The dawning of the Age of Aquarius ushered in a new age bolstered by a movement toward group consciousness; as a result, community life and groups have taken on a whole new form. There is a dynamic principle at work here regarding the evolution of consciousness between individuals and groups, and understanding it can offer deep meaning for today’s world.
The swing of the pendulum, alternately emphasizing individuation and group consciousness, has been in motion since mankind first set foot on planet Earth. As human beings develop, this needs to happen, emphasizing during one period people’s need to get their personal ducks in a row, followed by their need to walk in a straight line with others in their community.
During each phase, we move to a higher level of development, leveraging what we have learned from the previous phase. Here’s a somewhat simplified picture of how this looks. When humans first arrived on the scene, we were scattered hither and yon across the face of the globe, everyone pretty much keeping to themselves. We lived in so much fear we could barely cope with the environment, much less deal with unruly neighbors. We each fought the elements on our own.
Of course we needed to team up to some extent to fight our enemies—including the weather, beasts and other clans—so we clustered in relatively small family groups. Even way back then we liked to isolate, but we had enough sense to cooperate with others. Later, as populations grew, humanity got better at coping with the elements; we became more efficient at taking care of ourselves. So we applied what we had learned about playing well with others, allowing us to widen our circles of human relationships. The pendulum swung over to focusing on creating a more enriching group consciousness.
Once people learned to cooperate in larger communities—following the growth created by the oscillating pendulum—family clans grew into tribes, and much later, whole nations came into existence. Back and forth, down through the ages we have grown.
Here we are today, with much of humanity not yet willing to play well with all our brothers and sisters who inhabit the planet. Our old fragmented consciousness still calls for separation. But time marches on and the new influx has arrived. Like it or not. Those who follow the movement will enjoy unprecedented blessings and richness in their lives, while those who resist the movement will experience a painful crisis. Ouch.
Back during the second phase of the great cosmic movement, when we were learning to play well in the sandbox, our primary motivation for cooperating was negative: we had a common fear of an enemy. Over time, as we evolve and develop our group consciousness, we’ll be motivated less and less by fear and need, and more and more by our love for each other.
Group consciousness is all about finding the oneness between ourselves and others. In primitive cultures, we learned about cooperating out of fear, finding security in our tribe; the price for this security was getting along with others. Although infighting has certainly always been part of the equation, tribes mostly acted out their aggressions and suspicions against other tribes. So throughout this time, we learned loyalty to our own peeps. From this perspective, we can see how a negative manifestation—like war or hostility towards the other—has served the good, promoting the evolution of consciousness.
In time, populations grew and civilizations advanced, readying the movement to go once again in the other direction. So over the past few hundred years, the emphasis has been on the individual, and this became increasingly important toward the end of the last century. We were learning certain lessons related to individual rights—we have the right to be ourselves, to be different, to not conform, and to become more self-responsible.
As we turned the corner into the current century, this phase approached its end. This doesn’t mean the individual is no longer important, but rather the emphasis must now shift once again to the group. Everything learned so far needs to be applied as we go forward.
Creation follows a spiral movement, which we can detect in this evolutionary cycling. As a result, as humanity collectively traverses the spiral, it may appear that we are going in circles. But if our growth is real, the circles are not repeating themselves on the same level. They repeat on ever deeper—or higher—levels; the deeper the consciousness, the higher the development.
For example, the more responsibility we are willing to take, the more we contribute to our society. The more we are able to assert our rights as individuals, the less we’ll need to conform to social norms. The more freely we love and are willing to give to the group, the more we’ll get back. Every self-sufficient person has valid needs for closeness, warmth and intimacy.
The more fully we develop ourselves as individuals, the better will be our integration into the greater group. So we need to avoid looking at our development in terms of either/or—it’s me or them. Living well in a group in no way contradicts living well on one’s own. Being a strong individual allows us to love our neighbor.
These spiral movements are like nesting dolls, with smaller ones nested inside larger ones. Each of us will incarnate many times within an overall phase, which could last hundreds or thousands of years. In one incarnation, we may emphasize one form of consciousness—individual or group—over another. Even within an incarnation, we’ll notice fluctuating periods in our lives. Infants are almost entirely in the individual state—with lessons also being learned during this time—and then we go to school and need to learn how to get along in a group.
At some point during our lives, living alone may fulfill an important function. At other points, this could reflect stagnation and a refusal to follow life’s flow. There are no hard and fast rules. Sometimes development in a group is what’s needed most, for the person and humanity as a whole; at other times, this could mean laziness. Note, living with one other person, as in an intimate relationship, falls largely under the heading of living in a group. The only general rule that applies is that people must follow their own path. If we don’t, we’ll feel disconnected and anxious.
Since the movement is continuous, what’s right at one point in time may be totally wrong at another. When we reach the switchover point—whether we’re talking about a person or the whole planet, doesn’t matter—strong new energies will come flowing in from another sphere. If we attempt to halt this movement—by not feeling, not trusting or not following our own inner movement—a painful crisis will erupt instead. The energy has to go somewhere.
We can view all of human history from this perspective and see evidence of this happening. We can also look at current events and see this principle at work. We are ready to move to a deeper phase of getting along in groups. If we let this manifest naturally, it would lead to the transformation of nations. Religious differences would fade away because we would see how the One is undifferentiated. Laws of justice and equality would prevail and the wealth of the earth would be shared. New laws and new approaches would come into play, yielding unprecedented results. We wouldn’t look at “the other” and think we see “the enemy.”
But many have resisted this natural movement, separating those who have followed it from those who have not. New communities have formed that have split off, while other communities increasingly allow the emerging spirit to manifest. The resisters who try to halt forward movement show up in distorted ways, resulting in the emergence of monopolies trying to marshal the masses to follow their dictates. People feel self-alienated, living and working in unpleasant conditions where robotic qualities substitute for human qualities.
When people feel so disconnected, they regress into trying to halt the movement further, fearing it and believing it is bad. But they can’t really halt the movement. So they must create negative conditions. Now the group turns into an amorphous mass that is not made up of strong individual members.
In this case, the halted movement morphs into a large group that selfishly attempts to run the masses. Concern for personal connections with others is almost completely lacking. The problem is not the living conditions of these people, but rather their unwillingness to feel and follow the natural movement that is occurring. People feel like small cogs in a huge depersonalized machine because they halted their own movement and the development of group consciousness.
It is important to distinguish between the healthy development of group consciousness and the blind movement of creating a mass consciousness. In the latter, people feel disconnected from themselves, from nature and from each other. Whereas group consciousness honors and supports individuals, mass consciousness eliminates them. Mass consciousness not only doesn’t require individuals to stand in their own right, it thwarts this, imposing conformity and blind following.
But those who follow the movement toward group consciousness will not be negatively affected by the distortion of the masses. They will form a new group consciousness where every part is vital to the whole. The more people function as solid full-fledged individuals, the more they will be able to add to the group.
There are three major phases in the development of group consciousness that we must traverse on our road to reaching the Oneness. In Phase One, we start by needing the group because we are afraid to be alone and aren’t capable of being responsible for ourselves. We haven’t yet established a channel connecting us to our unlimited creative potential. We’re like an infant who still needs its mother.
We each have a Lower Self that resists moving on from this phase when we’re ready. Collectively, the planet also has a Lower Self, so there are whole factions of people who similarly resist moving on. When it comes to growing up, we need to watch for the not-so-subtle difference between “can’t” and “won’t.” It does not serve our highest good to insist on a parent or group giving us the sustenance our own divine self is ready to provide.
Using a group as a crutch is one of the ways we try to halt the natural movement. This is no different really than using independence as a cover for lack of intimacy and an inability to be open and undefended; all this stems from our fear of groups. When this is the case, we’ll get confused, arguing against conformity when we’re really trying to blot out the reality of our need to grow in the area of group consciousness.
This brings us to Phase Two. When a person is organically ready to emancipate themselves and step into self-responsibility, the pendulum may swing a bit too far in the direction of individuation. At that point, we may rebel against groups and claim they have no value. If we notice this feeling of rebellion towards group in ourselves, we can likely also sense how we distrust and fear autonomy. It is to that exact same degree that we don’t like ourselves or the people we are dependent upon—and that’s what we’re really rebelling against.
Recognizing this will allow us to let go and proceed organically. The rebellion then won’t last long and we’ll become ready to put the emphasis where it is now needed—on ourselves—instead of on those we rebelled against. This doesn’t mean we now isolate; we need help and reactions from others to mirror to us where we’re stuck and how we affect others. But our focus will be on our own personal development.
In Phase Three, we are fully self-realized and can therefore both receive from and give to a group, without loss of autonomy or giving up any self-responsibility. We don’t give up our right to privacy or to be different; we don’t deny our need to express ourselves uniquely. Quite the opposite. In such an evolved group, there won’t be any conflict between what each individual needs and what the whole group needs.
Unlike mass consciousness which attempts to snuff out uniqueness, group consciousness furthers it. The self can now handle life so it doesn’t need to use the group as a crutch. The group then won’t serve as some kind of authority that people rebel against. Such a highly functioning group, made up of autonomous members, can then function as a free agent.
At this point in history, we are ready for strong individuals to assume their rightful place in society, forming a group consciousness that can become its own entity. Of course the road to such a place is not linear; the phases overlap and there are spirals inside of spirals. At the same time, this movement is not haphazard.
The energy-and-consciousness stream flooding the planet since the turn of the century is the Christ force. It transforms negative material and stagnant attitudes, carrying us along in this process of awakening; but we need to wake up more. We need to come out of our numbness. This is the path to creating a new world in which community living blossoms and individuals can thrive.
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