler for wobbling on his or her feet. Nor should we criticize those parts of ourselves—mirrored in the outside world—that are still clinging to the old paradigm. Those old habits we have developed have been well-trained over several millennia. They serve the belief that striving to be “good,” or self-righteous, is the only way to remain safe and loved. Perhaps they are holding wisdom and gifts for us, if only we listen with an open heart. Until we love and accept every part of these behaviors, old and new, they will continue to resist change and cling to the raft of fall/redemption theology. This includes all the ways in which that theology plays out in society, such as allopathic medicine, left-brained education, the blaming and victimhood of the legal and penal systems, power-based hierarchies in business, child abuse, disempowerment of women, or ecological problems. Somehow we have to maintain a delicate balance between being aware of how the old cosmology controls, limits, and distorts us, while not pushing against it in a way that increases resistance to change.
The only solution is love: not tame, conditional love that says, “I will love you if only .. .” or “I will love you when . . .”, but unconditional love that says, “I see you. I hear you. I love you.” Wild love. Love that says “yes” to everything; love that is inclusive and embracing rather than excluding or rejecting. Wild love heals the old wounds and divisions. Until we reach out with love, compassion, and understanding toward those who might seem stuck in old thinking, or even acting out in destructive ways, we are playing the same old games of goodies-and-baddies. We are caught up in fear or judgment. We are living in the old world of duality.
At an inner level, reaching out with love symbolizes an integration of our inner selves. This makes it feel deeply nourishing. We cannot reject or exclude any aspect of the self without paying a price, so we cannot feel truly at peace until we have made peace, with how the world is right now and with those we might have judged or wanted to push away. There might be room for change and improvement, but evolution and growth are the very nature of life. The world will never stand still, but in any system, there are conservative forces that strive to maintain the status quo. Perhaps those conservative parts of ourselves are serving a useful function, protecting us from too rapid a change or helping us to clarify our true desires. Each of us is a unique piece in this giant cosmic jigsaw puzzle, and every part is needed to make the puzzle whole.
Personally, I don’t believe that anything dramatic will unfold in December 2012 (although those who fear Armageddon might create their own private doomsday). Yet, when we look back, we will see a sweeping change in human consciousness over the past decade, as if we had collectively awakened from a dream.
As we move toward the great shift, countless people are letting go of old habits, patterns, relationships, and situations, often being apparently forced to release whatever holds them in the past, or keeps them stuck. We can no longer pretend that we are happy if we are not. We have to face up to whatever is not working or falls short of our dreams and desires. This means we must become accustomed to rapid change, personally and globally. If we can learn to ride this tidal wave of change, then our global awakening will be relatively easy and even exhilarating. The more we resist change or close down, the tougher it gets. We have to be willing to let go, to make unexpected changes in our lives. We have to be willing to open our hearts, to follow our bliss, to trust and go with the flow. We also have to be willing to put down roots and make commitments when that is where our hearts lead us. As Paulo Coehlo suggests, freedom is not the absence of commitment, but the ability to commit to whatever is right for you.6 That kind of commitment—unlike one that comes from duty or obligation or promises—always feels joyful and liberating and expansive. If it feels heavy or restrictive, it invariably means we are “trying to be good” and so are splitting or dividing our energy.
A healthful cosmology can transform our everyday lives. Instead of seeing life as a harsh training school for wayward souls, or a karmic wheel from which we might eventually escape (if we are good or lucky enough), or merely as a statistical accident with no inherent meaning or purpose, we instead see life as a wondrous gift. We are not here to be good or perfect. We are not here to prove ourselves worthy. We are not here to serve others (at our own expense) or to save the world. We do not have to earn or deserve love. We do not have to “behave well” or conform to external rules and expectations. In a loving universe, we can relax. We are safe. We are worthy. We are loved without condition. We are cosmic voyagers on a magnificent adventure in physical reality, and—as creative sparks of the divine—we can have, do, or be anything we wish. No limits. No strings attached. We can create our own heaven on Earth. And the key to doing so is unconditional love for self, others, and the world.
Wild love does not separate the world into good and bad, right and wrong, safe and dangerous. It says a profound “yes” to life. It affirms that “everything within you and me is good.” It is fearless relating. It dwells in a blameless universe. It is love that gives without needing to receive. It is love without needs, demands, or expectations. It is love that inspires and expands us. It is love that sets us free. It transforms us from flickering lightbulbs into luminous laser beams. Wild love allows us to focus our energy and intention in ways that can change our lives dramatically. Everything we experience depends on whether our love—for self, others, and the world—is tame or wild.
When we love wildly, we take responsibility for our own experience instead of blaming others or trying to control them. We know that nothing and no one “out there” is responsible for what we feel or experience. Everything mirrors what we hold in our own consciousness. Nothing can block the fulfillment of our desires except us—our resistance, our fear, our judgment. Instead of focusing on what is bad or wrong, we learn to embrace ourselves, others, and the world. We appreciate all that is wonderful in our lives and in other people. Instead of pushing against what we do not want, we focus on what we do want. We accept what is and reach toward what might be. We change our world from the inside out. Then, we reconnect with who we really are. We are awake. We are alive. Our wildest dreams can come true. And, almost without noticing it, the boundaries between heaven and Earth have melted away.
WILD LOVE SETS US FREE – REFERENCES
1. Ray, Paul H., and Anderson, Sherry Ruth. The Cultural creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing
the World. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2000.
2. Hicks, Esther, and Hicks, Jerry. Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires. Carlsbad, CA:
Hay House, 2004.
3. Edwards, Gill. Wild Love. London: Piatkus Books, 2006.
4. Jung, Carl.
5. Williamson, Marianne. Enchanted Love: The Mystical Power of Intimate Relationships. New York:
GILL EDWARDS is a chartered clinical psychologist and author of Living Magically, Stepping into the Magic, Pure Bliss, Wild Love, and Life Is a Gift. She is trained in metaphysics, shamanism, energy psychology, and energy medicine, as well as psychodynamic and family/systemic therapy. Her passion is for exploring the practical links between the seen and unseen realms and how reality creation is linked with unconditional love. Gill has run Living Magically workshops in the United Kingdom and internationally since 1990. She lives in the heart of the English Lake District and adores walking in the mountains as much as she loves writing and teaching. Visit her website at www.livingmagically.co.uk.