During these winter days waking up early is a real challenge for me, a dedicated early bird. It’s so cold and dark and it feels so much better to just close my eyes again and snuggle deeper into the covers. Then I remember everything I hope to accomplish in my day and realise there is just no way to avoid it.
Collectively, we are also having great difficulty waking up. It’s so much easier to pretend that things are alright as long as our little corner of life is more or less fine. Yet nothing separates our little corner of life from everything else, and what at the moment seems to be someone else’s problem can very quickly become our own if we are not aware and doing what we can to uphold the basic principles we hope to live by. We have earned the chaos that surrounds us by having allowed it to unfold for so long.
Through the paradigm of astrology, the current energies are playing out our inner conflicts on a collective scale. Stuck between harsh three-dimensional reality and what we selectively prefer to see (or choose to ignore) we remain in a state of confusion because we just don’t understand our place in what is happening, or – just as often – because we don’t WANT to. This refusal to accept what needs to be dealt with (Saturn) leads us to escape into the safety and comfort of our beliefs and delusions (Neptune).
History shows us how high the price can be for preferring to look the other way. We are currently in the thick of the same energies (especially with Uranus & Pluto at odds with each other) that dominated the period of 1928 to 1935 and influenced many years before and after. Rising nationalism combined with corporate greed led to some appalling human rights abuses which are happening again (or should I say still?!). That same energy allowed American firms, inter alia, to materially support and profit from Hitler’s war industry and labour camps nicely covered up by the comforting illusion and widespread belief in the myth of America The Good.
We are once again there now, although many people have a very different idea of who the good guys are. In many ways, we haven’t returned to that point so much as simply woken up to the ugly truth and its consequences – it was never really otherwise as much of what is going on in the world today has been a background feature of the past decades and even centuries. Nonetheless, things are intensifying once more and history is repeating itself.
My teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, has advocated his entire life for the active engagement of Buddhist principles (such as nonviolence, right speech, right action, right livelihood…) in our everyday lives, and especially regarding social justice. He directly experienced the destruction, lies and injustice of war in Vietnam, which prompted him to come to the source of the “American aggression” (as the Vietnamese called it) to engage people in a genuine dialogue for peace. Because of this, he has changed the lives of millions of people, even if his initial goal of peace in Vietnam was not met as planned.
It’s simply not enough to sit and contemplate, meditate or send out healing light if we want to see any significant change in our three-dimensional world, wonderful as these are for generating positive energy and bringing people together.
Engaged Buddhism is the term coined by Thich Nhat Hanh, but we could just as easily call it engaged spirituality, or whatever else. There is something right now and every day that each of us can do to ensure that we uphold the dignity and human rights of each and every person on this planet, as well as the ecosystem that supports us.
Spiritual bypassing is another interesting term that arose in the Buddhist community, but which can be applied to any tradition. It describes a tendency to use spiritual concepts or practices to avoid dealing with what is right there in front of us – emotionally, psychologically and physically. This brilliantly illustrates the energy of Neptune, which can lull us into a stupor through various delusions, addictions or means of escapism unless we are able to lift ourselves up to higher spiritual potentials like compassion, forgiveness and generosity.
To imagine that what happens around us – good or bad – is a result of “God’s will” or some idea of karma that is beyond our control is to deny our very challenge and power as a human being: to rise to the occasion and do the righteous thing when and where we see it is necessary, and loving and caring for each other and all sentient beings as we would our own children. Truly living by the principles of karma would mean following the least harmful and most beneficial path throughout our lives, and especially in times of crisis, like now.
As I’m writing this, we are in the middle of today’s new moon in Sagittarius (where we seek the truth), which is emphasising the ongoing message of Saturn – we’ve got to do the work! We are being compelled to find out the truth of who and what we are, and take action accordingly to bring about the changes that are so badly needed in our world.
Wake up to your gift, wake up to how you can contribute and wake up to where you have been deluding yourself or have been deluded by others. When the time for action is right, there is clarity and grace to guide you. Heroes are not special people. They are fundamentally ordinary people who have found themselves in extraordinary situations and then done the right thing in the moment without waiting for someone else to do it.
Why else would you be here?
Much love and light,