Let’s start with a story.
Once upon a time, nearly 2.5 billion years ago on planet Earth, a noxious gas, generated by some of the earliest life forms, poisoned the atmosphere and threatened all life. It even etched the rocks! Life on Earth hung by a thread. Would the story end right then and there, leaving this planet as a dead rock floating in oblivion?
To understand the story, we to know the rules. We need to rewind to 11.2 billion years earlier--The Big Bang, when the rules were set.
So let's start the story again from there.
In the beginning, 13.7 billion years ago, we flared forth as light. All that exists in the Universe exploded from a single point, a creative spark, that would make all the differences that would ever be made. The laws of gravity, of matter and of energy and time were pretty much in place at that point. As the story goes, we then underwent a series of irreversible transformations that continue to this day. We arrived together with our fellow travelers, in this present moment, telling a story about our journey. Stories have a beginning, a middle and and end. We are in the middle.
We are story in the middle of telling a story.
And the rules were pretty much set in the beginning too:
The Universe is creative
Time moves foward
Gravity, Energy and atomic bonding pretty much works the same everywhere
The story is more than just a physical unfolding, it's an unfolding of consciousness too.
So, Let’s pause for a moment and let that sink in.
Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme, in their book The Universe Story, call our understanding of this epic a “new cosmology” or “The New Story.” They were among the first to document it not only as physical (material) evolution, but also as psycho-spiritual unfolding of consciousness. The word “Cosmology” essentially means the underlying story that we tell ourselves. Our BIG WHY. It is the story from which all other stories flow—providing context and purpose for our lives. A cosmology, in some sense, is a creation story—a way to make sense of everything else in the world and our place in the scheme of things. Everything we know came from this creative Universal pulse. Every religion, science, thought, being derived from this beginning and is part of this unfolding story.
This New Story comes none too soon. Human commerce is fundamentally destroying the biosphere (as we have known it) on our small blue planet….. So, The Sacred Universe story can remind us that each of our stories, is a paragraph in this larger story. In other words, it's our story too… it's one story (uni-verse) that continues.
We can take solace in what has happened to us so far…. There have been many times in this epic story, on this very planet that the whole experiment of life could have ended.
Like that crisis at the 2.5 billion year mark. What happened? What saved us from that noxious gas?
The gas was oxygen. It was literally burning cells up from the inside. So, life got creative. Mitochondria were born—first as stand-alone creatures, then as a subset of other creatures. Mitochondria turned oxygen into fuel to further the adventure of life. Creativity saved the day.
That wasn't the first or the last time all life on Earth would be threatened.
There was the time 65 million years ago, when an asteroid hit Earth, filling the skies with smoke and debris so thick it blocked out all sunlight… fully destroying the dominant form of life on earth (dinosaurs) and threatening all life. At that time, the creativity of small mammals allowed the story of life on Earth to continue…. Once again, Creativity triumphed. Life survived.
Then there was that time in the early 21st century... how does that part go? In this chapter, humans create a crisis for life on Earth by changing the chemistry of planet earth's atmosphere. Human forms of commerce and the species proliferation is so destructive, that another mass-extinction begins an unraveling of the very web that sustains all life on Earth.
What happens next will depend on whether or not the humans get creative.
Thomas Berry suggested that all human beings are called to a Great Work: and that everyone, without exception, has a role. The Great Work of our time is to bring our species back into right relationship with the living systems of Planet Earth. We must reach into our deepest knowing, our deepest creativity, to each discover our own paragraph in creating the next chapter in this story.
We are miracles, after all. Together we make up a living system on a small blue planet in an infinite dark sea of space. If that isn’t miracle enough, as a result of these transformations, we now see and imagine that original flaring forth nearly 14 billion years later. We are energy transformed… contemplating the very first energy that flared forth.
We are story telling a story.
But we are living it too, and it's not easy to tell it and live it at the same time.
We do know this: we need to get creative! Not the kind of creativity that produces artificial sweeteners or plants that do not reproduce. But really creative. So creative that humans everywhere awaken to their dream—their sacred creative force. If the humans are to be a part of Earth’s story moving forward, then awake and creative human beings will be the reason why.
Time to awaken the dreamer and create a new dream, a New Story.