A Design for Life

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c8/Wall_Street-_Money_Never_Sleeps_film.jpgA day or so ago, I was out running under that fabulous Cancer Moon, and I was listening to David Hawkins on my iPod. He is a remarkable spiritual teacher and one of the insights that he relayed struck me quite forcibly. In my life, I do not especially understand the consensus of reality. I have had several occasions to process this dissonance recently. A week or so ago I watched a movie called “Wall Street 2” or something similar, starring Michael Douglas who is a Libra with a Capricorn Moon and who is currently fighting throat cancer. He has Uranus in Gemini right on the 8th house cusp, so what we can say is that he’s probably going to go fairly quickly, if not downright suddenly and unexpectedly, and there will probably be more than one ’cause’ for his demise. The 8th ruler, Mercury is in the 10th (high profile), conjunct Jupiter (due to excess), on the degrees for the liver (more excess and rich living), conjunct Siva (some kind of breakdown therefore, something that occurs in episodes), opposite Vulcano, conjunct Ceres and conjunct Orpheus. Orpheus is associated with the throat of course, and Ceres with nurturing and digestion. The 8th ruler is square Uranus on the 8th cusp. I’d say he will beat the throat cancer, but it will come back, probably spread to the liver and the bowel and he’ll eventually die of a systemic breakdown and body shock through fighting on too many fronts. I hope he doesn’t read this.

Anyhow. That wasn’t strictly a digression, although it may appear tangential right now. I watched this film and it began with the protagonist (I believe his name is Shia LaBeouf), living a wealthy and materially replete lifestyle. Of course there was a ‘plot’ too, but inevitably, in any story, there are assumptions made about the viewer or reader. Mostly scriptwriters can make broad assumptions about their audience quite safely, they can assume that their average viewer isn’t going to, for example, enjoy being stalked by a homicidal maniac before being brutally murdered. They can assume that their viewer isn’t going to enjoy having their life’s work stolen by some unscrupulous conman, leaving them bereft and desperate (for example). These kinds of assumptions are what makes the film ‘work’ for its audience, because the audience will identify with the life situation of the protagonist and would react similarly to that individual when faced with their challenges and dilemmas.

When I watched this film however I was placed in the peculiar position of not identifying remotely with the protagonist and yet understanding intellectually that I was supposed to, in terms of typical audience material. What a disconnect it was, watching that movie as a result! It became somewhat akin to witnessing a freak-show, where I found myself cringing at the casual assumptions about where life held meaning, about what experiences were valuable, about what goals in life were worth striving for, and of course what constituted calamity in a human life.

I was left in a state of disconnection, as though I had witnessed something vaguely pornographic. I had watched a ‘worldview’ casually projected at me through the medium of film and experienced total dissonance as an effect. I know that there was a time in my life when I would have identified with the worldview of the movie, but that too was an intellectual apprehension for me, I knew it, but I could no longer feel it. It seemed silly to me, and while I was amazed at the basic assumptions of the movie, I was distressed only by my suspicion that the majority of viewers would not feel that same dissonance and would indeed identify with the movie.

So, as I say, I was out running while listening to an interview with David Hawkins. He was talking about linear reality, which is his terminology for what happens when you watch Wall Street and don’t feel dissonance, and he explained that while a spiritual approach to life is in and of itself a long and arduous journey, the very fact that you have moved beyond linear reality in your thinking puts you in an extremely small minority. He claimed that something like a mere 0.001% of all humans alive today have moved beyond linear reality, so if you have – and all that means is that you have accepted that there is some design to life beyond the material and you act upon it in some way, shape or form – that makes you an extremely rare human being.

Moreover, once you’ve made the smallest step toward a nonlinear view of the Universe, it’s actually impossible to go back to the linear model. Spiritual evolution is incapable of entropy.

Of course, moving into nonlinearity also makes you an idiot in the eyes of everyone who hasn’t made the same paradigm shift, which can only be a cosmic joke when you think about it, but one too that you could only find offensive if you hadn’t shifted. More pertinently though, it seems ridiculous to assume that the shift to nonlinearity could ever occur as the result of chance. It requires a rare melange of constituents to combust the human soul into such an unconventional worldview. It flies in the face of myriad accepted theories of success, and it contradicts directly the principles of social and material Darwinism, which is precisely the worldview of Wall Street movies of course.

One of the real challenges of astrology is that if a client comes to me and they have an entirely linear worldview, I am unable to help them. Indeed, it is impossible for them to be helped, because only in nonlinearity is there design and therefore meaning. Without meaning, life cannot – by definition – be meaningful. This is to me an enormous irony, because astrology cannot help anyone who is not open to the possibility that astrology is a window upon one’s inner workings. Even when I have spoken to those linear thinkers about their astrology and amazed them with knowledge of some unknowable reality of their existence, they are incapable of seeing it as evidence of design, because they do not believe in design, so at best it is a blip. A remarkable and inexplicable blip perhaps, but it cannot be assimilated into a ‘meaningless’ worldview except as an aberration. It cannot transmute the broad sense of meaninglessness into meaning.

The next conundrum lies in the truth that you cannot divine a nonlinear worldview from a nativity. Indeed, you can find two people with similar nativities and one of them will subjectively experience their placements from a linear perspective and the other from the nonlinear. This is easy to appreciate with the sign of Pisces which can fantasize about ‘dream cars’ or ‘dream houses’ or it can just as well appreciate that all endeavour is dust, but there is no marker to glean this distinction within the nativity, even if it is the work only of a single sentence or two to divine it in conversation.

And why should that be? Why is it that one person dreams of a Porsche and another (far rarer individual) dreams of sojourn in the wilderness? It cannot be chance. Nothing else works randomly (unless you are in the linear worldview, then most everything works randomly and you have to resort to statistics or an ‘unknowable’ God to make sense of the Universe), so why should this? Everything has to be worked for. A great runner (which, as I struggled agonisingly along while contemplating this, I most decidedly am not) doesn’t just happen by chance. His (or her) parents have to give him the right genes, he has to have some propensity to get out there and hit the pavement when it would be far more comfortable to stay home and browse your stock portfolio, or wonder agog at what makes a stock portfolio worth browsing in the first place, he has to be able to keep going even when his body is beginning to collapse into a sweaty heap of resentment. Everything in creation is a pinnacle of effort. Why should spiritual insight be any different? After all, anyone who has shifted their perspective in this way would never want to go back to the meaningless Universe, so it is subjectively ‘better’ to have reached this worldview, and it does not come without serious and rigorous self-examination, hardship, calamity, loss, hard-won humility and compassion. These are not experiences that most people would wish upon themselves; they would rather be ‘happy’. Whatever that means.

Now I have no wish to blow your mind with talk of reincarnation, but I cannot hide from the fact that without the ‘fact’ of reincarnation, astrology could not make much sense. That does not mean that it would not work, but only that it would lose context, and of course I could posit a scenario where reincarnation was not a fact. It would be like this: we are each of us simply a piece of the Universe’s consciousness, and thus born out of that unified state in order that the universal consciousness can experience itself. In this way there would not need to be continuity; each life would simply be a random experiential event that would not need to maintain continuity. If you got difficult astrology then it would just be unfortunate but at the same time it would not matter because at the end of life your consciousness would just go back to the vast unity of universal consciousness and your life experience would be integrated into the whole. You, as the individual Fred or Frieda would no longer exist in any separate way, so you would not feel hard done by, or even have been hard done by, because you were not actually a you at all, just a piece of the unity that separated and individuated briefly in order to allow the unity to have an experience.

On the other hand, if you believe that the soul has continuity then you have a case for reincarnation. This does not mean that there is not a unity, and we could picture this as though we are a piece of a larger construct, perhaps like a bee in a hive, whereby the hive is the unity that strives to accumulate experience through its myriad components. This would be like the bees being sent out to find pollen (or experience) and coming back to the hive to share that location (or experience) with the hive. It is a subtle distinction but in this latter case we have a construct which allows for continuity between lifetimes. In this way we can follow with a Buddhist concept of reality that allows the soul to gradually accumulate wisdom through life experiences until it reaches perfection. It also intrinsically intimates a life perspective which suggests that everything that happens to us happens for the reason of our soul’s need to grow and gradually achieve that perfection. In this view we can easily relate to the possibility that we therefore choose our life path before we are born and everything that happens to us during that lifetime is designed to propel us onward along that path.

There are a number of constructs in astrology which allow us to track these markers of past life experience and where we are supposed to be headed during this incarnation. From that perspective we can determine not only what problems we are likely to face (i.e. what ‘karmic’ baggage we have brought along with us) but also where we are headed, what it is we are supposed to achieve in this incarnation in order to fulfil our ‘soul contract’. Once we are done, we are done, and we can die and go back to the hive. Maybe we achieved our life’s mission, maybe not, and if not we will carry that baggage over into the next life as well.

So. From all of this we can grasp two fundamental concepts which are extremely important to apprehend if we are going to see life in the right way, or perhaps in a way that is least dissonant with what ‘is’. Enormous energy is wasted if we cannot accept life as it is (which is not the same thing as being a doormat and putting up with rubbish). First we can say that everything happens for a reason and most especially the difficult stuff of our lives happens for a reason and second, we can accept that nothing is wrong. If you have a difficult marriage because your husband is paranoid and controlling then that is not ‘wrong’. It is probably no fun, and it is almost certainly wearying, but it is not wrong. In fact it is exactly right, it is 100% what you needed to help you learn, grow and carry on working toward your soul’s perfection during this lifetime.

But more important even than this is the understanding that while the spiritual life is a journey, it is a journey that you are only aware of being on once you have switched your perspective. The chances are that if you are reading this then you are one of those vanishingly rare people who has realised. Otherwise you are still on the journey before the journey; which is the journey (and I would say it is a journey consisting almost exclusively of ‘going round in circles’) of accumulating enough painful experience to realise that you have no option but to begin to look at life more deeply. It is time to change or die.

So while we feel great compassion for all of the suffering we see in the world, what we can know, once we know it, is that while it is painful and traumatic, it is anything but senseless. When I watch the great anguish of the Japanese people, the Libyan people, the Egyptian people, the struggles of Michael Douglas, of friends, lovers, enemies, I do not see the unknowable vagaries of an unknowable God, but rather I see a perfect and magnificent design with a single and wonderful purpose:

“wake up…”

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16 thoughts on “A Design for Life

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  1. Yes “wake up…” – The best thing to be said in this time and the most difficult to be done, but at the same time the most **necessary thing** today, more today than ever…

    So I cannot but say with you, I can say it to each one and to everyone: “wake up…” “wake up…” – “wake up…”

  2. I felt like you wrote this for me. 🙂

    I’m waking up, feeling like a newborn, clumsy, confused and drooling but feeling like I am heading in the right direction. Your words have great power my friend.
    You should add “Spiritual Guide” to your resume.

  3. That was a very nice piece. I agree with most of it, but what do you mean by the line: “one of those vanishingly rare people who has realised…”? I understand “vanishingly” to mean something that is disappearing, when I believe the opposite to be the case. In my life in a big European city, I have met a fair number of people who, while I would have guessed them to have a linear outlook, have made meditation, yoga and even astrology into an important part of their lives. Admittedly, the New Age industry can be rather superficial and annoying, but I think that it is a healthy and necessary response to the experiment with a materialistic lifestyle that we in the West have been involved in during the past forty years or so. And this experiment (with the USA as its cutting-edge research laboratory) has effectively accelerated and proliferated the philosophy of “to have” over that of “to be”. But now, living as we do in societies in which obesity, depression and senseless violence are becoming more commonplace, we are, I believe, on the way to finally realising the absolute emptiness of man’s age-old dream of attaining fame and riches. And if we as a race are capable of becoming more non-linear, then all the suffering that this has entailed over the centuries will have been worth it. Uranus in Aries looks like an excellent catalyst for all this.
    As for the film, it seems to me that a lot of Hollywood movies have taken on a nostalgic, self-referential tone, looking back to those happy days when life was simple; the days when people could gauge their level of contentment by their status, car, bank balance and the beauty of their spouse. Just imagine seeing “Sex and the city 2” (a celebration of the joys of consumerism) in 30 years’ time – no doubt the sociiologists of the future will have fun with it.

  4. Well, as I am a believer in reincarnation, this message is not at all hard to follow. Let me throw destiny into the pot. I personally believe the Divine (whatever your personal concept of that might be) lays down a path in broad terms that your life is supposed to follow. Alongside that we also have freewill. Being stubborn humans, we sometimes to struggle against that path, or even attempt to reject it completely. However, those “not wrong” events referred to above come along to push us back onto that path. The severity of them really rather depends on just how much of a push is required. Ineveitably you eventually realise that all you achieve by banging your head on the brick wall of destiny is large bruises.

    This dovetails nicely into the whole subject of reincarnation. The lessons sent will get repeated time after time until the point is eventually made. Some take many lifetimes to take the next step. Karma is perhaps the greatest lesson of all.

    I have a particular liking for Douglas Adam’s Hitch Hiker’s Guide for the Galaxy. In it, Adams wrote that the whole idea of God was “mind-bogglingly big”. Others see God in terms of a magnificent complete picture yet only viewable through very narrow windows and so only a very small part is ever seen by a human individual. This whole idea of Grand Concepts through Little Windows is something that I feel we should all apply a lot more widely. Imagine how much better the world would be if everyone had the humility to accept that their own point of view, however enlightened, is by definition limited to a very small part of the whole – I feel this is just another definition of the whole idea of waking up. Two people viewing the same problem through completely different narrow windows is at the root of so much unecessary strife.

    The trouble is…. no matter how desirable this might be, the vast bulk of the human race is not equipped with sufficient humilty to admit that perhaps they don’t know it all after all or even that maybe..just maybe ..their perceptions are extremely limited. Who knows, maybe help actually does come in unexpected ways as the following cautionary tale shows.

    A man is drowning in the sea, and, out of desperation he prays.

    “God, I’m drowning. While I know Heaven is great and all, I’d really rather finish out my stint on Earth first”

    A great voice comes booming down from the clouds

    “Leave it to me my Son, I will save you”

    Shaken by this, the man develops new faith. Shortly a boat appears and hails the man .

    ” Come aboard, we will pick you up”

    ” No, I’ll stay here, God is going to save me”

    Once the boat could see that the man would not be persuaded otherwise, it sailed off.

    A while late a whale swum up and spoke to the man.

    “Hop on board, I’ll give you a ride to land”

    “No, no. God is going to save me”.

    The whale swum off, and eventually the man drowns and goes to Heaven. On meeting God, he said

    “What happenned to me being saved then?”

    And God said

    ” Look, I sent you a boat and even a talking whale. If you can’t see my miracles in that, I’m not going to waste any more time on you”

  5. This article really made me feel good, I felt it was speaking to me, it just fits perfectly and whilst I’ve ‘known’ this tonight when I read it it was what I really needed to hear at that moment, thank you xx

  6. Oh I could defo identify with the protagonist here. I used to be a very ambitious person, I wanted to be where Shia was in this movie. I still remember what was driving me. Of course since then I smashed into a wall, fell into pieces and got rebuilt in a better way. But I still remember my old ambitions. Now I’m ambition-free and happier for it.

  7. Thank you Jeremy, I had thought that my inability to watch this kind of film was due to some sort of amusing stupidity born of Mercury in Pisces! Yes I had a dream too, a huge wave engulfed a house on a beach. I was calmly watching from inside the house and somehow knew it wasn’t for me, if that makes sense. Chilling but also reassuring to realise how unified we are. I favour your hive analogy – it’s logical from an environmental point of view. Good to think of you pounding the lanes under the Moon brewing up these beautiful chapters. Vernal Blessings to You and Alice and the Boys,

  8. some really great ideas here, loving the irony, the humour of it all, and definitely identifying with working with clients who don’t believe in a meaning of life yet come seeking meaning and get cross when I can’t come up with the goods :)) thx for sharing your ideas on this.

  9. A beautiful piece Jeremy. Thank you. Sadly, even when we’ve achieved our nonlinear world view, or think we have, there is so much out there ready to seduce us back into the sleeping world, and that is the great trial of spiritual life. I think that most people live in varying states of drowsiness, just on the brink, and it’s often difficult to keep eyes open. We’re lucky that, as astrologers, we get to ground ourselves in the larger patterns.

  10. Do you really think we are inacapable of spiritual entropy? Or do the blinkers just come on every now and then, if we don’t pay attention? How to re-find one’s path when one briefly loses sight?

  11. i think some people are just born with the knowledge that there is “something else” out there. from a young age, i knew that what we were being taught in school was a load of crock. from a young age i knew i was “different” and it was ok. my interest in astrology, tarot and paganism started when i was a teen and finally at age 27, my spiritual journey is starting. i was never encouraged or nurtured to trust my intuition (in fact, i was taught the opposite!!) or to explore spirituality. it has come from within.

  12. Such a beautifully written and insightful post. Thank you for this. Nothing is truly wrong in life. It all matters, and it’s my job and duty for my soul and spirit’s progress in this journey to discover and learn from everything, especially the difficult events and experiences.

  13. I absolutely agree. Once you are exposed to truth it is impossible to go back to the limiting belief you had before. You know too much. When beings deny the truth that was revealed them, many suffer through disease.

    In light of Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring and the continued governmental subjugation of populations world wide, this essay is especially telling in that the veil is being lifted for millions quickly and succinctly.

    We, world citizens, can no longer walk through life with blinders thinking everything is working in our governing systems. We are being forced to see the resulting perversion of our founding ideals in favor of corporations and religious fundamentalists who ultimately do not consider the needs of populations as important as their agendas. We are being forced to deal with the hoarding of wealth, religious intolerance, institutional limitations on individual freedoms and a systematic breakdown, which is taking millions prisoner with poverty and ignorance.

    I know it is hard to be grateful for this devastatingly difficult period, but I am over joyed. Many people’s fundamental beliefs have been shaken by the number and different ways in which people are protesting their situations. And while many cling to ideals from a long gone era, many are rising from their slumber. Which is a great thing.

    I can’t wait to see the result of the current non-linear thinking in terms of the power of government and living standards for “the average person.” Who said 2012 wasn’t going to be a transformational year?

  14. Dear Jem,
    You write beautifully! I’ve read slowly this article and the one above (the space – whales’ ocean of love), and I enjoyed enormously the taste, the sound, the colour, the meaning of every single word. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, experience, thoughts, intuition, feelings and impressions, and, occasionally, your dreams.
    As for dreams, I did dream of the silent purity of wilderness. And instead of vainly dreaming, I left Paris, my starting career in art and literature, my friends and my boyfriend, and withdrew to a small helmet by a river, where I’ve been living for twenty years now with several wonderful animal friends. It feels as though fully living my dream was my waking up 🙂 !
    I started studying astrology eleven years ago, and moving along that path helped me understand many reasons why the things that happened were, (as you say), not wrong, but right. One of the crucial questions is not simply “what” happened, but how did I see, interpret, and integrate that “thing” that happened. Another important question is: “And what do I do NOW with it? »
    I fully agree with you regarding the meaning of a soul’s journey.
    I’ll try to find among your many articles (“posts”), something about free will. Have you written on that subject already?
    Although I believe there is a “design” for each of us, I think we are given a generous margin for expressing our free will, and realizing our choices. Jeff Green writes about it in his two books on Pluto. (What a pity he completely neglects punctuation!….)
    Without the possibility to manifest our free will, there certainly wouldn’t be any karmic consequences, would there?
    Could you, please, let me know if you have already written about this subject? If you haven’t, it would be wonderful if you chose to write about it soon.
    Thank you for stimulating in this lively and thrilling way (“Chirotic Journal”) my work in astrology, and for giving me food for thought.

  15. This is such a great article! WAKE UP! I realize you did not wish to blow my mind with talk of reincarnation, but you kind of did. I can’t imagine what an article of yours would like like if it WAS your intention to blow our minds. 🙂
    Great sense of humor, too

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