Living the New Story of an Awakening World

by James O’Dea

The new story is the story of wholeness. It is the whole story of you, the whole story of me, the whole story of us all. It is the whole story of our abuse and painful learning in the process of evolving and the whole story of awakening consciousness of who it is we really are and how inseparable we are from the source of all creation. Once we understand this story, healing can begin and wisdom can flourish. Human rights abuse is always a denial of the truth of the whole story. A human rights activist of the future will also be a conscious activist who seeks to live and embody the whole story. The old story transmits wounds of elitism and separatism, and this leaves a lot of work for human rights activist to do. But our work is deeper than trying to fix things. We must now address root causes. That means we will have to uproot any mental conditioning that reinforces superiority and division.

The story of human becoming is unfolding as we probe the majesty of our home galaxy and peer into the teeming universe beyond. At the same time, life here on Earth converges around an accelerating conversation about our collective interdependence. We have developed an insatiable urge both to connect in networks and to express unique identities and individual potential. We are entering a phase of graphic learning that earth itself is a whole system, which, if sabotaged by crude self-interest, will create wave upon wave of damage to the entire web of life.

From the storyteller’s point of view, this is both a terrifying and a thrilling moment. This is the part of the story when we really get to see who we are. It is one thing to tell the story of our collective shortsightedness and to tell of the ruin created by our ignorance. But it is another story to tell of our waking up in time to save life on Earth. Now that’s a great story. That’s an epic if ever there was one.

Great visionaries and prophetic activists like Joanna Macy, Riane Eisler, and David Korten have spent recent decades naming this wake up for humanity and delineating the requirements for a great collective turnaround—The Great Turning. Jean Houston calls it Jump Time to remind us that there is no linear progression in evolution: when we approach the cliff of extinction we must summon up the capacities to make the leap that is necessary for a sustainable future—a future of high integration and collective thriving. Barbara Marx Hubbard, inspired visionary of human emergence, sees the birth of a highly integrated humanity rising out of our multiple crises and heralding a fully conscious participation in our own collective evolution. Duane Elgin articulates the story of the evolutionary pulsing of awakening in human consciousness. Bruce Lipton illuminates the role of belief and activating healthy DNA and how humanity really functions as a super-organism. Anodea Judith invokes the awakening of the global heart and the ascent of humanity to an era of heart-centered intelligence and skillful compassion. Jeremy Rifkin heralds The Empathic Civilization when global consciousness redesigns systems around empathy, altruism, and collaboration. Charles Eisenstein envisions the transformation of the entire global financial system in Sacred Economics: Money, Gift and Society in the Age of Transition. Andrew Harvey, fiery prophet and mystic warrior of this charged era of urgent change, calls forth and mentors a new generation of sacred activists.

Yet since there is pretty much nothing new in creation, all these movements beginning to ripen in the early 21st century have their roots in humanity’s great evolutionary struggle to emerge as healthy and harmonious beings dedicated to being free, creative, and of service to the whole.   We bow to the wisdom–keepers of all ages who have kept this vision alive and we bow to all who suffered persecution so that we might thrive.

Beyond these movements are the master codes and templates of the evolutionary process and of human emergence into a full–blown consciousness. In a way that recalls the story of the acorn and the oak tree, we might ask, ‘what is the template of human becoming?’ Who are we when we are fully evolved? What is the most dynamic and fruitful balance of masculine and feminine, of freedom and order, of individual rights and collective responsibility, of autonomy and interdependence?

According to a leading social development theory called Spiral Dynamics, we still have two receding codes: rule by force and military domination and collective conformity by adherence to strict religious principles. Within the new story that is spawning the emerging global civilization, monolithic structures of power and control, and insistence on rigid conformity to beliefs, become things of the past. Dictatorship and fundamentalism are in their (violent) death throes. The more dominant social codes currently favor creative expression, the exploration of opportunities, personal success and materialism. Yet these codes are also beginning to be shed in favor of more social values, as we turn from me to we.

Like Jean Houston’s idea of ‘jump time’ or the notion of a ‘great turning’, Spiral Dynamics theory suggests that what is ahead for humanity is a leap to another tier of consciousness. When the mass of humanity reaches this level of consciousness, we will become stewards of the whole. We will be able to master the art and science of individual freedom with collective whole-system responsibility. We will cultivate inner qualities of being to reflect into the world of action. Billions of people will become personally integrated, balancing a rich inner life with high social conscience. Science, spirituality, ecology and enlightened social governance will begin to harmonize and converge with humanity’s great lineages of wisdom.

We sense that all through our long evolutionary process that we have been gestating this richly capacitated and wiser human and that at some point we take a collective leap towards incarnating a new humanity. As yet more of us must explore the inner cosmos so that we can bring back to a suffering world, aching for transformation, the power of unconditional love and the fearless audacity to be the eyes, ears, hands, and dancing feet of a universe of boundless creativity. We are giving birth to a new conscious activism that is emotionally and psychologically mature, empathic, and sourced by wisdom rather than ideology.

It is our Time now to awaken—to witness the cries of the many faces of this suffering world, and also to witness the many divine sparks of healing and justice that have already ignited in the heart of a new humanity—and add our own unique expression to this consecrated hour of human becoming.

The Consecrated Hour

Do you not see them
the ashen ones, the grey ones
the starving orphans, the seduced innocents,
the decimated specters of conflagration,
all the beings trampled in degradation
crowding our collective shadow field?
Go find them. In this, this
consecrated hour of human becoming find your estranged,
your lost and abandoned family
and embrace them into the vital marrow of your life.
Kiss them until the ashes of their betrayal turn from grey to red
and the blush of love blows through
the one soul, the one life of all.

Do you not feel them
the slicks of poison, the necrotic plastic
the ocean’s dead-zones, the cancers, the tumors
the die-offs, the daily extinctions
the breath of life suffocated on a genocidal scale?
Do you not feel them in your own flesh and blood?

Go heal the pain. In this, this
consecrated hour of human becoming feel your rivers
your lakes, your mountains, feel their freshness, their pure life force
coursing your veins, opening your heart to the one Mother,
the one soul, the one life of all.

Do you not know them
the guardians of the moment, the secret listeners
the agents of truth, the instruments of soul awakening-
consciousness raising- light resurrecting power of transfiguration
in the center of your own compassionately ripened awareness?
Go manifest this power. In this, this
consecrated hour of human becoming
sing the communal choirs of collaboration
showering our wounded world with the
divinely feted audacity to celebrate
the one soul, the one life of all.
—James O’Dea



James O’Dea is author of The Conscious ActivistCultivating Peace, Soul Awakening Practice and other acclaimed worksJames is a former President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Washington office director of Amnesty International USA, and CEO of the Seva Foundation. He has taught peace building to over a thousand students in 30 countries and has conducted frontline social healing dialogues around the world. He is a founding member of The Evolutionary Leaders group and serves on the Advisory Board of The Peace Alliance, Kosmos Journal, and the Laszlo New Paradigm Institute. Information on these, and other initiatives, can be found on his website.

Sue Sorensen

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John Sorensen

Yes, an epic story, indeed. As you state, the great visionaries and prophetic activists have urged us to wake up for humanity and have delineated the requirements for a great collective turning. What seems to be needed are those who will lead the enactment of these requirements. Are they in our midst?

nancy margulies

I found the article to be very thought-provoking and heart-opening. Thanks.

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