IN THE DARKNESS OF CONFUSION
Everything is dark. All around you the ground is disappearing. The old world is dissolving into oblivion. Fearfully, from the edge of this sinking country, you peer into the gloom. Since I have already crossed over, I can try to help. I take hammer and nails, tools that are reassuringly familiar to you—you know what they are for—and build just the suggestion of a hull. The important quality at this moment is trust.
You crouch in the prow as gently, from the other side, I tug the rope, pulling you across a river that is not a river, but, like the Styx, or Ovid’s Danube, the boundary between the known and the unknown, from the bank of one way of being to another. Slowly I must glide you over, so the transference is smooth. And you arrive here in a realm that looks like more empty darkness, but is in fact alive with possibility. There are none of the old structures here. Here is only a quiet and watchful presence: Love.
If love is what we are standing on, the supporting presence here, then it is the basis for all our actions now. Only what love engenders can appear. As the primary value, only love can arise. Anything unloving is not possible.
Given there are no established pathways, and nothing has been laid out for you to fit into, then how will you move forward?
With the others who are here, we gather in a circle, facing into this so-called darkness. Now you see it is gently gleaming, its surface broken into innumerable fractals, like a ruffled lake.
If love is the universal, with infinite individual expressions, then creation is the act of bringing from within to without, from imagination and feeling into being, which is the way of this new world, and how you will find your path in it.
But for this, you’ll need a bridge—an alliance or connection with that feeling that is the premise here, that shows you are in alignment, that you recognize the rules.
How you build this bridge is to look inside. Look within to your longing. It has the color of the purest good. Allow it to take shape without.
For me, it formed a golden spiral—the spiral built into every one of us, as our DNA. It appeared before me as a shining staircase. It was the golden hue I recognized. I understood I could never live without that color; existence would lose all meaning.
Symbols are the container of the uncontained, structure in the no-structure. The symbol of the spiral DNA staircase showed me how intelligence and spirit come into form, a
nd how they will guide us.
I climbed the radiant staircase and at the top I found my own personal reflecting pool, a fractal of the gleaming surface from where I began. When I looked in, I saw everyone else doing the same through their own fractals, gazing back.
What a sense of community that gave! I realized was not alone, but infinitely related! I never tire of looking. Finding myself reflected back in an infinite variety causes an over-brimming of delight. There is no way you could ever conceive of causing harm to the self that you see is everyone else.
The symbol bridge that emerges from your own longing likewise forms your personal portal to the shared destination, connecting you to the rest of us on this plane-in-common of joy and love.
And now that we are united around the lake, looking in, our presence, attentive and burgeoning with something not yet born, contributes to what happens next: All the separate fractals smooth out into a single satiny skin. It rises in the middle, like a bubble, like an egg emerging, unfurling a curled dragon, which lifts before us, vast and iridescent. Every one of us sees it. It is a shared experience. Wonder and awe take us out of our individual selves into the mystery. Its birth is not colored with any sense of evil or fear—these are things from the old land we would have tried to apply to the vision and our understanding of it. The dragon is the shared expression that the presence here engenders, which is in service of life. It forms as an event not just in separate memories but also in our group lore, the start of a new cultural identity, for our eyes feasted on the same scene.
It’s not that we have any allegiance to the dragon, nor even that it means anything other than what it is. What’s important is how we feel witnessing it and participating together in its arising. Then, above us, as the emergence of an energy with form and consequences, see how the dragon starts to shape the space, not limiting it but giving it some definition.
There is nowhere else to go, since this is not a land; it has no borders.
The old dream is ending. There has always been something larger, and many other dreams,
and now this new dream.
You are invited.
NOTES ON THE STORY: CREATING A NEW CULTURE
Our structures of thought create our reality. The global economy, for example, reflects a set of beliefs that have profoundly shaped the physical and imaginative landscapes we inhabit, from how we consider and use the environment to the way we view our purpose and spend our time.
But we’ve reached the end of that line of thinking, one that has made us believe we’re apart from the rest of the life community. That old reality is dissolving round us, and things we took for granted are crumbling away.
How do we go about building a new shared reality, based on new bonds of relationship, and not afflicted with the former beliefs and assumptions that have failed us? Accustomed to separatism, how do we develop trust? How do we manage fear? What language can serve us, that won’t carry the old power structures?
Culture is a collective product, the body of knowledge and skills that enable us to live in a certain place. In The Darkness Of Confusion offers an illustration of the development of a new culture from a new primary value. The story uses metaphysical language to several ends: Metaphor means to carry across. It bears us into new territory, and engages us directly in a new meaning-making process, which is the allusion of the boat—something recognizable to transition us into the unknown. It is almost unimaginable, this new terrain.
The darkness of the new world is not oppressive emptiness but rather an animate aliveness, indicating that the field of life is active, willing to collaborate with us, and full of possibilities that are waiting to emerge.
The basic premise of life is harmony, revealed in the micro and the macro, from the individual organism to the ecosystem, and to the Earth itself, regulating its own systems to maintain balance and wholeness. So, too, this new ground of being.
Another word for this underlying premise of existence is love. It is experienced not as the customary old small meaning but as the main working principle, not a passive force but the power of life itself, where the vitality of each component is essential to the greater wellbeing and supported for the flourishing of the whole. If we start to build on that foundation, whatever arises will be of that essence.
No qualifications are required to enter this effort of building a new culture, other than courage to take the first step into this new country. There are no tribes or nationalities here, only individuals.
Next to consider is the interplay between the internal and external, how subjectivity engages with the communal context. In any relational field, a step or position has to be taken for the dynamics to be set in motion, as shown, in this story, by the role of the spiral staircase. The image has many resonances, including the evolutionary lineage and DNA, the essence unique to every human but shared in common with the rest of life. The point of connection between the inner and outer realms is through individual longing. If the universe is expressing itself through diversity and subjectivity, each individual’s deepest longing has a guiding role in the unfolding of the entire design. It leads each of us to a unique perspective where we can meet the larger whole and find our belonging there. It gives us our own point of meaning-making, the place where we are invested.
Why does the deepest longing have a color? Because our deepest longings are part of the universe and further its evolution, linking us to the greater shared destiny, then the color signifies an affinity to a certain bandwidth, an innate pathway to connection with the ultimate ground of being. From this shared place, each from their own point of subjectivity can recognize themselves in the whole, glimpsing the entirety, bringing the whole ground of being into view.
If none of the old parameters—even of time or sky—exist here, then what terms do we use? What structures can emerge that don’t pin us in place but still allow flexibility for growth and responsiveness? What symbols can form the basis of the new culture?
In the story, once diversity and subjectivity have their place, the fractals on the surface of the lake unify into a smooth surface from which the dragon arises, a living symbol, and in service to life. It is not contaminated with the old meanings (for example, something other, that had to be slain). It does not limit or constrain or divide, but provides some definition to the space, contributing to a sense of belonging, of lineage. Our attention allowed it to appear. Its birthing was made possible and witnessed by us all.