10 Billion Beats, One Intention for One Planet
Change doesn’t come easy. “Easy” rarely allows us to make a transformation. If we want to make a difference, if we want to personally become different, we have to be stubborn about it until a new way of being is natural. Maybe it is ridiculous to think we can change the world. We know it is ridiculous not to try. Eventually our self-growth must turn into service. We must start doing that for which we have been learning. This article is about one such effort.
In September 2009, about 200,000 people around the world joined in a sincere effort called 10 Billion Beats. It is a simple idea to affect our collective consciousness in a positive way that we will repeat until 2013. The project doesn’t have a big budget campaign, media savvy, or corporate sponsorship. Participation is free. It started with just three of us. Then people started telling other people and the word spread. Hope emerged that as individuals band together we can help the world become a little brighter and change the habitual patterns of separation between others and ourselves, between our species and the planet that sustains us.
Seeing the Earth bleed before our eyes with only blind guesses about how to stop the hemorrhage is a stark reminder of the incoherent battle we humans have waged with nature. No words describe watching a catastrophe unfold 5000 feet beneath the sea. The growing anger and despair is palpable. All we can do is hope and pray that a solution is found to save the gulf before so much life has been lost that it can’t recover. I have even heard this referred to as the Seventh Sign (Book of Revelations) when “the seas will turn black.” There are many signs told by many peoples. They all indicate that meaningful change is needed.
Some have called this time “the great turning,” the point when humankind turns away from acting like we are the crown of creation and that everything here is for our use. Turning from the belief that we can do whatever we damn well please and turning towards becoming real stewards of creation. Native traditions have always carried this truth. We are coming to realize that we are spiritual beings among many. We are accountable for our personal growth as well as for furthering the development of all others. No small task, and definitely a change of consciousness.
You who read this are a special group. Some are searchers, some sages; each one makes a difference. Finding ourselves now in “the turning” is unsettling. Old forms are fading away before our eyes and humanity seems polarized. It forces us to choose whether we will identify with Spirit, or with Matter. We step either toward coherence with the Creator and all creation, or we cling to personal power and separation. This is not the first time we’ve noticed this choice. This is not the first time we’ve cared about it, nor is it even the first time we have seriously sought unity and coherence. It is simply the time to try again. So here’s the idea we are trying.
Sound–vibration–provides a doorway in consciousness, a common denominator that without words or melody provides a pathway to the inner reaches of our being. Drums sing this universal language; perhaps it is the language of Spirit for it touches something elemental within us and collectively, we pay attention. When I listen to the drums, it connects me with the deep states of consciousness within; it connects me with the heartbeat of creation itself and draws me into relationship with the Earth.
This relationship with our planet is more primal than sharing life with our spouse. Once we approached our Earth with wide eyes, fascinated by every firefly, tadpole, and daisy. We conversed with passing toads and found unicorns in the clouds above our head. Our storybooks were adventures shared by fairies, elves, and frogs that turned into a prince. As children, we drank in our surroundings anxious to learn from–and about–the world we had come here to inhabit, not as observers but as participants. As children, the world was our lover; we cherished every offering it provided and eagerly traded our wonderment for the blessings of creation.
As adult inhabitants, too many people have forgotten this relationship. Perhaps it was with the rise of Western theologies or during the Industrial Revolution, but somewhere as a species, we went to war with our planetary partner. We assumed that whatever we did had little or no effect. This big ball of dirt was our resource. We forgot she was once our lover, once the source of our wonderment and vitality. We forgot she had a heartbeat. Like any relationship, when one partner ignores the other’s heart long enough, things get shaky, stormy, and hot.
Andean Q’ero mystics describe the universe as living energy with which we constantly exchange. Adding to our childlike wonderment, they suggest we form a deliberate, respectful relationship with this energy at large. Ayni (pronounced I-nee) is a state of reciprocity, a sacred interchange with everything–yes everything. In Christian terms, it is doing unto others, as you would have them do unto you but to the Q’ero, it means helping the people in your community and respectfully caring for your neighbors who happen to be mountains, forests, plants, animals, or minerals. The energy exchange with everything is constant and we must consciously “give at least as good as we get” without measuring our return. That’s a formula for success in any relationship.
Our imbalanced relationship with creation, and our fellow beings, is noticeable to me and probably to you. We can deny the problems, rationalize that someone else will fix them, or try to respond. Perhaps like me, you sense a shift coming on this planet in your bones. There’s a lot of talk about 2012, Earth Changes, Ascension, solar flares, Rapture, the return of Planet X. Whether any of these events leave us in a New Heaven, on a New Earth, or walking more miles in the same pair of shoes, we should be asking, “How can we create a better world beyond this ‘turning’?” More is asked of us than to fearfully wait for deliverance.
In the past decades, physicists have peered into the depths of subatomic particles only to discover–much like the Q’ero describe–a world of vibrating energy that interacts with our observation. Physicists describe the interference patterns of energy at the subatomic level as “nodes of resonance.” You might call 10 Billion Beats an intervention in the global relationship problem; a “node of resonance” formed by the interaction of my work as a transpersonal psychologist with drumming and sounds, Peter Russell’s thoughts in “The Global Brain,” and many research studies on the power of human intention. If energy follows thought then we affect the living energy world. Why not affect it consciously with positive intent?
“The Global Brain” proposes a systems perspective of how life is developing on this planet. Throughout Earth’s history, each time certain essential elements reached a critical population density, a new property emerged, and the whole became greater than the sum of its parts. I’ll leave it to that author to explain his full premise, but the key element here is that critical population was about 10 billion. We are now approaching that population as a species on this planet. Several studies have shown how applied intention, the subtle energy of directed thought, affects the outcome of illness. Such works demonstrate that our thoughts–our intention–influence the world from the smallest level to our very human being. Perhaps we can enhance an intention’s effect by using the sound of the drum to deepen consciousness and reiterate the beat until we approach the critical threshold of 10 billion?
10 Billion Beats is not a political movement, a religious faction, an ecological organization, or even a peace group. It is a spiritual endeavor, a declaration of acknowledgment that we are part of a system, part of the problem and if we pay attention, part of the solution. 10 Billion Beats is founded on the belief that we–as co-creators–are constantly interacting with creation and must do so consciously with positive intent. It is the “golden rule” applied to “right” and “left,” family, friend, and enemy, Heaven and Earth. Each met with the will to good whatever the circumstance. The drumbeat is our unifying call to coherence.
We live in an extraordinary time. On one hand, we see a rise of hope in the world that offers the promise of bonding us together and overcoming a hard time. In contrast, we see that divisions between nations, political parties, and religious extremes seem unfazed. Some prophesy that we have come to the end of our days while others say we are about to advance. Without doctrine or dogma, 10 Billion Beats has a simple agenda: to foster goodwill within the entire living family on the planet in which we live, move, and have our being. I know it does not solve all the problems, but as a family relationship therapist with several years of experience, I’ve seen division before. I’ve learned that before a family can find solutions, they must hear each other’s heartbeat.
10 Billion Beats is a Global Intention Event that will use drumming to send a wave of positive intention around the world. Starting in Central Kansas, it will follow the sunset around the globe through each time zone at 7:00 PM on Sept. 17th, 2010. (Sept. 18th as it crosses the dateline) This project is for everyone like me who is crazy enough to change the world and everyone else for whom they want to change it. The idea–though admittedly grandiose–is not a commercial event. Really, it’s a simple grassroots idea on a grand scale. If this resonates with you, please visit http://www.10billionbeats.com for more information and to get involved. Join in, and let’s drum up a better world!
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