The opportunity for co-creation is a magnificent gift. My blog series on co-creation paused for a month while all of us at Parvati.org faced the loss of our dear friend and colleague Darcy in the Ethiopian Airlines crash. Yet co-creation has been present all along. I have chosen to allow a co-creative spirit to inform my choices as a CEO to lead our team through the storm. Awareness of a positive possibilities, co-creative universe has helped me as a spiritual aspirant to come to terms with Darcy’s tragic passing. Darcy studied the many ways we can co-create and consciously chose to co-create in the positive possibilities. Respectful, win-win co-creation is what I sought in every media interview and talk I gave about him and his extraordinarily courageous work for MAPS, the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary. Our collective efforts at Parvati.org to honor Darcy’s legacy were also a co-creation rooted in gratitude and willingness to serve.
I think of the beautiful Parvati Magazine cover designed by my friend and artistic collaborator Adam Nathan of Jellyfunk, surrounding Darcy in flowers—especially roses. He created the design over a few hours after hearing the devastating news. While working, he did not know that Darcy’s favorite flower was roses, or that since Darcy’s passing, his wife Amie sensed his presence and smelled the floral fragrance.
In open-hearted appreciation, as well as grief, and in the sincere desire to honor his friend and colleague, Adam was able to touch something beyond his own knowledge. The image brought tears to all of our eyes at Parvati.org. We too did not know about the flower connections at first. But we felt the heart, and the resonance within the inspired magazine cover.
Today is Easter Sunday, a holiday symbolizing profound transformation and renewal. Easter shatters the illusion of the finality of death. It reveals the oneness reality in which Christ exists and to which we are summoned.
In addition, this weekend marked the beginning of Passover in the Jewish tradition, which celebrates the intervention of God to liberate the Israelites from all forms of bondage. As such, this festival of sincere remembrance also speaks to profound renewal and hope for the future, a shift into a new way of being in relation to ourselves, our surroundings and the divine.
Both these holy times point to the astonishing world of possibilities that open before us when we are willing to co-create with something greater than our limited selves.
With gratitude for these beautiful celebrations, as well as for Earth Day tomorrow reminding us to listen to Nature and protect our planet, I conclude the blog series on co-creation.
I would like to shout out a big thank you to all of the MAPS Ambassadors across Africa (Kenya, Benin, Nigeria) who so graciously have organized various Earth Day MAPS presentations.
As I shared in part one of this four-part series, co-creation expresses the complete range of human choice, from violent and hateful disconnection to a merging into unconditional love. Through co-creation, we access profound power. What we do with this power separates the wise from the ignorant.
The various types of co-creation exist along a continuum from extreme unconsciousness to pure consciousness. At one end, we would be fully identified with the idea of life as suffering. At the other, all aspects of our lives would arise from absolute unity with the light that we are, the very fabric of life itself.
To anchor all that we have looked at over this series, here’s a suggested range of co-creative possibilities, from the most painful to the most radiant. I have grouped them broadly into two sections, the first being co-creation in disconnection. The second illustrates co-creation in interconnection.
LIFE IN THE IMPOSSIBILITIES:
CO-CREATION IN DISCONNECTION
“Life is happening to me”
“There is only me”
When in extreme impossibilities, we operate in an unconscious state. Disconnected from the whole, who we are and why we are here, we are unaware of our power of choice within a co-creative universe. Ignorant of being part of anything beyond ourselves, we identify with nobodiness. It is as though we exist in a void, a hungry black hole inside our mind and heart. As such, we have no understanding of the needs of others, or of our impact on them. Consumed with survival and physical security, our only reality is “me” with a notion of “life is happening to me”. In this disconnect, our world revolves around the false thought that there is no love at all. We co-create with hate, rage and revenge and manifest the consequences of such. In its most extreme form, this becomes sociopathy or psychopathy and expresses itself in atrocities like murder. Yet it also exists in subtler forms, be it physical violence, emotional abuse, or controlling behavior.
“There is only what I want”
At this stage, we begin to become aware of the world around us. However, still in disconnect and feeling alienated, we respond to our surroundings not with presence but through wanting. Our limited ideas about life become sorry stories, which we project onto the moment. We cling to and identify with them, because they enable our ego and the illusion of our disconnect. Greed and loneliness drive us to seek relationships for egoic gratification, however fleeting. In the impossibilities, we mistake unspoken contracts for love. We co-create with others in the expectation that acting in a particular way will get us something from the other person, and vice versa. This behaviour is often manipulative and controlling. Playing the victim or victimizing others gives us a sense of temporary power over all the moment contains.
“I am the doer”
We now have a greater sense of the world around us and increased self-esteem. We become aware that we do have access to the power of choice. But still disconnected from the whole, we identify with our limited personal power. We feel we must make our lives happen, believing that we alone are in charge of our lives. We mostly co-create with our willpower as our tool for survival. We believe it is who we are. We may claim good intentions, but fundamentally we feel separate and are still driven by the idea that life is “happening to me”. This leads us to push and pull at life. Then we find ourselves on an endless rollercoaster, trying to satisfy our likes and dislikes that fuel our ego. At best, we experience brief fulfillment, feeling puffed up by all “I” have done. By co-creating with wanting, willfulness and self-centeredness, we seek reward and recognition for our actions, and feel punitive towards self and others when we do not get them. Sustaining our sense of “I” through the notion of being separate, we feel empowered by our likes and dislikes, enabling a divided, egoic identity. When we exist in this bandwidth, as I saw in my friend’s comment in the conversation that sparked this series, we perceive guidance from a spiritual master as happening to us or as militant. We are identified with being the one in control, proud of our expertise, and attached to knowing best. But our sense of self is limited. What we interpret as militant may simply be a challenge to our ego, inviting us to live instead in service to the whole.
LIFE IN THE POSITIVE POSSIBILITIES:
CO-CREATION IN INTERCONNECTION
“I am a conscious participant”
“I am connected”
When we consider our attachments to being the doer, it becomes clear that we thought we were the very force that gives us life. We lost sight that life-force flows through us and sustains us in each moment.
We now choose to let go of co-creating with painful energies. We understand that we had allowed them to distort our thoughts, affect our actions and turn us away from our true nature. As we stop giving them power, we step into our magnificence.
At this stage, we wish to make choices that benefit not just ourselves, but those around us. We may at first be motivated by our own personal desire for happiness. Yet we soon see that there is no such thing as an isolated decision. What we do also affects others. We seek to align with the good of all, no longer interested in the temporary high of personal recognition. We act out of compassion for ourselves and others.
“There is something greater”
Awakening, we seek to understand our place within the whole. We recognize the limitations of our individual self, will and power. Aware of a force greater than ourselves, we let go of wanting to direct, control or own it. We question how our personal will is in alignment with divine will. This leads us to contemplate what divine will may be for us. We consider “Thy will be done” to encourage the release of our singular way. We consciously experience and participate in a force beyond our limited will, and choose to serve it.
It is clear that it is not up to us to make life happen. That is the universe’s role. We are active participants within it. Our job is to be receptive, one moment after the next, to this loving and benevolent force. We mindfully get out of its way, so that it can work through us.
In the conversation that began this blog series, I was seeing the moment and the opportunity to co-create from this vantage point. When the compassionate universe expresses itself in the form of guidance by an egoless spiritual master, we sincerely and wholeheartedly follow their instructions. In this way, Luke Skywalker surrendered to the direction of Obi-Wan Kenobi and trusted the force, knowing it was not an oppressive order. We choose to consciously welcome and harmonize with guidance as a divine blessing for the highest good of all.
We understand that our lives are flowering within the garden of the universe. Clarity arises naturally, and we effortlessly breathe into our next step. We do not forcefully make anything happen out of a false sense of control. We are in a divine conversation, in flow with the universe’s cosmic play.
“I am interconnected”
As our understanding of connection deepens, we come to realize that we are vastly and wisely interconnected to universal consciousness. What we think, feel, say and do both reflects and affects everything in existence. It influences the trajectory of evolution, and participates in a growing, changing, alive whole. We feel a sense of flow within the whole, and are aware of the whole within our personal flow.
Because of our interconnection, as we choose to bear witness to the limitations of ego, everyone in turn moves towards lasting freedom. Through our choices to co-create, we can either support others or interfere with their evolution. As we create and perpetuate suffering within ourselves, we create and perpetuate suffering for all life. But as we choose to set ourselves free, we support the freedom of all beings everywhere.
“A divided me is an illusion”
Now, our personal agenda and willfulness are gone. We recognize that who we truly are is no different from the energy of the divine which moves through all. As we come to fully experience that our essence and everything within and around us are one with unlimited consciousness, we realize our divine nature. Understanding this, we begin to love all things equally. That with which we co-create is not separate from us, because nothing is. We exist in the reality of unconditional love as the fabric of the universe.
We are still evolving spiritually. Because oneness is the substratum of reality, any co-creation that is not within that frequency illuminates our skewed perceptions. It shows we still have potential to grow further along the co-creation continuum to find ultimate love and freedom. With remaining traces of our ego, we go through some ups and downs. As we practice the release of all attachments to any lingering illusions of a separate “me”, we experience greater, lasting happiness.
“There is only oneness”
With our ego extinguished, we no longer i-dentify through any separate sense of “me”. Even the i-dea of such an i-dentity is impossible. There is no more lens through which to relate to the perception of a divided, external world. We reside in a permanent state of oneness with infinite consciousness, and unity with all that is. We are effortlessly and perfectly arising in each moment in unity with an intelligent whole.
At this final stage, we are in a state of isness, experiencing bliss. We have transcended the notion even of death. Yet we may choose to remain in human form to assist the release of suffering in all beings. Egoless spiritual masters abide in this reality. This is why co-creating with them could never be about taking orders. There is no “me” in them to give orders. There is only isness. By choosing to align with that, we move closer to this reality for the good of all.
Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Amma, speaks of this state with first-hand knowledge:
“As the realization that everything is pervaded with Divine Consciousness dawns within you, you also see that every human being, everything in creation, is already Divine. The only difference is that you know that you and they are one with Divinity, but they do not. It is only a question of uncovering the truth.”
From my heart to yours, may you be inspired to embrace the highest form of co-creation in each moment. May you live in the reality of love and unity.