The Consecration of Consciousness

If you have ever driven to the Grand Canyon, you are keenly aware of what a visceral shock it is. We’ve all seen the photographs of the tremendous gorge, but that is not what is actually shocking. Even standing at the brink and looking in is awesome, but the shock has already passed. The shock comes from driving across the lovely but expected landscape of northern Arizona - rolling hills, plateaus, and forests - then coming up to a railing and confronting the land quite suddenly dropping out from under this placid landscape and falling entirely away, leaving only thin air where the land should continue. It is a frighteningly abrupt change. It shocks even when we are expecting it. It was literally incomprehensible to the Spaniards who were the first Europeans to see it. When we look in today, the Canyon is certainly beautiful in its stark reality, but it is also disconcerting and dangerous.

As I went through the process of transitioning out of my Christian beliefs, I read and wrote, thought and discussed, played with this idea and that, but even so, I did not see it coming. All my learning had brought me inexorably to this moment of ripeness and then, suddenly, unexpectedly, I was looking into thin air. In that instant, I knew that all I had once believed was untrue. That moment was bracing and thrilling, like having the flat landscape break off and drop away into hazy and tortured depths. At first, this seemed disastrous. The roadway ahead was simply gone. I felt the pangs of fear and despair and wondered about the purpose of my life.

If we have taken this journey to the edge of the canyon and have been bold and have honestly considered our true and total mortality, what can prevent us from becoming angry, depressed, or even despairing when we consider the brevity and apparent pointlessness of our human lives? It would seem that the single thing we have that is truly our own is our body and the brain that guides it. Our consciousness, that mysterious life force, is all that we have to rely on.

And yet, we look around us at the world that mankind has made. Our gleaming cities, our vast libraries of written knowledge, our institutions dedicated to helping our fellow human beings. Certainly, there is much in our world that is unhealthy, unfinished, and even shameful, but the phenomena we call Civilization is worthy of our acknowledgment and our continued creation. And it is the world that mankind has made! God did not come down and speak New York City into being, nor did any other deity create Shakespeare’s plays or Beethoven’s symphonies. We humans did all that. Whatever is good and noble and grand and emotionally evocative, is of human creation.

The way that I found–the path that led me out of my fear and trepidation was to consider our human consciousness and to begin to consecrate it rather than to consecrate an unseen deity, ascribing to him, her, or it all the positive values that we humans have accomplished for ourselves with our own labor and intelligence.

How do we consecrate consciousness? In looking at all that mankind has brought into being over the last several millennia, I believe it can only be done through one process - actively creating. The word “create” can certainly refer to the making of tangible things of beauty or practicality, but we can ascribe a deeper meaning. We can also apply the process of creating to our very lives. If we are engaged in actively creating our lives, we are giving real value to them. If we are not creating our lives, we are likely caught in an oscillating trap, one where we are only reacting to our circumstances rather than making our own path.

In Robert Fritz’s wonderful book “The Path of Least Resistance,” he speaks of a “civilization of creators,” and states his view that “the creative process has vast implications for forming a new world.” His view of the world does not disallow problems and strife, but teaches a structure that empowers us to move toward the things we really wish to create, whether that be an artwork, a thoughtful and progressive government, a valuable product or invention, or simply people leading fulfilling, creative lives.

It is this vision that I call the consecration of consciousness - the purposed focusing of our energies and talents to the betterment of our species and our selves. It comes naturally when the impediments of false self-deprecation that religions tend to impose on us are removed. It is right for us to take pride in what men and women have accomplished, and it is our responsibility and our privilege to continue the creative work in our own lives and in the society at large.

In Fritz’s words again, “By your presence on this planet, you make possible creations that would otherwise not be possible....I can’t think of anything more divine than the creative act.”

This, then is the resounding answer to the fear and depression we may feel at the loss of our former way of thinking or way of life. We can create a new life and new knowledge and new circumstances for ourselves - we have that innate power. We can find true joy and fulfillment in these new things, for we have created them ourselves. It is our right and our nature to do so and to be proud of our creations.

On one visit to the Grand Canyon, my Dad and I were sitting on the North Rim on a peaceful day when suddenly a military jet flew over the great stone rift and broke the sound barrier. It had been many years since I had heard a sonic boom, but this one was especially wondrous because the Grand Canyon acted as a reverberating chamber for the immense energy of the sound that had been injected into it. It boomed and echoed and roared as if the hard rock of the Canyon itself had come to life for a moment. Most times, the Canyon speaks its own soft song, but it was with some amazement and even enjoyment that I listened as, for a moment at least, Mankind made the Canyon sing a new song. When we consecrate our consciousness, both individually and collectively, we realize that it is our destiny to call upon our energies, create new lives, and reverberate in a powerful and original new song of our own.


The present moment is not mundane. It is, in essence, extraordinary. -DC

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