Becoming a Shape-Shifter and Transforming the World
Remember when you were a kid and looked through a kaleidoscope for the first time? Your sense of wonder and fascination as new arrangements of color and brightness appeared one after the other?
Recently my little granddaughter proudly showed me her first kaleidoscope and said, Look, Gramma! It’s magic! As I twirled the toy, this thought popped into my head: This is how the world works!
Through the eye of the kaleidoscope we see a perfectly symmetrical and unspoiled pattern. It is whole and complete and pleasing to the eye. But wait… A minuscule rotation and it all comes crashing down, to be replaced by a new configuration, whole and complete in itself. There can be hundreds of rotations, even thousands, and the same form is never replicated. It’s a game of mirrors, two or more, that reflect the pattern created by tiny objects or shards of glass, over and over again. The thing that makes it magical is the shape-shifting.
Now… alter your perception a tiny bit and imagine that you are that collection of miniscule fragments inside a kaleidoscope. What you see reflected back at you is yourself. And then BAM! Everything around you changes and a different version of you is mirrored. You feel delight at the new image, but there is some sort of energy that won’t let it remain, that turns your world upside down again… and again… and again…
The Managing Force
It’s a common tendency to see nature as outside ourselves, but this isn’t so. Mankind appeared on the planet only after three other levels of existence prepared it for us: inanimate, vegetative, and animal. Within our human bodies the substances of all of these levels reside — water, minerals, animal instinct. Like nature, we experience cycles of birth/life/death/resurrection, cause and effect, predictability, light and darkness, development from seed to maturity.
None of it is under our control because the universe spins, expands and retracts, and we are simply along for the ride. We are actually slaves to this vast and integral machine. We don’t feel this, because we believe we have choices. After all, I can order fish instead of steak for dinner, right? But can I change the law that I have to eat to survive? Not so much.
So are we simply marionettes, subject to Machiavellian manipulation by a whimsical and fickle puppeteer? No, not really. Inside the kaleidoscope the tiny pieces change when the instrument is rotated, with no choice or predictability on the part of those fragments about when this will happen. In the same way, our environments constantly change, in the same seemingly random and erratic way, demanding that we react, one way or the other.
The Very Narrow Space of Free Will
The nature of the reaction, and how it affects the whole system, is the issue. And what determines the reaction — instinctual or thoughtful — is influenced by how we see ourselves reflected back to us each time our perspective on the world is constantly shifted and altered. It’s really an astonishing phenomenon, that we see our own qualities, flaws, biases, and perspectives in those who are placed in our vicinity.
At this precise moment of planning our action in response to yet another new projection from our environment, there resides the only free choice we will ever have. We are choosing what we will reflect back to the collective unconscious — a singular opportunity to reflect back kindness, generosity and brotherly love or hate, selfishness and separation. We are globally connected and it is impossible to do anything without affecting the entire system.
Meanwhile, the operator turns the kaleidoscope repeatedly, blessing us with continual opportunities to exercise our free will toward either a positive or negative influence on the world.
The Exquisite Pleasure of Surrender
Prior to the external reaction to what the environment shows us, there is an inner one that needs to occur, because it is only out of our internal landscape — the essence of our worldview — that we act and impact the world. This is the creation of an attitude of willingness to act only for the common good, of love and care for others, and of surrender to the force that twirls the kaleidoscope. That force is called nature and what is surrendered is the ego — our desire to act only on our own behalf without regard to the harm we create for others.
This shape-shifting is the key. It is understanding that the narrow and fleeting space where we can exert free will is where our power and our ability to actually bring change to the world lies. It is taking what others reflect back to us of ourselves, and transmuting it so that what we reflect back to others is love and caring. It is folly to underestimate the enormous authority each of us holds in the shaping of our futures.
So, dear friends, buy yourself a kaleidoscope, create its magic with a flick of your wrist, and again imagine yourself as the collection of shiny objects that are mirrored back and forth. And consider this: You are along for the ride. Nature will do with you what it may and it is only when you surrender to the Operator, will the power within you arise. The shape of the world’s future is cast in each infinitesimal moment of choice when each of us decides between hate/separation and love/connection.
My views about how to navigate life in the 21st century by understanding what is our internal work are present in most articles I write.
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