Humanity’s Rite of Passage

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The way I look at it is, humanity is undergoing a rite of passage. A rite of passage is a potential transition from one level of living to a higher, wiser plane. It is always harrowing and involves a direct confrontation with mortality.

Our modern world has lacked such a transformative vehicle for a long time. This is in direct contrast to most indigenous cultures, for whom rites of passage are central and vital for the health of the society. These rites take place at pivotal times in people’s lives. For example, young teenagers in many tribes go through a ritual and a trial in order to take their place as adults in the tribe. Adults who wish to become leaders or healers similarly undergo an initiatory ordeal to become empowered to assume a new, more responsible role.

Our modern society preserves these rites as polite ceremonies – for example, confirmation, bar or bat mitzvah, quinceanera, debutante ball, etc. But because the ordeal and the confrontation with mortality have been removed, these ceremonies have lost their potency to create fundamental, lasting change.

What this has meant for our modern world is that humanity remains immature and irresponsible, and, consequently, unable to deal with the very real threats to our existence: climate change, nuclear war, pollution, terrorism, etc. Without having grown to a higher level of understanding, capability, and compassion, we remain children, ignoring the gathering, lethal storms.

I think what we are experiencing at present is a spiritually provided opportunity to grow up. It’s as though nature, in order to preserve the
wonders it has evolved on this planet, is giving us the chance to rise to the occasion and become a force for life instead of the deliverer of death.

Of course, we have free will. All that spirit/nature offers us is the chance to save ourselves and the earth. It’s entirely up to us if we seize the day and grow in humanity and concern for one another and the planet, or ignore what we have been offered and continue on the path to our demise and that of much of the natural world.

I’ve heard it said: spirit is subtle. It’ll whisper in your ear. If you don’t listen, it’ll tap you on the shoulder. If you still don’t listen, it’ll break your arm. And after that…

We’re being offered the chance for the kind of existence we’ve dreamed of. All we have to do is come together and care for one another and our home. Are we listening? The time for choice is now.

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