An awareness of global oneness has begun to constellate… when it becomes alive, the heart of the world will open and we will hear its song, the song of the oneness of life. Llewellyn Vaughan-LeeEach morning now I awaken to the joy of Spring dawning in the beautiful southern Appalachian mountains – seeing the glory of the radiant sunrise and the tender green leaves unfolding on the bare tree limbs, listening to the chorus of birdsong – yet I also awaken with deep grief, my heart aching as the war in Ukraine continues in its horrific suffering and devastation. Along with so many others now, I am intensely aware of the paradoxical nature of life: the new creation that emerges from that which is dormant and dead, witnessed as the warmth of the Spring arises from the cold depths of Winter, and symbolically revealed in the Christian mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection.
But in this time, as I witness the conditions of our world, it is easier for me to see the growing darkness. We seem to be in a downspin with awful catastrophes piling up on each other, causing immense suffering around the world that is culminating now in the apocalyptic horror of the war in Ukraine. This is taking place as our time for effective action on climate change is running out; all of these events are distracting and impeding us from doing what is most needed today to save our planet from ecological collapse.
It seems to me that we are truly at a turning point in this time: we may allow the planetary crisis to reinforce our egoic responses of fear, hatred, greed and violence, or our experience of such profound suffering may cause our hearts to break open with compassion and lead to new life for humanity and our Mother Earth. When I feel overwhelmed by the powers of darkness that seem to be rapidly escalating throughout the world I turn to the wisdom of the Little Prince, as told in the story by Antoine de Saint-Exupery:
Now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
It is crucial that we now look more deeply for the seeds of new life growing beneath the surface of our current barren landscape of death and destruction. We must open our hearts to see the divine process that is always at work in our world and hear the gentle melody of the “song of oneness” that nourishes our hope.
The Sufi mystic Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee points to this hope for the future that may be born out of our current darkness when the heart of the world opens. It is this vision of a global heart that I see arising in collective human consciousness during these dark and dangerous times. It is an example of a new mythic symbol that can inspire, empower, and provide meaning as it emphasizes the crucial role of humanity in the evolutionary unfolding of life. The global heart, symbolizing the essential unity of human beings connected through love, is manifesting in the creative expressions of diverse wisdom traditions throughout our world. The global heart, which integrates the cosmological, the feminine, and inclusiveness in one unitive symbol, provides a powerful, numinous image for the emergence of a “new myth.” (see Jan. 2022 blog)
In Christian tradition the seed for this life-giving symbol was planted in the ancient Christian spiritual practice of putting the mind in the heart. This is essential because the mind as the seat of rational, dualistic thinking has fueled the progress of human civilization, but also led us to the brink of planetary destruction. As the Little Prince knows, it is only the “spiritual heart” that can see the underlying unity of life and experience true compassion. Early Christian wisdom realized that the mind and the heart are both necessary and must be united so that deep heart wisdom can inform rational knowledge, and love can guide the uses of technology created by the human brain.
The contemporary Christian wisdom teacher Cynthia Bourgeault uses modern scientific terminology to describe the heart as “an organ of spiritual perception which perceives by vibrational resonance… only the heart can see the fundamental nature of reality… the world as a coherent, unconditioned whole.” She reframes the traditional practice of putting the mind in the heart to mean “to entrain the rhythms and the vibrational field of the brain to the vibrational field of the heart – so they form a single instrument of perception.” The vibrational resonance of the spiritual heart in tune with the Divine Heart is not just an idea, but an experience of one’s deepest being. The individual practice of putting the mind in the heart must now expand to a collective practice because “compassion does not belong to the individual even. It is an emergent property of the whole. And as we realign and reground ourselves in the whole – compassion flows.”
This Christian wisdom of the past is re-emerging in its contemporary form to address the critical need of our current age, which is to move from a focus on individual to communal, global spirituality. The modern world witnessed the emergence of the global mind due to the rapid increase in interconnectedness throughout the world through scientific advances in technology and communications. Now what is needed is a shift from global connectivity forged solely through the rational, egoic mind to an awareness of global oneness experienced by the spiritual heart that perceives unity and manifests love. The outer connections that have transformed our world through the global mind’s creation of the “internet” must now be expanded to include an “innernet” of heart connections throughout the world. Then the global heart will emerge as humans awaken to their divine essence and oneness with all.
The 20th century mystic and scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was one of the first to experience and understand the meaning of this emerging vision of the global heart. Teilhard’s vision arose through the union of heart and mind, as his spiritual wisdom grew out of the cosmological vision of modern science. He believed that the evolutionary process reveals God’s creative action in the cosmos that will ultimately lead to a “new humanity” that realizes its essential unity grounded in love. Ursula King describes his evocative image of the purpose of human beings within the process of “evolutionary enlightenment”:
Teilhard dreamed of a humanity that forms one single body animated by one single heart. A great spiritual visionary he ultimately saw the building of the human community as a spiritual task leading human hearts to the heart of God, a heart burning like a blaze of fire in the midst of matter and radiating energy through the entire universe, consecrated and made holy by the powers of love and creative union.
Teilhard’s cosmic vision points to the emergence of the global heart as our next stage of human evolution. But this will manifest only if human beings realize that this is the urgent spiritual task for our time and work together to aid this process of evolutionary unfolding. That Teilhard was able to hold this vision of humanity’s potential for unitive love while experiencing the horrors of the First World War as a priest/medic serving on the front lines, may inspire us to hold onto hope in the midst of the current catastrophic suffering in our world.
When I am able to look beyond the horrific news that each day brings I am able to see this essential spiritual heart of humanity beginning to become more and more visible throughout our world. My hope for the future is grounded in the proliferation of groups around the world that are rising up to meet the great challenges of our present time for both social and spiritual transformation. These are necessary and reciprocal processes, outer and inner work entwined as one flow of love and wisdom throughout the world. The deep transformation of social structures based on injustice, domination, and violence can only occur if there is deep inner transformation. This inner transformation of human consciousness will necessarily create transformation in the structures of collective society.
This process is greatly helped through spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, and visualization. Just as the flow of blood from the physical heart carries the energy of life to the body, these practices transmit life-giving spiritual energy through the energetic circulatory system of the planet. Prayer of the awakened spiritual heart aids the collective transformation of consciousness by radiating the higher vibrational frequency of love through the earth.
There is a growing body of scientific research that supports the collective potential of developing the spiritual heart. Michelene Anderson, in scientific research on the spiritual heart, cites numerous studies that indicate the electromagnetic energy from the heart is not confined to the physical body but may be shared with others and serve as a catalyst for global healing and collective spiritual awakening. She summarizes this research:
The spiritual heart is one in which gratitude, wisdom, intuition and interconnectedness radiate in myriad ways, not merely in the metaphors of time immemorial, but with radical consequences that extend beyond one’s self to other living beings to Nature, and to the rhythms of our universe. Immediate growth and recovery may initiate at the individual level but may, if initiated en masse, eradicate social injustice, environmental degradation and bring about a “heartfelt” global spiritual awakening.
These spiritual communities that include the entire spectrum of human diversity are synergistically working to create the global heart. The groups may meet together physically or virtually, may be large transnational organizations or small informal groups meeting in a person’s home, and may or may not be aware that they are part of a powerful collective human endeavor. It seems to me that an exponential expansion of these groups has occurred during the pandemic, which I believe is a deep response of the heart to the intense suffering of the world soul.
Spiritual groups engaged in prayer and meditation practices are already at work creating the vessel within which the global heart may develop; when these groups begin to form interconnected energetic exchanges the structure will be complete for the full awakening of the global heart. As the Sufi mystic Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee says:
In the present time the most powerful vehicles of transformation are spiritual groups… which are creating an organic web, a membrane of light and love… that will be the container for the energy of love and oneness… when this energy begins to flow between these groups, a dynamic shift will take place… this is when the higher consciousness of the planet will be activated.
During this time of intense darkness a dream image appeared to me that brought this hope for the potential transformation of our suffering world:
I see the Earth as though I am in outer space. On its surface I see millions of small, pulsating orbs of white light that radiate their bright energy into the darkness of outer space. These individual lights are embedded within a multitude of squares that form a pattern of energy across the entire planet. Each square appears to me to be a matrix, a medium from which something takes form and develops. As I continue to observe this inner vision, streams of light energy begin to flow between the matrices, creating an interconnected web of energy that expands as its light intensifies. I feel myself being drawn into this vibratory energy that is the essence of our heart connections with others and I experience great love and peace and joy.
As I reflect on this image, I realize that when I am participating in the energetic field of divine Love and feel the flow of light and love, I am one of the pulsating orbs of light, single yet one with the whole. I believe that this is the embodied experience of the awakening of the global heart: as our spiritual hearts open and resonate with the vibrational field of divine Love, we experience the truth that we are simply particles of light in the growing wave of Light energy flowing throughout the Earth as the heart of humanity awakens.
A symbolic image of this experiential truth was revealed in my dream as the matrix of the global heart. The word matrix – with the same root as mother/matter – may represent the womb, a place that holds, envelops, and generates. This vision of the awakening of the global heart points to a feminine process of receptivity to the wisdom of the spiritual heart rather than our cultural emphasis on masculine rational thinking and factual knowledge. Its message to us is that we are to allow the heart energies to arise and flow, trusting in the cosmic process, giving birth to the new consciousness that is unfolding in our world.
If we can look beneath the increasing fear, hatred, and darkness in our world today, we may see the global heart manifesting in the spontaneous arising around the world of groups committed to love, the unity of humanity, and the healing of our Mother Earth. Each of these groups is a matrix for spiritual transformation with the potential to generate the heightened energy of light and love that changes the structures of consciousness. When the energetic exchange then begins to form between groups, the power of this matrix increases exponentially. These energetic interconnections develop organically, just as new biological properties emerge in an organism when it becomes more conscious and complex.
This process is becoming increasingly visible through the work of contemporary artists whose visions express what is emerging in collective consciousness. One of the most beautiful expressions I have seen of the global heart as a new mythic symbol is the creation of the contemporary composer Eric Whitacre in his virtual choir experiences. Seeing thousands of people throughout the world joining together to sing – recognizing the amazing diversity of individual human faces, all held together in the embracing unity of song – is a deeply moving experience. As music can express the “essential” that lies deeper than language, when we listen with the heart we may begin to hear the “song of the oneness of life” as the “heart of the world opens.”Whitacre’s most recent virtual choir 6, “Sing Gently,” includes 17, 527 singers from 129 countries. The music and the imagery combine to invite us to experience the living reality of the awakening of the global heart. The lyrics express the essential simplicity that is the heart of this transformational process:
May we sing together, always. May our voice be soft. May our singing be music for others and may it keep others aloft. Sing gently, always. Sing gently as one. May we stand together, always. May our voice be strong. May we hear the singing and may we always sing along. Sing gently, always. Sing gently as one.
May we listen for this song that is arising within the heart of the world and join in the chorus of voices that is “singing gently as one.”
May we awaken in the morning and hear the message of the heart:
Listen… the Word of Wisdom is speaking
Listen… the Song of Love is singing
Listen… the Heart of the World is waking
Cynthia Avens May 1, 2022
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, The Return of the Feminine and the World Soul (Point Reyes, California: The Golden Sufi Center, 2009), p. 157.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1943), p. 70.
Cynthia Bourgeault, Love is the Answer. What is the Question? (Northeast Wisdom, 2018), pp. 53-55.
Ursula King, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books), p. 124.
Micheline R. Anderson, “The Spiritual Heart,” Religions 2020, 11, 506.
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Working With Oneness (Inverness, California: The Golden Sufi Center, 2002), p. 50.
Eric Whitacre, “Virtual Choir 6: Sing Gently,” YouTube