The Non-Accidental Universe
Our own intentions don’t trump those of the universe. Even BP received signs from above before the Gulf oil spill
DAVID RICKEY: Long before the big spill, something or someone — let’s say God or the universe — tried to warn BP Oil and its contractors that a massive blowout was imminent. Eleven workers and thousands of birds, mammals and reptiles would still be alive today had the company paid attention to the warning signs rather than exert its own will.
The more I read, and more importantly the more I experience, I am convinced there is a purpose behind this whole amazing universe. Or, to bring it down to a bit more manageable level, behind life on this planet. My own life is full of synchronicities, events that seem to have a theme and direction that point to an intention. Even if I get to the end and somehow find out that I’ve gotten it all wrong, I will hold onto this belief because it makes my journey, and the journey of those I work with, much more meaningful.
I believe that my life, and the lives of others, are being guided. The signs BP ignored — including several near misses, and test results indicating the cement at the bottom of the hole wasn’t a strong enough barrier against an influx of oil — had intention in spades. In retrospect it’s pretty clear that the oil giant was ‘intented’ to pay attention to risk and avoid disaster.
We all face situations and experiences that are designed to help us grow and contribute, on a greater scale, to the evolution of consciousness. But there’s a catch: Our growth and evolution only happen when we give the okay. We are not puppets but relatively free actors who can choose to move with the flow or resist, and all along co-create the unfolding of this project. Our freedom comes with responsibility.
I believe that guidance has two parts. First are the synchronicities I referred to earlier. When we start out with a sense of purpose that wells up from within, having listened to that “still small voice“, we find that events start happening that open doors, or influence our path. We sometimes end up in a quite different place than we expected, but one that feels just right.
The second is Grace, that mysterious energy that supports and nurtures our journey and gives us the courage and power to continue. I want to talk about Grace from the point of view of Kabbalah.
Resistance might actually be futile
As I understand the Kabbalistic teachings on “the Bread of Shame,” human beings are not comfortable with unmerited grace. We don’t feel good about winning, for example, when we find out that our opponent let us win. From a more mystical perspective, if God were to pour as much grace upon us as He would like to, we would be overwhelmed. That’s why we are programmed with a barrier, metaphorically speaking, a kind of curtain between ourselves and God, to prevent that from happening. However, when we begin to work on ourselves, generating a bit of personal effort, we draw back the curtain and allow grace to start trickling in.
Our whole system becomes more cooperative when we “merit” Grace by making some effort (though the Grace we receive is much more intense than our action might “justify”). We are able to receive it because we feel like we did something to earn it.
I speculate that when we choose to work on ourselves, we are aligning with the greater purpose of the universe, the evolution of life. By doing so we become open to the creative energies and infinite wisdom of the cosmos. It’s like swimming downstream instead of upstream.
By trusting this reality, we can start out on our journey with a strong sense that we are not alone, that our efforts will prosper because we have a huge reservoir of wisdom and energy — Grace — that is working with us.
And there is a second consequence of honoring that cosmic intention. Since we are connected to everything (it is all one organism after all) our actions radiate outward and influence all other actions. That is what’s behind the concept of “morphic resonance” developed by biologist and author Rupert Sheldrake. The idea is that the laws of the universe might not be laws, exactly, but more like habits; and that how an orchid or a CEO or an amoeba thinks or behaves has much to do with how others of their kind have historically thought or behaved.
If the universe really is guiding us all toward an intention — and if resisting it leads to misguided lives or even large-scale disasters — I’m all for going with the flow.
David Rickey is an Episcopal priest, Soul’s Code co-founder and counselor in San Francisco who does a weekly ministry at a residence for the elderly in northern California. Follow David on Twitter.