Evolutionary Cosmologist Brian Swimme writes that “the cosmological Powers of the Universe are coursing through us moment by moment. To become aware of these powers is to touch the Source of Life.”
In his DVD set “The Powers of The Universe”, Swimme offers this summary of the ten powers, held together in Seamlessness:
Centration: the coming together in one life of the entire evolutionary development
Allurement: what holds it all together; in societies, the values and ideals that help them cohere
Emergence: the Universe is a story, not a place or a thing, always bringing forth newness
Homeostasis: the Universe holds onto its achievements: the oyster shell – it works!
Cataclysm: the Universe sometimes destroys its achievements purposely in addition to accidental destruction
Synergy: complexification as things come together; diversity creates more complex systems
Transmutation: newness begins, builds
Transformation: always, always newness is being created
Inter-relatedness: when diversity and commonality come together, as now on the planet: people are discovering diverse gifts, beginning to have common concerns
Radiance: a new evolutionary reality, as Teilhard de Chardin foresaw, something beyond what has been until now.
Out of seamlessness, a person is here (centration) seeing the universe involved in her unfolding. Through allurement, she begins to pursue dreams which emerge in relationships. Through homeostasis she finds her role in society, where she fits in …
But then cataclysm arrives where things fall apart… marriage, health, job… One way or another, the person’s cataclysm will relate to the present cataclysm of the planet. The collapse of what one thought was real eliminates illusion, a glimmer of the need for synergy, a larger vision for the community and for others.
Transmutation comes from awareness that I need to change parts of my life (consumerism? militarism? competition?) This can lead to a deep unlearning, a metanoia, metamorphosis, connecting one to the origins of things, developing a creative vision for moving forward, a vision that itself needs to be tested internally against the other powers of the universe…moving one towards transformation where inter-relatedness happens at a more elegant level as one sees the light in the other, and finally radiance.
Recalling that we are beings in whom the Universe resides, we begin our exploration of Swimme’s teaching with the first power that he identifies in the Universe: Centration.
CENTRATION, Swimme teaches, is the coming together in one life of the entire evolutionary development. What if? he asks, what if the role of the human after 13.8 billion years, is to allow the Powers of the Universe to be enhanced and advanced though us? What if we understood that the Universe is centered on us, with the aim of bringing forth another form of life, one that will draw life itself forward? Our challenge, Swimme says, is to learn how to participate in this process by removing obstacles so that the power of centration can proceed. The main obstacle, he says, is that modern individual consciousness prevents our appreciation that the WHOLE is real, and has its own intentions.
How would our lives look if we opened ourselves to allow the power of centration to grow in us? The shift in consciousness, should we as a species open ourselves to this fully, would rival the shift that occurred when, in the sixteenth century Copernicus declared that the earth revolved around the sun, not the sun around the earth….
In 1905, Einstein realized that life is not boxed in with a clock ticking beside it but rather that space and time in the Universe depend upon the observer, that the Universe rises up with respect to a particular orientation. Half a century later, Carl Jung would understand that each of us experiences the universe in our own way.
The story of the evolution of life holds the teachings we require to allow the power of centration to be enhanced through us. Life created the membrane to allow creation to withstand the onslaught of the sea. Swimme advises that in this time when our planet is threatened with destruction we too need to develop a permeable barrier whose intelligence will determine what goes through and to find a way to keep out what is leading to degradation, refusing to give entry.
We need also to identify and amplify what we do want to pass through the membrane: those elements which will enhance our journey into ourselves.
The second thing required for the development of life is a catalyst that, like the molecule, accelerates the process. For this, Swimme suggests we find a way to contact the primordial energy of nature, to drop into contact with the Universe, knowing that the Universe is longing to center itself in a new way. Spend time in a storm, by the waves of a shore, beside a birdfeeder, Swimme suggests. Find a way to channel this energy of 13.8 billion years.
Reflecting on Centration:
What would change in my life if I were more fully open to the power of Centration, understanding that my life is part of a WHOLE? How would my life be different if I saw it as a journey for which the UNIVERSE holds intention, holds a hope for something far beyond what I can see or imagine?
How do I /we develop an intelligent sieve, a membrane with wisdom to keep out of my consciousness what would harm me while recognizing and allowing the passage of elements that will enhance and assist the journey to the sacred centre of my life?
What ways have I found and which do I seek that will bring me into closer contact with the power of nature? Knowing that the Universe is longing to be more fully centred in me, how do I encourage this closeness?