*Song by Sufjan Stevens performed and orchestrated by Lauren Eve. Please visit her channel here.*
How the hell did we get here?
October has disappeared in a blur of anxiety and stress. A half-dozen blog posts I halfheartedly cobbled together lay unfinished in my drafts. I, like most Americans, have been rattled to the core by the divisive rhetoric that has emerged in politics and in the social landscape of the country. Clearly, the 2016 United States election has inflamed a deep passion in the American people, reflecting an anger that develops when a broken society is looking for someone to blame. The years of political corruption, elitism, corporate greed, racism, xenophobia and fear-mongering have produced from itself a paragon of these virtues in the personage of Donald Trump – a man we have chosen to represent our values in the world. Truly, America has an identity crisis.
Staring down at an uncertain future and searching for spiritual clarity on the situation, I sought out the book by Jane Roberts called ‘The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events.” which discusses how our private belief systems affect larger world events. I am seeking to discover how our individual perceptions coalesced into our collective choices, and how individually we can overcome the hate and divisiveness that has led us to our present circumstances.
If you haven’t been introduced to the Seth material, they are a series of books that were produced through channeling by a writer named Jane Roberts. Seth, the personality behind the books, describes himself as an ‘old ghost’ who is “no longer focused in physical reality.” While some may question the validity of any channeled material, I feel that Jane Robert’s work with Seth is above reproach. It’s teachings stand on its own as sophisticated, original and insightful regardless of its origination.
Jane Roberts and Seth produced “The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events” in the years of 1978 and 1979, though it wasn’t published until 1981. Twice a week, Jane dictated the book while in trance to her husband who developed his own written shorthand to record her words. This was truly a labor of love for both Jane and her husband Robert, for they never became wealthy during their lifetimes. Yet, without fail and unto her deathbed, Jane and Robert continued to dutifully record Seth’s words over a period of twenty years. The original manuscripts and thousands of pages of unpublished material is preserved in the Yale library free for anyone to read; a gift from Jane and Robert to future generations who would delight in discovering the timeless wisdom of Seth’s words.
In this time of crisis, I now turn again now to consult that wisdom. Seth is famous for his phrase, ‘You create your own reality’, a proclamation that has been borrowed so heavily by more modern spiritual, new-age and personal development gurus that many people don’t realize that when it was initially published in the 1960’s, it was quite original. If you take the idea a little further, you might naturally wonder how we could possiblly all inhabit an objective reality together if each of us has the power to individually craft our own. Suffice it to say, Seth gives an in-depth explanation involving multiple frameworks of consciousness, which as he says, “[fits] together quite precisely in a kind of psychological masonry in which each of you has a mental hand.” I will discuss this further in my next post concerning spiritual agreements. In terms of the choices we make in our waking consciousness, however, Seth says this:
“Through your mundane conscious choices, you affect all of the events of your world, so that the mass world is the result of multitudinous individual choices.”
If the current state of our nation is the culmination of our private beliefs and actions, then we all bear the responsibility for America’s devolution into racism, finger-pointing and hatred. On the other hand, Donald Trump might be the very panacea we need in order to improve our circumstances. Certainly, Hillary Clinton represented a return to the status quo – where a distracted American public turned a blind eye to corruption on both sides of the aisle. Extreme personalities have risen to power over and over again in our history and they do serve an important purpose; namely to force a population to coalesce around an identity and purpose – either by rejecting the divisive rhetoric, or becoming enslaved by it. Seth calls these extreme personality types ‘Fanatics’. They are believers in male dominance, aggression through war, extreme nationalism, racial and/or class segregation and isolationism. Seth’s poignant deconstruction of this cult of personality is as relevant today as it was when he used these terms to describe Jim Jones, the cult leader of the 1979 mass suicide of Jonestown, and Adolf Hitler, architect of the genocide of World War II. While I am not suggesting that Trump and his cronies will inspire that kind of cult status or be able to effect such evil as these men, there are certain personality traits that are similar and may arouse certain sympathies in a people under duress.
In Session 854 recorded on May 16th of 1979, Seth says:
“Fanatics have tunnel vision, so that any beliefs not fitting their purposes are ignored. Those that challenge their own purposes, however, become instant targets of scorn and attack. […] Fanatics always use ringing rhetoric, and speak in the highest terms of truth, good and evil, and particularly of retribution. […] Fanatics cannot stand tolerance. They expect obedience. A democratic society offers the greatest challenges and possibilities of achievement for the individual and the species, for it allows for the free intercourse of ideas. It demands much more of its people, however, for in a large manner each must pick and choose from amid a variety of life-styles and beliefs his and her own platform for daily life and action. There are periods in which it certainly seems to some that all standards vanish, and so they yearn for old authorities. And there are always fanatics there to stand for ultimate truth, and to lift from the individual the challenge and ‘burden’ of personal achievement and responsibility. […] Fanatics exist because of the great gap between an idealized good and an exaggerated version of its opposite. The idealized good is projected into the future, while its exaggerated opposite is seen to pervade the present. If someone tells you that pleasure is wrong and tolerance is weakness, and that you must follow this or that dogma blindly in obedience, and if you are told this is the only right road toward the idealized good, then most likely you are dealing with a fanatic. If you are told to kill for the sake of peace, you are dealing with someone who does not understand peace or justice. If you are told to give up your free will, you are dealing with a fanatic.”
Fanatics, as Seth describes them only rise to prominence because people believe themselves to be powerless. In their anger, they look to blame others instead of acknowledging that their individual beliefs and choices have constructed their own reality. When a charismatic leader echoes their sentiments, they look for that leader to embody the power they believe they have themselves lost. Whatever independent values they once possessed are now given up to a group-think mentality.
Donald Trump cannot give us positive change through his negative agenda in Washington. However, he does represent an opportunity for Americans to create positive changes provided they remain engaged in the democratic process and promote, as Seth says, ‘The free intercourse of ideas’. There is no room for apathy in a Donald Trump world.
Here is what Seth advises when faced with a ‘fanatic’:
“The job of trying to make the world better seems impossible, for it appears that you have no power, and any small private beneficial actions that you can take seem so puny in contrast to this generalized ideal that you dismiss them sardonically, and so you do not try to use your power constructively. You do not begin with your own life, with your own job or with your own associates. What difference can it make to the world if you are a better salesperson, or plumber, or office worker, or car salesman, for Christ’s sake? What can one person do?
Yet that is precisely where first of all you must begin to exert yourselves. There, on your jobs and in your associations, are the places where you intersect with the world. Your impulses directly affect the world in those relationships.
Many of you are convinced you are not important – and while each of you feels that way it will seem that your actions have no effect upon the world. You will purposefully keep your ideals generalized, thus saving yourself from the necessity of acting upon them in the one way open you: by trusting yourself and your impulses, and impressing those that you meet in daily life with the full validity that is your own.”
Seth tells us that it is the private choices of each of us that has created this national identity crisis. But apathy, complacency, distraction and self-absorption has had a hand in this turn of events also. As a result, we have a leader who at every turn will challenge our freedoms, our identity as a nation, and the future we create for our children.
We’ve chosen a trial by fire. We didn’t just throw a brick through the window of the establishment, we burned it down. When it is all over will we rise from the ashes a smarter, more engaged people – ready to rebuild our country in a better image?
It all depends on choices we make everyday. To speak out, or remain silent. To engage with someone who is different from you, or remain suspicious. To reach out with trust, or pull back in fear. To put yourself out there, despite opposition and ridicule or to shrink back into the safety of anonymity.
You have the opportunity to ‘impress those that you meet in daily life with the full validity that is your own’. Take some advice from an old ghost: Stand up and be known.