Cosmic insignificance is a really misunderstood concept, and so I am doing a three part blog series to discuss why it is so misunderstood, and what profound benefits realizing cosmic insignificance brings to those who experience it.
In this blog I will discuss the concept of the “cocoon”, first chakra consciousness, and a breakdown of the concepts that prevent us from breaking out of our cocoons.
One of the difficulties of being in a field like this (spiritual, being a “spiritual teacher”) is that you find yourself amidst a lot of confusion and noise.
That is perhaps a kind way of saying that the longer that I study and do my work, the more I realize with clarity how the “spiritual” (New Age, shamanic, occult, insert other words here) community perpetuates wounding patterns.
We live in a world that is so divided, so separated, so reliant on mechanical, Newtonian reality being the only valid reality that we all suffer under the weight of its conditioning and the isolative effects of being told that the bulk of our reality is not “real”.
If there were one thing I could state clearly is troubling me about the world at large these days is the quickening of our separation; the ability for people to separate themselves in cocoons. Disconnected from everything– from the spiritual realms, as well as from understanding and feeling a part of the webs that tie us all together in communal reality.
The more people separate themselves into cocoons in which they can ignore the world at large and to put themselves into the obliviousness of their own creations out of pain, the more the outer world suffers.
We are intended to create our reality together. We communally create the conditioned layers of reality, and as the layers of reality break down as more and more people retreat to their cocoons, the more the outer layers of reality break down outside of ourselves.
While looking at a larger angle perhaps such breakdown is necessary, but the immediacy of the isolative aspects of modern existence and the cocooning of the self away from any type of grounded, daily, integrated reality (living solely in our minds and their creations out of wounding) is leading to a breakdown of the webs and our ability to connect in vital, healthy, and life-affirming ways with anything outside of our own minds and their creations.
Our wounded selves, our “small selves” that are ignorant and in pain and traumatized and feel isolated from the whole dream up very different realities than our “larger selves”– our selves that are focused on health and larger awarenesses, such as the webs or fabric of reality that connects us all to one another. Such as healthy and vital connection that can sustain us through our connection to one another, to the Earth, to the Cosmos.
You can find a discussion of the conditioned layers of reality in my first book, The Spiritual Awakening Guide, but here I will discuss how the outer most layer of conditioned reality is mythic, archetypal, and symbolic.
Consider this “web” to be the bridge between the ineffable/the Other, and ourselves. The spiritual realms are deep feeling, they are states of being. They are not places of mental explanation, and the characteristic of being in the Other is a being beyond the limitations of our conditioned reality (as in space and time) to the point that it is possible to have a spiritual experience, such as a dream, that cannot and will not make sense for decades, if ever, in our own timeline.
If we are rooted (connected) to the mythic layers of reality, such symbols, stories, and myths point to a description of common, shared humanity. We feel the weight of the world on our shoulders like Atlas, and we recognize in that shared myth that we are not the first, nor will be the last, person to feel this way.
In this we feel connected to one another, we recognize that we are a part of these webs.
But in our current reality we have so much information, much of it lacking discernment, a lot of voices that are quite wounded and unclear and uneducated. We also have the capacity due to the internet (while there are other things that contribute to this pattern of separation/schisming from our “webs” this is a large factor) and social media to completely create a reality, separated, in a cocoon, that is based in an unrooted mythic.
It is wonderful that wounded voices are able to be heard. This is what wounds need to heal– to be aired, to be heard and seen. But it is a question of if such voices can lead us anywhere but into their own pain. If the voices we are hearing are educated to the point of offering wisdom and embodied experience, or if they are contributing or perpetuating wounded, unclear and ignorant realities that serve to separate the person from the whole. That seek to victimize others in their pain, that seek to belittle whatever is perceived to be the other, opposing side of the pendulum swing.
What we need are clear, healed, voices that are firmly initiated into an adult state of being that can see the shared humanity in one another, that can bridge the gap, that can see beyond the binary reality of us vs. them, that can move beyond simply looking to pass around pain and ignorance.
People who can truly look within and do the work to see what is separating them from experiencing greater and greater webs. The person who is capable of doing this will not only “awaken” but will be doing their small part to solve the massive societal issues creating such an isolative state of being collectively.
We live in a world in which we popularize individuals saying we can simply “change our thoughts” to alleviate depression. This individual can have never experienced depression, can have never run across it, received any education regarding it, or worked with anyone in a clinical capacity who is depressed.
In our current world, this person will receive millions of subscribers and followers because such voices of ignorance are what we want to hear, what we want to believe, notions based off of sheer ignorance rather than any type of embodied experience.
While we have always had voices that were better or worse, more conscious and less conscious, more and less healthy, the advent of the internet has allowed for voices of ignorance and pain to proliferate (and to find others seeking to enact harmful ways of being and thought) in a way that has allowed for greater oblivion, greater cocooning from reality.
The myth of our time is one of isolation and disconnection. The myths that we reach for in this cocooned state are a result of great pain, and they describe the wants and needs of our traumatized selves rather than any type of reality. The unrooted mythic serves to separate, to cocoon, rather than to connect. This is a protective mechanism, and an understandable one, but it does little but create a facade of healing and wholeness, enlightenment, or connection.
It seeks empty thoughts, vacuous promises, the ideals of doing nothing or very little and receiving everything in return. It seeks comfort, and assurance, of being superior to ensure its own survival. While we should have compassion for the aspects of ourselves, and the aspects of others, that seek such comfort and anesthetic from what can sometimes be the brutal clarity of the world, we also should not call such things “awakening” or conscious awareness of any kind. It is the understandable infantile reaching for a blanket or stuffed animal to soothe the self against the unknown.
Or it is the reaching for the “role” or figure of parent, again and again, to provide answers, comfort, and support. There are many individuals ready and willing to take on that role, to play that part of teacher or guide to take the power and capacity of those stuck in infantile states to recreate the loop of parent-child wounding.
This is the most common “role” that is perpetuated in the spiritual field, and it requires a lot of willingness to see such things with clarity to move beyond the perpetuation of the asexual parental figure as teacher. Any competent spiritual teacher who has worked through their own issues will not accept such projections, or play such a part for their followers or students, as such roles not only re-create trauma loops (patterns repeated again and again out of trauma) but also do not allow for the seeker to remain anything but a child and powerless in such a relationship.
There are a lot of ways to describe the awakening process. An elevator, an expansion process, a moving from one shore to another.
Another way is to describe the chakra system and how healing and awakening allow for us to change perspective. We start at a first chakra consciousness (the root), with specific needs and wants, and as we become more conscious, we move to the second, and the third, and so forth.
It is quite rare for people to move beyond the third chakra perspective, as this is the last “self” chakra. It is the power chakra, and beyond this point the focus moves beyond the immediate needs and wants of the “small” self.
However, many spiritual paths are focused on first chakra consciousness.
People in first chakra consciousness like to have their spirituality ensure control. They will never get sick, experience disease, or die. If they were sick, they believe that through positive thought that they are now well, and will never experience disease again. They can have control over the upheavals of existence. They are the center of the cosmos, significant, knowing of all, able to command the Other and its denizens with a single thought.
This is a separated or unrooted mentality, one that is grasping for the static principle (rather than the active, dynamic principle). This is a mentality in which emptiness or any other spiritual concept (I will discuss the nature of emptiness in Part Three of this, as this concept has been really quite skewed to fit the desire for completion/superiority) turns into a static state of completion, of finality, of being above and beyond or past, as those illusory notions allow the person to deny, repress, or simply not have to make effort to look within to see what remains to be healed or what they could stand to become more consciously aware of.
Someone can pretend online to have all the power in the world, to be enlightened or highly conscious, to be the best occultist ever, without understanding that their actions, thoughts, beliefs, what they say, and the way they treat others shows everything that is needed to be known about their internal nature.
The prevailing thought with this type of consciousness is that if you are only spiritual enough, you have total and complete control over your existence. This type of thinking then allows people to enact the superiority-inferiority loop, looking down on others, ignoring them, or otherwise belittling them because if they only were spiritual enough, they too would have enough money and health.
There is no understanding of the privilege that it takes to be able to maintain a cocoon like this, as many people in the world think just fine and they still find that outer racism, classism, sexism, and other things being played out on the world stage are still being played out.
We can envision the perfect sandwich in astonishing clarity and still die of hunger. Many have done just this.
We can have the naive thought that we have “healed ourselves” and promote that to the world, not seeing that we are not isolated beings. We do nothing ourselves. We always have support, whether we wish to see such things or not. That our relationship with our community, with our families, with the land and the Earth and what we eat and drink, our thoughts and fears, our ancestry, our past lives, cosmic flows and karma, the conditioning we are under through our schooling, culture, society, and world, as well as the dead and other intelligences and how they relate to us (even if we are not aware of all of this, it still impacts us) and how that all ends up being a state of health or not has very little to do with ourselves choosing to not eat Cheetos for lunch or thinking the right or wrong things.
We can say and do and eat all the right things, and still not be healthy, financially secure, or find a place of prominence in our world. Such things happen all the time, and our attempts to naively guard against such knowledge, to realize that underlying chaos of our existence, prevents us from truly finding compassion for one another (to deny their suffering) and to truly make peace with ourselves, as our natures and our lives, despite our grasping onto the static principle, always have larger and smaller waves to them. We will all experience death, disease, and the suffering that being in a human form brings.
That despite our best wishes and healing towards ourselves there are forces much larger than ourselves that play out through us. That an enlightened state is not one of perfection, or of wealth, control, but a conscious pairing between our individual selves understanding cosmic flow through us and taking the opportunity of having human bodies to consciously act in relationship and accordance with this flow.
Put more simply, it is a surrender. It is a surrender to the extent that we can realize that we are not the producers, narrators, or protagonists of our existences. That we have our individual cocoons, our delusional realities, and the awakening process is the coming out of that cocoon to see greater and greater realities.
It is a learning how to see the nature of our existences, the waves, to learn to ride them, to have perspective on them (through cosmic insignificance, in fact) that we find ourselves grounding in chaos, rather than deluding ourselves that we can be static, finalized beings in control of everything in our lives.
Any type of awakening will allow for someone to break through this cocoon and to recognize in increasing perspective how small one is, how inconsequential. Whether that is a small awakening involving realizing the love for a new family member, or the perspective of humanity that allows for one to realize how silly we are as a species, awakening allows for us to see the vastness that is out there.
This all comes from seeing the vastness in ourselves.
When we are grasping for control, or in a first chakra based spiritual path, we are looking for a static thing. Emptiness. Us completed (always at the end of our path, enlightened, or if the ego has been clever in feigning humility, the step before the end of our path or just before enlightenment). Ourselves as a static, perfected being.
We are looking to tell others how we are healed, whole, superior, how we have done everything ourselves. That we are rugged individualists… little knowing that the role we are playing is a facade, that if we were more conscious we would be aware that it is more than just ourselves creating our lives.
The awakening process allows for an understanding of our true potential, our vastness, our multitude. Things that ourselves in our cocoons could never dream of. What we dream of for ourselves and the role that the Universe may cast us in are often two entirely separate things. If we are able to gain access to this wisdom, we can move far beyond fighting ourselves, forcing ourselves to be and do things that adhere to societal and social conventions rather than truly living.